Against Depressionby Peter D. Kramer
Against Depression is an assessment of the science of mood disorder - a field that has taken leaps forward in the past decade. Walking the reader through the full range of new research, Kramer shows how depression endangers nerve cells, disrupts brain functioning, damages the heart and the blood vessels, alters personal perspective and judgment, and interferes with parenting and family life. As the evidence mounts, there is no denying the obvious - that depression now qualifies fully as a disease, one of the most devastating known to humankind. And yet, says Kramer, "we do not approach depression as a disease, not in our daily thinking." Depression, linked in our culture to a long tradition of "heroic melancholy," is often understood as ennobling - a source of creativity, integrity, insight, and even sensuality. Tracing these beliefs from Aristotle to the Romantics to Picasso, and to present-day memoirs of mood disorder, Kramer suggests that the pervasiveness of the illness has distorted our impression of what it is to be human. He shows how a head-on look at depression as we now know it will change our sense of self, our tastes in art and in love, and our account of what it is to live a good life.
The Washingon Post
Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"Deeply felt... [Kramer's] book is a polemic against a society that accepts depression as a fact of life." —O, The Oprah Magazine
"Kramer makes an eloquent case for considering depression a disease... Captivating, convincing and thorough." —San Francisco Chronicle
In Against Depression, Peter Kramer opens our eyes once again to a fresh, important and humane understanding of the human condition. His bold rethinking of the condition we call 'depression' gives us a clear-eyed scenario for freedom from the grip of this soul-searing disorder." —Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
"There is nothing romantic in the suffering of depression. Kramer shows us the horrific reality of the illness, dispelling myths that pervade popular culture. This book should usher in an era when the disordered chemistry of the brain is viewed with the same concern and care that mark the treatment of any malady." —Jerome Groopman, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
"Here one of our most thoughtful psychiatrists attends a wide-spread psychological malady—the bouts of melancholy that afflict so many individuals, laying them low in mind and spirit. This book offers much critical wisdom, even as it is written with a grace and sensitivity that will endear its words to the reader." —Robert Coles, Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Humanities, Harvard Medical School
"Our treasured sense of self is often challenged by neuroscience—how do you wedge 'Self' in among neurons and synapses and neurotransmitters? No one has written about these issues in a more sensitive, thought-provoking and accessible way, and has touched more people in the process, than Peter Kramer." —Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.32(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.19(d)
Meet the Author
Peter D. Kramer, M.D., recently named host of the national, weekly public radio series, The Infinite Mind, is "possibly the best-known psychiatrist in America," as The New York Times put it. Peter Kramer received his M.D. from Harvard and is the best-selling author of Listening to Prozac, Should You Leave?, Spectacular Happiness, and Moments of Engagement. His latest book, Against Depression, will be published in May 2005.
In 2004, two programs of The Infinite Mind hosted by Kramer won top media awards: a Gracie Allen Award from the American Women in Radio and Television for an examination of "Domestic Violence" and a National Mental Health Association Media Award for “Between Two Worlds: Mental Health for Immigrants. Kramer has written for The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book Review, The Washington Post, the (London) Times Literary Supplement and U.S. News & World Report, among other publications. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, and has a private practice.
Visit Dr. Peter D. Kramer on the web: http://www.peterdkramer.com
The Infinite Mind: http://www.theinfinitemind.com/
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I'm a big fan of Peter Kramer's books, especially Listening to Prozac, which is a psychopharmacological classic. Against Depression does not disappoint either, and in it he dispels the modern notion that depression should be held in esteem and even romanticized. He instead sees depression as simply an ugly, biological disease of the brain, that can also have negative effects on the rest of the body. He cites evidence that depression can be associated with damage to the brain, which is a frightening possibility. On the other hand, it should be noted that within the last decade or so it has been shown that the adult human brain can generate new neurons, so perhaps the brain can heal itself from potential damage due to depression. A mild criticism: perhaps Dr. Kramer should draw a distinction between someone who's a bit melancholic and wistful--where these two traits may be viewed as appealing by some--and someone with overt major depression, including sleep disturbance and other highly unpleasant symptoms. The former person may not have anything truly 'wrong' with his brain, whereas the latter probably does. Overall, a very well written book, with a philosophical bent, that should appeal to anyone interested in depression.