Moody Bitches

9781628996135_p0_v1_s192x300It’s not often that you can watch TV without seeing some advertisement for prescription drugs. These advertisements aren’t necessarily meant to be informational. I’m not quite sure what their purpose is, other than to get more people/patients to buy their drugs.  Or rather, to get people/patients to ask their doctors for these drugs. That’s exactly what Moody Bitches is about – the over-prescribed women in this country who are targeted by some of these ads, and by major drug companies who promise better living through medication.  Julie Holland is a psychiatrist practicing in New York City. She sees overwhelmingly more women than men, and talks at great length about their health, hormones, moods, and lifestyles.

After a few years of practicing psychiatry she describes knowing exactly what her patients need – whether it be medication or another form of treatment, and exactly what medication is right for them. The number one most prescribed medication in the country is Abilify. The commercials have been all over TV, seemingly offering help to those suffering from depression, even mild depression. Abilify is actually an anti-psychotic drug, much stronger (and possibly much more dangerous), than most patients need. This isn’t the only prescription drug she calls out, it just happens to be the one most frequently prescribed to patients nationwide.

She tackles not only the various prescription drugs that patients are prescribed, but also the effects of those drugs. What are the ongoing consequences of anxiety and depresstion scripts? This is an important question that she tries to tackle, but it’s something all patients who take those types of drugs should be asking their doctors – and themselves. It affects health, well-being, energy level, mood, and relationships.

This book is really about women, though in her practice she does see men, and there are plenty of men who take prescription drugs for similar conditions. She talks quite a bit about hormones – what they are, what they do, and how to manage them. Hormones change throughout women’s lives, and they’re contintually changing – depending on a woman’s age.  So many of her patients are middle-aged women, so she also addresses menopause. I’m years away (hopefully) from going through that, but when it happens for me, I may pick this book back up. She offers advice on avoiding weight gain, mood swings and improving overall health.  Most importantly, there is advice on aging well.

One important thing she covers is stress. She talks about stress at length, how it affects the body, mood, and families. I first heard about the book when she was interviewed on NPR, and it was during this interview that she talked about the amount of stress women experience.  I was fascinated by this book, and by her in-depth conversation about prescription drugs.  The material is well researched, and Dr Holland pulls from her own experience to deliver this message that all women should read.

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