Pill-poppin’: The rise of generation Rx?

Quinn ScahillWhen my parents told me they had gotten a cat I was a little surprised — we aren’t cat people. When they told me that the veterinarian had prescribed it anti-depressants I was humored, but also a little pissed off.

You can laugh at my depressed cat, but it outlines a serious problem.

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Our generation is commonly referred to as Generation Y, as we are the progeny of Generation X, but we’re gaining notoriety for becoming Generation Rx.

According to an analysis done by Express Scripts from 2001-2010, Americans are using substantially more prescription drugs now than in 2001. The study concluded that the use of these drugs has risen 22% overall in adults, and currently a little more than a quarter of the adult female population in America is using either anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic or ADHD medication.

Some of the most surprising information I found in the report was that there was 264% increase in the amount of women using ADHD medication, and a 188% increase for men (both aged 20-44). Also, there was a 294% increase in the number of men being prescribed anti-psychotics, and women had a 213% increase in antipsychotic prescriptions for the same age group.

The scariest part about this survey is that it only accounted for the part of the population with prescriptions; illicit use wasn’t factored in and neither were prescription painkillers, which are most prone to abuse along with ADHD medicine.

America is becoming a nation of ridiculously over-medicated people, especially within our younger demographic. While mental and behavioral disorders are serious problems that require treatment, I just don’t believe that this many people truly need these drugs.

It’s hard to place the blame on one person, but you first have to turn to doctors who are prescribing all of these drugs to people who may actually not need them. It also doesn’t help that pharmaceutical companies are pushing their drugs onto doctors, and that both parties benefit from more patients being prescribed medicine.

I do believe that most doctors are only trying to help us, but then again you should never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

Another part of the blame goes on us, the people that pop the pills, either illicitly or with a prescription. Again, it’s impossible to explain why people need more of these drugs; perhaps it has something to do with the pace at which we live our lives, or maybe our reliance on technology. Maybe neither.

People have been getting along okay without Abilify or Xanax for thousands of years. I assume most of our parents did their homework just fine without a prescription for Adderall.

I’m not claiming to know anything about how these illnesses function or how our brains work. I also acknowledge how advanced medical technology is, but I’m still not convinced that anyone knows with 100 percent certainty what all these drugs are doing to our brains, which are the most complex organs in the universe.

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All I know is that you can’t find happiness or solve all your problems by just popping a pill. Life isn’t that simple.