Surviving America's Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy

Surviving America's Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy

3.5 2
by Bruce E. Levine

Millions of us have experienced periods of low morale, struggled to find cheer in the day-to-day world, and then found ourselves pacified into believing the smooth-talking spokesperson in yet another medication ad. We’ve all heard them, there’s no denying the fact that these ads have made each of us wonder: Do I suffer from depression? Would I be

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Millions of us have experienced periods of low morale, struggled to find cheer in the day-to-day world, and then found ourselves pacified into believing the smooth-talking spokesperson in yet another medication ad. We’ve all heard them, there’s no denying the fact that these ads have made each of us wonder: Do I suffer from depression? Would I be happier and healthier if I simply consulted my physician and requested (insert drug name here)?

The rate of clinical depression in the U.S. has increased more than tenfold in the last fifty years. Is this epidemic properly being addressed by the insurance, pharmaceutical, and governmental powers-that-be or exacerbated by a failing system focused on instant results and high profit margins? Dr. Bruce E. Levine, a highly respected clinical psychologist, argues the latter and provides a compelling alternative approach to treating depression that makes lasting change more likely than with symptom-based treatment through medication.

Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic delves into the roots of depression and links our increasingly consumer-based culture and standard-practice psychiatric treatments to worsening depression, instead of solving it. In an easy-to-understand narrative style, Dr. Levine prescribes antidotes to depression including the keys to building morale and selfhealing. Unlike short-term, drug-based solutions, these antidotes foster a long-term cycle where people rediscover passion and purpose, and find meaning in acting on their societal concerns.

A groundbreaking work, atypical of the shelf-loads of “pep-talk” based self help books on the market, Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic provides the knowledge and counsel of a practicing psychologist in a digestible format that will improve your future. A must read for guidance and pastoral counselors; non-dogmatic psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers; and those tired of the TV ads shilling for better living through chemistry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Bruce Levine exposes our unhealthy way of life. He argues convincingly that modern medicine--marvel that it is--cannot save us from the pains and struggles that come with living and dying. His is a trenchant, though not ideological, critique of 'powers and principalities' that prey upon depression, powers that have greatly increased in our lifetime. His simple calls to restore lost communal and personal practices ring true. I plan to share this book with church members fighting depression or tempted to despair."--Rev. Randy Cooper, United Methodist pastor (Ripley, TN)

"Surviving America's Depression Epidemic offers a fresh perspective on what ails America, the 'community malnourishment' that fuels dispirited morale, disconnectedness, and a frantic search for meaning. Dr. Levine challenges us to look past diagnoses and labels, reminding us that community and horizontal connections inherently offer the balance with which our souls can be nourished, helping us discern lasting paths to healing and wholeness in American life."--Rabbi Lewis H. Kamrass, Isaac M. Wise Temple (Cincinnati, OH)

"While Surviving America's Depression Epidemic is an excellent self-help book, it is not just for the clinically depressed. This well-conceived and researched book illuminates the general malaise tinting the canvas of our lives and validates the background of unhappiness inherent in our contemporary lifestyles--a background often mislabeled as pathological. We are all trying to survive this epidemic. The book is empowering, energizing, and provides a road map to greater psychological health, motivation, and fulfillment."--Stuart Shipko, M.D., author of Surviving Panic Disorder

"Surviving America's Depression Epidemic inspired me as I was reading it and a few days later I even notice that some of my own ideas and behaviors have actually changed. There are many brilliant insights throughout, forgotten in our modern helping culture. The book would be just as--or even more--useful for helping professionals as for laypersons. It's the best self-help book I've ever read and I'd recommend it to anyone. What makes the book so valuable and interesting... is that Bruce links the most private personal troubles to the most complex socio-economic trends, without trivializing either dimension. Rather he constantly engages the reader, revitalizes, and inspires one to want to transform oneself and the world. Is there anything more to ask for?"--Professor David Cohen, College of Social Work, Justice, and Public Affairs, Florida International University and co-author of Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Drugs

"A distinct pleasure. A thoughtful, compassionate and refreshingly humble look at what we call depression--well-written, easy-to-read, original--a philosophical treatise on the nature of 'being,' what it means to be alive, and the debilitating nature of our corporate society. It prompts the reader to embrace a much more expansive notion of what might be considered a 'normal' range of emotions."
--Robert Whitaker, winner of the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and author of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill

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Product Details

Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)

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Surviving America's Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author implicitly promotes the Scientologist views that all pharmeceuticals for mental deficits are bad, wrong and stupid. If you agree with this viewpoint, you'll like this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do not say this lightly: This book saved my life. Last year I picked up Bruce Levine's 'Surviving America's Depression Epidemic' at Barnes & Noble as a sort of impulse buy. I was scouring the self-help/psychology section during what was probably my worst depressive episode of my entire life. I don't know what possessed me to pick this particular book. I seriously wasn't expecting much. I wasn't actually familar with the author and the title itself is sort of hokey-sounding. I was prepared for nothing more than a superficial rewording of stuff that I'd already heard a million times or some crackpot theory. However, as soon as I got past the title and started on the introduction, I realized I was reading something very, very different. Dr. Levine's book is well-written, well-researched (the last 24 or so pages of the book consists of copious bibliographical notes), and well-designed. But it isn't just rehashing of old information with a new wrapper. Levine culls much insight out of the available research on not only the nature of what we call 'depression' but also into the way we live. What most struck me was that Levine absolutely refuses to oversimplify the problem of depression. He tackles the issues from an expansive sociological framework that puts what clinical psychology labels as an 'illness' into a wider historical, social, and personal context. His thesis is as follows (quoting from the Introduction itself): 'Americans live in the age of industrialized medicine, and everyone - inside and outside of health care - is now in the same boat. Doctors are financially pressured to be speedy mechanics, and patients often recieve assembly-line treatment, which can be a painful reminder of their assembly-line lives. While most Americans manage to go to work and pay their bills, more than a few struggle just to get out of bed, and growing numbers feel fragile, hollow, hopeless, and defeated. 'In 1998, Martin Seligman, then president of the American Psychological Association, spoke to the National Press club about an American depression epidemic: '[W]e discovered two astonishing things about the rate of depression across the century. The first was there now is between ten and twenty times as much of it as there was fifty years ago. And the second is that it has become a young person's problem. When I first started working in depression thirty years ago... the average age of onset was 29.5. Now the average age is between fourteen and fifteen.' 'Despite the unparalleled material wealth of the United States, we Americans - especially our young - are increasingly unhappy. What is happening in our society and culture? How is it that the more we have come to rely on mental health professionals, the higher the rates of depression? And are we in need of a different approach to overcoming despair?' Levine tackles these questions with tenacity and wisdom I've never seen in any other book on depression. He redefines depression itself as a coping mechanism to shut down the anguish we feel. He offers hope to those who feel sensitive and misunderstood by relating historical examples (from Abraham Lincoln to Kurt Cobain) and offers insights into how we as individuals can find ourselves at odds with the society we grew up in. Depression is not a disease to be anesthetized with drugs, but a vital cry of our own humanity calling out to us in a largely dehumanizing world. Doctors no longer treat us as individuals just when we truly need it, but rather we become a list of symptoms and a consequent prescription. This all may sound at odds with the current research on depression as a biological disorder organic to the brain. However, Levine reveals that this isn't at all at odds with the current RESEARCH (which has never supported a purely chemical genesis for depression) but rather the current THEORY of biological depression as popularized almost exclusively by pharmaceutical industry propaganda. It's interesting that Levi