One out of four women in their 40s and 50s takes anti-depressants. This means if you are a woman reading this, you could be reading about yourself as well as quite a few of your female coworkers, your children’s teachers, etc. The New York Times reported on this topic after the study was published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics almost three years ago. There is no reason to believe that this statistic has improved. Because research has shown that men are more inclined to turn to alcohol to manage depressing stress, their percentages are a mere one out of ten. Still, that’s a lot of psychotropic medication within the corporate world.
So what are the implications for managers “on drugs”? The radical angle I present is related to a little known fact about the paradoxical effects of anti-depressants. As a licensed clinical psychologist (internship at Duke Medical Center), I also wish to speak to a better way to reclaim your smile and joy without the use of psychotropic medication.
Few people realize that while anti-depressants can numb the edge off of despair, they also numb one’s capacity to experience joy. Ever thought about what that does to one’s authenticity as a leader? It’s nearly impossible to exude the same level of inspirational, motivational leadership while taking psychotropics. Something “flat” within the personality seems to find its way into conversations and discussions. People sense when one is not 100%, and this interferes with eliciting their full trust.