Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What use prozac?

This week in the New York review of books, Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and a lucid, thoughtful critic of the american medical establishment, published an interesting article in the New York Review of Books called "The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?", about the efficacy of psychoactive drugs. It was a really interesting look at this topic, discussing the proliferation of mental illness among americans and questioning not only the effectiveness of the drugs but also the necessity of these diagnoses. She has also written a number of similar articles on related topics over the last few years, all of which are really interesting.

Also of note is the response to Dr. Angells article in the New York Times, "In Defense of Antidepressants", written by Dr. Peter Kramer, who popularized Prozac in his book Listening to Prozac. It is also well-thought and well reasoned, and most importantly to me, it is not nasty or vituperative, but rather a spirited, rational defense of the use of psychoactive medication.

This discussion and its implications are fascinating and well-worth reading, and this type of thoughtful, intelligent exchange is something I wish that we saw more of these days.

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