Depression makes people more introverted, isolated, less energetic, and withdrawn in the way they express their emotions—the precise opposite of bubbly. Prozac can help to lift that depression, with the result that the patient becomes energetic, extroverted, and more positive.

When it is, in however latent a form, transformations such as those described in Peter Kramer’s provocative book Listening to Prozac can and do take place. Prozac in that case does seem to have the ability to turn whining nitpickers into optimists, to allow longtime depressives to wake up looking forward to the day, and to give previously depressed people the wherewithal to make important changes in their lives. A limited number of psychiatrists have reported seeing major metamorphoses in these patients—more so than with other antidepressants, even though those medications also produced striking changes.

Still, the issue is a fuzzy one, because die evidence is based more on patient perception and physician perspicacity than on anything measurable with standard diagnostic tools. This question has yet to be studied in a scientific way. Up to 10% of patients who undergo transformation with Prozac already had a mild tendency to experience elevated moods. With Prozac, they were finally able to achieve consistently this high level of functioning.


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