By Christian Alexander
If you are watching television for any length of time, eventually you will come across the obligatory drug commercial. These advertisements seem to offer a needed answer to any medical or mental problem you can think of. Depressed? Take this new pill! High blood sugar … we’ve got you covered … hell, we’ll even deliver it to your door if you have the right insurance. Child a little too hyper active in class? He’s not just rambunctious, he’s probably got ADD, and guess what? There’s a pill for that too.
There’s even some new “Miracle” one-a-day HIV meds for those who suffer with that affliction. I won’t get into further detail just yet, because it angers me and I just may break something.
I have always been, and try to remain, a person who believes ignorance is bliss. I realize that sounds naive in this world in which we now live, but it seems the less I know about what goes on in the world around me, the happier I am. Maintaining this philosophy was very easy for me for well over a decade because I was so stoned and/or high throughout the day, I had no clue what was going on around me. Now, that I’ve managed to stay sober, it’s getting harder and harder to watch the news or venture outside and see what is really going on in the world.
Then, on a day like any other, I was flipping channels trying to find something worth watching on television, when I accidentally paused on a commercial. Here was this woman on the screen. The poor woman was depressed. It seemed no matter what she did or where she went, her depression just encompassed her. I felt sorry for this woman until I saw that all she had to do to rid herself of this depression was take a pill. After a certain time period, the woman on TV would be happy again, and by the end of the commercial, she was.
This got me thinking, could the woman in the commercial hear what the announcer was saying about this incredible new happy pill? He spoke for roughly 10 to 15 seconds saying how wonderful it was and then in a slightly quieter voice, began to list some of the possible side effects, not the least of which was DEPRESSION and suicidal thoughts. How is it that a drug, marketed solely as an ANTI-depressant could cause depression, let alone suicidal thoughts?
As I currently take two anti-depressants myself, I decided to do a little research on the topic. The two pills I currently take had similar side effects. This, excuse my language, really pissed me off. I’ve never had a complete trust in doctors, but this was beyond all limits.
Granted, they say these side-effects only occur in a small number of patients, but how do they reach this conclusion. I wonder if they base it on the belief that hundreds of thousands of people are taking these pills, but only a few of them died or got sick. I researched this extensively and, surprise, could find nothing resembling an answer.
As for the drug in the commercial I saw, when I looked up the rest of the side effects, I was dumbfounded. Here are just a few of the “possible” side effects of this “wonderful” anti-depressant:
Dizziness, Lightheadedness, Nausea, Vomiting, Loss of Energy, Blurred Vision, Weight Gain, Drowsiness, Constipation, Irregular/Fast Heartbeat, Fainting, Mental or Mood Changes, Increased Anxiety, Restlessness, Tremors, and of course Depression and Suicidal Thoughts.
There are actually quite a few more, but I only have so much space.
After finding this out, I looked through my own medications just to see if there was anything that I should know. Suffice it to say, I am now a raging hypochondriac. Some things should indeed be left to my “ignorance is bliss” philosophy I have been taking some of these drugs for years. My doctors gave them to me, my pharmacist filled them; they must be safe.
Admittedly, so far, nothing horrible has happened since I’ve been on these, except my addiction (which has been cleared by my therapist, psychiatrist and primary Doctor as long as I stay on the recommended doses) to a certain tranquilizer (which I took after reading all the possible things that my other medications could do to me). The addiction itself was a very large problem until I received help, I didn’t know it was addictive when I started it, and didn’t realize it until it was too late.
But, this isn’t my story. It’s a story of deception and greed which I shall continue next week.
Till then, Read your labels!