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Ordinarily Well : The Case for Antidepressants
by Peter D. Kramer


Overview -

Do antidepressants work, or are they glorified dummy pills? How can we tell?
In "Ordinarily Well," the celebrated psychiatrist and author Peter D. Kramer examines the growing controversy about the popular medications. A practicing doctor who trained as a psychotherapist and worked with pioneers in psychopharmacology, Kramer combines moving accounts of his patients dilemmas with an eye-opening history of drug research to cast antidepressants in a new light.  Read more...


 
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    Ordinarily Well (Paperback)
    Published: 2017-06-13
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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More About Ordinarily Well by Peter D. Kramer
 
 
 
Overview

Do antidepressants work, or are they glorified dummy pills? How can we tell?
In "Ordinarily Well," the celebrated psychiatrist and author Peter D. Kramer examines the growing controversy about the popular medications. A practicing doctor who trained as a psychotherapist and worked with pioneers in psychopharmacology, Kramer combines moving accounts of his patients dilemmas with an eye-opening history of drug research to cast antidepressants in a new light.

Kramer homes in on the moment of clinical decision making: Prescribe or not? What evidence should doctors bring to bear? Using the wide range of reference that readers have come to expect in his books, he traces and critiques the growth of skepticism toward antidepressants. He examines industry-sponsored research, highlighting its shortcomings. He unpacks the inside baseball of psychiatry statistics and shows how findings can be skewed toward desired conclusions.

Kramer never loses sight of patients. He writes with empathy about his clinical encounters over decades as he weighed treatments, analyzed trial results, and observed medications influence on his patients symptoms, behavior, careers, families, and quality of life. He updates his prior writing about the nature of depression as a destructive illness and the effect of antidepressants on traits like low self-worth. Crucially, he shows how antidepressants act in practice: less often as miracle cures than as useful, and welcome, tools for helping troubled people achieve an underrated goal becoming ordinarily well."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374280673
  • ISBN-10: 0374280673
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: June 2016
  • Page Count: 336


Related Categories

Books > Psychology > Mental Health
Books > Psychology > Psychopathology - Depression
Books > Medical > Psychiatry - Psychopharmacology

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-04-04
  • Reviewer: Staff

Kramer (Listening to Prozac), a psychiatrist and professor at Brown Medical School, makes an energetic and personal case for the role of antidepressants in easing crippling depression. Starting with the history of psychotherapy, when “infinite patience was the norm” in treatment for depression, Kramer delves into the breakthrough use of imipramine for treatment in the mid-1950s that helped “redefine the disorder” and “invigorate” psychopharmacology. But Kramer’s more captivating story is about the resistance to antidepressants that emerged in the 1970s and was further stoked by Irving Kirsch’s 1998 essay, “Listening to Prozac but Hearing Placebo,” which took direct aim at Kramer’s work. Kramer also takes on the imperfect system of rating a drug’s efficacy, the placebo effect controversy (a “minor element,” he asserts), “cosmetic psychopharmacology,” and the use of antidepressants even after a bout of the illness is resolved. Kramer’s work is data-dense—this is ”the most technical of books,” he concedes. And while there’s a plaintive quality to his arguments, there is also real hope: “Practicing doctors witness antidepressants’ efficacy daily, and the formal evidence supporting those observations is ample.” Kramer shows that the tools may be imperfect, but people battling severe depression are “ lucky to have them.” Agency: Wylie Agency. (June)

 
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