“happy pills”

Whenever I hear medication referred to as “happy pills,” I cringe.  I take Prozac, Effexor, and Risperdal every single day, and let me tell you, they are not happy pills.  They don’t incite any kind of happiness or euphoria in me– in fact, the kinds of drugs that do that are generally illegal stimulants (heroin, cocaine, MDMA).  When people refer to mental health meds as “happy pills,” they are inferring that I get my happiness from a drug, which is point-blank untrue.

My medication essentially brings me to a “zero level” so that I can interact with the daily life in the same way as everyone else.  I still have good days and bad days, and I am influenced by events, experiences, and emotions.  These meds are in no way a blanket stimulant.

Now, I know that most people who use the term “happy pills” are generally not trying to cause a riot, but I believe that society needs to be more careful with its words.  Terms like this cast a negative stigma on taking meds and sometimes prevent people from pursuing psychiatric help, people who could really benefit from it.

I know there are a lot of opinions on medication.  It was a five-year tumultuous experience for me to get on the right cocktail of meds (including horrible side effects [Luvox, Clomipramine], mind vomit [Paxil], and a near-death allergic reaction [Propranolol]), but I believe it was worthwhile.  So while I appreciate the vibrant debate over the value of medication, I wish that we could all agree to not degrade meds by calling them “happy pills.”

meds are not happy pills

9 thoughts on ““happy pills”

  1. I could not agree more. In fact, it is this public perception of psychiatric medication that kept me from going back on them (and I really suffered needlessly in the meantime). I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t care what other people think anymore. It’s my life and the only one I’m accountable to is God. I’m very, very grateful for my medication. Along with CBT/ERP, it gave me my life back. Hard to complain about that!

  2. Jacks, you say it really well. Bringing you to zero is the right way to put it. Thanks for being a good ambassador about this stuff. People sure can be all judgmental and wrong about it.

  3. Amen! You described what medication does for you so well. I am grateful that my meds bring me to that “zero level” so I can live life like those without OCD/depression/anxiety. Thanks for writing this.

  4. Pingback: Stigma, Part Two: I Don’t CHOOSE to be Unhappy. | Lights All Around

  5. Hi Jackie so glad I found out about your blog I’m wondering, exactly what you mean by “Paxil being mind vomit” thank you

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