Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

111 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2000
After reading the customer reviews of this book, I am left to wonder if some of the customers actually read the book (or truly read it from cover to cover). Dr. Glenmullen is not anti-medication-- he recognizes the benefits of medication in the treatment of moderately and severely depressed people. Dr. Glenmullen's concerns relate to the overprescription of medication, for example, to people undergoing situational stress such as a break-up with a boyfriend, etc, or the long term use of medication (the type of studies used by the FDA to evaluate a drug typically last only several weeks-- what is safe for several weeks may not be safe for several years).
The book advocates patients talking to their doctors about the best available treatment for depression and other illnesses. This means talking to a medical professional who will listen to the patient and evaluate all of the options (medicine, therapy, herbal remedies, exercise, etc) and the risks associated with each option, to determine the best treatment plan for each individual patient.
Nothing in this book encourages people to suddenly stop their medication-- to the contrary. I am shocked at the customers who describe the book this way. It is understandable that patients are reluctant to look at the flaws (ie. potential negative side effects) of medications that have helped them feel better, but it must be done. This book provides good information considering what is available, citing to hundreds of scientific research studies published in reputable medical journals (anyone who states the book relies on anecdotes must have missed the 35 pages of footnotes).
Some of the information is admittedly scary, but patients shouldn't be frightened by the the information in the book-- they should be frightened about what they DON'T know. As someone who has been treated for depression with both medicine and therapy, I recognize the benefits of both. I appreciate what my medication did for me at a difficult time, but this doesn't stop me from recognizing that good medications may have some bad side effects. This, unfortunately, is a fact, and wishing the book away won't change it.
In terms of readibility, the anecdotes about Dr. Glenmullen's patients do make the book very interesting. I was also suprised to learn of the heavy involvement pharmecutical companies have in supposedly "objective" research about their drugs, and the lengths to which the drug companies will go to suppress information about negative side effects of the drugs. The latter is most obvious in Chapter 4, which discusses suicidailty and SSRI's (the class of drugs that includes Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.).
Even if you don't agree with its conclusions, Prozac Backlash is an enlightening read. It is obvious why the pharmecutical companies are so negative about the book, or why doctors who make their living researching for the pharmecutical companies feel threatened. It is sad, however, to think that patients would feel threatened by the valuable information provided in this book. The only real threat is ignorance. As the book encourages, people with depression need to seek professional help. But patients need to be educated partners in their treatment-- this book is a good place to start that education.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2000
As a specialist in drug safety I reviewed this book prior to publication and found it immensely readable and scientifically sound. But because it embarrasses the drug companies and the many doctors who have used these drugs indiscriminately, I have already seen erroneous charges that this book is "irresponsible" or lacking in scientific merit. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2004
I was taken aback by the viciousness of many of the reviews here, but not really surprised. This book says what many people do not want to hear--and backs it up with research from people *not* in the drug industry's pocket.

Glenmullen knows the real value--and equally real pitfalls--of these drugs--and shares his knowledge in this valuable and disturbing book. He explains the issues in laymen's terms, and includes scientific citations for those who wish more detail.

Not anti-drug per se, Glenmullen sees SSRIs as a temporary bandaid for acute crisis. He refers to research showing therapy to be equally effective for long term solutions. I've personally observed that no matter what the problem, the majority of mental health providers use drugs as a primary and often permanent answer. Glenmullen's is a valuable second opinion, and especially useful for those who have already discovered some of these drugs' many problems.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Dr. Glenmullen has correctly identified the popularity of Prozac and the other SSRIs has a cultural phenomenon. The "chemical imbalance" and "serotonin deficiency" so widely promoted by the pharmaceutical companies have never been proven. Yet millions of people believe in these fictions because Westerners, and Americans in particular, have a cultural bias toward biological explanations for emotional distress. Managed care companies have taken advantage of this by reducing the time therapists can spend with patients and restricting care to prescribing drugs. Psychiatric drugs are not safe. They all affect the properties of neurotransmitter systems in the brain. The problems of withdrawal, dependence, wearing off, and permanent brain damage are well known to professionals in the field and well documented in the scientific journals cited by Dr. Glenmullen. These drugs should only be taken by people with significant psychiatric illness. They are not for the worried well or those who want to be "better than normal." Dr. Glenmullen has done a great service by finally making the dangers of psychiatric drugs known to the general public.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
131 of 153 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2000
Unlike some of the critics of this book, I have actually read it. Moreover, I have Ph.D. in environmental science, and teach at an international public policy school.
