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We live in the Age of Trauma

I was in Boston two days before the bombings, with my family at an Indian restaurant not far from the soon-to-be crime scene at Copley Square, and we were surrounded by runners loading up on carbs. It was an unusually warm and pleasant night here in New England, where we’ve had one of the latest springs on record, and there was an air of excited and happy expectation about the place.

Then the bombs went off, and the trauma set in.

Each American generation has its characteristic psychiatric diagnosis, and, typically, a drug or medication that represents the times. When the world was on the verge of blowing up in the Dr. Strangelove 1960s, we lived in the Age of Anxiety. Valium, the drug that symbolized that period, was celebrated in books and movies like "Valley of the Dolls" and songs like the Rolling Stones’ "Mother’s Little Helper." The 1970s was the Age of Malaise, and the drug that attempted to mediate that malaise was cocaine. Starting in the Prozac-fueled late 1980s and 1990s, the omnipresent diagnosis was depression. Later, the diagnosis was attention deficit disorder and the representative drug was Adderall.

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