"Terminal Happiness" With Havidol

Do you feel unsatisfied, irritated, impatient with yourself? Ever?

Do you not always enjoy activities that you once enjoyed? Do you feel older than you used to be?

Stop right there—you could be suffering from a serious problem called Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD).

Don't be afraid: millions do. And help is on the way, in the form of—what else?—a pill. That would be Havidol®, the trade name of Avafynetime HCl. As the Havidol package insert reminds us, "No prescription drug can promise endless happiness." But with Havidol, you can achieve the "terminal happiness" you desire.


If this sounds both a little familiar and a little fishy, well, it should. Havidol is a fake pharmaceutical. It's the brain-child of an Australian artist named Justine Cooper, who created an entire spoof marketing campaign for Havidol, including a sprawling website explaining the dangers of DSACDAD and the benefits of treatment:

DSACDAD can strike at any time. It targets a large sector of the population. If you believe that despite the opportunities, achievements and acquisitions you already have, something is still missing, then HAVIDOL may be right for you. HAVIDOL's unique nature enables it to make physiological adjustments that bring about positive change without you having to recognize exactly what your problem is.

Cooper's show "Havidol: When More is Not Enough" appears in New York City at the Daneyal Mahmoud Gallery, through March 17. The work, including the Havidol website and a plethora of video and print advertising materials for the fictitious drug, lampoons direct-to-consumer advertising of antidepressants and other so-called "lifestyle" drugs.

ScienceBlogs Neurontic and Molecule of the Day (twice, here and here!) have covered Cooper's project. (MoTD pointed out that to a chemist's eyes, Havidol's molecular structure looks a little screwy.) They've proved themselves savvier than some stumblers upon the Havidol website; Reuters reports that the Havidol webpage has been linked to by a handful of serious websites about mental illness.

Image from the Havidol homepage.

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