Description: Despite the tremendous advances in the understanding of brain mechanisms involved in mood regulation, very little of this knowledge has translated into better treatments. There has been no real improvement in the treatment of depression over the past several decades. The SSRIs have turned out to be placebo-level antidepressants, as have rTMS and vagal nerve stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is still at the research stage and not ready for prime time. This book addresses the recent advances in the neurobiological understanding of mood and how that neurobiology changes with depression.
Purpose: The goal of the book, as stated by the editors, "is to bring together scholarly reviews from experts working across these disciplines (behavioral neuroscience)."
Audience: The intended audience includes researchers and clinicians in the field.
Features: The first two parts of the book focus on the clinical features of depression as well as the molecular mechanisms and cellular physiology involved. Part 3 contains interesting chapters on emotional processing and antidepressants, and fear and reward learning. The last part covers treatments, but with significant omissions. I find it quite disheartening that a book covering the neurobiology of depression, written by well-known clinician-researchers in the field, does not even mention electroconvulsive therapy. There is a chapter on neurosurgical treatments with discussions of vagal nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation, but yet the most well-known efficacious treatment in psychiatry in general or for depression specifically, is not discussed at all!
Assessment: Written and edited by internationally recognized clinician-researchers in the field, I have many concerns about this book and, unfortunately I cannot recommend it, except for several of the chapters. It is a mediocre (at best) book on depression and some of its treatments.