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May Cause Side Effects


An unforgettable memoir about the turmoil of antidepressant withdrawal and the work it takes to unravel the stories we tell ourselves to rationalize our suffering—all unfurled against a global backdrop.

“May Cause Side Effects made me weep. It grabs you from the first page and won’t let go. Brooke’s depiction of the fragility and strength of the psyche goes straight to the gut, all at once cutting, wicked, and wise.”—Laura MunsonNew York Times bestselling author and founder of Haven Writing Retreats


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Brooke Siem was among the first generation of teens to be prescribed antidepressants. Initially treated at fifteen years old, she swallowed the capsules each morning with no thought of why or how she might stop the prescriptions down the road.

A decade and a half later, still on the same cocktail of drugs, Brooke was contemplating suicide. She began to ask questions. If the antidepressants were working, then why did she still want to take her own life? And if the antidepressants weren’t working, who might she be without them?

May Cause Side Effects is the gripping story of what happened when, after fifteen years and 32,760 pills, Siem was forced into harrowing antidepressant withdrawal when an opportunity to travel around the world dropped into her lap.

An illuminating memoir for those who take, prescribe, or are considering psychiatric drugs to blunt the pain and experiences that shape our reality, May Cause Side Effects is an honest reminder that, for so many, the road to true healing and happiness is found not on a prescription pad but in the deep self-work that pushes us to the edges of who we are.

Additional information

Dimensions 9 × 6 × 2 in


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