By Peter D. Kramer
Because it was once brought in 1987, Prozac has been prescribed to just about 5 million americans. yet what's Prozac? a medicine or a psychological steroid? A healing for melancholy, or a drug that alterations character? suggested to show shy humans into social butterflies and to enhance paintings functionality, reminiscence, even dexterity, does Prozac paintings on personality instead of disorder? Are we utilizing it cosmetically, to make humans extra appealing, extra lively, extra socially appropriate? And what does it let us know in regards to the nature of personality and the mutability of self? With the addition of an afterword that provides us an up to date record on Prozac in the US this day, together with his own observations, reactions to his critics, and the newest clinical examine, psychiatrist Peter Kramer reinforces what the recent York instances calls 'an clever and informative book...which tells us new issues concerning the chemistry of human character.'
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Additional info for Listening to Prozac: The Landmark Book About Antidepressants and the Remaking of the Self
Now there will arise questions about how patients slightly less compulsive than Julia should be categorized and treated. To see how far this new penumbra extends, I want to return to Julia's decision to contact me for treatment. Julia called because she identified with a patient I had described in a magazine article. That patient was Tess. I had described Tess as "a hard-working executive so attentive to detail in her professional life that she found little time to socialize . . " Those few words struck a chord with Julia, convinced her that she and Tess-very different women-might have something biologically in common.
When l saw the impact of medication on patients' self-concept, I came to believe that even if we tried to understand these matters complexly, new medications would redraw our map of those parts of the self that are biologically responsive, so that we would arrive, as a culture, at a new consensus about the human condition. An indication of the power of medication to reshape a person's identity is contained in the sentence Tess used when, eight months after first stopping Prozac, she telephoned me to ask whether she might resume the medication.
The problem earlier may have been as much one of unwillingness to attract men as inability. These traits, which might loosely be termed compulsive, disappeared when Tess rook Prozac. And of course we may attribute her new ability ro forger her married ex-boyfriend Jim ro a true anticompulsive effect of drug treatment. We have earlier considered Tess's transformation in terms of the alleviation of chronic depression. Here is a somewhat different way of conceptualizing her responses to medication: the imipramine had handled her acute depression.
Listening to Prozac: The Landmark Book About Antidepressants and the Remaking of the Self by Peter D. Kramer