Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective Alternatives, by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D.

16th October 2023

Dr. Glenmullen's book is written by a psychiatrist who is said to have prescribed copious amounts of Prozac and other antidepressants in his practice for up to eight or more years. He started out as being very enthused about the use of Prozac and other SSRIs, but in time came to find that what started out sweet often ended sour, and led to many long-term problems with his patients.
He elaborates on this thought in his book Prozac Backlash, and highlights the idea that “ lifestyle changes” are what is necessary in order to cope and overcome depression, in addition to, for some, talking things out and getting support. Some who may have had problems in childhood or other traumas may be in need of therapy.

Dr. Glenmullen presents his thought and evidence that extended use of such mood altering drugs as Prozac, over long periods of time can damage the dendrite endings of brain cells, giving pictures to illustrate what can happen. It is a wake-up call for many who are on Prozac and other SSRIs, that the temporary use of antidepressants should never become a lifestyle.

He recommends the use of Prozac and other SSRIs only as a temporary measure, 2-4 months at the most, for persons whose life might be in danger from depression or suicidal thoughts, as a preventive measure and bridge, while lifestyle issues are sorted through and a more comprehensive plan is initiated.

Dr. Glenmullen followed up with a second book on the subject that is designed for use between patients and their medical doctors, so as to be able to come off SSRIs gradually and in a controlled manner, while working on lifestyle changes.

Doctor Glenmullen gives rather convincing arguments in favor of this viewpoint on antidepressants, much of it from his experience as a psychiatrist and in his use of SSRIs in his practice. At the same time, the one area this book falls short is in the offering of practical coping skills and positive measures to overcome depression. But as an impetus to come off antidepressants and to provide evidence of the need to do so, it is an excellent reference.

Also, The Antidepressant Solution by Dr. Glenmullen, describes how to gradually wean oneself off of antidepressants, overcome "addiction" to antidepressants, and to do it safely with one's doctor.