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The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs Paperback – June 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, January 2015
“[Ilardi] helps us think about how mental illness is not what many think it is (mental or moral weakness) and how popular approaches for treatment (medication and some alternative treatments) need to be better understood.”

About the Author

Stephen S. Ilardi, PhD, is associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas and the author of more than forty professional articles on mental illness. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738213888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738213880
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Ilardi received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University, and has spent the past two decades as an active researcher, university professor, and clinician. He has treated several hundred patients suffering from depressive illness and other serious disorders, and has authored over 40 scholarly articles and papers on mental illness.

Over the past six years, Dr. Ilardi and his clinical research team have developed and refined a new, highly effective program for clinical depression: Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC). This innovative treatment is grounded in the insight that human beings were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, socially isolated, sleep-deprived, fast-food-laden, frenzied pace of 21st-century American life. Understanding the modern depression epidemic as the result of our increasingly toxic lifestyle, Dr. Ilardi has helped numerous depressed individuals overcome the debilitating illness by reclaiming six powerful healing habits from our ancestral past. Inspired by the program's success - even in cases of chronic, severe depression that failed to respond to antidepressant medication - Dr. Ilardi has written "The Depression Cure," a step-by-step guide to the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change program.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

300 of 316 people found the following review helpful By N. Stevens on December 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the last 7 years I have fought with depression that has gone from mildly inconvenient at times to downright debilitating at other times. I discovered Dr. Ilardi's book after coming off of almost a full week of being unable to even make it out of bed. At that point I had already gone through 3 different types of drugs and was thinking I was going to be moving to another type soon. But that wasn't much hope as each type I tried would work for a few weeks and then I'd be back almost to where I started.

I was able to get together enough energy to read through the first step of TLC (dietary supplement) and make a trip to The Vitamin Shoppe. I started to take the recommended doses of the vitamins and noticed some slight changes in a couple of days. Within a week I was able to make it through the next few sections of the book. I started to notice rumative behavior and redirect it. I put a light box on order. I started doing some light exercise on the exercise bike (after clearing the dust). And I started to feel even better. I eventually made it through the rest of the book and started to record my depression symptoms according to the very helpful survey in the book. The first week I was in the 10-15 range (already a huge drop from where I estimated I was when first starting). The next week I was under 10. And this last week for the first time I can remember since I was in high school, I had ZERO symptoms of depression. This in spite of an extremely stressful week at work.

It's hard to put into words what coming out of depression feels like. All I know is that I feel right now in a way that I thought I'd never be able to again. ANY physician who treats depressed patients needs to be aware of this research. I know I will be making my doctor aware of it the next time I see him... and hopefully save someone else the length of suffering I went through.

"The Depression Cure" is not a pipe dream - this is the real deal.
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177 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Anna on May 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't usually write reviews here, but I had to spread the word about what a great book this is. It has truly changed my life. I've always had intermittent bouts of moderate to severe depression, probably since I was 16 (I'm 27). Anti-depressants haven't worked for me. I've managed to get by in life, but I'm getting really tired of the constant up and down. Also, I want to have kids soon-ish, but I don't want to put my kids through my crazy. So...

Enter this book.

Dr. Ilardi recommends six lifestyle interventions: 1) big daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids, 2) cognitive tricks to stop rumination, 3) exercise, 4) light therapy, 5) social interaction, and 6) healthy sleep. The thing that makes this book so great (and worth buying even though I just revealed the six magic interventions) is that he breaks each one down into small steps that are very doable - even for someone suffering from I-can't-even-muster-the-thought-of-getting-out-of-bed depression. His regimen is 12 weeks long, and the first week, for instance, all you have to do is take some supplements. It builds from there, but very incrementally.

I should mention that while I'm holistically-inclined, I also have a good grasp on science and a research-based education and career, so I tend to be a little skeptical of "cure" type books. But I found this one to be scientifically sound, with an extensive list of references that you can look up if you want to go deeper into the literature.

Overall, I really can't recommend it highly enough. It is EASY to read, which is a must for someone whose brain is freaking out. I ordered the book, gave myself a week to read it and then started the regimen the next week.
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193 of 207 people found the following review helpful By Keith A. Abney on June 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Stephen Ilardi has written a highly accessible book that has something to offer everyone, not merely those who suffer from clinical depression. Without stooping to the charlatanism of New Age healers, Ilardi points out that mental and physical health are intimately connected, for reasons connected to our evolutionary heritage. He goes beyond the banal, vacuous advice of 'diet and exercise' to tell us with greater specificity what exactly in our diet (omega-3s), bodily environment (aerobic exercise, sleep) and and external environment (sunshine, close and frequent interpersonal contact) that we need to combat the epidemic of the blues.

The implications of his book are multitudinous and profound: among others, for the role of medication in national health care policy and our attempts to prevent depressive illness - if his work is taken seriously by those in government, the health care system could begin a much-needed movement toward wellness for all and prevention of disease, instead of merely rewarding pharmaceutical companies for campaign donations.

This is the rare book in the field that is useful, not merely for the clinically depressed, but also for those merely suffering from the 'normal blues', or even those just wishing to enhance the well-being of their lives. His TLC program can help just about everyone, and most of its elements are low-cost or free! I believe this book potentially could be prove to be a watershed moment in the very understanding of illness and the goals of medical treatment. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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