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

J. Raymond DePaulo Jr. , Leslie Alan Horvitz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 8, 2003 0471430307 978-0471430308 1
From a leading medical expert at Johns Hopkins, here is an up-to-the-minute, definitive guide to what s known about depression and how it can be treated. Around ten percent of North Americans suffer from depression at some point - and more than half haven t even sought help. Now, Dr. Raymond DePaulo, one of the world s foremost authorities on depression, provides a sensitive, thorough, and reassuring book for sufferers from depression and those who care about them. This practical guide for individuals with depression and their families - the only totally comprehensive book in the market - shows readers how to identify the problem, then directs them to the various forms of treatment, including medications, psychotherapy, support groups, and exercise. It is one of the few books to discuss in depth manic depression, the bipolar form of depression. Dr. DePaulo discusses both mainstream (the latest medications and talk therapies) and alternative paths and reveals the truth about the dangerous fallacies that abound about depression. Comprehensive, compassionate, and grounded in the very latest research into brain chemistry, psychology, and medications, this is a definitive, landmark roadmap to one of the most devastating - and common - mental illnesses.

Frequently Bought Together

Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It + Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed + What to Do When Someone You Love Is Depressed, Second Edition: A Practical, Compassionate, and Helpful Guide
Price for all three: $37.93

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"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 ingredients." So explains DePaulo (How to Cope with Depression), psychiatry professor and director of the Affective Mental Disorders Clinic at the Johns 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.)40-year-old organization that supports brain research.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


..".thoughtful, exhaustive reference on depression... readers will find this an invaluable resource."

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471430307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471430308
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing March 12, 2002
By A Customer
This is not a bad book, all in all. It covers a lot of useful territory, and for someone recently diagnosed who doesn't know a lot about depression, it might be a decent place to start. But, for those of us who are not starting from scratch, this book doesn't add much, if anything, to better books already out, and it falls short of the mark in some important ways.
My gripes with this book fall into two main categories. First, the book lacks detail in critical areas. For example, in the section on medications, there is only a passing reference to the sexual side effects of the SSRIs, and there is no discussion of how patients can deal with that problem -- i.e. reduce dosage, switch to another medication, augment the SSRI with another drug, etc. The author should know that sexual side effects like anorgasmia and reduced libido affect a huge percentage of people who take SSRIs, and that these side effects diminish the quality of many patients' lives and create serious compliance problems. I'm shocked that this important subject is given such cursory treatment. The section on meds also lacks details concerning dosages, augmentation, and withdrawal, important topics all. So much for the book jacket promise of a "cutting edge" discussion of medications! At the same time, the book is fairly long, and probably not an easy read for someone truly suffering from depression. If a reader is expected to plow through this much text, he or she should at least be rewarded with more detail and "state of the art" information, as promised.
Second, there are some pretty egregious errors in the medication sections. The charts covering various meds are a great idea, and they could be very useful, but they are replete with mistakes.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Biased View on Treating Depression January 29, 2005
"Understanding Depression" is a clear and concise view of the illness through the eyes of "a psychiatrist who has seen in consultation, teaching, research, and treatment settings some 8,000 people with clinical depression and manic-depressive illness."

Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D. is not only a psychiatrist, but also a psychiatry professor and the director of the Affective Mental Disorder Clinic at John Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. DePaulo has written a cogent book at what it means to suffer from depression and its possible causes. The psychiatrist also covers various aspects of manic-depression, but the lion's share of the book covers the illness of depression. Despite numerous advances in medical science, we are still not clear on what causes depression. Dr. DePaulo states, "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 ingredients."

Where the book becomes shortsighted is within the sections dealing with the treatment of depression. The doctor advocates the use of traditional and cutting-edge medication as the cure for the vast majority of people throughout the book. It is not surprising that a psychiatrist does not go in depth concerning alternatives to drug therapies, but Dr. DePaulo covers only an astonishing 9 pages regarding alternative treatments such as exercise, nutrition, or talk therapy. In fact, large portions of the text read like a long pharmaceutical advertisement.

In the end, "Understanding Depression" is an invaluable guide to just that, understanding depression.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stepping off point July 16, 2006
I have major depressive disorder. This book helped me understand the science of how the brain works with the various chemicals and drugs. As far as the experience or treatment, there wasn't much that I found personally relevant or didn't already know or that went into enough depth for me.

The book is a basic guide to understanding depression and does not offer any sort of cure or ideal treatment plan. That's not the point of it. The information is presented categorically and clearly with the resources cited, should you like to go further. The more common methods of treatment are presented with explanations of how they work and why.

However, this book was an excellent resource for the other people in my life who have been affected by my depression. They don't need or want to know all about the treatment options and experience in great depth. They do need to know some of the why's and how's and that it's not their fault. My parents found it to be quite helpful in understanding what was happening with me.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good overview of depression March 25, 2003
This is one of the most thorough books on depression that I've read. I don't agree with one of the other reviewers who stated that those who are very familiar with depression may not learn too much from this book- it 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. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful hints
The book sheds a lot of light on this growing problem and makes the person feel so not alone or the personal cause of the troubles
Published 3 months ago by mary loos-griffin
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand the world better from depression's vantage point
What you see is what you get, they say. Perhaps it's more than that. Understanding that "causes" aren't so readily ascribed is helpful as you try to assist the depressed... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Carol L. Kershner
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, clear comprehensible information about depression
Dr. DePaulo covers the subject of depression and manic depression in a very straightforward way that is understandable and helpful for the layperson, while it covers all the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kathleen Foster
3.0 out of 5 stars An intersting read and engaging.
I have not completed the book yet but am excited to get further along as the author engages you in the complexities and seriousness of this disease.
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Man
Excellent. This man is brilliant. After 12 years of depression he is the only doctor who correctly treated my daughter.
Published on November 25, 2006 by Laurie
5.0 out of 5 stars A+ Book. Now there's a new therapy-Vagus Nerve Stimulation
This is an excellent book that I would highly recommend for anyone struggling with the depression. However, since publication of the marvelous book, the FDA has approved vagus... Read more
Published on March 13, 2005 by LookingForHelp
5.0 out of 5 stars an Excellent Resource
If you're looking to learn about depression, this is an EXCELLENT book to begin with. DePaulo does a great job of explaining what depression is (and isn't) and what we do and don't... Read more
Published on August 5, 2004 by GLBT
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't understand
After I had seen a therapist and progressed through weeks of beneficial treatment, I set out on my own to search for more helpful information. Read more
Published on February 2, 2004 by B.P.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Information Here on Depression
There is a pretty good overview of the popular treatments for depression. But nothing new here.For better help in getting out from under depression I recommend the book Depression... Read more
Published on June 13, 2002 by reader from California
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