Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nervous? Try An Antipsychotic...

Furious Seasons reports today on problems with the antipsychotic drug Seroquel , which is soon to be approved for treating depression and anxiety. Last year, Furious Seasons reported that Seroquel has been studied as a "treatment" for "social phobias." Of which, fear of public speaking is apparently one.

I cannot believe that any responsible doctor would prescribe an antipsychotic to people who are exhibiting what is a completely normal fear of looking ridiculous in public. Given how much importance is attached to appearance and performance in this culture, of course people are going to worry about looking stupid in front of their peers. And let's face it, public speaking is one of those activities that carries with it the very real potential for Embarrassment and Humiliation.

Seroquel is a powerful drug and the list of possible side effects associated with it is quite frightening. It can cause weight gain, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, over-sedation, and carries with it the risk of tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder that can become permanent even after the drug is discontinued.

AstraZeneca, Seroquel's manufacturer, is seeking FDA approval for using Seroquel in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

Talk about using a sledgehammer on an ant.

Or in this case, on the American brain.

It disturbs me greatly that our culture should deem this acceptable.

I suppose I should not be surprised, given that worship of the Holy Dollar seems to have more converts every year than all of the traditional religious traditions combined.

Still, it's one thing for someone to be prescribed this drug for psychosis, and quite another for someone to see an ad on TV and ask for this medication from a doctor who is not a psychiatrist, and knows nothing more about the drug than what Big Pharma has deigned to share over lunch in a five-star restaurant.

Where are the checks and balances in this system?

The whole thing makes me Nervous and Anxious.

Perhaps I need a good slug of Seroquel...


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

What's so ridiculous about this is that multiple studies have shown that if you interview 100 people, most people fear "public speaking" more than death. So...fear of public speaking is not an illness, but rather a normal fear that a person can get over by taking a class in public speaking.


Jazz said...

It's sad, but the current trend seems to be to pathologize and medicate every conceivable discomfort that one might experience in the course of one's life.

Where is it written that life is supposed to be comfortable?

A lot of people, unfortunately, seem to be willing to settle for comfortably numb.