The Null Device

As more and more Americans (and other westerners, to an extent) spend more and more of their lives on medication, from childhood ritalin to adolescent MDMA to adult Prozac, the question arises of what proportion of personal relationships are mediated by medication: (via Follow Me Here)
But according to Dr. Amy Banks, a psychiatrist at the Stone Center for the Study of Relationships at Wellesley College: ''There are two categories of medicated couples. There are those in which the medication allows the rightful relationship to emerge, and then there are those in which medication serves as a screen to cover up real issues. How can you tell them apart?''
"I saw a woman ... with 7-year-old twins. She came to me because she felt she needed to be less mean in her relationship. But she has 7-year-old twins while her husband gets to kick back, sleep late. She resented the hell out of him. I told her: 'You know what? Drugs won't fix this. I don't want to take away your anger.'" What Banks is saying makes a lot of sense, but there's also something a tad condescending to it. I mean, if the woman doesn't want anger, why impose it on her? Maybe, for her, the best thing is to mellow out. There is something to be said for living a less honest life, the edges softer, peace in place of confrontation.

(This piece reminded me of a scifiesque story idea I once had, about chemical marriage counselling, in which troubled couples are given drugs (acting much like phenylethylamine, the "falling-in-love" neurotransmitter) to make them fall in love all over again. I never figured out, however, whether such a programme would be a roaring success or a catastrophic failure.

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