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Beating the Blues: New Approaches to Overcoming Dysthymia and Chronic Mild Depression Paperback – March 23, 2004

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Beating the Blues: New Approaches to Overcoming Dysthymia and Chronic Mild Depression + The Half-Empty Heart: A Supportive Guide to Breaking Free from Chronic Discontent + Overcome Dysthymia
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (March 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195304535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195304534
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Easy to read about, tough to put into practice, Thase's strategies for feeling better are worth the time and effort."--Chicago Tribune

"If you need help lifting the veil of gloom and apathy, this is the best concise guide to treating chronic depression I have seen."--James H. Kocsis, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Cornell Medical Center

"Stop weeping into your Cheerios and do something to help yourself. If you've been chalking up your fatigue, irritation, pessimism and anti-social behavior to a mood swing, surprise - that mood swing you've had for 15 years may actually be dysthymia. More subtle than severe depression, Dysthymia is a mild version of the disorder that lasts for more than two years. The easy-to-read 'Blues' describes therapies, medications and alternative approaches that can help you feel better."--New York Daily News

"Michael Thase is unique in that he has internationally renowned expertise both in medication treatment and in psychotherapy for depression. He writes clearly and colorfully. This book on chronic depression, a troubling affliction that is too often ignored, is a masterpiece. I couldn't put it down."--Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, M.D., Titus H. Harris Chair, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Dxpression researcher Thase and science writer Lang...offer numerous ways in which mild depression can be overcome. They offer tips for determining whether you have depression, list common medications that can have depressive side effects, identify who's at risk for developing dysthemia and offeradvice on talking to a physician.... They also suggest treatments, ranging from psychotherapy and medication to exercise and social support. -Science News

"This book is a step forward. Dr. Thase is an expert in depression, with a wealth of clinical experience, scholarly knowledge, and a scientist's incisive judgment. His research encompasses both biological and psychotherapeutic treatments. The reader of Beating the Blues can trust what he or she learns. This book helps bridge the gap between knowledge and its practical application to heal." --Alan J. Gelenberg, M.D., Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona College of Medicine, and Founding Editor of Biological Therapies in Psychiatry Newsletter and Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

About the Author

Michael E. Thase M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of the Mood Disorders Module at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is also Chief of the Division of Adult Academic Psychiatry and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, in Pittsburgh. Susan S. Lang is an award-winning Senior Science Writer at Cornell University and author of 11 other books and hundreds of magazine articles on health and psychology.

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Customer Reviews

I've read at least a dozen books and talked to half a dozen professionals.
Robert L. Kloska
It also gives a brief review on new treatments, from which I succesfully have taken the use of ST.John's Wort - and happily it worked for me!
It is easy to understand and accessible to all, providing readers with a thorough understanding of depression.
Cris Haltom, Ph.D.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Scott McDaniel on February 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really like Thase and Lang's Beating the Blues. It gets to the point and clearly and simply answers lots of questions I've had. For example, what to look for in a therapist. It goes through the symptoms and shows how dysthymia, mild depression, and major depression differ from each other. It also addresses a few other similar conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Once it gets to the "so what should you do about it" section of the book, it takes many approaches from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in terms of analyzing what you're thinking and how that affects your feelings. A basic assumption is that our thoughts generate our emotions, and we can tend to use somewhat distorted thought patterns that set up a feedback loop with feelings of tiredness, apathy, feelings of self-worth. It pulls a good deal of material from Feeling Good: A New Mood Therapby by David Burns, though I prefer this book's tone and style. Then, the Beating the Blues compares three types of approaches: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy, and Problem Solving Therapy. The last part of the book deals with specific sub-groups: children and adolescents, women, and the elderly.

One thing I appreciate about the book is its clear and direct writing style. One author (Michael Thase) is a medical doctor while the other author (Susan Lang) is a science writer. Having that professional writer in the mix is key, I think. It's a friendly and non-technical approach, but it's not condescending or too much of a cheerleader for my tastes. It's also an easy book to scan, with good chapter and section headers that let you know what's safe to skip and what's not. Overall, a very good book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. Larmour on February 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I recommend Beating the Blues to anyone who often feels mildly depressed and can't seem to shake the down feelings. I thought this book gave a great synthesis of the findings of recent research and clinical studies on mild and moderate depression and the most effective treatments, including several new, experimental therapies. I found the detailed self-help strategies valuable, as well as the guidelines for deciding whether to seek psychotherapy or medications.

The book was made even more useful by the inclusion of many bulleted lists and charts, which I could refer back to for a summary of a chapter or to find specific information.

I lent the book to a co-worker whose mother had become depressed since moving to an elder-care facility. After reading it, she said that she now has a better understanding of what her mother is going through, and she is using the chapter on aging and dysthymia, as well as the chapter on medications, to take steps to alleviate her mother's symptoms.

I've read many self-help books, and I can't remember another so packed with valuable, easily usable information. I definitely recommend Beating the Blues.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Marie on October 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed by this book. I felt the overall tone was condescending. There were several implications that depression is caused by a failure to "try harder" and think positively. For example, one statement by the author indicated that some people who experience various traumas don't struggle with depression because they simply choose to have a more positive approach to life. I found this to be an overly simplistic statement -- unfortunately, these types of statements are peppered throughout the book. The author does acknowledge the various facets and causes of depression; however, his intense agenda of recommending cognitive behavioral therapy derails any attempt to maintain a compassionate tone. I believe cognitive behavioral therapy is very valuable and has many benefits, and I was looking forward to reading this book. I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a sensitive and compassionate approach to treating depression.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Rosen on March 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book fills a gap in the mental health field; the many books out on depression have not been a good fit for those struggling with dysthymia. Beating the Blues speaks to those who have been managing to function, but missing out on pleasure and full productivity. Easy to read and apply, the information and

techniques shared in this book can change lives. I have shared it with both teens and adults-members of both age groups connected quickly with the book, feeling that it captured what they were experiencing. Both teens and adults benefited from a deeper understanding of how dysthymia was impacting their lives, and had success with the strategies for change. I recommend having a few copies around since you will inevitably want to lend some out.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Edward Y. Wong on January 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I suffer from dysthymia and depression, and I found this book to be quite helpful in trying to frame some of my negative thinking. The book is easy to read, and is fairly complete. I found the editing to be somewhat inadequate. For instance, in the chapter about medication, they mentioned that Effexor was quite often used as a first attempt for anti-depressants. Later in the paragraph, it mentioned that if these were not well-tolerated, then the subject may move onto the 2nd-class of drugs, of which Effexor was again mentioned. Dispensing advice and information on medication is so important that this kind of details should not have been neglected.

Of course, these meds require a prescription, but nevertheless, it underscores some of the editing, or the lack thereof, that this book really needed. Additionally, some of the ideas were mentioned over and over again, which is both good and bad. For a hurry-in-the-pants reader like myself, that was too much, but as a tool to help modify congitive-behaviours, I think some of their messages cannot be mentioned more than enough.

All in all, I find it a helpful book. Since most people suffering from depression have a difficult time reading a book, this one can be a great asset.
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