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Beating the Blues: New Approaches to Overcoming Dysthymia and Chronic Mild Depression

Beating the Blues: New Approaches to Overcoming Dysthymia and Chronic Mild Depression [Kindle Edition]

Michael E. Thase M.D. , Susan S. Lang
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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...this is the best concise guide to treating chronic depression I have seen. -- James H. Kocsis, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Cornell Medical Center

Easy to read about, tough to put into practice, Thase's strategies for feeling better are worth the time and effort. -- Chicago Tribune

Product Description

Mild depressions are so insidious that sufferers often don't seek help. They think, "that's just the way I am. There's really not much I can do about it." As Dr. Michael Thase and science writer Susan S. Lang reveal in this wonderful new book, the good news is they can do something about it. Persistent mild depression, which afflicts up to 35 million Americans, can be readily and permanently cured.
Thase and Lang show how chronic mild depression can be relieved by learning strategies that help us to recognize negative and distorted thinking patterns that lead to a downward spiral of pessimism. They reveal that a combination of medication and therapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment for mild depression, with an impressive 85% of patients experiencing full relief. They discuss when you should seek help from a therapist and what kinds of therapy seem the most effective (therapies that focus on the here and now seem to work best); outline the safer new antidepressants that are helpful for both mild and severe depressions, detailing each drug's strength and weakness; and examine alternative therapies, including stress management (meditation, relaxation, massage, biofeedback), physical exercise, acupuncture, supplements, and other mind/body therapies. Finally, they provide in-depth discussions of mild depression in children, adolescents, college students, and elderly parents, as well as those with chronic stress. Throughout, the authors use boxed text and charts to make the key ideas immediately accessible and easy to use.
Beating the Blues is an inspiring and empowering book, filled with the information and encouragement you need to turn your life around and begin to feel renewed pleasure and joy.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2360 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (1 Jan 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001C81FSA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,466 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
If you suffer from a chronic form of depression the chances are that you don't even realise you are ill. Most sufferers of dysthymia believe that their symptoms are normal, or incurable, "it's just the way we are". Not so! Chronic depression can be treated, managed, maybe even cured. According to this book anyway. What is really important is that you understand the nature of your problem and are well informed about the range of possible treatments.

If you suffer from chronic depression then most "You Can Be Happy!" type of self-help books don't give you the information you need to recover and to deal with potential relapses. Most self-help books on depression assume that you know what it feels like to be happy - which, if you have been depressed for a very long time, you probably don't.

If you are looking for a book which tells you how you can fix yourself without having to ask for help from anyone else then this is not for you. If you suspect you have a form of chronic depression and want to be able to make informed decisions about your treament then it will empower you to search for the most appropriate treatment for your depression. It will help you to work out if you are depressed, and if so, what type of depression you have. It gives useful information about medications and psychotherapies, alternative remedies and self-help strategies, advice on diet and exercise. It treats all these as part of a whole solution which for most people will be a pick-and-mix of several different strategies. It is written, as far as I can judge, to be read by both patients and students. It is accessible to the layperson (no really hard Latin words) yet it contains enough information on research and references to articles in medical journals to interest a student or a practitioner.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you realise you are normal 5 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This is not a self help book written by some self appointed guru. It takes medical research and presents it in a way that we can all digest. It gives a through overview of depression and the various treatments - from drugs to therapy to herbal and many more.
If you are seeking treatment for depression but are afraid then I can recommend this book - you will finish it more informed and less frightened.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beating the Blues 20 Sep 2011
By Jacs
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was attracted to this because I was diagnosed with Dysthymia in July this year after many years of challenges. This has affected me greatly and I am now finally coming to terms with it. As a result I have been researching this condition extensively and this is one book I have read on the topic.

Much of what is written on Dysthymia assumes it to be a mild but chronic depression; this underestimates the effects it has on both the sufferer, family and friends completely. What this book does is discuss the findings from research, the advances made in neuroscience and the effects on the brain which is clearly seen on the advanced scanning techniques that are used. I think this is very exciting because neuroscience is proving that many conditions in mental health have a physical cause and this is beginning to be born out by research findings. It discusses the various approaches to treating Dysthymia both in medication and other methods, none of which are a magic cure. It also discusses diet and how this can effect the brain chemistry and in turn moods and behaviour. It is written in a comprehensive manner and doesn't blind the reader with science in technical terms.

If like me you want to find out more about this dreadful illness then this book is very useful in giving you understanding at a deeper level in order to help yourself and be able to discuss issues with your care provider.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book 13 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent east to understand book that outlines not only what Dysthymia is and how it presents but how it differs from other types of depression such as moderate or severe depression. The chapter on the different type of anti-depressants available and how they work as well as common and severe side effects is excellent reference material to feel informed, as is the appendix of the same in the back of the book.

Covering everything from identification and clinical scoring checklists to what can be done outside of just medication to help those with this often debilitating condition. It has chapters on Dysthymia in the elderly also.

