Truth In The Phucomol TikTok Spoof: A Behavioral Perspective

Truth In The Phucomol TikTok Spoof: A Behavioral Perspective
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The hilarious viral TikTok video, promoting a non-existent antidepressant named Phucomol, reveals a truth about serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

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As Gilda Radner said, "Humor is just truth, only faster."

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How Serotonin Affects The Human Body

Serotonin is the neurochemical that regulates our self-esteem.

Not just us, every animal.

Get a raise, fall in love, win a game, serotonin’s up.

Get fired, get rejected, lose the game, serotonin’s down.

People with low serotonin-down 'n outers, the lonely, the ill, the failing-are anxious, depressed, irritable and angry.

They can grow obsessive, paranoid, suicidal-or even homicidal.

People with high serotonin-celebrities, name athletes, stars, CEOs and billionaires-are proud, elite, confident.

They can be expansive and generous, or indifferent, even cruel.

Serotonin makes evolutionary sense, or it wouldn’t be all over nature.

Because every animal lives in a hierarchy and needs to know where they fit.

Serotonin tells them, and everyone they meet.

High serotonin people stand tall and proud, look regal and behave confidently: they appear to have it all and know what they are doing.

Watch a head of state, especially a dictator.  That’s high serotonin.

Low serotonin people are scared and anxious, too eager to please or attack: they scan the environment for clues of danger or offense.  They fumble and fuss.

Think Rodney Dangerfield.  That’s low serotonin.

Life modulates serotonin.  Grow up poor, work hard, accumulate respect, wealth, power and your serotonin rises.

Get too proud, take risks, lose it all and your serotonin falls.

There are dangers in high serotonin.

Pride goeth before a fall, as the Bible says.

When psychiatrists prescribe serotonergic antidepressants they occasionally, unknowingly set patients up for disaster.

Challenge the boss and get fired.

Skip bill payments and the lights go off.

A Phucomol Attitude

A Phucomol attitude can backfire spectacularly.

Frank Sinatra was the biggest star of the twentieth century.

High serotonin? Fuggedaboutit.

A magnetic personality, he could act effortlessly and get it right on the first take and walk off the set.

His music will live forever.

He could even dance if he had to.

“You didn’t know I couldn’t dance!”

But he was the least comedic of the Rat Pack he led: audiences laughed at his jokes because they loved him so.

Billy Wilder wanted him for one of the leads in the greatest screen comedy ever, “Some Like It Hot.”

They had a meeting.

Sinatra didn’t show up.

Wilder ruled him out.

Sinatra missed out on earning the greatest comedy chops of all time.

If your serotonin runs too high you can, as our ancestors said of carriage horses, “kick over the traces.”

If you want to succeed in life think like Michael, not Sonny Corleone.

Think like FDR, elected for four terms, fending off a long-forgotten coup in his first.

Not like JFK, who is said to have threatened to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the wind.”

Be Antifragile

If you wish to be truly successful, enjoy high serotonin as often as possible, despite the dirty curves, cruel jokes and beanballs that life will pitch you, take a page from essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb:

Be “antifragile.”

The opposite of fragile: not merely strong but resilient.

A good fighter can take the punches.

Learn from life’s challenges and frustrations and adapt.

As Charlie Munger says, “Utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion.”

Because, as this delightful TikTok video slyly suggests, if you just take serotonergics, nothing really changes.

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Mark Tobak, MD, is a general adult psychiatrist in private practice. He is the former chief of inpatient geriatric psychiatry and now an attending physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison, NY. He graduated the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Columbia University School of General Studies. Dr. Tobak also has a law degree from Fordham University School of Law and was admitted to the NY State Bar. His work appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Times, and American Journal of Medicine and Pathology. He is the author of Anyone Can Be Rich! A Psychiatrist Provides the Mental Tools to Build Your Wealth, which received high praise from Warren Buffett.

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