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Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression Paperback – May 26, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A practical, proven guide . . . Superb."
-Mehmet Oz, M.D., author of the YOU guides


" Extraordinary. . . . Both therapist and patient will benefit hugely from reading this book."
-Deepak Chopra

" Exactly what this over-medicated country needs right now."
-Christine Northrup, M.D., author of The Wisdom of Menopause

" Unstuck is truly remarkable. . . . In this warm, practical, and user- friendly book, Dr. Gordon takes great care to remind us how much power we have to change our own lives."
-Dean Ornish, M.D., author of The Spectrum

" If you want to find out the real causes of depression and how to cure them, read this book."
-Mark Hyman, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of UltraMetabolism

"Addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the problem, not just a possible chemical imbalance in the brain. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who feels stuck."
-Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Healthy Aging and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health

About the Author

James S. Gordon, M.D., is the Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body and a Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143115510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143115519
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By O. Merce Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
*****
This book, written by a psychiatrist who himself has suffered from depression, will be controversial because it describes depression as "the beginning of an unfolding process of self-awareness, not the grim end of a disease process". The author challenges the prevailing model of depression as a medical illness, basing everything upon current brain research and current medical research dealing with depression. This is a very, very important book, one that every person who deals with depression should read.

If you are looking for a quick and dirty way of dealing with depression and want to take medication only, and from then on never think about depression or your life again beyond renewing your prescription, you would do better by NOT buying this book. Recovery from depression does take some work. On the other hand, if you want to know more about current research with SSRI's and view medication as only a part of your approach to dealing with depression, you should DEFINITELY buy this book. If you are like me and wish that you didn't have to take medication at all, and are willing to do some work to recover, you should absolutely buy it---you will love it and benefit greatly from it as I have.

If you want to know what research truly says about SSRI's it's here and more besides. Step-by-step techniques and tools. Examples that I could relate to. Integrating diet and exercise--what is shown to work and what doesn't. Supplementation. Support. Meditation. Movement. Awareness. Obstacles on your journey. Spirituality. There is a chapter on "the dark night of the soul", which includes dealing with suicidal thoughts. Alternative practitioners and alternative supplementation (including SamE, St. John's Wort, and rhodiola.
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Format: Hardcover
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Most if not all of the things Dr. Gordon recommends are excellent strategies not only for people who are mildly or moderately depressed (conditions that I think probably shouldn't be referred to as depression at all to avoid confusion), but for everyone else, too.

However, for those who are seriously and severely disabled by depression, but who still have just enough energy to read, I think you can get a more complete and balanced view of the situation with some additional or alternative material.

A good start would be reading the following articles by fellow depressive Therese Borchard (on the web - find through a search engine).
"Don't Get Stuck on "Unstuck": Depression Is Real, and Drugs Help Me"
"The Latest on Antidepressants: Be Careful Where You Get Your Facts"

Then, especially if you've read "Unstuck," I think you'll have truly balanced and thorough basis to make a recovery plan for yourself if you read (or listen to as an audio book) "Against Depression" by Peter Kramer.

A final caveat about Dr. Gordon's book: Several elements of his recommendations contain an underlying - sometimes subtle, sometimes not so much - suggestion that depression is fundamentally a character flaw, or something that can be eliminated simply through alterations in a defective worldview, etc.
It's true that everyone needs to take as much responsibility as possible for their own lives. Needless to say it's also true that a symptom of depression is negative and unhealthy thinking. But for people who have major depression it's not helpful to frame the problem in ways that might lead to even more self-recrimination. In fact, I think that can make the problem and the consequences far worse.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm almost sorry that I read this book. On one hand, the author really put together a fairly comprehensive and well-thought out set of treatment recommendations. I have no doubt that there would be tremendous benefit to the wholistic approach of yoga, meditation, social interaction, improved diet, and exercise, etc. in overcoming many instances of depression - but not all. In the depths of gloom and doom, it can be difficult, if not impossible, just to do something as trivial as brush your teeth or clean yourself in the morning let alone find the strength to self-motivate and begin - as well as sustain - a progam similar to the approach described above.

The author further indicates that he typically obtains better results with a depressed patient after 10-12 weeks of therapy than he would have had the patient received anti-depressant treatment. I can't dispute his findings, but I do question them, particularly in acutely depressed patients. Of course, one of the main themes of the book is that anti-depressants are of little to no use, which is effectively throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's just too extreme a reaction, in my opinion.

While I agree that they are certainly wildly overprescribed, I just don't think anti-depressants are useless. Moreover, I do not share the author's view that most/all depression has no organic basis and therefore can be treated by wholistic methods alone. One treatment method in the book, for example, was some kind of cognitive therapy where the patient was taught to avoid 'self-defeating' thoughts. I call that the 'Cancel That Thought Therapy', or the 'Don't Think of an Elephant in the Room Therapy', and as far as I'm concerned, it's a pretty useless approach - at least that's been my experience.
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