Thursday, March 02, 2006

Side Effects of the Quick Fix Society

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today, Everyman Triathlon, and read his post “Ironman or Iron Fit.” It’s an excellent post on the health benefits of the triathlon lifestyle. Since I’m a psychologist by profession it got me thinking along the mental health lines of our lifestyle. There is a serious problem in our country with the whole “I want it now, I want it cheap and above all, I don’t want to work too hard for it” attitude. At every turn we are inundated with images of beautiful women and ripped men effortlessly accomplishing everything from reforming their bodies to cleaning their toilets; all with a beaming white smile I might add.

I think that as triathletes and/or generally fanatically active people, we understand that no truly worthwhile accomplishment comes easily. Worthwhile achievements take hard work and perseverance. However, with the work you achieve not only the goal but also the benefits accrued along the way; memorable experiences, friendships and rock solid self-confidence. This is stuff that we, as athletes, know but I’d like to do a little compare and contrast on a couple things that not everyone might know.

Dealing with Depression. The quick fix, take a medication. There are times when medications are appropriate but it is not always appropriate or necessary and what do you get along with your chemically enhanced mood? About a 50% likelihood of sexual side effects, and this doesn’t mean better sex or more sex, this means things like retrograde ejaculation, inability to become aroused and inability to climax. On the other hand, good old exercise has been found to be one of the most effective treatments for depression and anxiety. In addition to the mood benefits of exercise, it improves sexual health.

So lets say you are on meds for depression and are dedicated to the quick fix but don’t like the sexual side effects, what’s the answer? Viagra, right? Well the side effects of that and similar drugs can be quite difficult to deal with and not exactly conducive to the promised beautiful sexual encounter.

So what’s the answer? There is no quick fix to achieve the truly quality life, it is earned every day with our every movement and every thought. Medications have their place but it is important to remember that the devil always demands his due.

So Triathlete, Runner, Cyclist, Swimmer, Athlete…. congratulate yourself! Keep working, keep racing, keep smiling and enjoy your sex you have earned it!


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