Coping With Depression: From Catch-22 to Hope
Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.
ISBN 10: 1585622117
ISBN 13: 978-1585622115
Distilling years of experience in educating psychiatric patients and their families about depression, Jon Allen has written a practical book that addresses the challenges depressed patients face on the road to recovery. Allen advocates approaching depression by focusing on the importance of hope, and he helps patients understand depression through two simple ideas: catch-22 and stress pileup. This book conveys how the symptoms of depression impede all the things depressed persons must do to recover, thus defusing self-criticism while encouraging patients to take satisfaction in small steps toward improvement. And the concept of stress pileup encompasses a developmental perspective respecting the full range of accumulated biological, psychological, and interpersonal stresses that play into depression. This broad understanding helps patients become more compassionate toward themselves and puts them in a stronger position to make use of professional care.
Coping With Depression is written for a general audience, including depressed persons and their family members, as well as professionals seeking a readable integration of current knowledge that they can use to educate their patients. Although written in nontechnical language, the book provides a sophisticated and comprehensive understanding of the psychological development of depression, the neurobiology of the illness, and the full range of evidence-based treatment modalities. All material is buttressed by extensive references to theoretical, clinical, and research literature.
Coping With Depression emphasizes the concept of agency, encouraging readers to take an active role in their recovery. Countering today's trend toward exclusive reliance on antidepressant medication, the book employs the perspective of developmental psychopathology to integrate psychosocial and neurobiological knowledge. The book explains how biological vulnerability is intertwined with stress stemming from insecure attachment, childhood adversity, stressful life events, emotional conflicts, and problems in close relationships. Going far beyond the "chemical imbalance," the author illustrates how the experience of depression is linked to changes in patterns of brain activity as evidenced by neuroimaging studies. Coping With Depression will help readers
- understand the development of depression from a biopsychosocial perspective
- appreciate how depression is compounded by related conditions, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, personality disorders, general medical conditions, and suicidal states
- understand how recovering from depression entails working on many fronts, including improving physical health, participating in pleasurable activities, countering negative thinking, resolving internal conflicts, and-above all-establishing more stable and secure attachment relationships
- become knowledgeable about the treatment options that facilitate coping, including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and psychodynamic psychotherapy as well as medication and combined treatment
- appreciate the centrality of hope in recovery from depression and the challenges to hope that depression poses
" "Coping with Depression: From Catch 22 to Hope" is an outstanding contribution. It is a remarkably clear, lucid, and sensitive presentation for individuals suffering from depression and for their loved ones, based on extensive clinical experience and an impressive command of the complex and multidimensional research literature on this major clinical disorder."-- " Sidney J. Blatt, Ph.D., Yale University; Author, Experiences of Depression: Theoretical, Clinical and Research Perspectives"
"Allen's excellent book is written for individuals who want to better understand their own depressive illness; however, his overview of the current research is sophisticated enough to benefit even seasoned clinicians who work with mood disorders.... Allen's chapter on the changes in brain functioning with depression is masterful. The complex terrain and activity of the brain is described in a focused style that provides relevant and illuminating detail."-- "PsycCRITIQUES", "May 3, 2006"
"[Allen] masterfully walks through a variety of topics, like genetic predisposition, early childhood development, and stress as contributors to depression.... He gently exposes the patient's responsibility for change as a reason for hope rather than self-blame. Allen uses the most recent research on chronic depression and communicates it in a user-friendly way. The clinician can trust that the volume offers the patient the best available information in a sensitive manner."-- "Doody's Book Review Service", "May 2006"
From the Inside Flap
Coping With Depression is written in plain language for anyone seeking an in-depth understanding of depression, including patients, family members, and professionals. The book thoroughly explains the neurobiology of depression, but puts it in a developmental perspective by showing how the illness often evolves from a pileup of psychological and interpersonal stress over a lifetime. Once becoming ill, depressed persons face a catch-22: all the things they must do to recover are made difficult by the symptoms of depression. And the book reviews several conditions that compound depression, including bipolar disorder, anxiety, substance abuse, personality problems, general medical conditions, and suicidal states.
Understanding the seriousness and complexity of the illness prepares depressed persons to take an active role in their recovery by working on their physical health, negative thinking, emotional conflicts, and relationship problems. Coping With Depression explains how cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and psychodynamic therapy as well as medication can help the patient work on all these problems. The author affirms that hope must be founded on a realistic and compassionate understanding of the daunting challenges depressed persons face. And he shows how recovery is possible with knowledge, persistence, and help.