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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff from a Great Psychologist
When I saw that Susan Nolen-Hoeksema had a new book out, I had to take a look. Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema is well known to me from studying the biology and psychology of depression about ten years ago.

She has done research on "ruminative thinking", which she describes as "the tendency to respond to distress by focusing on the causes and consequences of your problems,...
Published on January 26, 2006 by Craig D. Wilcox

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't mesh the topics well.
I have made it through about half and it really doesn't mesh the three topics well. I had high hopes and the topic is sound. The author just doesn't do a good job correlating the three things.
Published 17 months ago by Metina Bongiovanni


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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff from a Great Psychologist, January 26, 2006
When I saw that Susan Nolen-Hoeksema had a new book out, I had to take a look. Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema is well known to me from studying the biology and psychology of depression about ten years ago.

She has done research on "ruminative thinking", which she describes as "the tendency to respond to distress by focusing on the causes and consequences of your problems, without moving into active problem-solving." To put it more plainly-and less appetizingly-ruminative thinkers chew on thoughts excessively, like a cow chewing its cud.

Overthinking in this way can lead, in turn, to excess depression and anxiety. Then, to feel better, ruminators turn to food and alcohol. And then the process starts over, as overthinking about the overeating and drinking can occur.

Nolen-Hoeksema, along with a number of other eminent psychologists, has found that women suffer through this type of thinking at a much higher rate than men, which is at least partly responsible for women having double the rates of depression than men.

Since a lot of people are just getting over-or not getting over-the "holiday blues", I thought her book might provide particularly helpful advice for starting off the New Year. And after reading through the main premises of the book, I must say I was happy to have taken the time. Though the book is meant for women, it's also possible for men to suffer through this "toxic triangle" of eating, drinking, and overthinking, so I can recommend it to anyone who feels they may go through this damaging process, which puts tremendous strain on our bodies and can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and other disorders.

The most interesting piece of the puzzle for me is how overthinking can start a very physical stress process. Early in her career, Nolen-Hoeksema wrote many papers with Martin Seligman on the phenomenon of "explanatory style". This relates to how people explain positive or negative events to themselves.

Pessimists largely believe that they are primarily responsible for the bad things that happen to them, that it won't ever change, and that it applies to everything they do. Optimists believe the bad thing that happen to them are other people's fault, that it will go away quickly, and that the event is isolated and doesn't bleed over into other areas of their lives.

And for positive occurrences, the exact opposite happens. Pessimists believe other people had more of a role than they did, that it's short-lived, and that it won't happen to them again. Optimists believe they were directly responsible for the positive occurrence, that it will occur every time, and that it is an indication of the fact that they're good at just about everything.

With a pessimistic explanatory style and a ruminant thinking personality, the "pity party" just goes on and on and starts to relate to every area of a life. Nolen-Hoeksema presents stream of consciousness ruminations that most people can relate to by starting with a particular, isolated problem and blowing it up to be a life consuming weakness.

With her long history as an experimental psychologist, she shows exactly how this can lead to overeating and excessive drinking quite easily. She provides a mental model of how this happens that is perfectly matched to the current biological mechanisms believed to cause these harmful binges.

One of the weaknesses of books by long-time psychologists is that they are heavy on the problems and light on the solutions. This offering by Nolen-Hoeksema makes a great attempt to shed light on some solutions; however, more could be done.

The first step in any recovery, though, is to recognize that a problem exists-in this case, a misdirected and harmful thinking pattern. And Nolen-Hoeksema very clearly shows how to recognize the overthinking problem. I highly recommend the book for those who think (over overthink) that they may have this affliction.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book For Women Who Suffer In Silence, January 30, 2006
By 
Lisa Angelettie (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
I love the fact that this book was written and done so well. This subject is very dear to me - as I am a product of a family of women who suffered from this toxic triangle. The legacy was simply passed down from generation to generation. It was a hard thing to watch - and was a major reason why I chose to be a therapist.

What I love about this book is that it addresses the very issues that many women who suffer from "depression" rarely hear when they go for counseling or read the common depression literature out there. There is usually a combination of abuse - a deadly team of alcohol, food and despair. Not just despair. And they are all interrelated and play off of each other in the most horrible way.

