To the editor: David Lazarus’ column on his battle to beat dependence on antidepressants is courageous, insightful and very human. It puts a face on addiction to prescription drugs.
Drawing readers into his struggle with diabetes and dependency on the medication used to treat related chronic insomnia helps lift the stigma of addiction, drug dependency and other behavioral disorders.
Lazarus is a successful and well respected professional who took a risk on the public stage, exposing very private details of his life. At the same time, he explained to us the magnitude of the problem he shares with many other people — the rich and poor, young and old, executives and high school students, and everyone in between.
A spotlight like this on prescription drug dependency and the issues that surround it are crucial to promoting the awareness that those who suffer are certainly not alone.
Rhonda Medows, M.D., Renton, Wash.
The writer is president of population health management at Providence St. Joseph Health.
To the editor: What most people fail to understand is that some mental illness is the result of malfunctioning aspects of the brain, and to talk about weaning people off a helpful medication is like talking about weaning heart patients off their statins or weaning diabetics off insulin.
Regardless of what the causes may be, depression is real, and the use of medications that relieve suffering and allow people to lead happier and more productive lives should not be attacked as some kind of special dependency that is indicative of a moral failing.
Bruce Stenman, Prunedale, Calif.