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Depression: Depression & Related Conditions

by Valerie Davis Raskin, M.D.
Broadway Books, 1997
Review by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on Feb 24th 2001

When Words Are Not EnoughOne in four women will experience clinical depression, anxiety, or premenstrual depression in her lifetime. The good news is that popular new prescription drugs like Prozac and Xanax bring much needed relief. The bad news is that many physicians and therapists are unaware of common issues for women. As medical treatment for depression and anxiety has become simpler, more and more general practitioners are prescribing antidepressants, often with little background in the nonmedical alternatives or complex mind-body interactions.````Emphasizing women's family roles as well as their unique biological/hormonal sensitivities, Dr. Raskin explains contemporary integrated treatment options. Raskin pays special attention to how birth control, menstrual cycles, childbearing, and menopause impact treatment choices. Raskin empowers women to take an active approach in dealing with common side effects, including weight gain and diminished sexual responsiveness. Using revealing case studies, Raskin offers a wealth of hands-on advice.````At a time when trends in health care have led to less personalized contact between doctor and patient, When Words Are Not Enough provides the facts and reassurance women need to be in control of their own health.

Divided into two main sections, the first part of the book runs through the major disorder confronting most women today, such as clinical depression, premenstrual depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and sleep disturbances. An advocate of medication for helping treat these disorders, the author carefully delineates how medication can help in these instances, but is not a "cure-all." Psychotherapy is usually an additional necessary component of treatment, and the author doesn't give it short-shrift in this section.

However, the other half of the book neatly summarizes how medications affect most people for the different disorders. The last three chapters specifically deal with pregnancy and medication, which will be helpful to any woman is contemplating becoming pregnant and needs to grapple with her medication options and needs.

I generally found this to be a balanced book, with an emphasis on medication issues in keeping with the author's background and professional training. If you're not open to medication as a treatment option, I doubt this book will convince you otherwise. But if you are already taking medication to help with a disorder, or are contemplating doing so, this book will be an invaluable guide to helping you make decisions and understanding the effects on your body.

The book contains over 300 pages and 12 chapters, and also has two great appendices with specifics on antidepressant and antianxiety medications.