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Taking Antidepressants: Your Comprehensive Guide to Starting, Staying On, and Safely Quitting


Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medications in this country - 190 million prescriptions per year have been written since 2005. Yet, consumers have few available resources to educate them in a fair, balanced fashion about starting and stopping antidepressants. People want to know if antidepressants are really safe, whether they are addictive, and how they may affect their personality.

In this book, triple board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Michael Banov ...

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Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medications in this country - 190 million prescriptions per year have been written since 2005. Yet, consumers have few available resources to educate them in a fair, balanced fashion about starting and stopping antidepressants. People want to know if antidepressants are really safe, whether they are addictive, and how they may affect their personality.

In this book, triple board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Michael Banov walks the reader through a personalized process to help them make the right choice about starting antidepressants, staying on antidepressants, and stopping antidepressants. He includes specific guidelines on how to safely reduce and ultimately stop taking antidepressants, if it is appropriate to do so.

Readers will learn how antidepressant medications work, what they may experience while taking them, and will learn how to manage side effects or any residual or returning depression symptoms. Most books on depression take a biased view against antidepressant medication due to perceived dangers; this book finally provides a balanced, research-based resource for consumers who want the facts about taking antidepressants. The author holds readers' attention with case examples of characters they can relate to and interesting facts about depression, the brain, and mental health in general.

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Editorial Reviews

Basil & Spice
Book review on website.
Chicago Tribune
Ran article quoting author and book.
Yahoo Shine! blog
Book mention.
Article on antidepressants mentioning book.
AOL Health
Article featuring Dr. Banov and his book.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) E-newsletter
Listed book.
Holistic Primary Care
Article written by author that mentions book.
Midwest Book Review
"Taking Antidepressants is a useful reference for those who want to understand the details of antidepressants." -Midwest Book Review, October 2010
Advocate (NAMI)
Product review.
Quality Health (Online)
Online article mentioning book and quoting author.
Harvard Women's Health Watch
Product mention.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934716069
  • Publisher: Sunrise River Press
  • Publication date: 7/27/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 777,621
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Banov, MD is a triple board-certified adult, adolescent, and addiction psychiatrist and is the medical director of Northwest Behavioral Medicine and Northwest Behavioral Research Center in Atlanta, GA. He has conducted more than 100 clinical research studies with new and existing compounds in the management of acute and chronic psychiatric conditions. He also sees patients on a daily basis, giving him a unique perspective on integrating research findings into real-world practice.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 5

About the Author 6

Introduction 7

Part 1 Starting Antidepressants

Chapter 1 Deciding Whether to Start an Antidepressant 9

Chapter 2 Do I Really Have a Mood Disorder? 36

Chapter 3 Changing the Depressed Brain 61

Chapter 4 What Can I Expect When I Start Antidepressants? 89

Chapter 5 Are There Alternatives to Taking Antidepressants? 105

Part 2 Staying on Antidepressants

Chapter 6 Is This as Good as It Gets? 121

Chapter 7 How Safe are Antidepressants? 138

Chapter 8 Are Antidepressants Addictive? 153

Chapter 9 Overcoming Side Effects 162

Chapter 10 What if My Medicine Stops Working? 179

Chapter 11 Special Circumstances 193

Part 3 Stopping Antidepressants

Chapter 12 How to Decide When to Stop Taking Your Antidepressant 209

Chapter 13 How to Safely Taper Off Your Antidepressant 232

Chapter 14 Life after Antidepressants 247

Conclusion: Two Years Later... 263

Special Section: Antidepressants for Children and Adolescents 265


A Past Medication History Form 274

B Mood Disorder Questionnaire 276

C Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) 278

D Starting Dosing Characteristics of Most-Common Antidepressants 279

E Commonly Prescribed Antidepressants by Side-Effect Risk 281

F Successfully Tapering Antidepressants Rating Test (START) 282

G Dosing Formulations and Discontinuation Characteristics of Most-Common Antidepressants 286

H Dosing Formulations and Discontinuation Characteristics of Less-Common Antidepressants 287

I Common Antidepressants that can be Safely Cut 288

J Sample Mood Diary 289

Abbreviations 290

Glossary 291

Resources 295

Index 300

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2010

    A Must For Those Living Life!

