The Epidemic of Sadness Cannot Be Solved With Antidepressants


From the International Business Times: While people are living longer, healthier lives in more affluent circumstances than ever before, the rate of depression is skyrocketing. Potential explanations are that we are now less able to cope with what used to be thought of as the vicissitudes of everyday life, or the materialism that often accompanies affluence has left us bereft of contentment; either way, antidepressants are not the solution.

“Practitioners are divided on what should be done about the growing mental crises. The extensive research carried out by Geddes and his team also promises ( a little too sanguinely) that anti-depressants work. We should welcome that with two cheers. For some sufferers, medication is the answer. For others, like my sister, they dull the senses and can have a zombifying effect. It would be wise to be cautious.

Professor Pinker and other such believers in unending progress are mechanistic and cleanly scientific. Human beings are unpredictable and messy. Many of their needs cannot be measured. Too many aren’t coping in our brave new world.

Only by rethinking economic and social models and the meaning of life can this degeneration be stopped. In their compelling book, How Much is Enough?, Robert and Edward Skidelsky conclude that endless growth and the unending pursuit of wealth is a madness. They were speaking metaphorically.

It turns out the system is actually making people sad and mad. Anti-depressants won’t solve that deep malaise.”

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