The most common class of medications used for treating patients with severe pain are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs work by blocking the effects of serotonin, which is released from nerve cells when they receive a signal. When this happens, it causes feelings of happiness or sadness. If these chemicals are blocked too much, then the patient experiences depression and other symptoms.
SSRIs have been around since the 1960’s. They were originally developed to treat depression, but they have proven effective in many other conditions as well.
There are two main classes of antidepressants: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Each one works differently for different types of illnesses. Some are better than others at treating certain kinds of problems, so each drug has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A few years ago, some doctors began prescribing SSRIs to treat anxiety disorders such as panic attacks. Since these drugs block the effects of serotonin, they can cause mood swings and even suicidal thoughts in some patients. But there was another problem: These drugs had side effects that could make them less effective against specific diseases. For example, if a person already has high blood pressure or diabetes, then taking an SSRI would actually increase those conditions rather than decrease them.
What are some common side effects of SSRIs?
Headaches and nausea;
Insomnia (inability to sleep);
Decreased sexual desire;
Anxiety and restlessness;
Agitation, confusion, and hallucinations; and
Diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
The first thing you notice is that each one looks exactly the same as all the others. You can’t tell them apart just by looking at them. The second thing you notice is that all the pills are marked with a number from 1 to 5. You have no idea why they are numbered, but you remember that your doctor told you to buy the pills in order from lowest to highest number.
After you go through the trouble of sorting through the pile, you realize all of them are different colors, making it even more difficult to tell them apart. Annoyed by this inconvenience, you realize that you’ll just have to take all of them back to the pharmacy and try again.
The man behind the counter is very helpful and apologizes about the whole situation. He explains that some new company has been sending them counterfeit medication and he had to make sure you weren’t trying to pull a fast one on them. He goes on to say that the manufacturer of these drugs is constantly changing, which makes it very difficult to verify their legitimacy.
The clerk gets you a new, legitimate supply of the drugs you need and you’re on your way. You take them as you have been before and hope that they will help to control your condition.
Later on in the week, you remember that you have a doctors appointment and call to make an appointment. Your doctor has been keeping a close watch on you due to your illness, so you know you’ll be in soon.
While you’re waiting, you notice two new patients sitting in the waiting room. You overhear one of them complaining about not being able to get his prescription filled.
“They say the drug I’m taking is a controlled substance and that they can’t fill it anymore,” he tells the other. “I don’t know what I’m going to do; my insurance doesn’t kick in for another month.”
You think back to what happened at the pharmacy last week and realize that you’re going to have the same problem when you go to pick up your new supply of medicine.
What are you going to do if they can’t fill your prescription?
“If there’s nothing we can do for you, then you’ll have to go somewhere else,” the woman at the front desk tells you.
You think about all of this as you watch the two men arguing with the receptionist. She is telling them that they need to find another pharmacy to fill their prescriptions and they aren’t having any of it. You can’t hear exactly what they are saying, but you can guess.
After a few minutes of arguing, one of them approaches you.
Do you think you could talk to her for us?”
he asks. “We’ve both been coming here for years and we don’t want to have to find another pharmacy.”
You consider this, then realize it shouldn’t matter what you think. They’re the ones without insurance and can’t get their medication filled. You have insurance and are just having trouble picking up your own medication. It isn’t really any of your concern.
Still, there might be a way that you can help these men out and still pick up your medication…
“I’ll talk to her,” you tell the man. “But I don’t think it will do any good.”
You approach the woman at the front desk and ask her about your situation. She tells you that she is sorry, but due to the circumstances she can’t do anything for you.
“I can try calling your insurance company,” she offers. “Maybe they will send you a new prescription if I tell them your other one was lost.”
“It’s no use,” you say, defeated. “They’ll just say it is non-refillable.”
You turn to go back to your seat and see the two men walking away.
You’re about to call out to them when you realize they have left the building.
Did they really have an appointment they had to get to or were they just angry enough to leave?
