Medication And Female Moods

This program was originally broadcast on March 5, 2015.

Are American women being prescribed psychiatric drugs – anti-depressants, anti-psychotics — for normal emotions? We’ll hear out one psychiatrist’s bold claim.

One in four women use psychiatric medication. The reasons for the medication aren't always so clear. (Flickr)
One in four women use psychiatric medication. The reasons for the medication aren't always so clear. (Flickr / Princesse Ecossaise)

Americans take a lot of pharmaceuticals to control their moods, their emotions, their state of mind.  And women take a lot more than men.  One in four American women, now on some kind of psychiatric medication.  You know the names from the ads all over TV:  Cymbalta, Zoloft, Abilify, more.  My guest today, psychiatrist Julie Holland, says that flood of drugs is shutting down natural emotions that women need.  Numbing women in a way that’s bad for many of them, and bad for society.  This hour On Point:  a cry against medicating women’s feelings.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Dr. Julie Holland, psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. Author of the new book, "Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, The Sleep You're Missing, the Sex You're Not Having and What's Really Making You Crazy." Also author of "Weekends at Bellevue," "Ecstasy" and "The Pot Book." (@BellevueDoc)

Dr. Crystal Clark, psychiatrist and professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Medicating Women’s Feelings — "At least one in four women in America now takes a psychiatric medication, compared with one in seven men. Women are nearly twice as likely to receive a diagnosis of depression or anxiety disorder than men are. For many women, these drugs greatly improve their lives. But for others they aren’t necessary. The increase in prescriptions for psychiatric medications, often by doctors in other specialties, is creating a new normal, encouraging more women to seek chemical assistance. Whether a woman needs these drugs should be a medical decision, not a response to peer pressure and consumerism."

CNN: Are Drugs Stifling Women? — "Modern women are suffering from an energy crisis. Competing in the workplace, caring for aging parents and trying teenagers, and busier than ever, we use anything we can to duct-tape our lives and ourselves together: comfort foods, alcohol, energy drinks, and an expanding array of antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, painkillers and amphetamines. All in an effort to maintain our unnatural pace."

Scientific American: Psychotropic Drugs Affect Men and Women Differently -- "Sex differences in the body's response to medication have long been overlooked. In fact, until the 1990s women were banned from participating in clinical trials in the U.S. Yet women are now almost twice as likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication as men, and research suggests that their different hormones, body composition and metabolism may make them more sensitive to certain drugs. Further, women are between 50 and 75 percent more likely to experience side effects."

Read An Excerpt Of "Moody Bitches" By Dr. Julie Holland

This program aired on December 28, 2015. The audio for this program is not available.


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