I was interviewing a therapist the other day, and some of the first questions that came out of her mouth were, “Do you experience anxiety and depression and have you ever tried taking medication for it?”

First, yes, I’ve experienced anxiety. I’m Jewish — it’s in my DNA.

Secondly, if I wanted to go on medication, I would have contacted my gynecologist, who could and would write me out a prescription for just about anything. I came here to talk.

I realized therapy isn’t for me anymore. I felt great walking in, and after an hour of analyzing every thought and fear I had, my mood plummeted and I felt I did need medication after all.

But really, just about every young, smart Jew in this city has a therapist, and they are dolling out anti-depressant drugs like manna from heaven. I’m not trying to go all Tom Cruise on us, but anti-depressants are just a band aid. Clearly, we’ve got a deeper problem here, folks.

Last week’s New York Times article, “Less Talk, More Medicine,” described how psychiatrists like Dr. Donald Levin are boosting their client base from 100 to thousands, but cutting sessions down to 15 minutes and replacing any therapy with prescription talk. That ain’t right.

What about dealing with the issues that make us need medication? Like stimulation overdose, information darted at us from every direction, seeking happiness from external factors, greed, Internet addiction, comparing our lives to that of high school friends on Facebook or our Jewish mothers? Maybe there’s something we ought to explore somewhere in this list. Better yet, we ought to learn about treatments at DrugAbuse.net or any similar sites that deal with the issue.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, whose own daughter is addicted to prescription drugs, throws significant light on the issue. Dyer notes that in 1970, Americans took two billion prescription pills. In 2007, just one generation later, we are up to 113 billion.

“Drug companies have quotas for selling as many drugs like Zoloft as they can,” Dyer says. “It’s a huge problem we have to confront as a people. Our legislators, lobbyists and politicians all have to confront it. We have to look at what are we creating (as a society) when we take drugs every time we have a problem or difficulty.”

There’s gotta be a better way! Meditation, yoga, community support, empowerment classes, Buddhist philosophies, Ayurvedic techniques and an occasional glass of tequila work for me! Maybe even a good Shabbat service if the Rabbi is cool enough.

As the ambitious, menchy people we are, our brains are on overdrive all day. That can backfire on us, giving us tsuris for sure. But are drugs the best way out? I say no. Charlie Sheen might disagree.

Who you gonna side with?

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  • i’m afraid the domestic introspection is a tad too late: there is a generation of ticking-time bombs y’all will have to deal with now. Not what Freud intended.

  • yeah, i’m gonna go with “no”. see, it’s entirely possible that we have a greater underlying issue going on here, but my anti-depressants keep me sane and functional, so i really don’t appreciate you telling me they’re a band-aid. you know what band-aids do? they stop minor bleeding. you know what my fluoxetine does? it keeps me functional enough to get out of bed, feed myself and deal with my problems in therapy instead of killing myself.

    this “article” is glib and cute, but it’s really dismissive to those of us who live with mental illness. i shouldn’t have to tell you why that’s problematic.

    • I am sorry for your pain. Waking up and wanting to kill yourself is no joke. I have dealt with depression and sadness–I know what it is. Mental illness is serious business. But there are MANY people out there that don’t need to be on meds, and are on them. There are many people who “THINK” their problems are way worse off than they really are. There are too many docs quick and ready to write out prescriptions.

      In your case, maybe I’m wrong. But I do think as a society–no matter what–we need to look at WHY everyone is so depressed. Are we just born that way?

      I actually think it’s probably something we develop for whatever reason!

      We all need band-aids. I’m glad you are getting help and healing your problem. You are doing the right thing. But then, when the bruise feels better, aren’t you curious about how you got it in the first place?
      Maybe it will help stop bleeding in the future!!