In “The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth,” just released in paperback, psychology professor Irving Kirsch argues that antidepressant drugs are not effective and that the idea of depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain is pure myth. Kirsch provides what he says is evidence that antidepressants are no better than placebo pills. So should millions of Americans flush their pills down the toilet? It’s a dangerous thought, but, if Kirsch is right, so is the idea of people needlessly taking expensive medications with potentially serious side effects. Kirsch’s “black-box warning” that patients should not discontinue taking antidepressants without first consulting with a doctor is, unfortunately, tucked away on Page 152.
“Speed, overload and anxiety have created an elephant in the room,” according to the timely paperback “Married to Distraction.” That elephant’s name is iPhone or BlackBerry or Facebook — or whatever modern technology is standing between a couple. Psychiatrist and ADHD expert Edward M. Hallowell and his wife, social worker Sue George Hallowell, write that “the more attention shatters, the more relationships suffer.” Their book suggests how to deal with what they call “the new world of affairs” — the historically unparalleled availability of sex outside marriage made possible by the Internet — and gives 40 ways to make your marriage great. (No. 1: Pay attention.) The book suggests a 30-minute, 30-day program of communication for troubled couples.