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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
There's been a great deal of attention paid in recent years to the biological underpinnings of depression and to the powerful drugs now available to help treat it. There's no doubt that these medications have helped countless sufferers, writes psychologist and family therapist Michael Yapko in his new book, Hand-Me-Down Blues, but amid all the hype it's easy to forget that depression is a much more complicated disorder than a simple biochemical imbalance. If it were that simple, he argues, we wouldn't see the variable rates of depression that exist among different age groups, genders, and cultures. And presumably we'd be able to diagnose depression with a blood test or a simple brain scan, something not likely to be true anytime soon. Yapko reminds us that depression is influenced by and influences everything in our lives, especially our interpersonal relationships.
It's for this reason that Yapko sees the desperate need to address the phenomenon of depression in families. Of course there is a genetic component in many cases, Yapko acknowledges, but he writes that his more than two decades of experience as a therapist treating depressed individuals, couples, and families have convinced him that the family is "a powerful system, both for unwittingly teaching depression and for helping to overcome it." In Hand-Me-Down Blues, he offers advice on how families can deal effectively with depression, above and beyond filling a prescription. He examines depression's psychological and biological roots, the effect it often has on marriage and on family dynamics, and its powertoharm families, especially in combination with the negative cultural influences many families are experiencing today. Yapko offers practical advice on how to stop depression from spreading in families and on how to strengthen and rebuild families to withstand inevitable stresses. Throughout, he draws on examples from case studies that help to reassure and to clarify. Hand-Me-Down Blues offers hope that family members, who so often feel miserably helpless in the face of a loved one's depression, can effectively help each other fight this damaging disorder.