The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women


As women, we know how important it is to take charge of our health care-to be informed and proactive. But too often we forget that our mental wellness is an integral part of our overall health. The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women is the definitive resource for women looking for answers to their mental health questions, whether those questions concern a disorder like depression or adjusting to major life changes like motherhood or divorce.

Drawing on the latest thinking...

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As women, we know how important it is to take charge of our health care-to be informed and proactive. But too often we forget that our mental wellness is an integral part of our overall health. The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women is the definitive resource for women looking for answers to their mental health questions, whether those questions concern a disorder like depression or adjusting to major life changes like motherhood or divorce.

Drawing on the latest thinking in psychiatry and psychology, written for women of diverse backgrounds, The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women begins with Part One, the life cycle, helping women understand the major issues and biological changes associated with young adulthood, middle age, and old age. Specific entries address the psychological importance of women's sexuality, relationships, motherhood, childlessness, trauma, and illness and discuss how social contexts, such as poverty and racism, inevitably affect mental health.

Part Two explores specific mental disorders, including those, like postpartum depression, related to times when women are particularly vulnerable to mental illness. Part Three takes a closer look at biological treatments-including the use of antidepressants, and various types of psychotherapy-from cognitive behavioral treatments to EMDR and beyond. The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women ends with a section on life enhancements-because the activities that help us live fuller, more vital lives are also essential to our mental health.

The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women
* Draws on the knowledge and practical experience of more than fifty psychologists and psychiatrists
* Helps women think through the psychological challenges inherent in the life cycle, from young adulthood through old age
* Focuses on key life issues, from sexuality and relationships to trauma and racism
* Provides important information on mental disorders, their biological treatments, and psychotherapeutic interventions
* Includes a comprehensive list of psychotropic medications, targeted reading suggestions, crucial online resources, and support groups

The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women covers what every woman should know about:
* Aging. What should I expect from menopause? What do I need to know about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy?
* Pregnancy. How will becoming a mother change me? How do I overcome postpartum depression?
* Childlessness. What if I don't want to be a mother?
* Sexuality. Is a "female Viagra" the solution to women's sexual complaints? How does societal ambivalence about women's sexuality affect me?
* Body Image and Eating Disorders. Are all eating disorders a reaction to societal pressures to be thin?
* Polypharmacy. Why are some patients prescribed more than one type of psychotropic drug? Is this overmedicating?
* Finding a Psychotherapist. How do I know if a therapist is right for me? And how do I know what type of therapy I need?
* Anger. Why is it the most difficult emotion for many women to express?
* EMDR. What exactly is EMDR? Is it a reputable therapy?
* Depression and Anxiety. What do I need to know about psychopharmaceuticals? Does talk therapy help?
* Complementary Treatments for Depression and Anxiety. Does St. John's Wort really work? What else might help?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This timely book presents a broad range of information related to mental health from a woman's point of view. For far too long, psychiatry used male" as the norm, presenting women as "less than." With friendly, well-informed, voices, it helps to rectify that bias. This excellent volume is a welcome resource for women. "—Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., author of Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African-Americans
Library Journal
Written for lay readers, this four-part guide addresses mental health issues that pertain to women, from aging and depression to pregnancy and trauma. In Part 1, editor Slater (Prozac Diary) and professors Jessica Henderson Daniel and Amy Banks (both Harvard Medical Sch.) offer a helpful overview on "Psychology and the Life Cycle," which explains the main issues and biological changes of young adulthood, middle age, and old age. In Part 2, more than 50 psychiatrists and psychologists contribute adequate mainstream introductions to the aforementioned topics with good See Also references. Then in Part 3, readers learn about the full range of psychotherapeutic therapies (e.g., EDMR, antidepressants, and psychotherapy), before a closing discussion on "life enhancers" such as exercise. The bibliography is sparse and somewhat eccentric. As the only recent reference that covers both the female life cycle and specific mental disorders, this book is recommended as a starting point for patrons and especially for small libraries that can't afford to purchase the many books that deal in greater depth with the specific issues covered here.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807029251
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 8/17/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,103,762
  • Product dimensions: 8.28 (w) x 10.78 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Slater, Ed.D., is a psychologist and Knight-Ridder Science Journalist Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her writing has appeared in The Best American Science Writing 2002, and she is the author of numerous books, including Prozac Diary and Welcome to My Country.

Jessica Henderson Daniel, Ph.D., ABPP, is director of training in psychology at Children's Hospital, Boston, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women in the American Psychological Association.

Amy Elizabeth Banks, M.D., is Medical Director for Mental Health at the Fenway Community Health Center, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Psychology and the Life Cycle
Life Stages
Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood 1
Pregnancy as a Life Passage 6
Living with Infertility 10
Becoming a Mother 18
Adoption 31
Choosing Childlessness 40
Issues for Women in Middle Age 48
The Fires of Menopause 51
Older Adulthood 56
A Guide to Grief and Bereavement 65
Life Issues: Sexuality
How Do We Define Sexual Health for Women? 74
Female Sexuality 82
Life Issues: Relationships
Growth in Connection 92
Women of Color and Relationships 100
Intimate Relationships 104
Adjusting to Divorce 121
Anger 127
Life Issues: Traumatic Experience
Women and Trauma 134
Domestic Violence 144
Sexual Abuse and Rape 154
Child Abuse, Neglect, and Maltreatment 164
Terrorism 173
The Impact of Chronic and Debilitating Illnesses on Women's Mental Health 177
Social Contexts for Mental Health
Poverty and Women's Mental Health 185
Racism and Mental Health 190
Pt. 2 Mental Disorders
Disorders across the Life Cycle
Anxiety Disorders 197
Depressive Disorders 204
Bipolar Disorder 211
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 214
Body Image 221
Eating Disorders and Disconnections 228
Women and Addictions 238
Schizophrenia 250
Disorders Relating to the Life Cycle
Marriage and Motherhood 253
Postpartum Depression 260
Menopause and Psychiatric Illness 266
Aging and its Effects on Mood, Memory, the Brain, and Hormones 270
Pt. 3 Getting Help
Table: Psychotropic Medications 276
Biological Treatments
Antidepressants 277
Antianxiety Medications 281
Mood Stabilizers 283
Antipsychotic Medications 287
Polypharmacy 291
Medications in Pregnancy 295
Complementary Treatments for Depression and Anxiety 300
Psychotherapeutic Treatments
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 307
Dialectical Behavior Therapy 314
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) 322
Insight-Oriented Psychotherapy 327
Group Psychotherapy with Women 333
Mechanics of Treatment
How to Find and Choose a Therapist 340
What to Expect from Ethical Psychotherapy 344
Questions to Ask a Psychiatrist 355
Pt. 4 Life Enhancements
The Importance of Exercise and Physical Activity for Women 363
Stress Management for Women 369
Play 375
Women and Spirituality 379
Suggested Reading 383
Contributors 389
Index 393
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