Cover image for The complete guide to mental health for women
The complete guide to mental health for women
Slater, Lauren.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston, Mass. : Beacon Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
ix, 403 pages ; 28 cm
Electronic Access:
Publisher description

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC451.4.W6 C65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



As women, we know how important it is to take charge of our health care-to be informed and proactive. But too often we forget that our mental wellness is an integral part of our overall health. The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women is the definitive resource for women looking for answers to their mental health questions, whether those questions concern a disorder like depression or adjusting to major life changes like motherhood or divorce. Drawing on the latest thinking in psychiatry and psychology, written for women of diverse backgrounds, The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women begins with Part One, the life cycle, helping women understand the major issues and biological changes associated with young adulthood, middle age, and old age. Specific entries address the psychological importance of women's sexuality, relationships, motherhood, childlessness, trauma, and illness and discuss how social contexts, such as poverty and racism, inevitably affect mental health. Part Two explores specific mental disorders, including those, like postpartum depression, related to times when women are particularly vulnerable to mental illness. Part Three takes a closer look at biological treatments-including the use of antidepressants, and various types of psychotherapy-from cognitive behavioral treatments to EMDR and beyond. The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women ends with a section on life enhancements-because the activities that help us live fuller, more vital lives are also essential to our mental health. The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women * Draws on the knowledge and practical experience of more than fifty psychologists and psychiatrists* Helps women think through the psychological challenges inherent in the life cycle, from young adulthood through old age* Focuses on key life issues, from sexuality and relationships to trauma and racism * Provides important information on mental disorders, their biological treatments, and psychotherapeutic interventions* Includes a comprehensive list of psychotropic medications, targeted reading suggestions, crucial online resources, and support groups The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women covers what every woman should know about- * Aging. What should I expect from menopause? What do I need to know about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy?* Pregnancy. How will becoming a mother change me? How do I overcome postpartum depression?* Childlessness. What if I don't want to be a mother?* Sexuality. Is a "female Viagra" the solution to women's sexual complaints? How does societal ambivalence about women's sexuality affect me? * Body Image and Eating Disorders. Are all eating disorders a reaction to societal pressures to be thin? * Polypharmacy. Why are some patients prescribed more than one type of psychotropic drug? Is this overmedicating?* Finding a Psychotherapist. How do I know if a therapist is right for me? And how do I know what type of therapy I need? * Anger. Why is it the most difficult emotion for many women to express?* EMDR. What exactly is EMDR? Is it a reputable therapy? * Depression and Anxiety. What do I need to know about psychopharmaceuticals? Does talk therapy help?* Complementary Treatments for Depression and Anxiety. Does St. John's Wort really work? What else might help?

Author Notes

Lauren Slater, Ed.D., is a psychologist and Knight-Ridder Science Journalist Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her writing has appeared in The Best American Science Writing 2002, and she is the author of numerous books, including Prozac Diary and Welcome to My Country. Jessica Henderson Daniel, Ph.D., ABPP, is director of training in psychology at Children's Hospital, Boston, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and past president of the Society for the Psychology of Women in the American Psychological Association. Amy Elizabeth Banks, M.D., is Medical Director for Mental Health at the Fenway Community Health Center, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Written for lay readers, this four-part guide addresses mental health issues that pertain to women, from aging and depression to pregnancy and trauma. In Part 1, editor Slater (Prozac Diary) and professors Jessica Henderson Daniel and Amy Banks (both Harvard Medical Sch.) offer a helpful overview on "Psychology and the Life Cycle," which explains the main issues and biological changes of young adulthood, middle age, and old age. In Part 2, more than 50 psychiatrists and psychologists contribute adequate mainstream introductions to the aforementioned topics with good See Also references. Then in Part 3, readers learn about the full range of psychotherapeutic therapies (e.g., EDMR, antidepressants, and psychotherapy), before a closing discussion on "life enhancers" such as exercise. The bibliography is sparse and somewhat eccentric. As the only recent reference that covers both the female life cycle and specific mental disorders, this book is recommended as a starting point for patrons and especially for small libraries that can't afford to purchase the many books that deal in greater depth with the specific issues covered here.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
Part 1 Psychology and the Life Cycle
Life Stages
Late Adolescence and Early Adulthoodp. 1
Pregnancy as a Life Passagep. 6
Living with Infertilityp. 10
Becoming a Motherp. 18
Adoptionp. 31
Choosing Childlessnessp. 40
Issues for Women in Middle Agep. 48
The Fires of Menopausep. 51
Older Adulthoodp. 56
A Guide to Grief and Bereavementp. 65
Life Issues: Sexuality
How Do We Define Sexual Health for Women?p. 74
Female Sexualityp. 82
Life Issues: Relationships
Growth in Connectionp. 92
Women of Color and Relationshipsp. 100
Intimate Relationshipsp. 104
Adjusting to Divorcep. 121
Angerp. 127
Life Issues: Traumatic Experience
Women and Traumap. 134
Domestic Violencep. 144
Sexual Abuse and Rapep. 154
Child Abuse, Neglect, and Maltreatmentp. 164
Terrorismp. 173
The Impact of Chronic and Debilitating Illnesses on Women's Mental Healthp. 177
Social Contexts for Mental Health
Poverty and Women's Mental Healthp. 185
Racism and Mental Healthp. 190
Part 2 Mental Disorders
Disorders across the Life Cycle
Anxiety Disordersp. 197
Depressive Disordersp. 204
Bipolar Disorderp. 211
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorderp. 214
Body Imagep. 221
Eating Disorders and Disconnectionsp. 228
Women and Addictionsp. 238
Schizophreniap. 250
Disorders Relating to the Life Cycle
Marriage and Motherhoodp. 253
Postpartum Depressionp. 260
Menopause and Psychiatric Illnessp. 266
Aging and Its Effects on Mood, Memory, the Brain, and Hormonesp. 270
Part 3 Getting Help
Table: Psychotropic Medicationsp. 276
Biological Treatments
Antidepressantsp. 277
Antianxiety Medicationsp. 281
Mood Stabilizersp. 283
Antipsychotic Medicationsp. 287
Polypharmacyp. 291
Medications in Pregnancyp. 295
Complementary Treatments for Depression and Anxietyp. 300
Psychotherapeutic Treatments
Cognitive Behavioral Therapyp. 307
Dialectical Behavior Therapyp. 314
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)p. 322
Insight-Oriented Psychotherapyp. 327
Group Psychotherapy with Womenp. 333
Mechanics of Treatment
How to Find and Choose a Therapistp. 340
What to Expect from Ethical Psychotherapyp. 344
Questions to Ask a Psychiatristp. 355
Part 4 Life Enhancements
The Importance of Exercise and Physical Activity for Womenp. 363
Stress Management for Womenp. 369
Playp. 375
Women and Spiritualityp. 379
Suggested Readingp. 383
Contributorsp. 389
Indexp. 393