Depression
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A Mood ApartA Sadly Troubled HistoryActive Treatment of DepressionAdolescent DepressionAdult Bipolar DisordersAgainst DepressionAgents in My BrainAmerican ManiaAmerican MelancholyAn Unquiet MindArtificial HappinessBeating the BluesBefore ProzacBeyond BlueBiological UnhappinessBipolar DisorderBipolar Disorder DemystifiedBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar ExpeditionsBlaming the BrainBoy InterruptedBritain on the CouchCalm EnergyCase Studies in DepressionChange Your ThinkingChronic DepressionComprehending SuicideConquering Postpartum DepressionConquering the Beast WithinCry Depression, Celebrate RecoveryDamageDepressionDepression 101Depression and GlobalizationDepression and NarrativeDepression Doesn't Always Have to Be DepressingDepression FalloutDepression in ContextDepression Is a ChoiceDepression SourcebookDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepression, the Mood DiseaseDepression-Free for LifeDetourDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDown Came the RainDowning Street BluesDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEight Stories UpElectroboyElectroshockEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderExperiences of DepressionFacing BipolarFast GirlFatal AttachmentsGetting Your Life BackGod HeadHandbook of DepressionHandbook of DepressionHello to All ThatHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHow Everyone Became DepressedHow I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill MeHurry Down SunshineI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!Journeys with the Black DogLeaving YouLet Them Eat ProzacLife InterruptedLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Lifting DepressionLifting the WeightLincoln's MelancholyLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLong ShotLucy Sullivan Is Getting MarriedMadnessMaking Sense of SuicideMalignant SadnessManiaManicManic DepressionManufacturing DepressionMelancholiaMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMood GenesMoody Minds DistemperedMy DepressionNatural Healing for DepressionNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Hope For People With Bipolar DisorderNew Hope for People with DepressionNight Falls FastNovember of the SoulOn DepressionOn the Edge of DarknessOne in ThirteenOrdinarily WellOut of the BlueOutsmarting DepressionOvercoming DepressionPerfect ChaosPotatoes Not ProzacProzac and the New AntidepressantsProzac BacklashProzac HighwayProzac NationProzac NationPsychotic DepressionPuppy Chow Is Better Than ProzacQuiet Your Mind & Get to SleepRaising a Moody ChildReasons to Stay AliveScattershotSelf-CoachingSightlinesSilencing the Self Across CulturesSilent GriefSongs from the Black ChairSongs Without WordsSpeaking of SadnessSpontaneous HappinessStudent DepressionSubordination and DefeatSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSuicideSunbathing in the RainSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving Manic DepressionSwing LowSylvia Plath ReadsTalking Back to ProzacTaming Your Inner BratThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Mood DisordersThe Anatomy of MelancholyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe BeastThe Bell JarThe Best AwfulThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Blue Day BookThe Breakthrough Depression SolutionThe Clinical Science of Suicide PreventionThe CorrectionsThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Depressed ChildThe Depression CureThe Depression WorkbookThe Devil WithinThe Emotional RevolutionThe Family SilverThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Loss of SadnessThe Memory of LightThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Mood CureThe Myth of Depression as DiseaseThe Naked Bird WatcherThe Nature of MelancholyThe Noonday DemonThe Pits and the PendulumThe Postpartum EffectThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Van Gogh BluesThe Van Gogh BluesThe Weariness of the SelfThe Years of Silence are PastThirteen Reasons WhyThis Close to HappyTo Walk on EggshellsTreatment for Chronic DepressionUndercurrentsUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding DepressionUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnholy GhostUnstuckViniyoga Therapy for DepressionWhat Goes UpWhat the Birds SeeWhat Works for Bipolar KidsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhere the Roots Reach for WaterWhy Are You So Sad?Why People Die by SuicideWill's ChoiceWriting Through the DarknessYou Are Not AloneZelda

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Depression SourcebookReview - Depression Sourcebook
Second Edition
by Brian P. Quinn C.S.W., Ph.D.
Lowell House, 2000
Review by Heather Liston
Mar 20th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 12)

Brian P. Quinn's easily readable volume, The Depression Sourcebook, includes a few brief vignettes about famous people who have suffered from depression: Abraham Lincoln, Princess Diana, Ernest and Margaux Hemingway, Art Buchwald. The stories are not deep or detailed, and yet they answer the simple question "Am I alone?" Great reassurance can be found in the information that you're not the only one who ever felt so bad. The additional message is that you may feel like a failure because you have this disease, but in fact depression can affect the beautiful, the talented, even the funny. With such information comes some hope.

And hope is largely what Quinn's book is about. By laying out the basic facts about depression and bipolar illness, explaining what these diseases are, what they are not, how to tell if you have them, and what you might want to do about them if you do, he turns on some lights in a place where darkness, shame, confusion, and despair often reign.

In some ways, the thesis of his book is his statement in the first chapter, "If you have been in a great deal of emotional pain, you may feel relieved to hear that your suffering has a name and a treatment." He goes on to explain what some of those names and treatments are all about. What is dysthymia? Major Depression? Bipolar I and Bipolar II disorders? What are the symptoms of depression in an adolescent? What should you do if your child is displaying these symptoms? How do you know if you're really sick or just bummed out over problems at work?

He tackles the inevitable question of whether psychotherapy or medication hold out more hope for the patient. Like most professionals, he concludes that there's some value in both. He briefly describes and contrasts some of the more common types of therapy, offering the reader a bit of a head start in knowing what to look for when she is ready to seek help. He describes, in very understandable language, the most common drugs used for the treatment of mood disorders, and their known side effects.

There is also a chapter on natural compounds and alternative treatments for depression. On the whole, the author's approach is balanced and calm--he does not seem to be pushing any particular school of thought.

He does, however, say that "An exploratory approach--looking into early loss or childhood traumas--is not a good idea initially. Having someone recall and work on painful memories will cause more harm than good while he is acutely depressed." That some kinds of psychotherapy can actually increase suffering in some patients is well worth thinking about for those who desperately need some relief of their pain. And some of the most interesting information in the book follows the discussion of cognitive therapy. "There is increasing evidence," says Quinn "that intense human emotions are not mediated by conscious thoughts and beliefs . . . Moreover, there are more robust connections running from the brain structures involved in emotion to those involved in rational thought than the other way around." In other words, figuring things out and understanding our pasts might not be very helpful in making us feel better. This is a rather dramatic contradiction to some of the assumptions of the Freudian canon, and makes the curious reader want to know more. For the details of such research, though, one must go elsewhere.

The book is straightforward and well-organized, if not always smoothly written. Quinn's subjects do not always agree with his verbs, and some of his sentences are awkward. He tells us that depressed children sometimes "act badly." He never makes a decision about how to handle the pronoun referring to a hypothetical person: sometimes it's "she," sometimes "he or she," sometimes "they." ("The implication is that the depressed person is making a choice to dwell on their problems.") As a writer, Quinn probably won't win any awards. As a counselor, this Certified Social Worker and Ph.D. from Huntington, New York would probably be a gem. The Depression Sourcebook is definitely for the lay person; not for professional mental health workers. Much of its information is very basic, and would seem obvious to those with some background in the field. To those who are suffering in silence, however, and don't know where to turn, this clear and simple book can be a Godsend.

First Serial Rights © 2001 Heather Liston

Heather Liston studied Religion at Princeton University and earned a Masters degree from the NYU Graduate School of Business Administration. She is the Managing Director of the National Dance Institute of New Mexico, and writes extensively on a variety of topics. Her book reviews and other work have appeared in Self, Women Outside, The Princeton Alumni Weekly, Appalachia, Your Health and elsewhere.


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