When do you take antidepressants

"Antidepressants - How to use them correctly and who shouldn't take them"

Tom Bschor, Südwest Verlag (Munich) 2018. Hardcover, 224 pages, ISBN: 978-3-517-09736-7

Depression affects a lot of people. According to the recently published guide, around seven percent of all people have suffered from depression in the past twelve months. Typical symptoms include a depressed mood, which can express itself in sadness or depression, but also in a feeling that no feelings can be perceived at all. A loss of joy and interest is also typical, which can lead to things that were previously enjoyable being neglected. To make matters worse, there is often a lack of drive and energy, which can manifest itself in a feeling of exhaustion, so that everyday things can only be mastered with great effort. These and other symptoms can lead to great distress in patients. More and more of them are therefore being treated with antidepressants. There are numerous pitfalls to consider, which are addressed in this book.

In the first part of the book it is presented in layman's language what is scientifically understood by depression, how common depressive illnesses are, how they arise and how they progress. The different groups of antidepressants are presented, their mechanisms of action are explained and side effects are discussed. The author goes into detail and objectively on the rather low potency and the placebo effect, without, however, uncritically rejecting antidepressants.

The second part of the book gives advice on how to use antidepressants correctly. This starts with the central question “Is it even a depression?”, Because only then is drug-based antidepressant treatment useful. There are arguments for and against drug therapy such as B. the respective individual previous experience with antidepressants. A detailed chapter is devoted to alternative or complementary therapeutic measures. In addition to light, wake and psychotherapy, these also include tips on structuring the day, sport and exercise, self-help and promoting a good sleep. Finally, possible strategies for what to do when an antidepressant does not help are discussed. Discontinuation may be useful in some patients. Under certain conditions, however, a higher dosage, a switch to another antidepressant or the combination or supplementation with other drugs (e.g. lithium augmentation) can be useful. Various treatment steps can be standardized according to step-by-step plans, which are discussed at the end of the book.

Prof. Dr. Tom Bschor is the chief physician of a large psychiatric department at a Berlin clinic with many years of clinical and scientific experience in the field of depressive disorders. He is co-author of the German treatment guidelines for depression, deputy chairman of the Berlin Society for Psychiatry and Neurology and a member of the drug commission of the German medical profession.

In the present book, Prof. Bschor has succeeded in presenting the complex topic of depression and the treatment with antidepressants on a scientific level, but in a way that is easy to understand even for laypeople. The clearly structured structure facilitates the overview. Numerous comparisons with clear examples from other areas of life are helpful. The book is intended to help those affected and their relatives to better understand the disease depression and to form their own opinion on treatment.

In summary This is an excellently prepared guide to treatment with antidepressants, which is not only recommended to those affected, but to all interested parties.


Conflicts of Interest

The author denies a conflict of interest.

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