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.”