The Truth about the Drugs You're Taking, the Sleep You're Missing, the Sex You're Not Having & What's Really Making You Crazy
By Dr Julie Holland
OVERWORKED? Exhausted? Powering between career, family and friends and frazzled and libido-less as a result?
If you've mentally checked most of these, Dr Julie Holland has something to say that you might want to hear.
To be clear, this is NOT one of those fuzzy, feelgood self-help books that offer sweeping generalisations or one-size-fits-all solutions to life's ills. There are 55 pages of footnotes in addition to a lengthy appendix and glossary of terms in what is a seriously considered piece of work.
Holland is a certified psychopharmacologist (great job title!). That makes her an expert on drugs and the brain - something she taps into when discussing the pros and cons of anti-depressants and other forms of medication designed to alter our moods or bodily functions.
While packing a lot of information into her book (consider the book's subtitle for a moment and you'll appreciate why that is), Holland orders into logically. It's no dry academic tome either. Section titles include "The Moody Bithces Survical Guide", "Mating, MILFS, Monogamy and Menopause" and "A Sex Guide That Actually Works".
The title of her conclusion - "Staying Sane in an Insane World" - points towards her appeal to women to find a natural balance. And while she discusses medication in quite some detail, there's a definite emphasis on the word "natural".
Holland states: "Too many of us are out of sync with our bodies and our environment, and that disconnect is making us sick, fat, tired. wired, and miserable." Those moods are, in fact, "our body's own amazing feedback system".
In essence, there's a defence of the need to be moody. Being able to truly feel - pain as well as pleasure - is essential to doing something about it, goes the argument.
There's an empowering message too about self-acceptance, about the need to start somewhere and not postpone the process until after losing a certain amount of weight, landing a new job or finding a partner.
Amidst the theory and case studies, there's also some very practical advice on everything from stopping smoking to tackling over-eating and "grazing" in the "no-man's land between dinner and bedtime".
By the end of the book, you may well feel that Holland has lived up to that incredibly bold, sweeping subtitle. And that's quite an achievement.