According to Medco Health Solutions Inc., more than 25 percent of women took at least one drug to treat psychiatric conditions in 2010, most prominently for depression and anxiety. The use of drugs to treat psychiatric and behavioral disorders has risen by 22 percent since 2001, and today roughly 20 percent of all Americans hold such prescriptions. In the 20-44 age bracket, the use of ADHD antipsychotic drugs and treatments has more than tripled, and the use of anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and Valium has risen by 30 percent. The most common users of antipsychotic drugs today are women aged 45 or older.
The statistics go on and on, though they share a common trend: a dramatic increase in consumption in all age and sex brackets. Are we becoming crazier, are diagonses becoming more succinct, or are drugs simply becoming more accessible? Keep reading »
It didn’t take long for me to figure out something about Nick* was different. Everything about him was outsized, super-charming and a bit impulsive. For our second date, he seriously considered whisking me away to Atlantic City for the weekend to go gambling. After only two weeks of dating, he told me he thought I was “the one.” He chatted a mile a minute, exhausting one topic and moving right on to the next without missing a beat. On our earliest dates, I literally felt as though I was his audience — though I didn’t exactly mind, because he was charismatic and bright and his life story fascinated me. I’m not the life of the party at all, so to be with someone who is the life of the party was extremely fun. When he finally told me after several dates that he had bipolar disorder and ADD, I nearly smacked myself in the forehead. Of course he does! I realized. He’s textbook!
My older brother Eliot* also has bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). Eliot’s behavior when he has not been taking his medication is almost exactly like Nick’s. He’s just as impulsive, if not more so; a few Christmases ago, he tried to persuade me to ditch our family and drive to Foxwoods to go gambling. Eliot is also very charming, charismatic, bright and the dictionary definition of “the life of the party.” Our personalities are so different that our friends can hardly believe he and I are related.
So when Nick mentioned that he is not taking medication for his bipolar and ADD, I nearly smacked myself in the forehead a second time. Of course, of course, I thought. And then: F**k. Keep reading »
Happy birthday, Sarah Haskins! We hope you got some nice presents to cheer you up, because now that you’re the big 3-0, it’s time to start fretting about incontinence, arthritis and other ailments that affect women of a certain age. Luckily Big Pharma’s got plenty of medications for an old lady like yourself. Did you really
just tape that whole “Target: Women” segment for Current TV without falling asleep? Keep reading »
Last week was rough on my poor nose. After excessive bleeding (ewwwwww) my sadistic doctor thought the best way to help me out and become my BFF was to shove lots of random things up my nasal passage. Don’t worry, it’s not you, this tale does sound like a bad prison porno. Well, my doc wasn’t going about winning my lifelong friendship until he pulled out the prescription pad and said “I am writing you a prescription for painkillers.” My eyes brightened considerably. Not that I am a huge drug addict, but with a nose shoved full of who knows what getting larger by the second, and a temper tantrum increasing by the second, painkillers seemed like a brilliant idea. In his defense, he did warn me that I should only take Vicodin once I was in bed. Did I listen…oh no. Keep reading »
Last week I wrote a blog post about the 10 Ways To Survive The First Week Of Heartbreak. Just to be clear, these tips referenced the things that helped me personally during that rough week and certainly should not be taken as gospel for every single person reading The Frisky. I mean, that would be kind of unfair to those of you who are not within driving distance of an amusement park that throws a Gay Night party every year! Jokes aside, I also did not intend to imply that “popping pills” was something everyone should run out and do. In the interest of full-disclosure, I’ve been on anti-d’s (as we call ‘em) for the last year and a half (for a variety of reasons, in conjunction with talk therapy), so I didn’t just start taking them because my lame-o fiance dumped me. That said, I do know that being on them helped me get through that first week (and continue to help me get through the second and third).
The comments and emails we received that were concerned I was too flippantly recommending that the heartbroken should pop pills (truthfully, just a shout out to Jacqueline Susann!) made me think we should address the issue in depth. So, after the jump, two women in their 20′s who have taken psychiatric medication and can report on their positive and negative experiences. Keep reading »
We’ve all taken risks — tried things and people we weren’t sure of and chalked it up to experimentation. It’s all part of being a liberated woman. But sadly we’re are missing out on some of the most important testing that is actually guaranteed to give us what we need: clinical trials. Research has shown that gender can truly affect a medication’s ability to work on such widespread health issues as depression and lung cancer. Despite the growing need for a pool of available and even in some cases, healthy women, a mere 9% of test subjects are female. So, many drugs are being prescribed without ever being tested on a lady. To alleviate this dilemma, the rules for clinical tests changed in 1993 to always include women who still intended to bear children. However, a decade and a half later, not much more has changed. Scientists blame everything from lack of time to lack of awareness; 93% of women surveyed said they had never even been asked to participate in a clinical trial. Keep reading »