Depression is often treated with pharmaceutical drugs, but author Katherine Sharpe says it doesn’t always have to be.
“Antidepressants are over-prescribed. There are special reasons to be cautious when prescribing them for young people,” said Sharpe, who recently penned “Coming of Age on Zoloft,” a partly memoir, partly researched look at the pervasiveness of SSRI antidepressants in our culture. “I haven’t heard a lot of angles in the debate so this was something I wanted to add.”
Sharpe says she was prescribed Zoloft when she was 18 after a visit to her college health center complaining about homesickness — but she soon found out she wasn’t alone.
“There was a moment when I realized an absurd number of my classmates at school were also on antidepressants, that it was a phenomenon,” she said. “And in researching the book, I found out that girls take antidepressants at a rate more than twice that as boys.”
Sharpe, who will read from what is her first book at BookCourt on June 18, eventually stopped taking the drugs after nine years, an experience she says was catalyzed by living in Brooklyn.
“A lot of people find New York to be a very intense and emotional place to live, it intensifies everything,” said Sharpe.
“When I got off, I started noticing things I didn’t noticed before. You’ll pass somebody crying or having a really emotional conversation in public. I found that weirdly comforting, we’re all just living our lives the best we can here. Maybe in the back of my head I thought that if I can get rid of antidepressants here I can do it any where!”
Katherine Sharpe at BookCourt [163 Court St. between Pacific and Dean streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 875–3677, www.bookcourt.com] June 18, 7 pm.Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg