Monday, October 12, 2009

"Against Depression"

If you're gonna be against happiness, must you then be for depression? Hope not.

Psychiatrist and author Peter D. Kramer is a forceful proponent of judiciously-deployed psycho-pharmacological intervention to minimize mental suffering. He first made his case in Listening to Prozac. And in Against Depression he called out those who defend pathological unhappiness as a boon to civilization, thinking of all those works of creative genius by all those sad, anguished, tortured, self-abusing artists, writers, musicians et al through the ages who, it's been speculated, might not have been so creative if they'd been blissfully medicated instead.

Kramer's clear: clinically-diagnosed depression is an illness no less than tuberculosis or AIDS. Who would ever defend not treating that, just so the rest of us could reap the artistic effluvium (and to hell with the artist herself)?

Much depends on where we draw the ever-shifting line between "normal" sadness and mental illness.

I do like Kramer's rationale for Obama's Nobel.

1 comment:

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