Saturday, August 20, 2011

I need my happy pills

I believe we are experiencing the repercussions of the culture of pharmaceutical solutions to everyday problems.

First a little background. Life is a series of good times and not-so-good times.

We all experience rough patches in our lives. This is not new, it has been going on since man first breathed. Early man used the bad times to their advantage to grow and learn from mistakes. Societies were built and destroyed, and each time a lesson was learned; not during the times of celebration and excess, but during the lean times when difficulties needed to be overcome through persistence. Rome was not built in a day, the saying goes, nor did it fall overnight. Our founding fathers knew what it was to experience tough times, the first colony in the new world experienced the loss of roughly half its population due to the hardships of climate and disease.

But times have changed. We no longer want to experience the growing pains. We pharmaceutical away the hard times. Too many people are just popping a pill to feel better. I have some experience in this area, first I work in a pharmacy, I see first hand the abuse of medications. Okay before you call be a hypocrite, there are legitimate uses for medications, I am not advocating against pharmaceuticals, only the excessive use of mostly psychological medications that are meant to "even out the mood".

When some people hit a rough patch, they go to the doctor and get all weepy and depressed and claim that their lives are the worst and will never get better, so they need to pop a pill. This is doing horrendous things to our society, and world at large. There is no need to persist in something that is viewed as difficult anymore, there is no need to bear up against a burden, there is no need to work hard against all odds to achieve. All you need is to take this pharmaceutical and it will make everything better, too many people have fallen into this trap.

My graciousness, the number of young kids on ADHD drugs is staggering, and they don't just need them for school. Parents pick the drugs up even during the summer, when a kid should be outside, playing and using their excess, pent-up energy. We are medicating the difficulty out of raising kids, the job is not supposed to be easy; just give the kids his Ritalin and let them zone out so we parents can get a break. Give me a break, kids are supposed to teach US lessons, we are supposed to be the parent, it is not supposed to be easy. Life is not supposed to be easy.

Along this same line, why is the school system demanding that kids get medication if they are not attentive in the classroom? Believe it or not, the reason we hired the teachers in the first place is to teach the kids, not give their students piles of paper to fill out while the teachers just watch over them. That is something I could do just as easily at home, so why should we even send our kids to school in the first place? If your child's teacher is demanding you get your kid on drugs, you need to find a new teacher, the kid is not the problem.

Secondly, I had a friend who was not stable. She needed medications to function (see I am not against pshych meds). I never once advocated for her to get off her meds. I saw first hand how a person may need the medications. I saw how others in the church reacted to her medications, and how she reacted when she was persuaded to stop taking the meds. There are legitimate uses for medications. We have patients who come into our pharmacy that legitimately need their meds, and who can become belligerent and uncontrollable when they are not taking their medications properly.

We also have patients come in to fill their "happy pills". Oh good grief, have we gotten so bad that we cannot allow ourselves to be sad at times? College kids are taking highly-addicting sedatives to help them do better on tests, in fact, more of these drugs are sold during finals week than at any other time of the year. Our pharmacy has been experiencing a shortage of these type of medications, and these college kids just flip out, claiming they "need" their medication. What they really need is to do some studying.

If you really think about it most of our problems as a society are centered around the whole not- wanting-to-do-something-hard mind set. We HAD to raise the debt ceiling because it would be too hard to cut spending. We had to extend unemployment benefits because it would be too hard to make someone find a new way to feed himself. We had to create a social services safety net because it would be too hard for some people. We had to make abortion legal because it was too hard on women to carry a child to term and give the child up for adoption. We had to recall the Senators in Wisconsin because it will be too hard for union members to pay for their own benefits. We have to "tax the rich" because it is too hard to let people suffer who cannot earn as much as someone else.

Our society is sick, and the last thing we need is more self medication. We must either again experience hardships or our country is doomed. Simply put, we cannot afford to look past the hard times anymore. My fiancée has a song he likes, the lines are: "there ain't no way but the hard way, so get used to it."

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