The United States is the most powerful nation in the world, our citizens work some of the longest hours, take the fewest vacations, and will go to great lengths in the pursuit of happiness. That’s if the lengths are measured in lines at the pharmacy anyway. Antidepressants are the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. This is without including all of the illegal users of prescription antidepressants, not many people are buying black market cholesterol drugs. There are also numerous individuals self medicating depression with alcohol and illegal drugs. In fact, the U.S. is the largest global consumer of illegal drugs. We live in culture where every solution should be immediate and preferably in pill form. Psychotherapy is becoming less common by the day, in large part because many health insurance plans do not cover it. Placebo pills are being marketed for children so the idea of a magical pill as a cure can be instilled at a young and impressionable age. Is there any wonder that we are now facing a public health crisis of overmedication? Even our municipal water supplies have been targeted in recent years because they contain unsafe levels of antidepressants and other medications that have passed unaltered through sewage treatment processes. Last year, 232.7 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written in the United States. It’s not hard to find pharmacists, doctors, lobbyists and a host of other professionals who see no problem with this, even while others are shouting their faces blue. This is also no surprise since consumers spent “$12 billion on antidepressants in 2007.” These findings are a reflection of an attitude that discourages introspection and life change and instead promotes quick fixes that make pharmaceutical companies richer and our lives poorer.

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