INDIANAPOLIS—Offering a promising new treatment for those suffering from depression, pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly introduced a new antidepressant Wednesday that causes patients to perceive their friends’ problems as far worse than their own. “After just a single dose, clinical trial participants’ moods improved dramatically as they began to believe that each of their close friends was struggling with serious financial, professional, familial, and medical issues,” said drug developer Eugenio Risso, explaining that 9 out of 10 subjects reported markedly lower levels of pessimism, self-doubt, and generalized unhappiness after they began to sense that those around them were on the verge of full-scale emotional breakdowns. “This drug allows depressed patients to concentrate exclusively on their friends’ troubles and mentally magnify them, enabling them to, for example, construe an insignificant argument between a couple they know as a sign that these individuals are in the middle of a catastrophic marital crisis. And we found that that thought alone is enough to improve the subject’s mood for a week or longer.” Risso warned that patients must not exceed recommended dosages of the drug, as extreme magnification of former classmates’ and coworkers’ misery was found to produce an overwhelming and highly addictive sense of euphoria.
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