Don't try to cure/heal/treat depression with a trip to your local bookstore

Deborah Gray Health Guide
  • I'm perusing the shelves of the bookstore, in the psychology section, looking for new books about depression and depression treatment. I know that I really shouldn't be doing this, because it inevitably raises by blood pressure and puts me in danger of choking on my decaf mocha. The problem is, this activity exposes me to all the ways in which someone is trying to sell us a book that will cure/heal/or treat your depression - without doctors or drugs! Let's see, there's:



    • The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
    • Happiness is a Choice
    • Dealing with Depression Naturally
    • Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way
    • The Mindful Way through Depression


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    Let me just mention first that Happiness is a Choice has always made me froth at the mouth. I mean, seriously, maybe there are some people like beat poets and goths who think being depressed is preferable to being happy, but the rest of us disagree. We're not choosing to be depressed, which is what the book implies, any more than someone chooses to be diabetic. I mean, come on, I was seven when I started suffering from depression. Can the author seriously think that a child of that age just was choosing to be depressed?


    But that particular book aside, I learn from my trip through the shelves that apparently you can also cure, treat or heal depression with yoga, meditation, sound therapy and self hypnosis as well as, of course, herbs and supplements. It seriously makes me want to scream. Listen, it's entirely possible that some of those things can help alleviate depression. I'm all for yoga and meditation, myself. But even if these things could banish depression, there's a crucial reason why you should not try to diagnose and treat your depression using a book.


    You absolutely have to see a doctor, at least once, to have your depression diagnosed properly. In some cases, depression is caused by an underlying condition, which in some cases is life-threatening. You have to be thoroughly checked out by a doctor to eliminate these possibilities. It's just not smart to skip this step. But if you decide to handle this yourself (or you and your author buddy) you're never going to get to the doctor, especially because many of these books seem to think that doctors are pretty much in the same league as Satan.


    So, aside from that warning label, there's something else that bothers me about these books and the advice they're giving. Depression has been around, or at least has been recorded, for thousands of years, long before antidepressants arrived. Yet many of these cures and treatments that are being recommended by these books have also been around for thousands of years. If one of them really worked, or worked for the majority of the individuals with clinical depression, wouldn't it be an accepted treatment by now? We wouldn't even have had to come up with antidepressants if that were the case.


    I am a very logical person, and that tends to lead to skepticism. Logic is in some ways the opposite of faith. In some situations, being logical instead of being a believer is a disadvantage. But in this case, it's not. Never forget that clinical depression is potentially a fatal disease. Do you really want to trust your well-being and your life to a $18.95 book?

Published On: October 28, 2009