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Against Depression

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Against Depression Cover

ISBN13: 9780670034055
ISBN10: 0670034053
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"Against Depression is partly a critique of the West's propensity for romanticizing depression, partly a survey of the latest research on the illness and its possible causes and cures, and partly a meditation on what our culture would look like if we stopped equating depression with refinement, profundity, insight and intelligence....In some ways Kramer, a subtle and perceptive observer, is the ideal person to consider the many facets of our infatuation with depression. However, his looping and elliptical prose style can make his arguments hard to follow, and sometimes he misses the obvious." Laura Miller, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A decade ago, with his breakaway bestseller Listening to Prozac, Peter Kramer revolutionized the way we think about antidepressants and the culture in which they are so widely used. Now, he returns with a profound and original look at the condition those medications treat — depression. He asks: If we could eradicate depression, so that no human being ever suffered it again, would we hesitate? Kramer knows the answer we're most likely to give is yes. But should it be?

Depression, linked in our culture to a long tradition of heroic melancholy, is often understood as ennobling — a source of soulfulness and creativity. Kramer traces this belief from Aristotle to the Romantics to Picasso and present-day memoirs of mood disorder and suggests that the persistence and prevalence of this hard-to-treat illness have distorted our sense of what it is to be human. There is nothing heroic about depression, Kramer argues and in his signature thought-provoking way, he walks the reader through the latest research and explores how recent findings might affect our tastes, our values and our sense of self.

Frank and unflinching, About Depression is a deeply felt, deeply moving book, grounded in time spent with the depressed. As his argument unfolds, Kramer becomes a crusader — the author of a compassionate polemic that is fiercely against what depression really is — a disease capable of devastating life. Like Listening to Prozac, Against Depression will offer hope to millions who suffer from depression — and profoundly affect the debate on its treatment.

Review:

"What is depression really, and how does society define it? Kramer, a famed psychiatrist and author of the 1993 bestseller Listening to Prozac, says he has written 'an insistent argument that depression is a disease, one we would do well to oppose wholeheartedly.' In making his argument, Kramer examines the cultural roots of notions about depression and underscores the gap between what we know scientifically and what we feel about the illness. Kramer traces depression from Hippocrates through the Renaissance and Romantic 'cult of melancholy' to advances in medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy, and at last to the disease we now know it to be. Kramer's curiosity drives the book forward as he ponders why we value artwork and literature built on despair: 'certain of our aesthetic and intellectual preferences have been set by those who suffer... deeply.' The book maintains the perfect balance between science and human interest, as the author details both psychiatric studies and personal experience. A comparison of the biochemical workings of depression with the physical and observable symptoms serves as an intellectual trip for readers and provides a thorough exploration of what Kramer dubs 'the most devastating disease known to humankind.' The book is rich with questions that engage the reader in an active dialogue: Why is society captive to depression's charm? And will this infatuation change with the emergence of more evidence regarding depression's severely disabling effects? Kramer leaves off with these questions to ponder. Resolute but not preachy, this book is an important addition to the growing public health campaign against depression. As for how we should define depression — perhaps it's best understood by its opposite: 'A resilient mind, sustained by a resilient brain and body.' One Spirit and Discover Book Club selections. (May 9) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"While not predicting that depression will be eliminated anytime soon, Kramer brings hope to those afflicted by it. A clear, valuable exposition of the progress researchers are making in understanding an all-too-common disease." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A]n excellent summary of current biochemical theories of depression. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"There is more breadth of evidence than innovative thinking in Against Depression. Nonetheless, this book successfully advances the cartography of a (quite literally) gray area between physical and mental illness." Janet Maslin, the New York Times

Synopsis:

A revolutionary exploration of mood disorder by the author of the landmark bestseller Listening to Prozac.

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Peter D. Kramer, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University, is the author of Should You Leave?, Moments of Engagement, Spectacular Happiness, and the international bestseller Listening to Prozac.

Table of Contents

Prologue

What It Is to Us

1. The Final Memoir

2. Return

3. What If

4. Ambivalence

5. Altogether

6. Charm

7. More Charm

8. Eros

9. Obvious Confusion: Three Vignettes

What It Is

10. Altogether Again

11. Getting There

12. Magnitude

13. Extent

14. Convergence

15. Resilience

16. Here and Now

What It Will Be

17. The End of Melancholy

18. Art

19. The Natural

20. Alienation

21. After Depression

Notes

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Kirsten, August 17, 2006 (view all comments by Kirsten)
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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670034055
Author:
Kramer, Peter D
Publisher:
Penguin Audio
Author:
Kramer, Peter D.
Subject:
Treatment
Subject:
Depression
Subject:
Depression, mental
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20050505
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.28x6.38x1.17 in. 1.27 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Psychopathology » Depression

Against Depression Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Viking Books - English 9780670034055 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "What is depression really, and how does society define it? Kramer, a famed psychiatrist and author of the 1993 bestseller Listening to Prozac, says he has written 'an insistent argument that depression is a disease, one we would do well to oppose wholeheartedly.' In making his argument, Kramer examines the cultural roots of notions about depression and underscores the gap between what we know scientifically and what we feel about the illness. Kramer traces depression from Hippocrates through the Renaissance and Romantic 'cult of melancholy' to advances in medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy, and at last to the disease we now know it to be. Kramer's curiosity drives the book forward as he ponders why we value artwork and literature built on despair: 'certain of our aesthetic and intellectual preferences have been set by those who suffer... deeply.' The book maintains the perfect balance between science and human interest, as the author details both psychiatric studies and personal experience. A comparison of the biochemical workings of depression with the physical and observable symptoms serves as an intellectual trip for readers and provides a thorough exploration of what Kramer dubs 'the most devastating disease known to humankind.' The book is rich with questions that engage the reader in an active dialogue: Why is society captive to depression's charm? And will this infatuation change with the emergence of more evidence regarding depression's severely disabling effects? Kramer leaves off with these questions to ponder. Resolute but not preachy, this book is an important addition to the growing public health campaign against depression. As for how we should define depression — perhaps it's best understood by its opposite: 'A resilient mind, sustained by a resilient brain and body.' One Spirit and Discover Book Club selections. (May 9) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Against Depression is partly a critique of the West's propensity for romanticizing depression, partly a survey of the latest research on the illness and its possible causes and cures, and partly a meditation on what our culture would look like if we stopped equating depression with refinement, profundity, insight and intelligence....In some ways Kramer, a subtle and perceptive observer, is the ideal person to consider the many facets of our infatuation with depression. However, his looping and elliptical prose style can make his arguments hard to follow, and sometimes he misses the obvious." (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Review" by , "While not predicting that depression will be eliminated anytime soon, Kramer brings hope to those afflicted by it. A clear, valuable exposition of the progress researchers are making in understanding an all-too-common disease."
"Review" by , "[A]n excellent summary of current biochemical theories of depression. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "There is more breadth of evidence than innovative thinking in Against Depression. Nonetheless, this book successfully advances the cartography of a (quite literally) gray area between physical and mental illness."
"Synopsis" by ,

A revolutionary exploration of mood disorder by the author of the landmark bestseller Listening to Prozac.

"Synopsis" by ,

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.

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