It is strongly proven that anti-depressant drugs are being overperscribed. This is true because many of the people, who are taking the drugs are doing so only to cure everyday unhappiness. Many Americans are walking around in an overmedicated haze induced by anti-depressants or other means. These people do not want to feel any sadness; however, by trying to eliminate their discontent, they are sabotaging many opportunities to create true fulfillment.
Artificial happiness is the practice of using shortcuts to deal with life’s problems instead of addressing and creating long term solutions to these situations. People who enjoy artificial happiness feel happy even when life is miserable. This makes these people lose the motivation to change the situations in life which were giving them the unhappiness. As Ronald W. Dworkin M.D., PhD. and author of Artificial Happiness, states: “Sometimes people need a critical mass of unhappiness to push them out of a bad life situation, giving them another chance at happiness” (Dworkin 2). People who are artificially happy lose this impulse to change. Many Americans are trying too hard to cure their unhappiness through artificial means such as anti-depressants; these people need to find more genuine ways of creating long lasting happiness.
Some people may believe these shortcuts are a harmless way of creating joy in an otherwise unhappy life. The research, however, proves these shortcuts are more harmful then people may realize.
Anti-depressants and other medications are one of the main things people use to cure their unhappiness. These drugs are not a magic cure-all and come with many risks. These risks may be tolerable if the person is suffering from very severe depression; however, these drugs are becoming more and more common to be prescribed to ordinary, unhappy people. This is being shown by the way doctors and drug companies describe depression. Many terms that doctors and antidepressant companies use to describe depression can also refer to most everyday unhappiness. An example of this is that on a website for Zoloft, a leading anti-depressant, the main criteria for a diagnosis of depression is described as “a lasting sad mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in most activities”. Other symptoms of depression include “being worried and irritable all the time” (“Depression”). This article also states that “these symptoms should last for at least two weeks and should be serious enough to cause worry and to get in the way of a person’s work, social, or daily life” (“Depression”).
As many people should be able to tell, these terms can describe a person that is not severely depressed, merely unhappy. An example of this is that if someone disliked their job, their unhappiness will create a sad mood and most likely would make them irritable. It especially would get in the way of their work life. If they were stuck in the job for an extended period of time, they would defiantly be unhappy for two weeks or more.
Enough criteria for depression would be met for this person to receive anti-depressants when all the person would need to do is change jobs!
There are many genuine ways to find happiness without relying on methods such as anti-depressants and alternative medicine. These methods are not shortcuts, and can bring about lasting fulfillment. One of such ways we can create long- lasting happiness is to change our beliefs about what makes us happy. People oftentimes make incorrect judgments about what can bring them true fulfillment. Says Daniel Nettle, author of Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile: “People make quite inaccurate judgments about the effects of goal attainment on their happiness” (Nettle 151). “They overestimate the positive effect of desired things and underestimate their ability to adjust to undesired things” (Nettle 170). What this means is that people make many choices, such as putting in long hours for raises and promotions in their careers that probably bring no pleasure. People would get more enjoyment by trading things such as money and material goods for time with people and hobbies. Most people do not do this, which is one of the reasons many people are so unhappy.
People also can become happier by doing more things that they truly enjoy. Pleasant Activity Training is one example of the many ways people can try to obtain genuine happiness. Sometimes people need training to make them do things that they actually enjoy. Pleasant Activity Training says Nettle, “consists of determining which activities are pleasant and doing them more often” (Nettle 151). For most people, this includes things such as seeing friends, cultural activities, sports, hobbies, and visiting new places
Even though there are many genuine routes to happiness, many people fall into traps and attempt to shortcut their way to happiness. These shortcuts do not end up
solving their problems and may end up having long-term consequences. Everybody wants to be happy, but nobody wants to go through the work to attain lasting happiness. The reason for this is that it takes a lot of effort to change the things in people’s lives that are causing them problems. There are no overnight solutions. People first have to figure out what is not working in their lives, than they have to figure out how to change that situation. Another thing they have to do is change their beliefs about themselves and their lives. They need to become more like an optimist then a pessimist. If they do not appreciate the positive aspects of their currant situations, how will they ever appreciate the positive things in a happier situation? These solutions and many others are possible to bring out the quality of life these people deserve. Even though obtaining true happiness sounds like hard work, do people really want to settle for a mediocre quality of life brought on by a pill capsule?