In his landmark bestseller Listening to Prozac, Peter Kramer revolutionized the way we think about antidepressants and the culture in which they are so widely used. Now Kramer offers a frank and unflinching look at the condition those medications treat: depression. Definitively refuting our notions of "heroic melancholy," he walks readers through groundbreaking new research—studies that confirm depression's status as a devastating disease and suggest pathways toward resilience. Thought-provoking and enlightening, Against Depression provides a bold revision of our understanding of mood disorder and promises hope to the millions who suffer from it.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||18 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Peter D. Kramer, M.D., recently named host of the national, weekly public radio series, The Infinite Mind, is "possibly the best-known psychiatrist in America," as The New York Times put it. Peter Kramer received his M.D. from Harvard and is the best-selling author of Listening to Prozac, Should You Leave?, Spectacular Happiness, and Moments of Engagement. His latest book, Against Depression, will be published in May 2005.
In 2004, two programs of The Infinite Mind hosted by Kramer won top media awards: a Gracie Allen Award from the American Women in Radio and Television for an examination of "Domestic Violence" and a National Mental Health Association Media Award for “Between Two Worlds: Mental Health for Immigrants. Kramer has written for The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book Review, The Washington Post, the (London) Times Literary Supplement and U.S. News & World Report, among other publications. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, and has a private practice.
Visit Dr. Peter D. Kramer on the web: http://www.peterdkramer.com
The Infinite Mind: http://www.theinfinitemind.com/
Table of Contents
What It Is to Us
1. The Final Memoir
3. What If
7. More Charm
9. Obvious Confusion: Three Vignettes
What It Is
10. Altogether Again
11. Getting There
16. Here and Now
What It Will Be
17. The End of Melancholy
19. The Natural
21. After Depression
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm a big fan of Peter Kramer's books, especially Listening to Prozac, which is a psychopharmacological classic. Against Depression does not disappoint either, and in it he dispels the modern notion that depression should be held in esteem and even romanticized. He instead sees depression as simply an ugly, biological disease of the brain, that can also have negative effects on the rest of the body. He cites evidence that depression can be associated with damage to the brain, which is a frightening possibility. On the other hand, it should be noted that within the last decade or so it has been shown that the adult human brain can generate new neurons, so perhaps the brain can heal itself from potential damage due to depression. A mild criticism: perhaps Dr. Kramer should draw a distinction between someone who's a bit melancholic and wistful--where these two traits may be viewed as appealing by some--and someone with overt major depression, including sleep disturbance and other highly unpleasant symptoms. The former person may not have anything truly 'wrong' with his brain, whereas the latter probably does. Overall, a very well written book, with a philosophical bent, that should appeal to anyone interested in depression.
On balance a very solid work, though the author makes no bones that he is anything close to be objective when it comes to this topic. Of particular interest was the discussion the most recent developments re: the physiology of the brain in this area, and his thoughts on how neuroscience may change things in the future.The first part of the book ("what if") was the weakest, get through that and you'll find the rest of the work excellent.
As the author lectured on depression, after the success of his previous book ¿Listening to Prozac¿ he heard the question ¿What if Van Gogh had been on prozac?¿ many times. This prompted the current volume, a statement of why he thinks depression is a disease, debilitating, and deserving treatment, not a fashionable affliction. He cites multiple scientific studies documenting the association of depression with neuronal cell death due to stress hormone effects, particularly the work of Robert Sapolsky in cell culture. He cites numerous statistics showing how very prevalent depression is, how much is costs to care for and the significant health problems it causes. He also tackles the associations of depression in the popular mind with deep thought, with artistic creation, and the idea that depression is a state of mind that is a thoughtful response to the sorry state of the world. He notes that women who are depressed are often attractive to men of a certain type, and that depression is often viewed as charming by others. The argument is wide, citing sources from art and literature, science and personal experience with his patients. I found it convincing, and appreciated his view that depression is a lack of resilience to stress.
This is a magnificent book, definitely required reading for those who have suffered from major depression or anyone who has ever been close to a depressive. Kramer (the author of the also-excellent Listening to Prozac) makes it clear from the start that he believes that depression is an insidious disease that does not deserve the romanticization that has long surrounded it. He compares depression and the culture of melancholy to the way people used to romanticize tuberculosis, which used to be seen as a romantic disease that indicated refinement and tragic beauty. He offers up a lot of evidence to back up his beliefs, both from his own practice and from scientific studies that illustrate the physical effects (and possible causes) of depression. Even so, he is not unsympathetic to the impulses that lead us to romanticize depression and feel uncomfortable about the idea of eradicating it completely, and this book never edges into polemic. Reading it is sort of like having a series of dinner table talks with a very intelligent friend.
A very readable and encouraging book about the current thinking and research on depression as a disordered chemistry of the brain. .
This book is a wake up call to anyone who has been ambivelent about the treatment of depression, either in themselves or in someone close to them. Peter Kramer explains, systematically and convincingly, why depression is a disease that needs to be treated agressively and not a temperament or attitude that should be clung to for it's side benefits. The explanation is easily understood and engaging. Altogether an enlightening book.