reesetee makes an excellent point. Clinical depression is a well-defined disease, and there are undoubtedly people who benefit from taking Paxil for that condition. Where things become problematic, I think, is when companies try to expand their market by defining "disorders" of a more nebulous kind (e.g. "shyness" as a disorder, rather than just a personality trait).
I think it really depends on who's taking the drug and why. I've heard of people who not only do wonderfully on it, but swear by it--and that's probably true of many of the newer antidepressants.
The author of this article clearly didn't "need" to take such a drug; he simply wanted to see what it would do for him--whereas many people who use antidepressants are taking them for a diagnosed disease (such as clinical depression).
Hmmm. This article just feeds in to my preexisting conviction that, where brain chemistry is concerned, an unmedicated life is preferable, as much as possible. I attribute this to growing up with a mother who was a doctor (basically, to get even the remotest sympathy or attention, we kids had to be either near death, or have visible lesions). The odd thing is that this conviction has remained, despite 25 years working in the pharmaceutical industry. Go figure.
But "social anxiety disorder" always had that aura of being a "disease" that had its origins more in the cupidity of big pharma than as any reflection of objective reality.
And those withdrawal symptoms certainly didn't sound like a picnic either.
Seen here. "More alarmingly, the dreaded "zaps" have arrived. I'd read about these on the Paxil Database, a site for self-proclaimed Paxil victims, but I thought they were made up—there are so many hypochondriacs on the Web." (Seth Stevenson, "Extroverted Like Me," Slate, June 18, 2006)