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Growing from Depression is a counterintuitive, perhaps even provocative title for a self-help guide on depression, but I chose it for what I think are three very good reasons.
First, I wanted to challenge perceptions of people with depression. Rather than being ‘lazy’ or ‘losers’, they are often among some of the most ambitious, truthful, and courageous of all people.
Second, whereas getting ill is never a good thing, depression can present a precious opportunity to recognise and to address difficult life problems. This can lead not only to a better future, but also to a more refined perspective and deeper understanding of one’s life and of life in general.
Third, and perhaps most obviously, the journey out of depression is one of learning: learning about oneself, of course, but also learning about the many life skills that are covered in this book, skills such as defeating thinking errors, managing stress and anxiety, building confidence and self-esteem, building relationships, eating healthily, and getting a good night’s sleep. These skills should not only help you to get better, but also to stay better and to enjoy a better quality of life than ever before.
Dr Neel Burton is a psychiatrist and philosopher who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. He is the recipient of the Society of Authors’ Richard Asher Prize, the British Medical Association’s Young Authors’ Award, and the Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Award. His other books include The Art of Failure and The Meaning of Madness, both also with Acheron Press.
Section A: Understanding depression
1. What is depression?
2. How is depression diagnosed?
3. What are the causes of depression?
4. Whom does depression affect?
Section B: Understanding treatments
5. Psychological treatments
6. Antidepressant drugs
7. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Section C: Modular self-help
8. Fighting depression
9. Defeating thinking errors
10. Managing stress
11. Managing anxiety
12. Fighting thoughts of self-harm
13. Fighting suicidal thoughts
14. Building confidence and self-esteem
15. Building relationships
16. Improving concentration and memory
17. Coping with psychotic symptoms
18. Monitoring your physical health
19. Eating healthily
20. Taking exercise
21. Sleeping well
22. Staying off alcohol and drugs
23. Preventing relapses
Section D: Mental healthcare services and the law
24. A guide to mental healthcare services
25. The care programme approach
26. The Mental Health Act
27. Driving and DVLA regulations
28. Social benefits
29. Advice for carers
30. Useful addresses