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How does this effect Voting?

by ceebs Mon Sep 27th, 2010 at 07:44:45 PM EST

Over the last few years  we saw a huge increase in the prescribing of Antidepressants. The theory is that the downturn has caused a large increase in those effected by depression, and then  a shortage of trained people capable of giving talking based therapies, so GP's chose serotonin inhibitor based antidepressants as an alternative.

Antidepressant use soars as the recession bites | Society | The Observer

Fears the recession is affecting the mental health of the nation appear to be borne out by new figures that show prescriptions of antidepressants are soaring.

Last year in England there were 2.1m more prescriptions of antidepressants than in 2007, leading to concerns that doctors are increasingly supplying the drugs as a "quick fix" without attempting to address the underlying cause of the problems. In total, 36m prescriptions were given out, an increase of 24% over the past five years.

We now have an analysis of the moral and social effects of these drugs printed in New Scientist

Antidepressants make people less likely to harm others - health - 27 September 2010 - New Scientist

Would you push someone in front of a train if that would save five others? Probably not if you're on an antidepressant that raises your serotonin levels. Increased serotonin makes us less willing to hurt or punish other people, even if it's for the "greater good", a study has found.

To test the effect of antidepressants on moral judgements, Molly Crockett and her team at the University of Cambridge presented 24 healthy volunteers with a moral dilemma while they were under the influence of the antidepressant citalopram - a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which increases brain serotonin levels.

The interesting piece in this article is  the following

Antidepressants make people less likely to harm others - health - 27 September 2010 - New Scientist

People with raised levels of serotonin were more likely to accept a stingy offer, rather than punishing the other player's greed by refusing it.

So my question is, With such a large part of the voting public taking these drugs,  could this have a noticeable affect on people s voting habits? With further examination, could it turn out that the Tea Party is actually a medical artifact of doctors prescribing patterns?

I doubt the Tea Party are on anti-depressants.  Their rhetoric and actions don't exhibit a "less likely to hurt others" skein.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Sep 27th, 2010 at 11:55:30 PM EST
I am not sure antidepressants affect a persons political views.

Perhaps there should be double blind tests, with the water supply of randomly selected communities being dosed and other communities with similar political views being left untreated. Over time we could see if the political and social effects are beneficial or harmful.

The problem may be if different drugs have different political effects. Should the aim be to dose left wing communities with miracle Conservativeepam or right wing towns with marvellous Liberalepam?

by Gary J on Tue Sep 28th, 2010 at 08:22:20 AM EST
but of their political behaviour.

Most people don't have strong political views. As a self-selecting sample, we probably tend to underestimate this fact.

Voting, for a lot of people, is likely to be influenced by lots of relatively superficial things -- the price of milk, the latest tax increase, the tone of the articles in the newspaper (rather than their content)... or the voter's mood.

So, on its face, I would suggest that serotonin inhibition, as it would seem to favour a submissive response to a stressful situation, would favour the right.

Mind-altering drug prescription is very high in France (or has been historically) -- is the UK approaching French levels of happy pills yet?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Oct 1st, 2010 at 07:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting observation.
by sgr2 on Fri Oct 1st, 2010 at 08:38:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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