I have noticed so much advertising on television recently promoting drugs for depression. Often the drugs are pushed for just about anything approaching depression, anxiety, nervousness and all feelings related in some way. I find this very scary.

For many people and in particular those of us who grew up in difficult or dysfunctional places, the result has led to less-than-perfect balance in terms of emotions. I recall, after attending so many funerals, that by the time I was a teenager I had developed this fear or anxiety about death. It seemed so strange to me that we were born only to be visiting this life for a short time, as death would always be a reality. I felt vulnerable, fragile and uneasy about life around me in my remote First Nation. Life was fast and furious and I just never knew what to expect.

In my early teen years I found alcohol and then experimented a little with drugs. Suddenly, anything that had to do with some balance or normality went right out the window. My life turned into a haze and I felt half alive. I am so grateful that a cousin returned to the community and brought back the Alcoholics Anonymous program with him. Myself and many others benefited by being educated at the very least about how addictions work and the various ways it was possible to deal with these problems and have a life in recovery and sobriety.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not found this road to sobriety that I would have ended up having a difficult life with addictions and I probably also would have ended up on some kind of antidepressant. Rather, I was lucky to find direction, education and support from people so that I could deal with my addiction problems, depression, anxiety and imbalance. I also understand that for some these types of antidepressant medications are in fact a necessity so that a person can lead a better and more positive life. However, big companies that want huge profits have very much promoted these drugs to millions of people and many who might not need them.

Although these drugs were first put on the market in the 1970s it was not until the 1980s when some giant U.S. companies began producing them that all of a sudden they were being promoted and prescribed for just about anything that ails a person. It became obvious that these antidepressants had some very serious side effects that included nausea, sexual dysfunction, insomnia and gastrointestinal bleeding. Researchers began to realize that side affects also included violent, irrational behaviour, homicidal and suicidal tendencies. You would think that would be enough to make medical professionals very concerned about prescribing them but the fact is that sales of these drugs are bigger than ever and the advertising and promotional campaigns are enormous.

There are some who point out that part of the problem is the cozy relationship that has developed between the huge pharmaceutical manufacturers and much of the medical professional community. Governments are also guilty of not putting in place decent mechanisms to regulate the industry. Sadly, these huge companies are very much creating the demand for their drugs at this point more than meeting realistic needs. The market for anti-psychotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs makes up billions of dollars in sales. There is evidence that they are doing more harm than good. The internet is a wonderful resource and you can go to alternative media like alternet.org or globalresearch.ca, where you can search for quality stories on this topic.

Many disenfranchised, lower income, dysfunctional people are being turned into zombies in too many cases so that huge companies can make a killing. It is imperative that we educate ourselves about these types of drugs and that we do not jump at the opportunity to receive a prescription for them. Take care of your mind or someone else will do it for you.