Depression
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Mood ApartA Sadly Troubled HistoryActive Treatment of DepressionAdolescent DepressionAdult Bipolar DisordersAgainst DepressionAgents in My BrainAmerican ManiaAmerican MelancholyAn Unquiet MindArtificial HappinessBeating the BluesBefore ProzacBeyond BlueBiological UnhappinessBipolar DisorderBipolar Disorder DemystifiedBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar ExpeditionsBlaming the BrainBoy InterruptedBritain on the CouchCalm EnergyCase Studies in DepressionChange Your ThinkingChronic DepressionComprehending SuicideConquering Postpartum DepressionConquering the Beast WithinCry Depression, Celebrate RecoveryDamageDepressionDepression 101Depression and GlobalizationDepression and NarrativeDepression Doesn't Always Have to Be DepressingDepression FalloutDepression in ContextDepression Is a ChoiceDepression SourcebookDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepression, the Mood DiseaseDepression-Free for LifeDetourDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDown Came the RainDowning Street BluesDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEight Stories UpElectroboyElectroshockEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderExperiences of DepressionFacing BipolarFast GirlFatal AttachmentsGetting Your Life BackGod HeadHandbook of DepressionHandbook of DepressionHello to All ThatHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHow Everyone Became DepressedHow I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill MeHurry Down SunshineI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!Journeys with the Black DogLeaving YouLet Them Eat ProzacLife InterruptedLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Lifting DepressionLifting the WeightLincoln's MelancholyLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLong ShotLucy Sullivan Is Getting MarriedMadnessMaking Sense of SuicideMalignant SadnessManiaManicManic DepressionManufacturing DepressionMelancholiaMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMood GenesMoody Minds DistemperedMy DepressionNatural Healing for DepressionNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Hope For People With Bipolar DisorderNew Hope for People with DepressionNight Falls FastNovember of the SoulOn DepressionOn the Edge of DarknessOne in ThirteenOrdinarily WellOut of the BlueOutsmarting DepressionOvercoming DepressionPerfect ChaosPotatoes Not ProzacProzac and the New AntidepressantsProzac BacklashProzac HighwayProzac NationProzac NationPsychotic DepressionPuppy Chow Is Better Than ProzacQuiet Your Mind & Get to SleepRaising a Moody ChildReasons to Stay AliveScattershotSelf-CoachingSightlinesSilencing the Self Across CulturesSilent GriefSongs from the Black ChairSongs Without WordsSpeaking of SadnessSpontaneous HappinessStudent DepressionSubordination and DefeatSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSuicideSunbathing in the RainSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving Manic DepressionSwing LowSylvia Plath ReadsTalking Back to ProzacTaming Your Inner BratThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Mood DisordersThe Anatomy of MelancholyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe BeastThe Bell JarThe Best AwfulThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Blue Day BookThe Breakthrough Depression SolutionThe Clinical Science of Suicide PreventionThe CorrectionsThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Depressed ChildThe Depression CureThe Depression WorkbookThe Devil WithinThe Emotional RevolutionThe Family SilverThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Loss of SadnessThe Memory of LightThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Mood CureThe Myth of Depression as DiseaseThe Naked Bird WatcherThe Nature of MelancholyThe Noonday DemonThe Pits and the PendulumThe Postpartum EffectThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Van Gogh BluesThe Van Gogh BluesThe Weariness of the SelfThe Years of Silence are PastThirteen Reasons WhyThis Close to HappyTo Walk on EggshellsTreatment for Chronic DepressionUndercurrentsUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding DepressionUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnholy GhostUnstuckViniyoga Therapy for DepressionWhat Goes UpWhat the Birds SeeWhat Works for Bipolar KidsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhere the Roots Reach for WaterWhy Are You So Sad?Why People Die by SuicideWill's ChoiceWriting Through the DarknessYou Are Not AloneZelda

Related Topics
The Antidepressant Survival ProgramReview - The Antidepressant Survival Program
The Clinically Proven Program to Enhance the Benefits and Beat the Side Effects of Your Medication
by Robert J. Hedaya, MD
Three Rivers Press, 2000
Review by CP
Apr 22nd 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 16)

With millions of people in the US now taking SSRI medication, it’s not surprising that many of them are not thrilled with the results. SSRIs like Prozac have significant side effects, and they don’t always keep on having the initial results. The main side effects people notice are "physical and mental lethargy, loss of sex drive and performance, and significant weight gain." (p. 1). Such side effects make people less ready to continue taking their medication on a regular basis. People occasionally skip doses or just give up on it altogether. People get tired to taking the same pill day after day.

