Elizabeth Wurtzel, the author of “Prozac Nation” passed away on January 7th of breast cancer. She was the author responsible for opening up the conversation about mental health through her memoir about her life-long battle with depression and addiction. The courage of Elizabeth Wurtzel to write about her troubling experiences with addiction and mental illness can inspire others to break the stigma of their own journeys as well.

Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Childhood

Wurtzel was born in New York in 1967. Her parents divorced when she was two and her father disappeared from her life. She went to a private school on scholarship to get a good education. The overwhelming signs of depression came to her when she was 10. After she was caught self-harming in the bathroom when she was 11, Wurtzel started going to therapy. Even though she eventually went to Harvard College, Wurtzel was still troubled with depression as she self-medicated with ecstasy, cocaine, Prozac, and Lithium. 

Prozac Nation

Wurtzel’s career as a writer started when she worked for The Harvard Crimson, The Dallas Morning News, a music critic for New York Magazine, and The New Yorker. True success came to her with her debut memoir “Prozac Nation” which was released in 1994. The book spoke about her troubled childhood and experience with clinical depression. She helped change the perceptions of mental illness by speaking about the feelings of emptiness that come with depression; the lack of feelings, interest, response, affect. Her book also addressed not letting depression bring her down but using it to fuel her success.

After Prozac Nation

Three years after “Prozac Nation,” Wurtzel spent four months in a rehab facility in Connecticut from 1997-1998. After this, she would go on too attend addiction support meetings and see personal therapists. She was clean from September 11, 1998, until her death. In a Times Magazine article in 2018, she wrote that she felt more alive every day that she did not use. 

Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Achievements

Being honest about her addiction and mental illness through her writing, Wurtzel was able to help change perceptions to her readers. The New York Times Book Review described her as “Sylvia Plath with the ego of Madonna.” Wurtzel published five more books and wrote for Dazed, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Elle. Wurtzel had the courage to tell her story and left behind a legacy that can inspire other writers to have the courage to tell their story.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.


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