book hack

Prozac Nation

Elizabeth Wurtzel

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

Elizabeth Wurtzel's unflinching, honest account of being young and living with bipolar disorder in the 1990s details her experience with Prozac and numerous other drugs, identifying depression as an epidemic among Generation X.

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Prozac Nation

Prozac Nation

by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Overview

By 1994, Prozac was the second-most prescribed drug in America. The increased use of SSRI medication like Prozac had become not only a national conversation, but often a joke about overzealous doctors and self-obsessed youth.

Elizabeth Wurtzel was a writer and journalist who seemed to have everything – a Harvard education and a successful career – yet was depressed from a young age. In this 1994 memoir, Wurtzel describes being prescribed Prozac after years of fighting for recognition of her mental illness, and how it affected her life. Until her death from breast cancer in 2020, Wurtzel saw her once 'unfashionable' illness become increasingly widespread, and even normalized in mainstream culture.

Favorite quote

In the case of my own depression, I have gone from a thorough certainty that its origins are in bad biology to a more flexible belief that after an accumulation of life events made my head such an ugly thing to be stuck in, my brain's chemicals started to agree.

- Elizabeth Wurtzel

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