For a long time, France squatted on the podium of the most antidepressant consuming countries. If she has since lost her title, it is not so much because she has reduced the dose, but rather because her neighbours have increased theirs. In the first place, our Icelandic friends, who swallow twice as much as we do.
Thus, the French exception has become a global phenomenon. So is our culture doped with pills?
Rap, R&B and Ritaline
Finding inspiration, calming the anxieties of celebrity, seducing gold diggers, playing tortured poets… We know it: music has always been mixed with substances. After all, would Kurt Cobain’s work have been the same without heroin? Would techno hit so much without ecstasy?
Currently, the trend is more towards pills, from rap to good old-fashioned teen pop. Cocaine is replaced by Adderall and Ritalin, used in the treatment of hyperactivity. Marina & The Diamonds tells us about sleeping pills, while Future claims his love for oxycodone. We even witness the appearance of a new genre — the “Soundcloud rap”, carried by artists like the late Lil Peep — which enjoins us to nihilism… and to dig the hole of the Social Security. Conclusion: the pills won MTV.
Wear your heart on your sleeve
Some personality disorders are accompanied by a pronounced propensity to compulsive buying. To a lesser extent, who has never given in to the sirens of therapeutic shopping? Unquestionably, fashion can play an antidepressant role. It’s a whole different story when it draws inspiration from it…
In 2016, Pyer Moss was parading models decorated with “Prozac” pins, waving “My demons won today” signs. A year later, Moschino dedicated a whole collection to tablets, blouses trading their peas for capsules. Without forgetting brands like Enfants Riches et Déprimés, designed around rebellion and the spleen of youth. Provocation, artistic bias, militancy or lobbying of the pharmaceutical industry, doesn’t matter: depression is now on our clothes.
A changing perception
The small screen is not left out. In series like Nurse Jackie or Doctor House, our heroes swallow pills as they breathe. This liberating wave, which recounts its troubles and its consumption (medical or recreational), finds echo in society. Speech is becoming increasingly free, initiatives such as the Semicolon Project are multiplying. Many personalities express themselves on their experience; the taboo around these themes fades. Depression and Pfizer have become mainstream. In France alone, 117 million boxes of benzodiazepines are sold each year. It was finally time to own it, wasn’t it? So, like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, let’s relax with a banana-kiwi-Xanax smoothie. •
The use of drugs for recreational purposes or without medical advice can be dangerous. For any help, please do not hesitate to contact your doctor or support groups near you.