f 40 years' of experience means anything, DJ Nutt and the entire field of psychiatry are wrong. Antidepressants have been a HUGE mistake. They have rendered me personally less interesting and tired me out, making me absolutely unable to muster the enthusiasm of my youth. They have robbed me of my creativity. They have stolen my soul. If you came up behind me and shouted boo, there would be a delayed response. Spontaneity has become increasingly foreign to me over the decades of socially sanctioned pill popping.
Imagine what it says about America that 1 in 4 of its population needs some kind of tranquilizing medicine in order to be able to conform peaceably to the materialist status quo.
Antidepressants combined with prohibition is no way to treat depression: it is a way to manufacture depression, by denying us hundreds of godsends that could cheer us up and inspire us, under the harebrained and hypocritical theory that any drug which is potentially addictive must be avoided entirely - except, of course, when they're created by Big Pharma, in which case it becomes our moral duty to take them every day of our lives.
How has America arrived at this huge pharmacological dystopia, one so big that it is invisible to modern pundits?
The American religion is scientism, and so we fell for the argument that Big Pharma was going to treat all human sadness scientifically.
What a coup for conservatives: their natural enemies were no longer getting together to fight corporate power and income disparity: they were getting together instead to compare medicine lists and see "who's on what" and how their latest Big Pharma tranquilizers were working viz. their previous prescriptions.
If I had it to do again, I would rather die than be "started on antidepressants." I would go to the black market and take my chances.
This is why I hate the phrase "treatment resistant depression," because it implies that Big Pharma has conquered depression - it's just that some folks are resistant to the panacea just as some folks are allergic to milk.
If Big Pharma has conquered sadness, it is only because they have rendered Americans impervious to both happiness AND sadness. Big Pharma has merely made us able to tolerate the materialist status quo that we otherwise might have been so gauche as to deride and scorn.
Author's Follow-up: March 21, 2023
It's hard to write honestly about the Drug War -- almost nobody does because it requires calling out Big Pharma drugs that are used by at least 25% of Americans. So if one is interested in gaining "followers," they're tempted to avoid the topic entirely. The problem is that if everyone avoids the topic, things will never change.
We must not evaluate antidepressants in the abstract, asking merely "Do they make sense as therapy?" but rather "Do they make sense given the fact that the Drug War outlaws almost all psychoactive medicines?" I submit that no one in their right mind would take antidepressants (and certainly no one in their right mind SHOULD take antidepressants) if psychoactive medicines were legal. The former drugs will make you a patient for life and tranquilize you, while the latter drugs will inspire you and many of them are not even habit forming.
Moreover, even if they're habit-forming, so what? They still would not turn you into an eternal patient, with all the expense and stigma that represents. Moreover, psychiatry has no problem with making lifetime drug users with antidepressants: the fact that they disapprove of all other dependence-causing psychoactive medicine is a philosophical and business call, not a scientific one. They value a subdued patient -- but that is not my goal in life: my goal is to thrive in life.
Author's Follow-up: August 6, 2023
I recently got a Tweet from a psychiatrist who told me that SSRIs would still be desired and prescribed when all medicines were legal. If that turned out to be true, it would only be because prohibition was not accompanied by the promotion and unbiased understanding of all drugs. There are drugs out there so wonderful viz SSRIs that they make one laugh and cry and feel reborn. Under the right conditions, they can improve and sharpen your goals in life and make you want to live. The psych in question simply does not know about such drugs. Otherwise he would never have said that SSRIs should still have a role.
"Let's see: I can take this drug that inspires me and makes me compassionate and teaches me to love nature in its byzantine complexity, or I can take Prozac which makes me unable to cry at my parents' funeral. Hmm. Which shall it be?" Only a mad person in a mad world would choose SSRIs.
ME: "What are you gonna give me for my depression, doc? MDMA? Laughing gas? Occasional opium smoking? Chewing of the coca leaf?" DOC: "No, I thought we'd fry your brain with shock therapy instead."
Until we legalize ALL psychoactive drugs, there will be no such thing as an addiction expert. In the meantime, it's insulting to be told by neuroscience that I'm an addictive type. It's pathologizing my just indignation at psychiatry's niggardly pharmacopoeia.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Until we get rid of all these obstacles to safe and informed use, it's presumptuous to explain problematic drug use with theories about addiction. Drug warriors are rigging the deck in favor of problematic use. They refuse to even TEACH non-problematic use.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.
A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.
The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.
It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)
If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.
PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company