Most helpful positive review
111 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Important Information - Don't be afraid.
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.