Although mental health experts know far more about the basis for psychiatric disorders than ever before, people are tragically unaware of symptoms and treatment options. The stigma and lack of knowledge continue to keep the majority of sufferers from identifying their problem and receiving the care they need.
Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and Dennis S. Charney, MD, chief of the Mood and Anxiety Disorder Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, have dedicated their careers to the study and treatment of major psychiatric disorders. They have now combined their collective years of study and clinical experience in a book for patients and their families, The Peace of Mind Prescription.
In The Peace of Mind Prescription, patients and their families are guided through a detailed and plain-spoken description of the world of depression and anxiety. The book explains and illustrates the biological basis of mood and anxiety disorders. It provides a chart with medications that may cause or increase anxiety, including such familiar and often self-prescribed drugs as decongestants, sleeping pills, heartburn medications, amphetamines, statins and birth control pills. It outlines treatment options, explains promising lines of research, and gives anecdotal experiences of real patients who have successfully battled depression and anxiety.
"One of the leading causes of death in the United States is suicide," says Dr. Nemeroff. "Until everyone has a clear understanding of mental illness, the stigma will continue to keep people from seeking treatment and could lead to the very real possibility of their doing harm to themselves."
Additionally, The Peace of Mind Prescription includes information on how to find help from local churches, medical centers, professional associations, and support groups.
"As scientists, we have come a long way in identifying the sources of mental illness and finding acceptable treatments for our patients," continues Dr. Nemeroff. "It is just as important to inform those patients, their families, physicians in general, and the rest of society."
During his career, Dr. Nemeroff has concentrated on the biological basis of major neuropsychiatric disorders, including affective disorders, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. He came to Emory as the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in 1991. In 1999, the National Institute of Mental Health awarded him a $13 million grant which supported the establishment of the Emory Conte Center for the Neuroscience of Mental Disorders. The Center, led by Dr. Nemeroff, includes a large team of neuroscientists from Emory, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Princeton who are studying the effects of early life adverse stress.
Dr. Nemeroff is editor-in-chief of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology and co-editor of the American Psychiatric Association's Textbook of Psychopharmacology, now in its Third Edition. He has served on the editorial boards of several leading scientific publications, including the American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, and Synapse. He has published more than 750 research reports and reviews and has made several hundred scholarly presentations. In 2002, Dr. Nemeroff was elected into the Institute of Medicine and in March, 2004, he was the recipient of the National Education Institute's first Lifetime Achievement Award in Psychopharmacology.
The Peace of Mind Prescription is published by Houghton Mifflin and is due to be released on May 5, 2004.