Robert Hedaya is a psychiatrist at Georgetown University Hospital and also has a private practice. He specializes in "clinical psychopharmacology," which is the science and maybe the art of prescribing mind-altering medication to people. He explains that most psychiatrists have "only a rudimentary knowledge of psychopharmacology" and have even less knowledge of the interaction of such medication with the body. (p. 5). Furthermore, most people who take such medication have never seen a psychiatrist, but instead had it prescribed by their primary-care physicians, who have even less understanding of the effects of these drugs.

So Hedaya has created his Antidepressant Survival Program (let’s call it ASP) as a response to the needs of his patients. It is based on what he calls "Whole Psychiatry" (p. 6), which pays attention to the whole person. As evidence of the effectiveness of his program, he says that he has tried it on over three hundred of his own patients, who have had problems with self-esteem, confidence, vitality, vigor, and sex drive. He reports that his program is a success.

So what is this amazing new approach? It requires eating well, getting exercise, checking for underlying non-psychiatric conditions (such as hypothyroidism and food allergies), and adjusting medication to avoid side-effects of medication. That’s it. Big anticlimax. This enormously repetitive book (with 292 pages) is recommending pretty much the same as every other self-help book out there. Nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, play, and spiritual renewal. While I was reading this, my local public television station had one of its frequent pledge-drives and I found myself watching Dr Andrew Weil doing a couple of specials on health and nutrition. Weil, author of Eating Well For Optimum Health and Spontaneous Healing gave remarkably similar advice to Hedaya concerning nutrition.

At this stage, I should admit a personal interest in this book. I’ve been taking antidepressants since 1993, for depression and dysthymia. I think they probably help me, but who knows? Maybe it is all placebo effect. What is do know is that generally life is easier when I’m taking them. I don’t experience any terrible side effects from them. I’ve gained some weight, but I’m still easily within the normal range, and many men gain weight in their thirties, whether or not they take medication. I have mixed feelings about continuing to take medication for the rest of my life, and I sometimes consider alternatives like St John’s Wort, or maybe just trying six months without medication, at some point when my life becomes stress-free and stable. (This might possibly happen when I retire in thirty years.) But on medication I’m productive and I’m rather reluctant to endanger my productivity by changing medication.

Nevertheless, I can imagine feeling happier, more productive, more satisfied, more cheerful, friendlier, and calmer. I wonder whether my medication has subtle side effects, and whether I can blame it when my life doesn’t go exactly as I want. So I thought about trying the ASP. I thought about it some more. But I didn’t do it. I do get some exercise already from walking and jobs around the house and garden, and I eat pretty well, although I probably get too much saturated fat from potato chips and dairy products.

I’ve little doubt that if I went on Dr Hedaya’s program I’d feel better than I do, in the long run, even if it meant depriving myself of some indulgences and experiencing some sore muscles in the short term. But then I expect that anyone who went on his program, whether or not they take medication, would feel better in the long run. For those who take psychiatric medication, it would be astonishing to find a psychiatrist who is sympathetic and ready to listen to the possible subtleties of side-effects, digestive issues, the various moods and odd ideas that they experience, and all the other aspects of life covered by "whole psychiatry."

So… thumb up or down? Would I recommend this book? In the end, despite my feeling that it is far less original and useful than the author thinks, it could be worth reading. The very act of buying it and then reading it could prompt you to do what you already knew you should, i.e., eat better and get more exercise, and insist to your psychiatrist that he or she comes up with some resourceful and helpful suggestions for fine-tuning your overall well-being.


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7900 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716