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snake oil again
on 6 May 2013
I'm sad to give this a poor review. I read it with excitement but growing frustration. It's a pretty misleading text, sweeping the reader along on its uplifting but unsubstantiated message.
I searched for examples in the book where long term clinical depression had been cured by these methods and found not a single one. Most of the astounding results were for people who were overcoming pretty traumatic but common negative life upheavals: their fiances had left them, they'd been diagnosed with cancer. In short: they had coherent reasons to be sad and would no doubt, if of normally sound mind, find ways to recover given time, which with care and attention given by the research teams experimenting here, they did. Two examples given of clinical depression and bipolar allegedly 'healed' by these alternative methods skated so briefly over the admission that both patients also stayed on medication long term, in conjunction with the extras, that a skim read might miss this crucial point: these patients did not get cured by these methods. They stayed on medication.
I don't doubt the efficacy of any feel-good alternative medicine. But this book does not prove, as it claims to, that any of these actions can cure genuine long term clinical depression. It's easily possible for a depressive to come out of exercise class or out of a long run feeling great. Likewise to enjoy a lift from acupuncture, meditation etc. But the feeling isn't sustainable - that's the crucial issue. It can be wiped out seconds later by a snappy store clerk or being cut up by another driver. The core desperation of a clinical depressive isn't proven to be healed here.
Again and again the examples shown were of people overcoming grief, ordinary everyday sadness with a clear cause. It's good to know such people felt healed. But they are not the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on SSRIs such as Celexa/Citalopram (not mentioned generically in the book) to keep them alive. Read with care and caution. I found no answers here.