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Understanding Antidepressants Paperback – March 2, 2018

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


From the Midwest Book Review: Understanding Antidepressants tackles a big subject because there are many, many antidepressants on the market today, and their prescription and use have skyrocketed over the years. Readers new to the subject might find the array of products (and their potential side effects) confusing; but retired Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology Wallace B. Mendelson simplifies the subject for novices to the medicine world, creating a primer that requires no prior knowledge to prove accessible.

Perhaps the most important message Dr. Mendelson delivers is that doctors and patients should enjoy a cooperative relationship in which drugs are assessed and understood; not just prescribed and dutifully ingested.

In order to cultivate such interactions, it's up to patients and their loved ones to take responsibility for accumulating a basic understanding of antidepressants, how they work, and the pros and cons of their use; and that's where Understanding Antidepressants enters the picture.

Chapters provide basic biology and health information, discuss how different classes of antidepressants affect the body in different ways, consider their interactions with other drugs and possible side effects, and include discussions of alternative medications and what to do if the antidepressants don't work. While the focus is on the treatment of major depressive disorders, other related conditions are also covered.

The idea isn't to offer a substitute to consultation with a physician; but a supplemental study piece that gives patients the kind of knowledge and tools to ask informed questions and make savvy decisions.

From a quick review of the history of modern neurophysiology to how drugs accumulate in the body long-term and why effective treatment of depression relies on different factors, readers receive a thorough, professional foundation of insights based on history, research, typical medical office applications, and knowledge of dosages, overdoses and exactly how different drug classes work.

Millions of Americans currently take antidepressants. How many of them really know what they are taking? With the help of this book, which organizes technical information into a series of non-technical definitions, visual charts, and detailed discussions; they'd at least have the basic medical details at their fingertips.

While all this information is not unique to Understanding Antidepressants, having it all under one cover in a succinct, non-technical, accessible format creates a survey that should be given to any depressed patient and their loved ones who want to understand what they're being given, how the drugs work, and their potential benefits and detriments.Diane DonovanSenior Book ReviewerMidwest Book Review

From the Back Cover

One in five Americans experience major depression at some time in their lives. Many receive antidepressant medications; at any given time, about ten percent of the population is taking them. In this book, Dr. Mendelson suggests that learning the science of how these medicines work can help a person take a more active stance and participate with the physician in the choice of treatment.  Included are simple non-technical descriptions of how antidepressants act, their benefits and limitations, and non-medicine alternative treatments. Lavishly illustrated and written with both scientific rigor and compassion, the book is designed to lead to a better understanding of the many options available when dealing with depression.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (March 2, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 129 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1980438293
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1980438298
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.31 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Dr. Mendelson is Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology and director of the Sleep Research Laboratory (ret), at the University of Chicago. He earned an MD degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed a residency in psychiatry there as well. He has held professorships at Ohio State University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was Chief of the Section on Sleep Studies at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD, and Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Mendelson is a past president of the Sleep Research Society. Among his honors is the William C. Dement Academic Achievement Award from the American Sleep Disorders Association/American Academy of Sleep Medicine as well as a Special Award in Sleep and Psychiatry from the National Sleep Foundation, and he is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Mendelson has authored or co-authored eight books related to sleep and psychiatry, co-edited another, and published numerous professional papers. More information about his work can be found on Wikipedia ( and his website (

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