Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 1999
Date: 01/08/1999
Source: Harper's Magazine (US)
Author: Tracy Bjorgan Regina

Joshua Shenk's attempt to group illicit drugs with psychotropic drugs
- because both alter the mind and body - is harmful in its simplicity
and contributes to the already existing stigma suffered by the
clinically depressed. The purpose of illicit drugs is to produce a
good feeling, a high. The purpose of antidepressants is to restore to
"normal," or at least to acceptable, one's ability to function.

The desire for sleep and appetite, and energy and concentration
enough to make it through the day, is not the same as the desire to
get high on alcohol or cocaine.

It is harmful to suggest that antidepressants induce pleasure, for
inherent in that belief is a reproach to patients who crave a sense of

The distinction is akin to the one between the athlete who takes
anabolic steroids in order to enhance his performance and the diabetic
who takes insulin in order to enhance his survival.

Tracy Bjorgan Regina,