Medications & Psychiatry

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
Psychiatry Under the InfluenceAlternatives Beyond PsychiatryAmerican MadnessAmerican PsychosisAn Unquiet MindAntipsychiatryBad PharmaBefore ProzacBetter Than ProzacBiological PsychiatryBipolar, Not So MuchBlack Man in a White CoatBlaming the BrainBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrainwashedClinical Psychopharmacology Made Ridiculously SimpleComfortably NumbCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyComplete Mental HealthConcise Guide to PsychopharmacologyCrackedCritical PsychiatryCultural FormulationDeconstructing PsychosisDemystifying PsychiatryDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDiagnosis: SchizophreniaDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisordered Personalities and CrimeDoctoring the MindDoctors of DeceptionDrop the Disorder!DruggedDrugs for LifeEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEssential PsychopharmacologyEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderEssentials of Psychiatric DiagnosisEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEthics in PsychiatryEvidence-Based Treatment of Personality DysfunctionExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessFinding the Right Psychiatrist:Forces of HabitHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHappy Pills in AmericaHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHerbs for the MindHigh PriceHippocrates CriedHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHookedHuman TrialsInfectious MadnessInspired SleepIntoxicating MindsIs It Me or My Meds?Let Them Eat ProzacLife-Threatening Effects of Antipsychotic DrugsLitLiving with Bipolar DisorderMad in AmericaMad ScienceMalignant SadnessMedicating ChildrenMedicating Modern AmericaMental Health in Asia and the PacificMind FixersMoments of EngagementMommy I'm Still in HereNatural Healing for DepressionNo One Cares About Crazy PeopleNot CrazyOrdinarily WellOur Daily MedsOverdosed AmericaPathologist of the MindPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPharmaceutical FreedomPharmacracyPharmageddonPharmageddonPhilosophical Issues in PharmaceuticsPoets on ProzacPower HerbsPowerful MedicinesPrescriptions for the MindProfits Before People?Prozac and the New AntidepressantsProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac DiaryProzac on the CouchPsychiatric DiagnosisPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatrists and Traditional HealersPsychiatry and EmpirePsychiatry and the Business of MadnessPsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry at a GlancePsychiatry in PrisonsPsychiatry ReconsideredPsychopathyPsychopharmacology Problem SolvingPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePsychotropic Drugs And Popular CulturePsychotropic Drugs: Fast FactsRaising Generation RxRe-Visioning PsychiatryRecovery from SchizophreniaReligious and Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric DiagnosisRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySaving NormalSchizophreniaShock TherapyShock TherapyShould I Medicate My Child?ShrinksSide EffectsSometimes Amazing Things HappenStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsSuccessful PsychopharmacologySuffer the ChildrenTaking America Off DrugsTalking Back to ProzacTextbook of Cultural PsychiatryThe $800 Million PillThe Age of AnxietyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe Big FixThe Book of WoeThe Complete Guide to Herbal MedicinesThe Conceptual Evolution of DSM-5The CorrectionsThe Creation of PsychopharmacologyThe Cult of PharmacologyThe Dream DrugstoreThe Emperor's New DrugsThe Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2005The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2006The Making of DSM-III®The Medical Model in Mental HealthThe Medicated ChildThe Medication QuestionThe Merck DruggernautThe Mind/Mood Pill BookThe Natural Pharmacist : Natural Health Bible from the Most Trusted Alternative Health Site in the World The Pill BookThe Pill Book Guide to Natural MedicinesThe PlaceboThe Rise and Fall of the Biopsychosocial ModelThe Sedated SocietyThe Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Truth About the Drug CompaniesThe Use and Misuse of Psychiatric DrugsThe World of CaffeineThomas S. SzaszToxic PsychiatryTrouble in MindTry to RememberTry to RememberTwilight of American SanityUnderstanding Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry InteractionsUnhingedVoluntary MadnessWarning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental HealthWhat Is Mental Illness?What Psychiatry Left Out of the DSM-5What Works for Whom?Will@epicqwest.comWomen, Madness and MedicineYour Drug May Be Your Problem

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.


Welcome to Metapsychology.

Note that Metapsychology will be moving to a new server in January 2020. We will not put up new reviews during the transition. We thank you for your support and look forward to coming back with a revised format.

We feature over 8300 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 twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

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

Join our Google Group!

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716