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The Peace of Mind Prescription: An Authoritative Guide to Finding the Most Effective Treatment for Anxiety and Depression
Charney, Dennis S., M.D., and Nemeroff, Charles B., M.D., Ph.D. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Hardback, 259 pages.
The Peace of Mind Prescription, written by two preeminent psychiatrists specializing in mood and anxiety disorders, is subtitled â€śAn Authoritative Guide to Finding the Most Effective Treatment for Anxiety and Depression.â€ť
Despite the bookâ€™s bold subtitle, apparently written by salespeople rather than psychiatrists, the authors do attempt to empower patients to seek proper diagnoses and treatments for their anxiety and mood disorders. In general, the authors give thorough descriptions of all the major anxiety and mood disorders (except obsessive-compulsive disorder): their symptoms, causes, and treatments. The personal accounts of patients not only add color, but also help bring the various disorders to life. Some readers (especially those who are currently anxious or depressed) may find the science difficult to understand. The authors are to be commended, however, for emphasizing that these disorders are true diseases, with real brain pathology and physiological responses, caused by various genetic and environmental (including developmental) factors.
The lists and descriptions of medications for each disorder are comprehensive and informative, with the exception that Serzone has now been taken off the market (although the drug remains available as the generic preparation, nefazodone). However, it would have been helpful if the medications for bipolar disorder had been divided into classes (mood stabilizers vs. antipsychotics) and if the mood stabilizers had been addressed as a class as well as individually.
Finally, only two paragraphs are devoted exclusively to bipolar depression, the treatment of which can be a slow, difficult, and frustrating process for the patient and the psychiatrist alike.Of note, the separation between anxiety disorders and mood disorders in this book is necessary to keep things as simple and clear as possible. However, this separation obscures the coexistence in many people of an anxiety disorder and a mood disorder (the authors do allude to this dual condition). Patients should realize, for instance, that although the symptoms of their anxiety disorder are more prominent, they might also have an underlying mood disorder that may require different and perhaps even more aggressive treatment.Four additional chapters address the special features of and treatment considerations for anxiety and depression in women, men, children, teens, and older adults. It is certainly worthwhile to look at the particular concerns of each of these populations.
A chapter titled â€śReducing the Risk of Suicide,â€ť although well intentioned, gives a clinical vignette describing a particular therapeutic relationship (the relationship between the patient and the psychiatrist) that is seldom applicable or even advisable.
There is a chapter early in the book, titled â€śBuilding Emotional Resilience,â€ť which may be too complicated or premature for many patients, especially those who are still anxious or depressed.
Finally, a useful appendix includes contacts for various resources, help in making sense of health information, and a comprehensive list of prescription medications that can worsen anxiety and depression.In the end, this book does give patients information that can empower them to seek the most effective treatments for their mood and anxiety disorders. Although it is important for patients to remember that this information is not meant to be interpreted as any sort of treatment suggestions or guidelines, it should, if used correctly, help them ask the right questions and become more active participants in their own care.
By Phillip Kronstein, M.D.
DRADA, in cooperation with Johns Hopkins Medicine, hosts an annual mood disorders symposium. This event is held at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus every year in early spring. Ticket prices are discounted for AdobeÂ® AcrobatÂ® ReaderÂ® - click here for free download). The purpose of the symposium is to inform interested persons about the latest research findings concerning depression and bipolar illness. The program seeks to answer questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, and new findings in basic and clinical research on mood disorders. This program is valuable to mental health professionals, patients, family members of people living with these illnesses, as well as the general public. Every year, there are speakers who present their own stories of how depression and bipolar illness have affected them. Symposium speakers have included:
Click If you would like to read some Smooth Sailing summaries of symposium speakers please click here.
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Additional benefits of the newsletter include:
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Young People's Outreach Program
DRADA's most notable educational program is the Young People's Outreach Program, which seeks to:
Mental health professionals from DRADA or involved with DRADA visit high schools to talk about depression to students, parents, and teachers. This program continues to expand and already is well recognized for its effectiveness in teaching teens about the signs and symptoms of depression as well as where to seek help. These visits include presentations of "Day for Night-Recognizing Teenage Depression", DRADA's award winning video.
Books and Videos
DRADA sells a variety of books and videos, which can be used for personal use or to teach others about depression and bipolar illness. These books and videos have been reviewed by a team of Hopkins doctors, nurses, and DRADA board members and are recommended because of the outstanding quality of information they provide. Click on the "DRADA Store" button on the side navigation bar to learn more about the books and videos or to order.