Katherine Sharpe


Katherine Sharpe is a writer based in Berkeley, CA. Her first book, Coming of Age on Zoloft, explores what it means to grow up in the antidepressant era. It was published by Harper Perennial in 2012.


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Wired Science Interview

The science writer and blogger David Dobbs, whom I know slightly from back when he blogged at ScienceBlogs and I edited there—and whose great Atlantic magazine piece reframing childhood depression was an inspiration and a fascination to me a few years back—has posted an interview with me about SSRIs, talk therapy, identity, youth, and mood at his Wired Science blog, Neuron Culture.

Reading at BookCourt in Brooklyn, June 18

I’m reading from Coming of Age on Zoloft, doing a brief Q&A, and signing books at one of my favorite bookstores, BookCourt in Brooklyn Heights.

The reading is at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 18. It’s free and open to all.

This is the first public event for COAOZ, and I expect a festive mood—including the possibility of some group self-medication with food and drink at a local establishment afterward. Come on out if you’re in the area!

BookCourt is located at 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, a couple blocks below Atlantic Avenue. Get the event details on Facebook.

(Image: Drawn and Quarterly)

Bad Mothers and Single Women: A History of Antidepressant Advertisements, on HuffPo

Huffington Post has run a collection of advertisements for antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, from the late 1960s to this year, that I put together.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, I find: the ads still pathologize women, and they still invite us to interpret everyday life stress as a sign of mental illness.

(Image: Advertisement for Serax, JAMA 200:8 (1967), p. 206-7)

Elle Magazine Review

Q: What, besides our initials, do Kristen Stewart and I have in common?
A: Real estate in the June issue of Elle magazine!

Here’s the full text of the review of Zoloft by Lisa Shea, from page 172.

Intiuitive and investigative, personal and historical, narrative-rich and fact-packed, Katherine Sharpe’s memoir, Coming of Age on Zoloft (HarperPerennial), examines how a generation of Americans—she included—has been treated for the age-old malady of depression in an era of biomedical predominance that defines the syndrome first and foremost as a chemical imbalance.

Sharpe was prescribed Zoloft, one of the SSRI class of antidepressants, as a college freshman following a panic attack; her diagnosis came after a 20-minute conversation with a campus mental-health counselor. Looking back, she reveals that her father had been on medication for depression since Sharpe, who was born in 1979, was a preteen, pointing to a possible genetic predisposition. During the summer before college, she writes, nostalgia for high school gave way to anxiety and fear—feelings that, combined with being dumped by her boyfriend, ‘created a space that seemed to attract all kinds of negativity into itself.’

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“Prozac Campus” at the Chronicle of Higher Ed…

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a great publication that I’ve dipped into at times over the years, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re running an excerpt from Zoloft.

My article, “Prozac Campus: The Next Generation,” which is largely condensed from the second-to-last chapter of the book, is up at the Chronicle Review, with lively commenting so far. Check it out…

(Image: Christophe Vorlet for The Chronicle Review)


My friend, former classmate, and Goodreads community member to the stars, Jessica Stults, just posted a long and generous review of Zoloft on the site. It generated a nice discussion thread.

If you belong to Goodreads, get over there and add your two cents. Also friend Jessica, because she’s brilliant. While you’re at it, friend me, too.


A Blood Test for Depression?

Everybody knows there’s no physical test for mental disorders. Or is there?

I have a post up at Psychology Today, examining a new blood test that claims to be able to diagnose major depression with about 80 percent specificity and 90 percent sensitivity, per its press release. My diagnosis: not so fast.

Psychology Today Blog

My Psychology Today blog, Generation Meds, is up and running with a post introducing me and the book and the bloggery to come. Check it out…