I am disturbed by some of the comments made by other 'reviewers' that this book is not 'scientific' or that it is only 'anecdotal'. I believe these comments are attempts to discredit the book. After all, if you read the book you will see that there is much at stake here: the drug manufacturers are making a fortune from prescriptions of anti-depressant medication, yet the evidence is mounting almost daily as to their mis-use and side effects. Indeed, the book even describes a payment by one drug company in 1994 to a potential witness in a trial in order to avoid bad publicity. This book presents the evidence for questioning the value of the current belief in certain anti-depressants like Prozac and Zoloft. The book is loaded with references to internationally-regarded medical journals and researchers, and to available surveys on the potential side effects. If there is anything 'anecdotal' about the book, it is that it is written in a easy-to-read styles that actually reports on real-life stories (anonymized).
Furthermore, it is false to say the author advises that anti-depressants should not be used at all. He makes it very clear that they should be reserved for severe cases of depression. In my opinion, the interesting points he makes are that prescribing anti-depressants for cases of less-than severe depression (or similar conditions such as anxiety, etc) may actually create more problems than they solve. Such problems may include 'numbing' people to the feelings and processes that actually cause the depression; a variety of physical side-effects such as loss of sexual function; and even (in the worst cases) feelings that can even encourage suicide. It is not surprising that the medicine companies do not want people to respect this book. But it is clear that the book is not an outright rejection of any form of medication, but instead a more balanced approach that actually goes to the roots of problems, rather than just dealing with (apparent) symptoms.
If there is one aspect of the book I do have reservations about, it is that the descriptions of 'alternatives' to medication is merely an introduction to these subjects rather than a complete guide. There are a variety of alternatives mentioned, such as herbal remedies; psychotherapy; physical exercise etc etc. All of these are interesting and relevant. But I would think that anyone in the throes of a major depression or similar distress would want to read much more than what is available here (albeit, at well over 100 pages there is quite a lot of information). Of course, the book does not intend to be a 'self-help' guide to overcoming depression, and so perhaps it is unreasonable to suggest that it is short in this respect. It is best to be clear that the book's main intention is to review the evidence against the currently popular anti-depressants, and highlight where we should be looking instead. The book is highly successful in achieving this objective.
If you are taking prozac, zoloft, paxil or ritlin, you would be well advised to read this book. If you are interested in understanding how medical practices are manipulated by large drug-company interests, this book is a must. If you want to learn more about where to turn instead of simply taking medication, this book is an excellent introduction. But please, do not be put off by the negative comments of some 'reviewers', because their statements are inaccurate, and -- given the high stakes of the book -- their origin is suspect.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2005
I thought this book was interesting. If one is willing to listen to and/or believe the claims and promises set forth by the drug companies/makers of these anti-depressants, then surely one should be open and willing to learn about these same drugs from a different point of view.

I think many people would agree that we spend more time researching our next car or vacation than we do finding out about the things we put into our bodies, especially when it comes to chemicals and drugs. I think we must admit that the FDA, HMO systems and our own GP's are not infallible. This book is another tool for learning ways to take responsibility for, and manage our own health and well-being.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2003
This book is a must-read for anyone on an SSRI or contemplating taking an SSRI for any reason (some are used for more than just depression). After reading many of the modern publications about SSRIs, I can objectively say this book completed my layman's education on the subject. This is predominantly due to the fact that there are not many resources out there that speak of the dark side of SSRI medications.
What's more, after being on SSRIs for 5 years, this book has made me decide that I MUST try to get off of the drug Effexor.
