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The debate over the proper role of drugs in treating emotional reactions to stress has a long history. Toward the end of Shakespeare's Macbeth, when the protagonist is grieving for Lady Macbeth and encircled by his foes, the following exchange takes place:
Macbeth: Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, Raze out the written troubles of the brain, And with some sweet oblivious antidote Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff Which weighs upon the heart?
Doctor: Therein the patient Must minister to himself.
Even if we recognize that in 1606
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A Social History of the Minor Tranquilizers: The Quest for Small Comfort in the Age of Anxiety. Ann Intern Med. 1992;117:270-271. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-117-3-270_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1992;117(3):270-271.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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