There is little agreement about what causes depression and no consensus about what cures it.
As a branch of medicine, depression seems to be a mess. Business, however, is extremely good.
Gary Greenberg basically regards the pathologizing of melancholy and despair, and the invention of pills designed to relieve people of those feelings, as a vast capitalist conspiracy to paste a big smiley face over a world that we have good reason to feel sick about. The aim of the conspiracy is to convince us that it's all in our heads, or, specifically, in our brains -- that our unhappiness is a chemical problem, not an existential one.
It's what war is, you know? Once you in it ... you in it. If it's a lie, then we fight on that lie. But we gotta fight!
The discovery of the remedy creates the disease.
Is psychopharmacology evil, or is it useless?
You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it, you want to sell it!
Many people today are infatuated with the biological determinants of things.
People like to be able to say, I'm just an organism, and my depression is just a chemical thing, so, of the three ways of considering my condition, I choose the biological. People do say this. The question to ask them is, Who is the "I" that is making this choice? Is that your biology talking, too?
The reality is that, despite fears that our children are "pumped full of chemicals", everything is made of chemicals.
Do we resist the grief pill because we believe that bereavement is doing some work for us? Maybe we think that since we appear to have been naturally selected as creatures that mourn, we shouldn't short-circuit the process. Or is it that we don't want to be the kind of person who does not experience profound sorrow when someone we love dies?
Drew Gilpin Faust:
In the 21st century, we shy away from death, and we tend to think of a good death as a sudden one. Not so in the 19th century. Dying well meant having time to assess your spiritual state and say goodbye -- which is difficult to do if you're killed in battle.