It's OK, My Doctor Prescribed It: 5 Drugs That Used To Be Legal

With one in 10 Americans now taking an antidepressant, there’s never been a more crucial time to stop and reevaluate our stance on psychopharmaceutical drugs. A number of studies have confirmed the equal, if not superior, effects of a healthy lifestyle to antidepressants. And yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million Americans wake up each morning and pop a pill.

Now, none of this is to say that prescription medication isn’t necessary – or effective – for a large number of people. But, if a meta-analytical review of nearly 40 research studies is any indication (and these type of things usually are!), then a significant portion of patients could benefit just as much from exercise as they would from “more traditional interventions.”

Which brings us to the top five reasons why you should seriously weigh your options before committing to a psychopharmaceutical regimen. Now, this isn’t your typical list of arguments, but rather a look back on some pretty dangerous medical faux pas. I mean, hey! Not even 60 years ago, methamphetamine was prescribed to treat depression! Who’s to say we’re above making the same mistakes today?

So here’s a look at five big reasons why it might be best to err on the side of prescription-pill caution:

1. Methamphetamine

Legally manufactured in the 1950’s under the name, “Methadrine,” meth quickly gained popularity as a cure-all pill – used to treat everything from decongestion to depression.

2. Cocaine

Also a popular depression treatment back in the day, cocaine enjoyed a good 29 years in the limelight before being outlawed. (It’s worth noting that Prozac has been around for less than that time…)

3. Ecstasy

Heralded by biochemist Alexander Shulgin as the next great therapeutic medicine, ecstasy did more than help patients let down their guard and connect with their therapist. In 1984, the drug was classified as illegal.

4. LSD

The first hope for LSD was that “it could be used as a powerful psychiatric drug.” But, like the other cures on this list, LSD didn’t get quite pan out. The drug was banned in 1987.

5. Heroin

Originally synthesized to replace morphine, heroin started out as the go-to drug of choice for a wide variety of ailments, ranging from coughs and colds to alcoholism. The Dangerous Drug Act of 1920 made over-the-counter purchase of heroin illegal, but the damage was already done. Today, approximately 2.4 million Americans will try heroin at some point in their lives.

So there you have it: five reminders from our (not-so-distant!) past that health and wellness aren’t always found at the bottom of a prescription pill bottle! But remember that while it’s important to stay informed, it’s equally important to recognize the varying effectiveness of different treatment plans for different patients. Learn the facts, and then make the best decisions you can for your health – but don’t forget to support those around you, regardless of their approach!

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