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Author: Richard O’Connor
Title: Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You And Medication Can’t Give You
Year Published: 2010
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Number of Pages: 368
In the book Undoing Depression, psychotherapist Richard O’Connor analyzes why depression is so prevalent in our society and the steps that we can take to combat it.
From the very beginning, we can tell that this is a very personal book for O’Connor. Not only does he work closely with people who suffer from depression, but he has also struggled with it himself. Stories from his clients as well as his own personal stories interweave more informational text making the entire book feel like a passion project that is full of meaning.
O’Connor explores many aspects of depression in this book. He looks at what exactly depression is and different ways that depression shows up in people. He explains why depression recurs and what people frequently get wrong about treatment.
If you read this book, you will discover what good treatment for depression consists of and you will also discover a multitude of exercises that you can do yourself. This book gives overviews of treatment options, so you may feel disappointed if you are looking for depth. However, O’Connor does a fantastic job of recommending resources for each treatment type.
Who This Is For
This book would be especially great for someone who has recently been diagnosed with depression. It illuminates the big picture of this mental disorder and gives invaluable knowledge for treatment.
This book would also be great for anyone who wants to help someone with depression and wants to learn more. If you are already highly educated on depression, you may find that this book doesn’t give any new knowledge.
What I Love About Undoing Depression (And What I Didn’t)
One thing that I really liked about this book was how the personal anecdotes were mixed in with the more scientific information. The stories were really well-written and really added something to the text. They made the book much easier to read and the main points much easier to understand and remember.
Even though I enjoyed the way that the book was written, I have seen some complaints that the book was too dense and difficult to read. I can see how someone may feel this way, especially in the chapters explaining the science behind depression.
If someone has the exhaustion and overwhelm that is characteristic of depression, this book might be a lot.
If you are concerned about the readability of this book, you should check out O’Connor’s website so you can see how you like his writing style. Undoingdepression.com is also packed with invaluable information about depression.
Another thing that I liked about Undoing Depression was the fact that it is filled with a multitude exercises that you can try on your own. You can seriously start working on your depression with just the information from this book.
However, there are so many exercises that you may experience the “paradox of choice”- you may become overwhelmed by all of the choices and the fact that you can’t do them all at once. It is important to choose to work on one and master one thing at a time.
If, after some time, you find that one exercise is not working for you, move onto another one. Just make sure that you are not jumping around too much from exercise to exercise. It takes time to really start experiencing all of their benefits.
O’Connor’s suggestions for further reading also impressed me. I’ll admit that many books in the self-help genre have suggestions for further reading. Even though further reading sections are common, I am always happy to see them.
I actually became very interested in some of the books that O’Connor suggested and bought a few of his recommendations. I was blown away by how spot-on they were and how much they added to the text. The detailed overview, as well as recommendations for further reading, really made this book feel complete.
This book does an excellent job of tackling the complicated issue of medication for depression. I liked the way that O’Connor approached it because he went in-depth into the issue and didn’t take too much of a personal stance on it. He provides an overview of different classes of medications, some of the history behind them, and gives a great explanation for why medication for depression is not a simple issue.
People who feel strongly about medication, whether they are for or against it, might have an issue with this discussion. However, I think that it is a great section if you simply want to learn about different medications for depression.
Readers may also take issue with the very straightforward, scholarly tone of this book. Some may actually find this depressing on some level and do better with a book that has a more upbeat and optimistic tone.
Undoing depression is thorough and highly important, but some may find the book difficult to read.
- Stories made the content engaging
- Good general overview
- Abundance of exercises
- Excellent recommendations for further reading
- Possibly too verbose for some
- Some of the topics are controversial
In conclusion, Undoing Depression is a great resource if you have depression or want to help out someone with depression. It does an excellent job of providing anecdotes to go along with the more informational text.
I also liked O’Connor’s book recommendations and ended up buying a few. However, some may find that this book has too much of a scholarly tone or may not like how O’Connor approached the controversial topic of medication for depression.
Overall, this book is an invaluable resource for those with depression (or who care about someone with depression).
Click below to get Undoing Depression for yourself. The link leads to Amazon.com.