You probably have heard or read a few self-help books on depression. Here’s a new book The Complete Guide to Self-Management of Depression: Practical and Proven Methods, which to date, is the most comprehensive evidence-based self-help book on depression that goes beyond pseudo-scientific ‘cures’ and ‘detoxes’. What makes this book different from others is highlighted by the following features unique to this book:
1. Depression is a complex illness, which presents in a myriad of ways and almost 60–70% of people treated with antidepressants fail to achieve a symptom-free state when first treated with these medications.
The treatment of depression cannot be pigeonholed into one or two kinds of treatment modalities, which is the case with popular self-help books on depression. Most of these books keep repackaging the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach for treating depression in a user-friendly lingo with catchy titles and words such as ‘happiness’ or ‘happy’. However, ask a person suffering from depression and they will squarely tell you that feeling happy is not the same as overcoming depression. This book offers the reader a broad menu of options for self-management of depression that go above and beyond the traditional psychotherapies for depression.
2. Self-management is increasingly becoming the standard of care in people with long-standing medical conditions.
Self-management puts one in the driver’s seat with regards to making choices regarding one’s health. People with diabetes, heart disease, emphysema, asthma, and other long-standing medical conditions have successfully used self-management to live a healthy life. However, treatment of depression has lagged behind in incorporating the concept of self-management. This book serves to fill this void.
3. This book broadens the narrow perspective of self-help beyond the traditional treatment of symptoms to self-management of depression.
Self-management, besides a focus on treating symptoms, also addresses lifestyle changes, social relationships, communication, problem-solving, and also includes elements of wellness and recovery.
4. This book also presents evidence-based approaches for complementary and alternative treatments of depression, including herbs, dietary supplements, exercise, mindfulness, and light therapy.
Only evidence-based treatments are included so that readers can make informed choices rather than falling for the latest fad.
5. Treatments that work for anxiety, substance use, and grief, which may commonly co-occur with depression, are discussed in separate chapters in the book.
Any self-help book on depression is incomplete without a discussion on these co-existing conditions.
6. The book discusses the role of internet-based treatments for depression, what to look for in these treatments and also the treatments that are more likely to work.
Not everyone is comfortable with one-to-one therapy and internet-based psychotherapy is now known to show efficacy that is equivalent to individual psychotherapy.
7. Treatment-resistant depression and chronic depression, rarely discussed in self-help books, are discussed in separate chapters in this book. Traditional treatments for depression may not always work for these conditions.
8. The book elaborates on recognising and treating cognitive symptoms (memory problems, poor concentration, etc.) as research now suggests that these symptoms influence functional outcomes in depression.
9. The book highlights the concept of measurement-based care, which emphasises the role of periodic monitoring of symptoms using self-assessment tools to make treatment-related decisions.
Measurement-based care is a standard protocol when treating medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension but has lagged behind in mental health.
10. While the highlight of this book is to make the reader aware of the proven strategies that work for depression based on research, where applicable, caveats or situations when a particular strategy may not work, are also discussed.
This approach differs from the traditional self-help books on depression that sometimes tend to convey the ‘one-size-fits-all’ paradigm.
11. In contrast to the traditional paternalistic model of healthcare, consumer-defined wellness and recovery are now becoming the norm for healthcare delivery in mental health settings.
In line with the modern practice of behavioural medicine, this book highlights the role of wellness and recovery in self-management of depression.
Learn more about this book and how to self-manage depression on this link.
Harpreet Duggal, MD, FAPA, is a board-certified psychiatrist working for Kaiser Permanente in California.