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Surviving America's Depression Epidemic : How to Find Morale, Energy, and Community in a World Gone Crazy
Millions of us have experienced periods of low morale, struggled to find cheer in the day-to-day world, and then found ourselves pacified into believing the smooth-talking spokesperson in yet another medication ad. We’ve all heard them, there’s no denying the fact that these ads have made each of us wonder: Do I suffer from depression? Would I be happier and healthier if I simply consulted my physician and requested (insert drug name here)?
The rate of clinical depression in the U.S. has increased more than tenfold in the last fifty years. Is this epidemic properly being addressed by the insurance, pharmaceutical, and governmental powers-that-be or exacerbated by a failing system focused on instant results and high profit margins? Dr. Bruce E. Levine, a highly respected clinical psychologist, argues the latter and provides a compelling alternative approach to treating depression that makes lasting change more likely than with symptom-based treatment through medication.
Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic delves into the roots of depression and links our increasingly consumer-based culture and standard-practice psychiatric treatments to worsening depression, instead of solving it. In an easy-to-understand narrative style, Dr. Levine prescribes antidotes to depression including the keys to building morale and selfhealing. Unlike short-term, drug-based solutions, these antidotes foster a long-term cycle where people rediscover passion and purpose, and find meaning in acting on their societal concerns.
A groundbreaking work, atypical of the shelf-loads of “pep-talk” based self help books on the market, Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic provides the knowledge and counsel of a practicing psychologist in a digestible format that will improve your future. A must read for guidance and pastoral counselors; non-dogmatic psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers; and those tired of the TV ads shilling for better living through chemistry.
Levine is a clinical psychologist whose message, which he first explored in 2003's Commonsense Rebellion, is that American society is a pathological society, mired in "an extremist consumer culture" that breeds depression as a matter of course (he points to the American Psychological Association's 1998 statement that the U.S. was suffering "ten to twenty times as much" depression as it was 50 years before). Levine attributes this to three consumerism-driven factors: the failure of the medical profession to account for "societal and cultural sources for despair"; the "psycho-pharmaceutical complex" that pushes health practitioners to prescribe drugs; and therapists' determination not to stray from the standardized counseling rulebook. The solution Levine uses in his own practice recognizes that periods of depression can be a "natural part of the human condition" and "potential sources for motivation and discovery," and combines humor and practical advice to instill the self-acceptance and self-release that will help people pull themselves clear and find "life beyond self." Though the toppling of consumer society advocated in a final section on "Public Passion and Reclaiming Community" may not be entirely realistic (especially for the lone self-helper), Levine's holistic approach, bolstered by plenty of scholarship and popular literary references, will give depression patients a useful big-picture perspective.
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Chelsea Green Publishing
October 25, 2007
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