You’ll never know.
“I’m really sorry about this,” the woman at the desk says. “If you come back in an hour or so, I’m sure we’ll have your medication for you.”
You thank her and head to the waiting room to wait out the hour. You hope she’s right, because you can’t afford to lose any more time…
Eventually, it’s time to pick up your prescription. The woman hands it to you and smiles apologetically.
“We really are sorry about this,” she says. “Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again.”
You smile and thank her, then head out the door. Now all you have to do is get back home.
You arrive at the bus stop just as your bus is pulling up. That’s the thing about public transportation; it’s almost impossible to know exactly when it will arrive.
You get on the bus and manage to find a seat. You’re feeling much better now, but you’re still sweating and you have dark circles under your eyes. You look as bad as you feel.
There’s not a lot of traffic this morning so it doesn’t take long to get to your stop. You get off and walk the few blocks to your apartment building.
When you get inside, you head straight for your bedroom and collapse on the bed.
You drift in and out of sleep for the next few hours. You try to watch TV, but you keep losing concentration. You try to listen to music, but the lyrics escape you. Finally, exhausted, you fall into a deep sleep…
You are driving down a long, dark road when headlights appear behind you. You step on the gas, but the car just goes slower. You look in the rear view mirror and see that the headlights belong to a black van. There are no windows on the side, just two holes at the front for the lights to shine out of.
You look around frantically for somewhere to go, but there is no one on the road. You can’t outrun the van and you can’t hide. You look at the clock on the dashboard. It’s 2:07 AM.
Suddenly, the tires on the car pop and it slowly starts to veer to the right. You struggle with the wheel, but it’s no use. You are going off the side of the road and there is nothing you can do…
You slam into a tree and everything goes black…
You wake up in a cold sweat. That dream again! This is the third time this week. You’ve been having this dream ever since you saw that movie with your friends a few days ago.
It was about a van driving around the country, randomly picking people to kill. You think it was called “The Vanishing”. The ending was really creepy too. It just showed the black van driving down the road with ‘THX™’ written on the side.
You never knew a movie could affect you like this. You are pretty sure that it isn’t actually “out there”. It’s just a movie after all. Still, whenever you find yourself alone in the car now, you find yourself glancing in the rear view mirror.
And when you’re home alone, you make sure to watch some TV so you aren’t hearing any creepy sounds.
You’ve been having nightmares ever since then. In fact, that’s the reason you asked your friends to go see it in the first place. They were having nightmares too. At least that’s what they said when they asked if you wanted to see it with them.
You had to look away from the screen a couple times during the movie, the scenes were so scary! The funny thing about it is that you can’t really remember much about it now. You remember people being killed, but you can’t remember how. The scary scenes just seem to have vanished from your memory.
Just like the people in the movie…
You get up and look out the window again. It’s almost dark outside. Your dad is still not home and you’re getting anxious. This is strange since he’s only a little late.
You can’t decide if you should wait up for him or go to bed and hope everything is OK in the morning.
You’ve been getting more anxious lately. It always seems like something is about to happen, but never quite does. Like that movie you saw. You keep having these dreams and daydreams about scary things happening, but when you actually witness something bad it never seems to live up to the ones in your head.
If only one of those dreams would just come true…
You could go to the police, but you don’t have much evidence. It’s not like they’ll take your dreams as proof that some sort of creepy killer van is out to get you. Not to mention the fact that you’d have to explain why you broke into a place and stole stuff from a store.
Your parents won’t be back for a few days, so if something bad did happen to them, you’d be stuck here all alone.
You really wish you hadn’t watched that movie…
You can’t sleep, so you turn on the TV to see if anything good is on. Nothing but static greets you. The TV suddenly turns itself off and then immediately back on again.
You get up to change the channel when you notice that the screen is changing by itself.
Images of a guy and girl you don’t recognize appear on the screen.
It’s a man and a woman. They must be newscasters.
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