Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger, A Note on His Death

The death of Heath Ledger is a tragic story and one that is not limited to the world of celebrity. As the story continues to unfold, and as of this writing the trend is towards accidental death by sleeping pills, I think it is time to RANT about medications.

Back in 2005, I hosted a weekly talk show called Through the Mind, Discovering Mental Health. One of the primary subjects of the show was the increasingly unnecessary use of medications in society for both mental health and health in general.

I saw it as my mission to help educate consumers about the true effects of medication so they didn't just take a adman's pitch for the latest over the counter drug.

It seems so easy these days to solve all problems with a pill. From headaches to erectile disfunction, from attention deficit to sleep disorder, pills are available to solve all our life's problems.

But is that the right way to confront what bothers us? Many times, the basic problems going on in our lives are easily solved by simply asking the right question.

In the case of Heath Ledger, it is becoming more obvious that he had problems for weeks. Something was causing him anxiety and sleepless nights. Could not this have been solved by some other means than sleeping pills?

Of course. But in today's society, we tend to take the easy route, so sleeping pills it is. And not just the basic run of the mill sleeping pills, but the full on high-potency pills that warn you to have at least eight hours of available sleep time, cuz, buddy, once you're out... you're OUT!

And so, Heath, who had trouble sleeping before, finds that one pill ain't working... how about two... more? And the rest, as they say... is history and the stuff of tabloid legend.

But, in reality, if we continue on this path of taking a stronger and stronger pill to solve the most basic problems of being human, we are doomed to the same fate as this terribly young and talented star.

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