Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A pill for every ill

Via the indispensible Preston Peet of, comes an interesting article in the NYT on young people, self diagnosis and prescription drugs. For a generation that grew up with pharmaceutical advertising that suggests you "ask your doctor" for the latest med, playing pharmacist on their own is no big deal. They routinely diagnose each other and trade unused portions of prescriptions for drugs like Ritalin, Paxil and Prozac.

They don't trust doctors as medical gods with all the answers as they did in generations past. For one thing, the 20 and 30 somethings have been dosed with various combinations of chemical cocktails and have come to realize that the shrinks aren't any better informed on the latest drugs than they are, in fact often they're better informed through sharing their experience on discussion lists. Having watched a dear friend suffer through many shrinks and countless 'script changes, I'd have to agree.

Doctors aren't perfect. They're just overworked human beings like the rest of us and judging from my own experience with hyperthyroidism, tend to prescribe drugs and treatment according to a curve based on a norm. For those like me, who have never fallen within the normal curve on anything, it's not only practical but necessary to self-diagnose.


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