Not one member of my family has yet been able to break free from this bermuda triangle. Its such a waste of time. Months, years, a whole lifetime will go by and you don't know where it went. If this is you - this book will serve as a valuable resource to direct you towards solutions. It's well done. Very thought out and chock full of valuable information. I highly recommend it.

Lisa, "GirlShrink"
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful but does not apply to all, July 17, 2008
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This review is from: Eating, Drinking, Overthinking: The Toxic Triangle of Food, Alcohol, and Depression--and How Women Can Break Free (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed reading this book not only because it was well-written, but because it seems to put these three disorders into perspective as they can be linked to one another. Obviously, not everyone gets trapped in the "toxic triangle" and each of the three disorders can exist on their own. However, for people who find they suffer from two or more, the book has much to offer. The author presents some psychological data along with personal stories and examples that help the reader to understand the interaction of eating, drinking and thinking too much. The begining chapters explain each of the three conditions and how they are detrimental to a person's well-being. The latter chapters deal with creating an action plan to help you "fight" your way out of the triangle and get on a path to healing. For me, it was a very insightful read (especially the chapters on Overthinking) and I highly recommend it to someone who may be suffering from any or all of these problems. It is a good starting point to think critically and understanding any or all of these three issues, but certainly does not provide the cure.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Escaping the toxic triangle, August 3, 2008
By 
Deb (Palo Alto, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eating, Drinking, Overthinking: The Toxic Triangle of Food, Alcohol, and Depression--and How Women Can Break Free (Hardcover)
In her highly readable book, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema illuminates the risks that render women especially vulnerable to the "toxic triangle" of binge eating/drinking and over-analyzing.

In their extreme attempts to please others and be who they think they "should" be, many women lose their voice and internalize their pain. In doing so, they are bombarded with self-loathing thoughts, and often turn to over-eating/drinking to temporarily escape the darkness that haunts them. The cycle feeds on itself, and these women lose not only their selves, but also any joy for living.

Susan's book explains the roots and consequences of this toxic trio of threats, and it also provides clear guidelines on how women can turn their vulnerabilities into strengths, and escape from the triangle. A useful read for patients and professionals alike, this book provides valuable tools for helping women crawl out of the depths of hopelessness and despair and into a life filled with authenticity, meaning, and healthy connections.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight for the intelligent reader, July 4, 2006
By 
Toni (North TX, United States) - See all my reviews
Loved this book, I have not read the author's first book, but that did not present any problems. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema offers some very plausible reasons for overeating/drinking in women. Her theories make sense and while I know quite well that there is no "magic pill" for this problem, I feel the info she offers gives me some tools to understand the problem and how I can better help myself. My one criticism of the book would be that I don't recollect any suggestions that the reader supplement the book by working with a psychotherapist trained in women's disorders. For most women, this would be crucial to the healing process.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help Really Is At Hand, February 1, 2007
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Susan Nolen-Hoeksema has provided an informative and encouraging text book on her subject of the toxic triangle. I have learned so many things about myself and this problem and am at last hopeful of making some positive changes in my life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't mesh the topics well., July 3, 2013
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I have made it through about half and it really doesn't mesh the three topics well. I had high hopes and the topic is sound. The author just doesn't do a good job correlating the three things.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have weight issues, perfectionism tendencies, and (potential) issues with alcohol, read this book..., March 11, 2012
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This is a GREAT book. If you are a "perfectionist" - always trying to do everything "right", always trying to do better, always looking at yourself for the source of any "issues, failures, or mistakes" in your life - and to add to that, you have weight related issues and (potential) issues with alcohol - pick up this book TODAY. It may give you some insight into your behaviors, and let you know that you're not alone.

Good luck...and read this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Book, November 2, 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (Bellingham, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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Great for moms trying to break the "negativity" of ancestral voices and model positive messages of empowerment for our daughters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars hits the nail right on the head and seemed to echo my thoughts, October 29, 2014
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This book hits the nail right on the head and seemed to echo my thoughts - for my entire life! It is so true that women spend an enormous time focusing on our weight and appearance....
It starts as a child and develops throughout our teen years and turns us into fanatics by the time we hit adulthood...
This book can help us understand the causes and effects of some of these unhealthy through patterns -- and possibly help you find a solution...if you are ready!
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Eating, Drinking, Overthinking: The Toxic Triangle of Food, Alcohol, and Depression--and How Women Can Break Free
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