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Book Forum: MOOD DISORDERS   |    
Dealing With Depression: A Commonsense Guide to Mood Disorders
Max Fink, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2003;160:1365-1366. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.7.1365
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By Gordon Parker with the assistance of David Straton, Kay Wilhelm, Phillip Mitchell, Marie-Paule Austin, Kerrie Eyers, and Dusan Hadzi-Pavlovic. Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia, Allen & Unwin, 2002, 146 pp., $12.95 (paper).

Gordon Parker, an experienced Australian researcher and clinician, adds this lecture to the trade books that are published to help patients and their families understand what it means to be depressed and what the mental health professional can do to help. The local speech idioms make it user-friendly for Australian readers.

Psychotic, melancholic, and nonmelancholic forms of depression are described. These read like the descriptions of cough classified as wet or dry and productive or nonproductive before Pasteur’s insights set clinicians on the road of bacteriology to antibiotics. Parker describes the commonly accepted neurohumoral model of mood disorders and recommends a smorgasbord of medications and psychotherapies, with a soupçon of physical therapies. Dr. Parker’s patient vignettes are useful for the reader who can see a family member in them. He also offers short lists of mainly Australian Internet sites and reference books.

Such books are useful aids in educating patients and patients’ families about depressive illness and assuring informed consent and greater compliance with treatment. Other trade books that plow the same field are Papolos and Papolos’s Overcoming Depression(1), DePaulo and Horvitz’s Understanding Depression(2), Koplewicz’s More Than Moody(3), and Torrey and Knable’s Surviving Manic-Depression(4).

In addition to the professional views of mood disorders, patient reports are particularly useful in assuring patients that their experience is not unique and can be remedied. Such writers as Kay Jamison (5), Kathy Cronkite (6), Norman Endler (7), Martha Manning (8), William Styron (9), and Sherwin Nuland (10) give us poignant self-reports of the depressive experience and how it was relieved. Such books should be available for patients in psychiatrists’ offices and psychiatric clinics.

Papolos D, Papolos J: Overcoming Depression. New York, Harper Perennial, 1997
 
DePaulo R, Horvitz LA: Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It. New York, John Wiley & Sons, 2002
 
Koplewicz HS: More Than Moody. New York, GE Putnam’s Sons, 2002
 
Torrey EF, Knable MB: Surviving Manic-Depression. New York, Basic Books, 2002
 
Jamison K: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. New York, Alfred A Knopf, 1995
 
Cronkite K: On the Edge of Darkness. New York, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994
 
Endler NS: Holiday of Darkness. Toronto, Wall & Thompson, 1990
 
Manning M: Undercurrents. New York, HarperCollins, 1995
 
Styron W: Darkness Visible. New York, Random House, 1990
 
Nuland SD: Lost in America: A Journey With My Father. New York, Alfred A Knopf, 2003
 
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References

Papolos D, Papolos J: Overcoming Depression. New York, Harper Perennial, 1997
 
DePaulo R, Horvitz LA: Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It. New York, John Wiley & Sons, 2002
 
Koplewicz HS: More Than Moody. New York, GE Putnam’s Sons, 2002
 
Torrey EF, Knable MB: Surviving Manic-Depression. New York, Basic Books, 2002
 
Jamison K: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. New York, Alfred A Knopf, 1995
 
Cronkite K: On the Edge of Darkness. New York, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994
 
Endler NS: Holiday of Darkness. Toronto, Wall & Thompson, 1990
 
Manning M: Undercurrents. New York, HarperCollins, 1995
 
Styron W: Darkness Visible. New York, Random House, 1990
 
Nuland SD: Lost in America: A Journey With My Father. New York, Alfred A Knopf, 2003
 
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