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4.6 out of 5 stars
Beat the Blues Before They Beat You: How to Overcome Depression
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2011
I have been in a funk for a few years, and attributed it to a normal reaction to some significant losses in my life. My depression manifested itself as serious inertia. I have a lot of jobs, hobbies and interests and yet have not been able to work on much of anything in the last few years. I found myself increasingly content to sit alone with my computer on the net and do nothing but read about my former activities/ interests. My daughter was home for the holidays and clued me into the fact that I was likely depressed.. though her suggestion was that I would be happier living somewhere I would spend more time outside.

Something then made me type inertia into google and a reference to the chapter on inertia in this book came up.The words I read spoke to a lack of action on my part. I realized I have been waiting for my inertia / depression to magically lift on its own.

Here is how this book helped me start the climb out of my funk. In the chapter on inertia the doc says that you have to force yourself to get out and get going. ( I paraphrase of course) This is counter to the way I have lived my life - doing what I feel like doing, assuming fate would take care of things. But, I decided to try his advice. I splurged and signed up for a few sessions with a trainer at the gym I belong to - yet never go to. I made the appointments for early morning when I am usually still sleeping in. I also started working with other people during the day instead of staying home alone working on my computer.

I am not saying I did not know that exercise and contact with people can combat depression; I have always known that. I am also aware of the effectiveness of behavior modification techniques. What this book made me see is that I had to actually work to take the steps to stop becoming comfy with my increasing isolation and negativity. Also, I realized that when you are in the dark it is so hard to see the obvious steps that will lead you out. It's like you have to have faith and start walking in the dark, towards the light you cannot see, believing you will see it soon.

I am not completely cured, but its been three weeks and I know I have turned a corner. I am in a more positive mindset, am exercising, losing weight, eating better, have stopped drinking regularly and am back to work on one of my unfinished projects. Most importantly, I have been reminded of my own power to make needed changes in my life. I believe all of us carry that power within.

This book has many easily accessible chapters that address the solid science behind the various components of depression. You will likely find what ails you written about here, along with compassionate advice and practical techniques that will empower you to take responsibility and begin to work on helping yourself. I found the chapters on inertia and rumination most relevant. All in all, this is a well written book and definately worth the time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2010
I would recommend Dr. Leahy's book not only to clients but to therapists wanting to refine their understanding of depression and their interventions with depressed clients. Each chapter explores a way of thinking common to depressed clients and how that thinking can be changed to relieve distress and make clients more effective in their approach to problems and life in general. I found here, too, some of Dr. Leahy's unique theories on depression. They resonated strongly with my own experience with depressed clients. I had not read of them elsewhere. Dr. Leahy's understanding and ability to articulate clearly and concisely the source and breadth of depression will, I think, help de-stigmatize depression and help the sufferer find self-compassion and belonging. I often cite the World Health Organization's statistics on unipolar depression to help my clients learn that they are not alone, that what they suffer from puts them in the company of good people brought low by a pandemic. Dr. Leahy reassures readers in much the same way. I will recommend this book to clients as a companion to therapy.

Vaughn Roche, LCSW
Diplomate, Academy of Cognitive Therapy
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2011
Unlike others, Dr. Leahy does not promise "drug-free" treatment or that you will be "depression-free for life." That is because, as an expert in this field, he recognizes that depression is a serious illness that is difficult to treat and causes high levels of suffering and impairment. Medications or psychotherapy alone are often not enough to get people well and prevent relapses.

As a psychiatrist specializing in depression, I have been searching for a CBT self-help book that is easily readable (as most people with depression struggle with concentration problems), engaging (as most people with depression have motivation problems) and practical. This is first book that I have found that fits the bill. Beat the Blues is an excellent self-help book that incorporates up-to-date research about depression, traditional CBT skills, and newer CBT techniques such as mindfulness. However, what really makes this book special is that it is that Dr. Leahy has also made it deeply personal by the addition anecdotes of his own personal struggles and how depression has impacted the lives of those around him.

I have recommended Beat the Blues to a number of my patients over the past few months and the feedback has been uniformly positive. Some, who have struggled with depression for a majority of their lives have told me that they finally feel like they has some control over their negative thinking patterns and have hope for the future.

I highly recommend this book.

Daniel Zigman, MD, FRCPC
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2010
Dr. Leahy's "Beat The Blues" is a fantastically accessible, kind, and engaging read. Beyond this, the techniques outlined here are exactly what an evidence based approach to treating depression would call for. This book is an excellent resource for people struggling with depression, their families, and for the many clinicians out there who could use a trusted guidebook to help their clients reach their therapy goals. Another truly important book from Bob Leahy has arrived, and I highly recommend it.

Be Well,

Dennis

Dennis Tirch PhD,
Associate Director,
American Institute for Cognitive Therapy.
Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor,
Weill Cornell Medical College.
Diplomate and Fellow,
Academy of Cognitive Therapy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2013
There aren't many books that I consider must-buys, but this one makes the cut for anyone dealing with depression. There are so many different aspects covered, but if you're going over things time after time (ruminating), or are indecisive to the point of (even occasional) analysis-paralysis, please do yourself a favor and get this book.

I bought the Kindle version and read a chapter at a time. For many books, I read for whatever length of time I have available -- sometimes it's only 30 seconds while waiting in line, other times it's 15 minutes or more. But, for this book, I found it best to read a chapter at a time. That helped me soak in the material and keep the flow of thought.

Leahy really hit home for me in several chapters. I've gone back and re-read several of those chapters. Like "I Just Can't Decide" (how to overcome your indecision) and "I Keep Thinking Over and Over" (how to overcome your rumination). I'll probably go back to this book many times in the future. That fact alone, that I actually re-read some of the book, is a good indicator to me that it's a must-read.

Try to read all the chapters, even if a couple are a bit slow, perhaps abrupt, or just don't apply to you. You may still glean some insights from them.

Wishing you the best! And this book will help get you pointed in that direction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2012
I have had depressive episodes for over fifteen years. I got more help in the first fifty pages than all the other five books I read on depression. If you want theories, study someone else. If you want help, begin here.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2010
Bob Leahy is well known for his ability to make the science of psychology relevant to consumers, in a way that is always entertaining. Beat the Blues once again shows that Dr. Leahy has much to offer both the lay audience and practicing clinicians. My first question when I saw the title was "Do we really need another self-help book on depression?" When I read the section on rumination, I realized that the answer is "yes, we do." Leahy asks a fundamental and very important question for people prone to spend inordinate amounts of time stoking negative emotions via rumination on the past: "What would you be doing with your time if you weren't ruminating?" Dr. Leahy's book helps expose the damaging consequences of this very frequent human 'pastime', and better yet, he helps show the reader a way out.

Scott Temple, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor
Department of Psychiatry
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Iowa City, Iowa
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2013
This book would be appropriate for someone who has low grade depression, and is able to apply some of the suggestions for cognitive behavioral techniques. The author writes in a down to earth style that makes it easy to read and understand. No fancy terminology here. He also believes in medication in addition to cognitive methods so he is holistic in his approach. I would recommend this book to those with Dysthymia (low grade depression).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2012
I loved it! It brings good advice about how we can dominate our mind against the blues. Even it talks about depression it would be useful to everyone in order to combate negative ways of thinking. Its methods are very original and practical.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2012
Beat the Blues is an interesting book but i personally did not find this book especially helpful. I think I was looking for more information on what to do about depression, how to find ways to cope. I don't intend this to be negative because it is an interesting read. It just depends on what you are looking for.
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