Mental health has changed since prozac hit the consumer market in 1987.
Prozac (fluoxetine) was initially marketed as the “happy pill”, with early reports stating the drug eased depression and made patients feel more spontaneous, outgoing, and confident.
By 1990, US pharmacies were filling more than 65,000 prozac prescriptions every month. The medical field had never accepted a drug so quickly or prescribed so abundantly before for mental health.
Prozac was the biggest blockbuster drug of all time, a wonder pill for all ills. So much so, that 4.5 million Americans had taken the drug by 1995. Its popularity ushered in the development of other pharmaceutical classes to treat clinical mental illness.
Some disturbing findings were published in 2000, however, just a decade after the FDA approved prozac.
Practitioners were prescribing prozac to more women and children for mild depression and to more patients in general for minor illnesses. Clinical research also found that prozac-class drugs triggered suicides and violence in some patients (data we later learn that drug companies were aware of in testing stages).
The WHO reports more incidences of suicide since the indoctrination of prozac:
-In 1998, suicide was ranked as the 8th overall cause of death in the US.
-In 2017, suicide was ranked as the 1st overall cause of death in the US (a 31% increase 2001-2017, from 10.7 to 14 per 100,000).
Some drug studies may show the benefits of antidepressants, but what about the overall global decline in mental health? Why have suicide rates gone up across all groups since dozens of psychiatric pharmaceuticals have become available to consumers?
I see a contradiction. These polypharmaceutical regiments are supposed to be helping, but we have a lack of results and an uptick in severe side effects in patients.
People are feeling worse. What the hell? What’s going on?
In part, we have been less reliant on ourselves than ever before. We just want to take a pill. We swallowed the belief that a pill could help us with everything. Simultaneously, we stopped exercising and started eating more processed foods. We also spend less time with our loved ones and more time engaged with a screen.
Some groups are quick to blame the overuse of electronic devices and video games for increased incidences of suicide; yet, suicide rates were on the rise well before the onset of social media.
In a way, psychiatry – instead of helping people in the last 35 years – seems to have made people worse by handing out all its drugs. The answer of polypharmacy (that is, more pills) is not really an answer. It’s what created the problem.
When someone isn’t feeling right, it’s standard practice to invite them in for a med adjustment. What does that really mean? A med increase or augmentation. It usually doesn’t mean coming down on your meds to see if you’d feel better with fewer drugs in your system.
I’ve been treating so many people who want alternatives. They come to my clinic and to me during wilderness treatment, and when I take them off their antidepressants, they tell me how much better they feel. Why treat these individuals with more drugs?
My patients who actively choose cannabis are also exercising, eating better foods, meditating and doing yoga instead of sitting on the couch, and not abusing any substances. After three months, they are feeling better than ever before and on fewer medications (and sometimes no meds at all!).
Maybe cannabis legalization is a new beginning for mental health.
Maybe cannabis can be the gateway to healthy living.
Maybe we can see an upswing in the moods of people worldwide with more cannabis and fewer drugs.
With love and light,