If you struggle dealing with stress, managing your finances, or being a better spouse, is it realistic to think there are drugs to fix your problems? And if your child experiences poor grades, mood state fluctuations, and issues with peers, is it rational to expect to find magic pills that help improve upon these conditions? While our emotional mind wishes we could simply swallow a pill and everything is wonderful again, our rational, logical brain tells us something quite the opposite: Prescription medication doesn’t fix a problem, but learning life skills and effective stress response behaviors will. In fact, not only are psychotropic prescription drugs questionable, at best, when it comes to helping mental and emotional problems, they also carry very serious side effects and long-term risks that cannot be ignored.
Logical vs emotional thinking
You have probably heard by now the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” When it comes to improving our lives, there are countless quick-fix ideas to choose from, including pharmaceutical drugs designed to help alleviate mental problems and illness. On the surface the idea is that there are drugs that we can take to fix our mood state, stress levels, anxiety, and attention deficits, to name a few. The drug companies also minimize any worries you might have pertaining to side- and withdrawal-effects, long-term dependency, or interactions you might experience with any other foods, drugs, or supplements you currently use. The message is clear by the ads we see on TV: You have a problem, and we have an answer in this prescription drug.
Because mental and emotional distress impacts us directly, and often in life-altering ways, we are very prone to falling for the traps of our emotional thinking. In other words, who wouldn’t want to believe that popping a pill a day will eliminate our depression, anxiety, and stress? Because we already want help for these issues, we are vulnerable to messages that seem to promise quick fixes. It is for this reason that pharmaceutical companies spend so much money developing ads on TV that create simple, normal, American scenes, using normal American people — people who are supposedly just like you, and have had their problems fixed by the drug being pitched in the commercial.
Fortunately, our logical brain helps us offset these messages that pry on our emotions, and help center us back to a basic, albeit vitally important message: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When we think logically and use critical thinking, only then can we rely on things like common sense, scientific evidence, and testimonials from unbiased sources. And when we think logically, we know that life problems and issues aren’t solved by drugs, but instead by learning important life skills.
Critical thinking is key!
If you are currently being challenged by something in your life, do your homework and critically examine all potential options designed to help. Talk to your primary care physician about medications available as one potential option, but be sure to ask questions about effectiveness of the drug, potential side-effects, and how long you should use the drug. Also, be sure to talk about other, non-drug options, including professional counseling. Ask questions, listen closely, and try to get second opinions if you have other experts you trust. Also, keep in mind that no drug is going to do the work for you — what this means is that drugs, at best, may temper symptoms temporarily, but they won’t make you happy, improve your marriage, and bring you a higher paying job.
Drug advertisements are not going to go away, in fact, it’s likely that you will see even more of them in the future. Life can be challenging, but life success relies far more heavily on developing crucial life skills, not finding the right drug to mask pain and discomfort. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.