I have never been one to suffer much, if any, adverse side effects from the medications of various kinds that I have required over the years. However, the SSRI drug Effexor has created some very uncomfortable issues for me such as involuntary ticks or spasms (tardive dyskinesia), weight gain and horrible withdrawal effects in trying to get off it all while realizing that the drug's actual intended effects have worn off. If I had not read this book I would have never received an education about SSRI's severe shortcomings and subsequent problems. My doctor sure wouldn't have told me...because he probably doesn't know either.
Glenmullen spells out very well. Despite some of the reviews here that downplay the book and its author, you still owe it to yourself to become as well educated as possible about these drugs. This book will help you in your quest to gather all the info you can about SSRIs. Buy it. Read it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2001
Dr. Glenmullen has wriiten a book that entertains, surprises, alarms, and educates. It is rare for a doctor of his stature to share personal case histories, and it is obvious that he listens to his patients with his heart, as well as his brain.
Prozac and its SSRI cousins (Celexa, Paxil, Remeron, and Zoloft) are wonder-cures for some people, and nightmares for countless others. Dr. Glenmullen stresses that many patients should never take these powerful medications; however, he does not refute the fact that they can help the severely ill.
This book shows documented research that the major drug companies fail to disclose. It also raises the question why so many primary care physicians dispense these medications for mild symptoms or other normal life events. He stresses that we may not see the true "Prozac Backlash" for many years to come, since many SSRI neurological side effects remain hidden until later in life. This is an area that should concern the FDA and the drug companies. Hopefully, long-term research about the true effects of these drugs will be disclosed to doctors and patients. For me, the highlight of this book was the patient case histories. The story about the young man with a severe phobia of elevators is enlightening and inspiring.
Before you consider taking an SSRI, please read this book. Better yet, show it to your doctor.
Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2000
A very balanced book. While it states the problems with Prozac and other SSRI antidepressants, he doesn't fall into the trap of many others and condemn them but fail to realize that they are appropriate in many cases, despite their danger.
Everthing Mr. Schuler says in the Amazon review of the book is accurate. He does leave out one very important position Dr. Glenmullen takes in the book. While the mania about SSRI antidepressants is out of place and even dangerous, the drugs do have their place for people with moderate to severe depression. Yes, they do have severe potential side effects, but they are effective much more quickly than the talk therapy alternatives, often by weeks or months. Critical for suicidal patients.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2000
I am a physician who has been treated with various SSRIs over the past several years. Prozac Backlash captures some of the severe problems I have had with these medications over the past three years. It presents a reasoned view that I find compelling and presents issues that I hope will become major issues in the medical profession in the next few years. The mistaken notion that biology is fate is the core belief that drives the overpharmicalized approach to depression and the disregard of the evidence in favor of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The idea of biologial fate can be more clearly understood with an analogy to exercise. A person who has never exercised may say they can't exercise because their muscles are not fit for it. They tried once and they couldn't. They were weak and had no stamina and sprained everything. Its biology, you know. So what do you do? Give the patient amphetamines and anabolic steroids, of course. Exercise? It won't work. It's all biology. This sounds absurd because it is absurd. It is the reasoning used to avoid proven techniques like cognitive behavior therapy in favor of drugs. Most people who begin an exercise program would benefit from training and reinforcement and feedback at the beginning of the program and intermittantly. This would greatly increase the adherence to, success of, and benefit from the exercise program. Is Cognitive Behavioral Trerapy significantly different? If I hand a sheet of exercises to a patient and say "Go Exercise", success is unlikely. If I tell a depressed patient to "Just stop being depressed", success is unlikely. For my part, I am going to try the difficult route of confronting the disordered thinking and behavior of depression with a training program. Call it trerapy if you want. I'm calling it training for life. I have met several people for which some psychosocial program alieviated or cured depression and provided an avenue for leading a better life. I am following their example. I am avoiding biologiacal deterministicly oriented practicioners in the future. It won't be easy and it won't be quick. But in the long run, I will have a full and enriched life.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.