    If you 'suffer from depression' - and, indeed, that term seems more appropriate than 'having depression' or, experience one of life's difficult episodic events, or are rendered helpless by lifelong depression, Dr. Banov's book is critical. It's in textbook, but easier to read, format. From Basic 101 information to specific medications and how to save money on them, this guide is seemingly for everyone. Ranging from bold face questions you wanted to ask, but didn't and statistics you need to know - to specifics on each antidepressant and clear explanations of various therapies. Case histories throughout invite the reader to identify with at least one or more individuals - especially for those newly initiated into the mire. By Chapter 3, one delves into medical school explanations, softened by illustrations and a congratulatory message at the conclusion. If medication frightens you, it shouldn't after reading this much- needed tome. And, if you dare substitute 'happy pills' for antidepressants, Shame On You. I would urge you to include this in your library and then gently place on your doctor's desk. Now.

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  • Posted September 24, 2010

    An excellent book for patients, their families and others interested in depression

    This is a book for mental health professionals to recommend to their patients who are undergoing treatment for depression. And some of the therapists themselves - those who aren't MDs - might want to give it a look as well. Michael Banov's book reads as clearly and easily as a newspaper, without dumbing down important topics. Both practicing psychiatrist and researcher, he's got no axe to grind. He details the ups and downs of antidepressant treatment without sugarcoating it. He disarms with hard information the scary rumors that circulate about antidepressants, but also shows that they're not miracle drugs. The book covers every aspect of depression and the treatments for it, without lingering too long or in too great detail about any of it. It gets into brain chemistry and the way different drugs alter it, and to what effect. There are a lot of different types of depression, and Banov explores for the lay reader how doctors diagnose them, what the symptoms are, and how each one is treated. He gives us four typical patients of differing types, composites drawn from his years of practice, and takes us through their relatonships with their doctors - the question they ask, the concerns they have. One is a meticulous person who follows every instruction a doctor gives him, but for whom nothing has worked over the years. Another is an overworked truck driver whose depression is affecting his work and family relationships, but who is resistant to acknowledging that something is wrong. And so on. He asks and answers hundreds of the questions he commonly hears in his practice. "How long does someone have to take antidepressants?" "Can antidepressants affect my fertility?" "Who do I have to tell if I am starting an antidepressant?" Anyone suffering from depression or with a family member who does will find this a useful reference volume to have on the shelf. Banov gives the reader enough information to make up his own mind, and allow him to make informed choices about his own care.

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    Excellent Resource for All

    Dr. Banov's book was fluid to read as it followed the same individuals throughout the decision making process of starting, staying on, and safely quitting antidepressants. This book in written in a language that individuals who are grappling with the question regarding taking antidepressant medication will gain insight. Dr. Banov has taken the subject of depression and answered the questions and concerns along with thought provoking insight into this subject matter. He is able to portray a subject that is mired in questions and concerns by creating a readable and easy to understand book. Susan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2010

    Great Resource!!

    I generally am not a self-help reader- I find many (certainly not all) of them boring and of little use- generally describing the problem for 3/4 of the book - which I already know!!! Taking Anitdepressants is in no way words filling up a page as I have found too many 'self-helpy' books (blah, blah, blah over and over again). It is extremely informative-- and compelling to read. While not a novel- it is written in a way that makes it hard to put down once you start- (I read it in one weekend!) It is written in a way that is not difficult-- nor elementary. It is not only useful for clients but I found the medical parts of it helpful for use in my own practice when discussing medication as a treatment option with my clients. Based on the questions posed, It is obvious that Dr. Banov has worked in direct care because they are almost verbatim those I hear every day from my patients considering medication. He does an amazing job of answering them! Well worth the read. Great for patients as well. I really think this book can give clients a sense of self determination in their own treatment. Too many of my clients complain about doctors just throwing pills at them. This book can allow them to make an informed decision.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

    Very Informative and easy to read

    I have been on antidepressants for years and have been very concerned about using them. I think Dr. Banov is very objective and I feel better about being on them but still plan on getting off soon. He has alot of tips to help getting off medicines which I will definitely try. This is the best book on medical treatment of depression I have seen yet and I've read alot. Great resource section as well.

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  • Posted August 8, 2010

    For anyone considering taking or presently taking antidepressant medication.....

    This informative and well written book on antidepressants will empower the patient. The author provides a much needed explanation and description of medications that are widely prescribed to treat depression. "Taking Antidepressants" is neither pro or con on their use but a valuable source of information for patients. This easily readable and understandable book will be a great resource for patients. A patient can utilize this informationto about their medication management and allow a patient to be involved as an active participant in their ongoing treatment. A must read for anyone taking or considering taking an antidepressant. This books author has provided answers to the questions you may have about taking antidepressant medication.

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