Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Relaxed Wife, 1957

Better living, through chemistry!

A friend of mine used to work for Hoffman LaRoche, and told me he made his fortune (and one for the company) promoting Valium.  It was apparently quite the drug back in the 1960's and 1970's, although less popular today.   Back in the day, "Mother's little helper" helped her get through her busy day.  My Mother was part of that generation and took Librium, a mild tranquilizer, to get her through the day, until she tried to overdose on it.   Back then, every little problem in life was solved by a pill.

The video above is a promo for Pfizer who was pushing Hydroxyzine under the trade name "Atarax."  I thought the name sounded familiar, when I realized that my allergist (former) had proscribed it for me a few years back, as it is an antihistamine.   So now I can be the relaxed wife, I guess.  Actually, I used the pill only once, when I broke out in hives, and it didn't seem to help much, so I threw it in a drawer in the bathroom.

It is tempting to reach for a pill to solve life's problems - or a joint or a drink or whatever.   Why be nervous and anxious when a simple medication can make everything right as rain?   That is the interesting question.  And for people with severe anxiety disorders and other mental health problems, such pills can be a lifeline.

But what about the rest of us?   It is a mixed bag.   I noted before that the problem with alcohol is that it relieves anxiety (for a while) but at the same time ratchets up anxiety when you not under its influence.   Like caffeine, it seems to provide temporary relief - and then helps you build up a tolerance to its effects.

And I think that was the problem with my Mother - she would drink to relax, but the alcohol conditioned her brain to be even more anxious when she was sober.   So she drank more and more and more.  And that is the problem with self-medicating - it can cause more problems than it solves.

Most of us, I think, resist the "solution in a pill" mentality to life.  Like I said, back in the day, you went to a doctor for a "nervous condition" and had pills prescribed.  Everyone did it - it was considered "mod".

Today, these mood enhancers are now more frowned upon.   Pain killers are the new thing!  Can I write you a 'script for Oxycontin?

Maybe that is the point - it is all-too-easy to look for a solution in life in a pill bottle, and these pills can actually make things worse or even kill you, today.

If you don't have a serious medical condition, think long and hard about pills.