Overall a very easy book too read with not too much psychological jargon that the layperson can't understand. The infirm action on how this firm of depression changes brain chemistry is excellent. It's also full of links to helpful websites and support tools. I'd recommend this book to anyone with Dysthymia, or suspect they do as well as for Carers and professionals. Excellent read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clear, Concise, and Friendly Book on Dysthymia and Mild Depression 24 Feb 2006
By Scott McDaniel - Published on
I really like Thase and Lang's Beating the Blues. It gets to the point and clearly and simply answers lots of questions I've had. For example, what to look for in a therapist. It goes through the symptoms and shows how dysthymia, mild depression, and major depression differ from each other. It also addresses a few other similar conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Once it gets to the "so what should you do about it" section of the book, it takes many approaches from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in terms of analyzing what you're thinking and how that affects your feelings. A basic assumption is that our thoughts generate our emotions, and we can tend to use somewhat distorted thought patterns that set up a feedback loop with feelings of tiredness, apathy, feelings of self-worth. It pulls a good deal of material from Feeling Good: A New Mood Therapby by David Burns, though I prefer this book's tone and style. Then, the Beating the Blues compares three types of approaches: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy, and Problem Solving Therapy. The last part of the book deals with specific sub-groups: children and adolescents, women, and the elderly.

One thing I appreciate about the book is its clear and direct writing style. One author (Michael Thase) is a medical doctor while the other author (Susan Lang) is a science writer. Having that professional writer in the mix is key, I think. It's a friendly and non-technical approach, but it's not condescending or too much of a cheerleader for my tastes. It's also an easy book to scan, with good chapter and section headers that let you know what's safe to skip and what's not. Overall, a very good book.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with Information 14 Feb 2005
By L. Larmour - Published on
I recommend Beating the Blues to anyone who often feels mildly depressed and can't seem to shake the down feelings. I thought this book gave a great synthesis of the findings of recent research and clinical studies on mild and moderate depression and the most effective treatments, including several new, experimental therapies. I found the detailed self-help strategies valuable, as well as the guidelines for deciding whether to seek psychotherapy or medications.

The book was made even more useful by the inclusion of many bulleted lists and charts, which I could refer back to for a summary of a chapter or to find specific information.

I lent the book to a co-worker whose mother had become depressed since moving to an elder-care facility. After reading it, she said that she now has a better understanding of what her mother is going through, and she is using the chapter on aging and dysthymia, as well as the chapter on medications, to take steps to alleviate her mother's symptoms.

I've read many self-help books, and I can't remember another so packed with valuable, easily usable information. I definitely recommend Beating the Blues.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fills the Gap for Those Struggling with Dysthymia 23 Mar 2005
By Nancy Rosen - Published on
This book fills a gap in the mental health field; the many books out on depression have not been a good fit for those struggling with dysthymia. Beating the Blues speaks to those who have been managing to function, but missing out on pleasure and full productivity. Easy to read and apply, the information and

techniques shared in this book can change lives. I have shared it with both teens and adults-members of both age groups connected quickly with the book, feeling that it captured what they were experiencing. Both teens and adults benefited from a deeper understanding of how dysthymia was impacting their lives, and had success with the strategies for change. I recommend having a few copies around since you will inevitably want to lend some out.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 10 Oct 2007
By Kristi Marie - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed by this book. I felt the overall tone was condescending. There were several implications that depression is caused by a failure to "try harder" and think positively. For example, one statement by the author indicated that some people who experience various traumas don't struggle with depression because they simply choose to have a more positive approach to life. I found this to be an overly simplistic statement -- unfortunately, these types of statements are peppered throughout the book. The author does acknowledge the various facets and causes of depression; however, his intense agenda of recommending cognitive behavioral therapy derails any attempt to maintain a compassionate tone. I believe cognitive behavioral therapy is very valuable and has many benefits, and I was looking forward to reading this book. I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a sensitive and compassionate approach to treating depression.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book 25 Jan 2005
By Edward Y. Wong - Published on
I suffer from dysthymia and depression, and I found this book to be quite helpful in trying to frame some of my negative thinking. The book is easy to read, and is fairly complete. I found the editing to be somewhat inadequate. For instance, in the chapter about medication, they mentioned that Effexor was quite often used as a first attempt for anti-depressants. Later in the paragraph, it mentioned that if these were not well-tolerated, then the subject may move onto the 2nd-class of drugs, of which Effexor was again mentioned. Dispensing advice and information on medication is so important that this kind of details should not have been neglected.

Of course, these meds require a prescription, but nevertheless, it underscores some of the editing, or the lack thereof, that this book really needed. Additionally, some of the ideas were mentioned over and over again, which is both good and bad. For a hurry-in-the-pants reader like myself, that was too much, but as a tool to help modify congitive-behaviours, I think some of their messages cannot be mentioned more than enough.

All in all, I find it a helpful book. Since most people suffering from depression have a difficult time reading a book, this one can be a great asset.
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