December 9th, 2013
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NOTE TO INSPECTOR:  the commercial and personal identifying info has been reomved on all labels Dozens of prescription medicine bottles in a jumble. This collection of pill bottles is symbolic of the many medications senior adults and chronically ill people take.

I just read that the pharmaceutical industry is researching the development an anti-depressant pill for people who are grieving.


My gut feeling when I first read this story about the availability of a so-called grief pill in The Washington Post was that it seemed rather predatory of the pharmaceutical industry to be focusing its scientific expertise and vast financial resources on people when they are at the most vulnerable and sometimes lowest points in their lives.

I vividly remember the competing emotions I felt after my husband died.  Raw pain and numbness.  Exhaustion and adrenaline.  On top of all that, I was taking care of my young son, working a full-time job and all I wanted was someone to tell me was how long all of this was going to last. Unfortunately, no one could tell me  the length of time it would take for me to process my grief.  I now understand that figuring out how to live without a loved one is really and truly different for each person.

Yes I enthusiastically support the marketplace being open to offering the largest array of medical options possible, including pills,  to alleviate the physical and mental pain of whatever disease or condition people are experiencing.

However, it is as though the pharmaceutical industry is saying that something is definitely wrong with you when you are grieving; that grief is similar to having high levels of cholesterol; that grief is a condition or a disease that needs to be treated with chemicals when that is usually not be the case at all.

Grief is a normal and natural reaction to the loss of someone you loved and cared about and unfortunately, it’s extremely painful.  Pills are not the first solution that comes to mind because whenever you read or talk to a doctor about how bad you feel when you are grieving, they usually advise you to be very careful where drugs and alcohol are concerned because either substance by themselves or taken together can easily become part of an unhealthy coping system.

When you take all of those factors into consideration, I have to conclude that the government’s approval of industry efforts to research, manufacture and distribute such a grief pill is a difficult call.

I did not take any pills while grieving for my husband but I honestly can say that I did think about how it would have been fantastic to be able to take a pill that would block all of the pain I was constantly feeling.  My desire was very strong to make the pain stop.  And the idea that there might be a pill that would take the edge off of my pain would have made life a helluv a lot easier to live.

But I also know that at that point in my life I could very easily have become dependent on any pill that would have made me feel so good.  Somewhere inside me I knew that the last thing that I needed was to be doped up when I had so much responsibility.  I never went to my doctor and asked for a pain or anxiety prescription because I knew that eventually I was going to have to feel the raw sadness of my loss and find a way to get on the other side of it.

There are cases when people do need medical help with their grieving process and I know that this needs to be taken into consideration but I think medicine already exists to take care of it.

How do you feel about this issue?

Make up your own mind by reading this link to The Washington Post story:

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