anxiety disorders might be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
One of these chemicals is serotonin, which helps send electrical signals
from one nerve cell to another. When a person suffers from depression or
anxiety disorders, there could be a problem with the serotonin balance
and its effect on cell-to-cell communication.
serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the sender nerve cell. This
process increases the amount of serotonin available to be absorbed by
the receiver cell and can help message transmission return to normal.
Click here to see a Flash animation of how Paxil works in the brain.
Everyone took something.
Eric took a double dose of Prozac®
for unhappiness. He rounded it out with lower doses of BuSpar®, and Xanax®,
when needed, for anxiety and agitation.
Same last name, first name, middle initial—just Prozac,
after crying in Kroger®.
Jennifer (after splitting with Ralph): Zoloft, but she
still imagined Ralph’s ass lofted over
For Lisa, Zyban®, because Doug couldn’t stand smoking.
Emily, Paxil, to calm down.
Paxil, Paxil, Paxil!
M. took Zoloft first, a half-dose. Nausea, dry mouth,
and dizziness forced him into a ball, chest to thighs, his hands clutching
his toes. He quit.
On Dr. King’s advice, he swapped coffee for tea. He ate
small meals through the day and tried again and gutted through and the
side-effects lessened, and stopped, and he started pausing, mornings, as he
swung out of bed, to notice the grain of their hardwood floors.
He whistled in the shower.
“That’s what I want,” Eric said, over pastrami and rye,
and potato soup. “I want to whistle in the shower.”
His therapist dragged his feet, then wrote a script,
upping Eric’s Prozac to 60 mgs.
whistling. But he couldn’t have sex.
undergunned among designer antidepressants.
Zoloft® targeted depression and panic disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD). Paxil—Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Celexa® had
a favorable side-effect profile, Lexapro® isolated a part of the
CELEXATM (citalopram HBr) molecule, known as an isomer.²
Luvox®, belonging to a new chemical series, the 2-aminoethyl oxime
ethers of aralkylketones, and chemically unrelated to other SSRIs and
clomipramine, didn’t have its own website, so he didn’t know what to
think of it. Every other drug on its own home page, nicely designed,
with polished ad copy. He inserted brand names before dot coms.
Zoloft.com. Paxil.com. From there, links to every other drug he’d
heard of and not heard of, and enough terminology to start a further
search, if he wanted.³
M., able to condense
issues to their minimum, not stupidly, but reductively, and without good
citations, had been the first to suggest drugs.
“You could take a
small dose of Zoloft. It cuts the edge. Cheers you up. Or Paxil
calms you down.”
“Yeah,” said Same
last name, first name, middle initial. “Maybe.”
“I took Zoloft in
school,” M. said. “And Paxil when we bought the house.”
Instead of raising libido and the
ability to achieve sexual fulfillment, popular antidepressants commonly
cause a loss of interest in sex and block the ability to achieve sexual
satisfaction. . . . Drug-related problems, which occur in women as
often as in men, may include decreased or lost libido; inability to
achieve an erection or ejaculation; and delayed or blocked orgasm.¹
Jane E. “Personal Health: Antidepressants and Libido.” The New York
Times on the Web. <http://depression.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2Fspecials%2Fwomen%2Fwarchive%2F960515_1126.html
“No,” Eric said. “If I get interested,” he said, “I
“Function,” M. said.
“Yeah,” Eric said, “function.”
“So,” M. said, “get interested.”
“Okay,” said Eric, “but then I can’t, you know.”
“Have an orgasm.”
“Never,” said M.
“Not never,” Eric said, “but not for, like, an hour.”
“Wow,” M. said. “Sign me up.”
“For Prozac,” M. said.
“It’s awful,” Eric said, “exhausting.”
“Yeah,” M. said, “I guess. Lana’s not complaining.”
“What,” M. said.
“Don’t say it,” M. said.
“She gets sore,” Eric said.
“Man,” M. said.
“Yeah,” Eric said.
“Is it impotence,” M. said, “or is that just, you
“I think it’s erectile dysfunction,” Eric said.
“I kinda always figured it was the same with guys
taking Viagra,” M. said. “No payoff.”
“I don’t know,” Eric said.
“Like after prostrate surgery,” M. said. “There’s
“My dad’s friend had it,” M. said. “A real bummer,”
he said. “The guy was a swordsman in his youth.”
“A swordsman,” Eric said.
“It’s what my dad said,” M. said. “Fucked up, huh?”
“What,” Eric said.
“That he used the word swordsman,” M. said.
“Yeah,” Eric said.
“He shows people pictures of his scar,” M. said.
“His scar,” Eric said.
“His friend,” M. said, “where they cut it out.”
“I think just guys,” M. said.
“He thinks it’s funny,” M. said.
“It is kind of funny,” Eric said.
“Yeah,” M. said.
“But not that funny,” Eric said.