Here is an NYT article covering a new study which shows that most people who are diagnosed with depression -- and who therefore go on to regularly take antidepressant drugs -- do not meet the standards set by the psychiatrist's diagnostic handbook, the DSM.
Well, sure, given that such a large portion of the population is hooked on drugs, it must be that the "condition" they're treating is being way over-diagnosed, and that most folks are just looking for an excuse to take an easy way out of their problems, i.e. by numbing their brain into a state where it feels neither joy nor sadness, where they're just drifting through daily life.
As a reminder, this whole mainstreaming of drugs phenomenon is a note-for-note repeat of the unwholesome mid-century zeitgeist, part of the broader web of dysfunction in cocooning times.
Now, as then, it is primarily driven by surging demand from the public, not doctors luring in people who aren't on the same wavelength. Big Pharma would love to get everybody hooked, and to advertise in order to recruit unsuspecting customers. But after the age of Geritol ended in the 1960s, drug companies couldn't advertise on TV. Not until the '90s, that is, when consumers began wanting to see ads that would tell them what they wanted to hear -- that the normal signs of discomfort that the viewer had were reason enough to go see a doctor and ultimately hook their brain up to a Prozac faucet, whose dials they could adjust according to their want, rather than try to cope with real life like a normal person.
“It’s not only that physicians are prescribing more, the population is demanding more,” Dr. Mojtabai said. “Feelings of sadness, the stresses of daily life and relationship problems can all cause feelings of upset or sadness that may be passing and not last long. But Americans have become more and more willing to use medication to address them.”
Hopefully this study on antidepressants will echo an article from earlier this year, when there were the first signs of a growing openness to talk about the mainstreaming of Adderall and similar drugs. They're like the antidepressants in being stabilizing drugs -- meant to pick up the lethargic or tranquilize the anxious.
In contrast, the drugs of rising-crime times are destabilizing drugs that take your mind into an out-of-the-ordinary state, like pot or coke. Their destabilizing properties cause them to be viewed and taken more cautiously, where folks are apprehensive to start taking them, and then only occasionally or "recreationally," while regular users are well aware of the dangers, and will only make up the smallest fraction of the population (the most risk-taking). The stabilizing properties of drugs that dominate in falling-crime times cause them to be far more widely adopted -- hey, what could possibly go wrong with trying to nudge the brain toward a more normal state?
Unlike users of destabilizing drugs, users of stabilizing drugs ignore or dismiss the possibility of adverse, long-lasting side-effects. In their view, there can be no such thing as bad side-effects to something that makes the brain more normal. Also unlike users of destabilizing drugs, they don't seek to immediately counteract the drugs' bad side-effects -- they don't try to "sober up" when they're about to drive home, run into their parents, etc.
All this stems from their rationalization of taking drugs as a return to a more normal state of mind. In reality, of course, the human mind is not meant to constantly be in a feel-nothing state. That's abnormal, like someone who got a lobotomy. Properly seeing how unusual the mental state is of those who use "stabilizing" drugs, it comes as no surprise that there are all those downsides -- particularly for those who aren't experiencing major clinical depression, but are just looking for the anti-social way out of life's troubles, rather than discuss their problems with others, receive support and care, feel better, and move on with life.
In my experience, the mainstreaming of mind-altering drugs during falling-crime times is the piece of the larger pattern that no one wants to hear or talk about, which is why I continue to cover it and get on my soapbox about it, even though psychiatry is not one of my main interests. Nothing more glaringly characterizes the glib and dismissive attitude, the weakening of moral fiber, and the general degradation, of falling-crime times such as the Victorian era, the mid-century, and the Millennial era, as writing off all objections to the widespread zombie-fication of the population through regular use of psychoactive substances, and even seeking to prevent such objections as though they were Luddite obstacles to the future of trouble-free progress.