“Coming of Age on Zoloft”: Our Youth On Antidepressants

Coming of Age on Zoloft (2012) by writer/journalist Katherine Sharpe takes the issue of “the medication generation” into more specific territory, “the antidepressant generation.” She includes her own story of using Zoloft for 10 years, starting in college. From the book description:

She explores questions of identity that arise for people who start medication before they have an adult sense of self. She asks why some individuals find a diagnosis of depression reassuring, while others are threatened by it. She presents, in young people’s own words, their intimate and complicated relationships with their medication. And she weighs the cultural implications of America’s biomedical approach to moods.

Among other concerns, Sharpe is afraid that mental health professionals may in effect pathologize and/or squelch the normal emotions of children and adolescents when prescribing antidepressants too readily for psychic pain. What she says about her own experience (wsj.com): “For me, antidepressants had promoted a kind of emotional illiteracy. They had prevented me from noticing the reasons that I felt bad when I did and from appreciating the effects of my own choices.”

The most challenging topic to write about in Coming of Age On Zoloft was her choice to discontinue the antidepressant, which she’s been off now for about six years.

Selected Reviews of Coming of Age on Zoloft

Dr. David Healy, author of Let Them Eat Prozac: “Beautifully written…This is a book for anyone taking or thinking about taking antidepressants, anyone who prescribes them, anyone who wonders about their suitability–or anyone who wants a mirror held up to our time.”

Kirkus Reviews: “Balanced and informative—an education for any parent considering psychiatric medication for a troubled adolescent.”

Publishers Weekly: “This is a fine book that nicely weaves together personal, sociological, and philosophical perspectives for a thoughtful view of how antidepressants are shaping many people’s lives.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *