Synopses & Reviews
Roughly 28 million Americans -- one in every ten -- have taken Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil or a similar antidepressant, yet very few patients are aware of the dangers of these drugs, nor are they aware that better, safer alternatives exist. Now Harvard Medical School's Dr. Joseph Glenmullen documents the ominous long-term side effects associated with these and other serotonin-boosting medications. These side effects include neurological disorders, such as disfiguring facial and whole-body tics that can indicate brain damage; sexual dysfunction in up to 60 percent of users; debilitating withdrawal symptoms, including visual hallucinations, electric shock-like sensations in the brain, dizziness, nausea, and anxiety; and a decrease of antidepressant effectiveness in about 35 percent of long-term users. In addition, Dr. Glenmullen's research and riveting case studies shed shocking new light on the direct link between these drugs and suicide and violence.
Prozac Backlash provides authoritative, balanced information on the efficacy of these drugs, explaining how they react chemically in the body, when they should and should not be prescribed, and what risks they present. Equally important, the book informs readers of the many safe, effective alternatives to using such drugs -- alternatives that can restore your spirits, keep your weight down, and make your sex life as vital as ever. Dr. Glenmullen argues that antidepressant drug therapy is justified only in moderate to severe cases -- no more than 25 percent of patients currently taking these drugs -- and that we should avoid patients' exposure to these drugs whenever possible. The dangerous side effects, he points out, are caused by Prozac backlash, which is the brain's reaction to artificially elevated levels of serotonin.
Using vivid real-life stories from his work at Harvard, his private practice, and the latest medical research, Dr. Glenmullen explains the real role of serotonin in depression and challenges the popular, hypothetical notion of a "serotonin deficiency" allegedly corrected by the drugs. He relates the research history of Prozac and similar drugs, and includes disturbing facts about the influence of drug companies and HMOs on media representation of that research.
Prozac Backlash offers new hope to millions with effective alternative treatments, including psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral treatment, herbal remedies like St. John's wort, family therapy, and twelve-step programs. Dr. Glenmullen shows how these alternatives work not only for depression but for a wide range of problems, such as anxiety, phobias, obsessions, compulsions, sexual addictions, drug and alcohol abuse, and eating disorders. He also provides countless examples of the successful application of these treatments where drug exposure has been reduced or eliminated altogether.
Written by a doctor with impeccable credentials, Prozac Backlash is filled with compelling, sometimes heartrending stories and is thoroughly documented with extensive scientific sources. It is both provocative and hopeful, a sound, reliable guide to the safe treatment of depression and other psychiatric problems.
A leading Harvard psychiatrist warns of the recently discovered dangers of the most popularly prescribed antidepressants and offers effective alternative treatments.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -374) and index.
About the Author
Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is on the staff of Harvard University Health Services and is in private practice in Harvard Square. He is the author of the widely applauded book Sexual Mysteries, a collection of ten fascinating cases ranging from sexual addictions to sexual abuse, with a foreword by Robert Coles, who likened Glenmullen's work to that of Freud. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Glenmullen lives with his wife and three children in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and can be found on the web at www.glenmullen.com.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Prozac Phenomenon
PART I. The Dangers of Prozac-Type Antidepressants
1. The Awakened Giant's Wrath: Risking Brain Damage
2. Held Hostage: Withdrawal, Dependence, and Wearing Off
3. Not Tonight, Dear -- I'm on Prozac: Sexual Dysfunction
4. Bones Rattling Like Tuning Forks: Startling New Information on Suicide and Violence
PART II. Balancing Medications with Alternative Approaches
5. Behind-the-Scenes Forces: Understanding the Prozac Phenomenon
6. Unraveling Depression: Stifled Anger and Sadness
7. Surmounting Anxiety: Training for Elevators, a Patient's Story
8. Conquering Addictions: Substance Abuse, Sexual Addictions, and Eating Disorders
Epilogue: Effecting Personal Change