No Taming This Shrew


Running for the shelter...

My chiquita TC brought this to my attention: Post reported yesterday that "'The number one medication in college is antidepressants,' said Richard Kadison of Harvard University, whose book about the growing mental health crisis at colleges was published last year. 'It's surpassed birth control pills.'"

WHAT!!!?? I knew this was the statistic nationwide (there are more people on antidepressants than on allergy meds), but in COLLEGE? 18-21?!?!?

This is the article's conclusion about such meds: "But psychiatric drugs such as Prozac that popped up in the 1980s and '90s have changed the culture of campus life; they've made it possible for many teenagers who wouldn't have made it to college in the past to get in."

Here's my interest: I myself have often considered getting on antidepressants to "even myself out," but have chosen the therapist route instead (I loooooove talking about myself as you poor souls know all too well). But my students are very often on meds, and often for reasons that puzzle me.

There is no doubt in my mind that some students are helped by medication -- they cope better. (And of course I'm not talking about kids with chronic depression and bipolar, etc. Good grief.) But at the same time I see all too frequently kids who cannot deal with any kind of stress (especially at an enormous research university like mine) because they have never really had to do so. They've been carefully placed in a box labeled fragile, and they buy into the label. These are the ones who cannot fathom getting a B or who cannot bear the stress of writing a paper or even meeting with me to talk about poetry. There's stress, and then there's flipping out.

So I wonder about these Students' Little Helpers. Life is really hard. If they're bonking out in college, dear god what will they find when (if?) they graduate? Is it really a good thing that some of these kids are going to gi-normous colleges? My own beloved hermano went to a tiny college because he knew he would do better at a small school. Seems sensible, yes? So why dump the jittery dude at a 35,000 person campus?!? I could go on about this, but I have to go tutor other overachieving kids whose parents send them to me on a Sunday. That's a whole other post.

In the meanwhile, my solution is to reverse the ratio of antidepressants to birth control. More protected sex, I say! That'll even you right out...