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The Dark Side Of Prozac Essay, Research Paper

The Dark Side of Prozac

Cutting, purging, starving, and drug abuse are all self-destructive behaviors faced by Americans today. Americans like to think that the ingestion of a simple pill will help dissolve their problems. Society tends to ignore the adverse effects of anti-depressants because of the wonders that they work. With the mass quantity of anti-depressants on the market, Prozac is found to be one of the more popular drugs. As great as Prozac may seem to be, the content of this paper will conclude that Prozac has a negative effect on self-destructive behaviors.

Prozac is used to treat depression, bulimia, and alcohol dependency, just to name a few uses. Prozac is part of a group of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which help replenish normal levels of serotonin to the brain (Ruh 949). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps us decide whether a glass is half full or half empty. ( Lemonick 150) Scientists are just beginning to understand a chemical s role in the function of the human body (Lemonick). This is a very interesting discovery; if this understanding is recent, how is it possible that over 20 years ago, Prozac started to be marketed? Prozac is a chemical, and it is possible that there are many negative functions of Prozac that scientists have not yet discovered.

Commonly observed side effects of Prozac are headache, insomnia, drowsiness, nervousness, anorexia nervosa, and anxiety (Long). It is common knowledge that anorexia is the

starving of oneself. Anorexia is just as much a mental disease as it is a physical disease. Anorexia is a severe disease that causes internal damage, and even death. Obviously, for Prozac to cause anorexia, the drug must drastically alter a person s way of thinking. So while Prozac may be used to treat one self-destructive behavior in an individual such as bulimia, drug abuse, or self-mutilation, it may cause another, more serious self-destructive behavior.

In 1987, the German BGA, a group equivalent to the United States’ FDA, refused to approve Prozac based upon studies conducted by Eli Lilly, the makers of Prozac, which stated that Prozac given to non-suicidal patients had a higher rate of suicide attempts and death by suicide. The study also showed that 1 in 100 previous non-suicidal patients developed strong anxiety and agitation causing attempts of suicide (Garnett). One question that arises is, why does Eli Lilly continue to market Prozac if, in their own studies, strong adverse effects were found? The answer is simply money. One theory concluded is that doctors give patients Prozac to help with their condition, in turn the Prozac worsens a patient s symptoms. When the symptoms worsen, the patient returns to the doctor who then increases the dosage of the Prozac. This increase in the dosage benefits only one group, Eli Lilly. It could be a conspiracy of Eli Lilly to feed America full of ineffective Prozac, or just a plain example of a drug that worsens a patients condition.

Eli Lilly has recently announced that they are producing a new and improved Prozac (Garnett). Leah Garnett reports that Eli Lilly notes that the new version will not produce several existing side effects including, akathisia, suicidal thoughts, and self-mutilation (Debate about effects of Prozac). With all the notoriety of Prozac, it seems that Eli Lilly is trying to hide the fact that Prozac has dangerous side effects. It should be known that suicidal thoughts

and self-mutilation are self-destructive behaviors, and it is obvious that Prozac is not a very effective anti-depressant because it causes these severe effects.

There is another possibility that Prozac and other antidepressants will only work for the patients that believe that the drugs will work for them. This conclusion is based on the research done with placebos. Placebos are inert, inactive pills used in studies to measure the efficacy of antidepressants. “One review of antidepressant literature indicates overall that one-third of patients do not improve with antidepressant treatment, one-third improve with placebos, and an additional thrid show a response to medication they would not have attained with placebos. Administering a therapeutic drug is not simply a medical, biological act. It is also a complex social act, its effectiveness mediated by the patient’s expectations” (Antidepressants for Happiness).

In other words, a simple pill, that is inactive can treat a person’s depression. This is possible through the thoughts of the person taking the antidepressant. The placebos work because the people believe that they will work, thus, helping to cure a person’s condition. Now if it is thought about, wouldn’t it also be possible that if a person were on Prozac and they didn’t believe that it would work for them, then it would not be effective? This is why Prozac has a negative effect on self-destructive behaviors; because if people do not want Prozac to work for them, they will continue with their self-destructive behaviors.

Self-destructive behaviors happen in every city, county, and state in the United States. With everything that society does not know about the brain, people should be careful of taking a pill that is supposed to help them with their problems. A majority of research done on Prozac proves that Prozac is dangerous and may be ineffective. Behind every beneficial effect

attributed to Prozac, there is at least one harmful effect that it causes. Americans should not allow for the negative effect that Prozac has on self-destructive behaviors.

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