Overcoming Depression

Mood disorders are the “common cold” of major psychiatric illnesses. More than twenty million Americans will suffer an episode of depression or mania during their lifetimes. This book helps to demystify the major mood disorders by describing in clear terms their symptoms and diagnosis.

Using vivid personal accounts of people afflicted with major mood disorders, OVERCOMING DEPRESSION helps the reader to understand how they feel and to empathize with them. The authors identify the current psychiatric diagnostic criteria for depression and manic-depression and indicate that these illnesses are often incorrectly diagnosed as schizophrenia.

The technical explanations of the neurochemical and biological basis for the illness could overwhelm some readers. Psychiatric medicine has been able to correlate mood disorders with everything from genetic transmission, hormonal imbalance, and glandular diseases to disruptions in circadian (daily) rhythms. Yet despite the remarkable medical advances in controlling the symptoms of depression and manic-depression with drugs, especially lithium, the cause of such disorders remains a mystery.

Dr. Papolos, a clinical psychiatrist, advocates an integrated approach to treatment that includes drugs, psychotherapy, family counseling, and, when necessary, involuntary commitment. While evidence suggests that more than 80 percent of persons with depression can be treated, fewer than one in three actually seek treatment. This reluctance to obtain treatment can be attributed to the nature of the illness, the stigma associated with it, and the high cost of treatment. OVERCOMING DEPRESSION addresses each of these important issues sensitively and candidly.

The appendices include a comprehensive listing, by state, of manic-depressive support groups, as well as an overview of state statutes on involuntary commitment.