Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Against Depression

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Against Depression

by Peter D. Kramer

Against Depression by Peter D. Kramer
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  • First Published:
    May 2005, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 368 pages

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According to the prozac.com website:

  • Prozac has been taken by more than 54 million people since its introduction in 1986, making it the most widely described anti-depressant medicine in history.
  • More than 18 million Americans suffer from some type of depression, and one in eight persons need treatment for depression during his or her lifetime.
  • Depression is a recurring illness.  If you have one episode there is a 50% chance of another, if the recurrence rate increasing with the number of episodes.
  • Untreated, depression can last up to 6 months or longer.
  • An estimated 15% of people with chronic depression commit suicide.
  • Due to the social stigma still surrounding depression, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates two-thirds of people suffering from depression do not seek help.

From other sources:

  • In the 1960s it was discovered that the antihistamine Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (trade name Benadryl in the USA) inhibits reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin.  This discovery led to a search for antidepressants with similar structures but fewer side effects, the result was fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac).
  • Since 2001, when Eli Lilly lost its patent, fluoxetine hydrochloride has been available from a number of different manufacturers.
  • In addition to treating depression, fluoxetine hydrochloride is approved to treat other conditions (list of conditions varies by country), such as bulimia, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder (defined as obsessive activities that take at least an hour a day, are very distressing, and interfere with daily life).
  • Claimed 'natural" alternatives to treat depression include St. Johns Wort, Vitamin B1, Kava, Ginkgo Biloba and Valerian Root and SAMe.

This article is from the August 17, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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