The Spectacle Blog

Defending Happy-Pills

By on 12.13.05 | 2:47PM

Regarding James G. Poulos's silly anti-Paxil rant: Paxil is not a "serotonin-bomb." It contains no serotonin; rather, like all Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, it affects the way the body processes the serotonin that it creates. And no one on Paxil would be "staggering around hiccuping" with "discolored skin, enlarged breasts, and [a] demented gait," because as anyone with an iota of experience with psychotropic medication knows, adverse side-effects lead patients and their doctors to discontinue a drug. There are several SSRIs that work in somewhat different ways, and it often takes a few tries to find the one that works best for a given person.

These drugs change lives dramatically for the better (it is not "normal" to live in paralyzing fear of social gatherings, and it's much more pleasant not to). In many cases they save lives that would otherwise be lost to suicide. Discouraging people who suffer from debilitating emotional problems from taking medication makes as much sense as telling diabetics to be leery of insulin.

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