Prozac: Making 54 Million People Less Depressed
Prozac became one of the most often-used words in pop culture in the late 1980s. When Eli Lilly came out with Prozac in 1987, it began a revolution in the treatment of depression and the way people thought about depression and dealt with it. For many years, the assumption was the depression was merely "The Blues" and a person should just hold his or her head up high and "get over it" if he or she felt depressed. Prozac acknowledged the biochemical nature of depression and located the source of the problem in the lack of serotonin levels in the brain. Prozac was designed to help regulate serotonin levels and to stimulate production so the depressed person could feel at east and enjoy a sense of well-being for the first time in a long time. Prozac is used to treat not just depression, but also eating disorders and panic disorders as well. The regulation of serotonin levels calms the patient and makes him or her more receptive to other kinds of treatment, such as talking therapy.
As with almost all drugs, there are side effects involved in taking Prozac. Some experience nausea, decreased appetite, nervousness and a decreased need for sleep. People are cautioned when prescribing Prozac in more severe cases that the sudden introduction of Prozac, as with any antidepressant, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts among younger patients. While these thoughts are most often not translated into action, and almost never occur among users older than 24, this risk should be watched among teenagers who take Prozac. If it is thought a young person could be a danger to themselves, they should perhaps begin taking Prozac in an inpatient setting to assure the effect is a desirable one.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.