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Posted June 23, 2000
Is This Your Right Pill? Tolstoy or Hemmingway...
First of all, one must say that Dr. Papolos has written a very comprehensive book about depression. There are plenty of sections that are written in a non-technical way. He made sure the symptoms of the various disorders and sub-categories of them were outlined right out of DSM-IV, and the information about financial problems that accompany serious bipolar or depressive disorders is very complete, pragmatic, and helpful. The explanations concerning medications is somewhat incomplete but nonetheless practical and useful (especially the charts). It may have been better to have focused more on the medications themselves rather than their history. Some of the paragraphs on side-effects seemed redundant to the point that it became 'filler' material. I was disappointed, for example, that he did not give a thorough explanation of clonazepam, an oft-used sedative, while he devotes pages on medical history, especially lithium research. Certainly the technical chapters are hard to understand; but then again, that might be exactly what you're looking for: a detailed, cmprehensive analysis of the biochemical aspects of depression and mania as well as the evidence suggesting genetic vulnerability. It may even help the 'lay person' by easing his or her anxiety about taking medication by explainin how exactly the pills work. There were two major disappointments, however. First, the book minimized the issue of adolescent depression and/or mania by dedicating only ten pages to it. I do have a bias, but any good text about depression or mania, unless the cover page explicitly states the audience to which the book was addressing, must dedicate a great amount of energy to mental illness in children and even a section solely for teenagers who may or may have known friends suffering from such disorders. Psychiatry depends heavily on risk reduction and crisis prevention because 'treatment' per-se may not be able to be administered in time. Second, although bipolar disorders may have more severe symptoms, the book seemed to allocate too much of its pages to mania instead of depression. Both are equally dangerous and painful, yet Dr. Papolos seemed to focus a little too much on mania (dysphoric or elated), leaving patients with unipolar depression feeling somewhat left out. That is not to say they were ignored but that there existed an unfortunate imbalance. Overall, however, I learned much about bipolar and unipolar disorders. I still have yet to find a book about personality disorders, but this is definitely one of the better works concerning mental illness. Moreover, Dr. Papolos includes a great possibility for another updated version which I am greatly interested in. However, these feelings arise only because the book satisfies most of my needs. To many, 'Overcoming Depression' may not be the right pill.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.