The fact that some prescription medications can lead to impulse-control problems is nothing new. But that doesn’t change how disruptive they are to people’s lives, or the philosophical recalibrations they demand. Carl Elliott’s dive into the world of pramipexole fallout is as fascinating as it is terrifying.
The longer Hannah took pramipexole, the worse her behavior became. She picked fights in bars. She bought provocative clothes at a shop that sold outfits to streetwalkers. She wore a T-shirt that said “Fuck Cornell” and bought a gold necklace that spelled out B-I-T-C-H. She insulted friends and family members. She took a box cutter to several paintings by a close friend. She euthanized her cat on a whim. Her social media accounts were a disaster. “I would troll,” she said. “I would just point out: you’re a phony, you’re a hustler, you’re a hack, you’re a thief, without a second thought about what they were going to do to me.” Her driving became dangerously reckless. “I passed a double-decker bus going 80 miles an hour around a blind turn,” Hannah said. “I remember pulling over and crying, I was so scared.” But, according to Hannah, her psychiatrist saw the treatment as a clinical success. Beyond that, he was delighted by the critical acclaim her painting had earned. It was as if pramipexole had unlocked a dormant artistic gift, transforming a garden-variety depressive into the next Willem de Kooning.