Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Antidepressants and Predators

This article is about antidepressants contaminating wastewater in ways that harm fish.  The fish become less able to avoid predators.  Obviously water should be cleaned thoroughly before it is released into the wild; if it has drugs in it, then it's not clean and needs more scrubbing.

But what really snagged my attention is the effect itself.  It made me wonder if antidepressants would also suppress humans' ability to avoid predators or other dangers.  Depression and anxiety are two of the mental illnesses most prone to develop from extreme stress -- like say, being surrounded by a predatory society.  Turning off the alarms in the brain that say "Danger! Predators!" would relieve the stress.  But then people can't defend themselves as effectively.  

There is a high correlation between disability and victimization.  I had thought it was because many physical and mental disabilities impair people's ability to defend themselves.  A depressed person tends to be less alert, after all.  But what if the medications FOR the depression are separately suppressing important survival instincts?  The drug that makes you feel better could increase your risk of rape, robbery, etc.  Really not a good thing.
Tags: environment, nature, news, safety, science, wildlife
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