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Last Updated on July 21, 2016

In 1994, when Elizabeth Wurtzel’s depression memoir Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America an Practically immediate bestseller, it appeared to be one person’s outlook on a Growing trend among young adults, notably toward the use of antidepressants. About five years after fluoxetine (better known as Prozac) became accessible, Wurtzel’s Encounter appeared to ring true to many. Now, after nearly 20 years and the success of not only her book but the 2001 movie based on it, the story appears Less an indictment of place and a time in relation to the start of a tendency toward redefining treatments for significant depressive disorder as well as other mood disorders.

Prozac Nation GIF

Fluoxetine is perhaps the most well-known of a category of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The drugs work by helping the brain continue to make use of more of the serotonin it produces, which helps control mood and reduce apparent symptoms of depression. In the quarter century since fluoxetine came on The scene, prescribed treatments for and SSRIs have become broadly recognized major depressive disorder (MDD), stress, and some other mood disorders.


About 11 percent of Americans older than 12 take antidepressants, with physicians composing about 254 million prescriptions for them In 2010 alone. Simply cholesterol-lowering drugs are prescribed more usually.

In today’s terms, young adults are called Millenials (ranging in age between 18 and 33), and they’re more stressed and possibly depressed than previous generations, based on an 2013 online poll conducted in partnership with all the American Psychological Association. In that survey, on a scale of 1 to 10 (from not stressed to very stressed), Millenials and GenXers (ages 34-47) rang in at about 5.4, higher than elderly adults. Stress of course, can feed into MDD and anxiety, potentially raising the demand for prescription treatments.

SSRIs today are so popular that “people with these Ailments can and possibly should characterize themselves by if they Can bear the side effects of SSRIs, such as sexual dysfunction and transiently increased anxiety,” said Mark Townsend, MD, a psychiatrist and George C. Dunn Professor of Psychiatry at the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, La. “The SSRIs are really so omnipresent and efficacious that, sooner or later, nearly anyone who interacts using a doctor will probably be offered one.”

So, are we still a Prozac Nation? Yes, based on Dr. Townsend.

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“It is not possible to be a post-Prozac state until we Have the SSRIs are very, along with better treatments for major depression illness good ones,” he said. They are not dangerous — much safer than previous choices for treatment — and, he explained, “their security assures they’ll continue to be broadly used.”

The Ups and Downs of an MDD Treatment

Before SSRIs became accessible, there were but a few treatments doctors could prescribe. Electroshock therapy was used to treat severe depression, even though the use of this treatment was widely criticized. SSRIs replaced a category of drugs called benzodiazepines. “Before benzodiazepines were developed, barbiturates were the standard of care for anxiety,” Townsend Included.

Each new class of drugs offered patients greater advantages And fewer unwanted effects, with SSRIs now taking the lead in therapy for panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Recently, nevertheless, headlines have broadly touted the risk of suicide credited to antidepressants. A second, less publicized risk is that of triggering mania in those who have bipolar disorder, not significant depressive disorder.

“An extremely important issue for both patients and doctors is that any antidepressant can cause mania and suicidal ideation. It’s essential to screen for the former and be alert to the latter,” said Townsend.

Even as patients and physicians continue to rely on Antidepressants for treating anxiety and depression, research is showing other effective means of therapy.

“The scientific literature proceeds to indicate that psychotherapy and drugs are often more helpful when delivered jointly,” noted Townsend. In addition to a prescription for fluoxetine (or another antidepressant), individuals with a mood disorder should consider cognitive Behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and related healing tools such as Dialectical behavioral therapies and mindfulness, added Townsend.

“Going beyond drugs and psychotherapy, ECT [formerly Known as electroshock therapy] is delivered even more and rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) has become increasingly Accessible, although not widely reimbursed by insurance providers,” Townsend further described.

With rates of depression, stress, and Even worry not inconsistent, you’ll be able to rest assured that researchers are continuing to Try to find a safer and more effective depression treatment to a day make this a post-Prozac Country.

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