Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It

Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It

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by J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., Leslie Alan Horvitz
     
 

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"The best place to begin the process of becoming informed."
–Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., author of An Unquiet Mind

"Understanding Depression gives coherent form to modern science’s confused wisdom about the illness, and does so in an accessible, intelligent way."
–Andrew Solomon, author of the National Book

Overview

"The best place to begin the process of becoming informed."
–Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., author of An Unquiet Mind

"Understanding Depression gives coherent form to modern science’s confused wisdom about the illness, and does so in an accessible, intelligent way."
–Andrew Solomon, author of the National Book Award—winner
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

"Understanding Depression answers all the questions the layman wants the answers to. It’s a book people will refer to time and time again. This book was needed, and J. Raymond DePaulo and Leslie Alan Horvitz have done us all a tremendous service."
–Art Buchwald

"Understanding Depression is a one-stop, all-inclusive source that leaves no question unanswered . . . simply the best, most comprehensive book on depression I’ve ever read. Dr. DePaulo’s book will become required reading for all my patients."
–Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D., author of Self-Coaching: How to Heal Anxiety and Depression

In Understanding Depression, one of the world’s foremost authorities on depression presents a thorough, accessible guide to depression’s nature, causes, effects, and treatments. Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo Jr. of the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows you how to find out if what you’re coping with is, in fact, depression. He then examines the full range of proven therapies, both mainstream and alternative, that are currently available. Using insightful and dramatic case stories from DePaulo’s own clinical experience, this user-friendly handbook is a truly indispensable resource for anyone who must deal directly or indirectly with the devastating effects of this common, frightening, and ultimately controllable condition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"No one system, organ, or other factor is responsible for depression-not one steroid, not one gene, not one neurotransmitter, and not a lesion on one side of the brain or the other. What we seem to have is a stew with lots of different and exotic." So explains DePaulo (How to Cope with Depression), psychiatry professor and director of the Affective Mental Disorder Clinic at John Hopkins School of Medicine, in this thoughtful, exhaustive reference on depression for general readers. DePaulo covers all aspects of the illness-what it feels like; who tends to have it (women are two or three times more likely to be diagnosed than men, not necessarily the same thing); the biology of depression; possible courses of therapy; and psychopharmacology. DePaulo also discusses bipolar disorder (manic depression), and he covers both mainstream and alternative treatments. He believes doctors should involve family and friends of the patient (which, though ideal, is probably impractical for doctors on most health-care plans), and explains how the children and other family members of those with depression are affected by the disease. The chapters on finding the right treatment and how doctors make diagnoses will be extremely useful for those suffering from the disease. Though some of the writing is a touch sloppy and clunky, readers will find this an invaluable resource. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, March 4, 2002)

There are three audiences for this authoritative book: people who think they may be depressed, those whose condition has already been diagnosed and are in treatment, and those who are concerned about someone who is either in treatment or probably needs to be.
Dr. DePaulo, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Affective Disorders Clinic at the Johns Hopkins medical school, not only tells what the experts know, he also reveals the gap in knowledge about the causes, precipitants and treatments. Medical science, he says, is still unclear about the fundamental brain and genetic mechanisms underlying depression.
One of the most disabling aspects of the disease is that sufferers often don't even know they have it. Dr. DePaulo examines traditional and alternative therapies and provides other sources that can help.
His bottom line is that depression is worse than mere sadness or being in a "bad mood." The hallmark of severe depression, he says, is "an inclination to despair" and the inability of many people to feel anything whatsoever.
What Dr. DePaulo calls the "soul of depression" is "a sense of being anesthetized or deadened." He elaborates with an anecdote about Dick Cavett, the talk show host and writer, who suffered from depression. A psychiatrist, comparing depression to the "awful grief" he experienced over the death of his own parents, told Mr. Cavett he understood his problem based on that experience.
According to the writers, Mr. Cavett replied: "Do you think grief is anything like depression? Go with grief. It's better. In grief you're at least feeling a rich, deep feeling. In depression you don't even have that, it's just that awful feeling of nullity." (The New York Times Science Times/Health & Fitness Section, Tuesday, May 28, 2002)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471430308
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
05/22/2003
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"I have been privileged to work and teach with Dr. De Paulo at Johns Hopkins for the past fifteen years. He is, without doubt, one of the best clinicians and clinical teachers I have ever known. His understanding of depression is deeply grounded in science, and his treatment approach is characterized by compassion, pragmatism, subtlety, and an obvious affection and respect for the many thousands of patients he has so effectively treated.
None of us has a choice about becoming depressed. We do, however, have a choice about becoming informed about our illnesses. Understanding Depression is the best place to begin the process of becoming informed." —Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, New York Times bestselling author of An Unquiet Mind and Touched with Fire

"UNDERSTANDING DEPRESSION answers all the questions the layman wants the answers to. It's a book people will refer to time and time again. This book was needed, and J. Raymond DePaulo and Leslie Alan Horvitz have done us all a tremendous service." —Art Buchwald, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author)

"Understanding Depression gives coherent form to modern science's confused wisdom about the illness, and does so in an accessible, intelligent way." —Andrew Solomon, author of the 2001 National Book Award winner for nonfiction, the New York Times bestselling The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

Meet the Author

J. RAYMOND DePAULO Jr., M.D., is the Henry Phipps Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and founder of the Affective Disorders Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Internationally known as a clinician, teacher, and research expert on depression and manic-depressive illness, Dr. DePaulo has won many awards for research and teaching, and he has been selected as one of the "Best Doctors in America" in each of the three editions of the book.
LESLIE ALAN HORVITZ is a freelance writer based in New York.

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Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After being diagnosed with Dysthymia Disorder a couple of months ago I wanted to read as much as I could about depression and what I can do for myself along with my therapist. This book is so great! It validated exactly what I've been feeling since I was about 13 years old. I highly reccomend it for anyone who thinks they might be suffering from any form of depression.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most thorough books on depression that I've read. The book covers so much territory that novices and experts alike will surely learn quite a bit. The quality of writing is quite high, though some sections could possibly have been shortened. The organization of the book is pretty straightforward and intuitive, and I found this to be a smooth and easy read. My biggest criticism is that I would have liked to see the author open up a little more with more insider tips and idiosyncratic findings, rather than tending a little more toward reserved generalities. Nonetheless, the book is still quite detailed and well worth reading if you're interested at all in the subject of depression.