by Julie Holland
Penguin Press, 2015
Review by Hennie Weiss on May 19th 2015
Julie Holland M.D. has written an extensive guide for women covering both their mental, physical and emotional health and well being in Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You're Taking, the Sleep You're Missing, the Sex You're Not Having and What's Really Making You Crazy. Being an M.D., part of Holland's job is to prescribe medication to patients in need. Yet, Holland realizes that in America there is a tendency to overmedicate patients, chemically altering their brains, often without solving the root of the problem as to why they were seeking help initially. Most of us are aware that overprescribing is becoming a problem (not simply in America, but in many other countries as well), that addiction to prescription medication is a serious issue, and that the market for various medications is ever expanding. During a time when we medicate for everything, Holland provides a refreshing view concerning how we should deal with and tackle our emotional and physical health, and the most natural ways in which we can start feeling healthy and happy again.
Holland covers many topics in her book, but does so in a manner that is not confusing or too clinical, but simply matter of fact. Holland provides personal stories mixed with research to describe how women's bodies work, how various medicines disrupt the hormonal balance in the body, and what medications and other remedies that seem to work better for patients. In fact, not all medications for women are even tested on women before they are sold. "Nearly all medical research, and in particular drug research, is still performed on male subjects, whether animal or human. Later, when the drugs come to market, problems specific to women may surface only after the drug has been in use for many years. Eight of ten drugs withdrawn from the market between 1997 and 2001 posed greater health risks for women than for men" (p. 33). Holland is therefore a proponent of helping women become healthy and happy in the most natural way possibly before introducing medications. Holland describes how looking over and changing patterns of sleep, sex, diet, exercise and various lifestyle choices can be more helpful when dealing with an issue such as sleeplessness, lack of energy or feeling anxious and depressed. But Holland also goes into detail of exactly what happens to your body as you go through different stages in life, such as perimenopause, menopause, as you become pregnant and have children, and as women age in general. Along the way Holland also discusses how our hormones not only fluctuate monthly as part of women's cycles, but how our bodies are affected by ingesting oral contraceptives and antidepressants among other medications.
Holland believes in a more holistic approach to women's health, starting with an understanding of how our bodies work, how they are affected by our lifestyles, and what medications are best for women to use. Holland brings a refreshing view of self-care in an age when most of us are quick to turn to various medications to alleviate and treat symptoms and bodily complaints. As noted, the intended audience of the book are women, of any age, and it is never too early or too late to change ones lifestyle choices and perhaps medication to live a healthier and more fulfilled life. Moody Bitches is a valuable tool for women to read as they approach their own life and make choices to better their own health and well being.
© 2015 Hennie Weiss
Hennie Weiss has a Master's degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento. Her academic interests include women's studies, gender, sexuality and feminism.