Against DepressionBook - 2005
A decade ago, with his breakaway bestseller, Listening to Prozac, Peter Kramer revolutionized the way we think about antidepressants and the culture in which they are so widely used. Now, he returns with a profound and original look at the condition those medications treat?depression. He asks: If we could eradicate depression so that no human being ever suffered it again, would we?
Depression, linked in our culture to a long tradition of ?heroic melancholy,? is often understood as ennobling?a source of soulfulness and creativity. Tracing this belief from Aristotle to the Romantics to Picasso, and to present-day memoirs of mood disorder, Kramer suggests that the pervasiveness of the illness has distorted our sense of what it is to be human. There is nothing heroic about depression, Kramer argues, and he presents the latest scientific findings to support the fact that depression is a disease?one that can have far-reaching health effects on its sufferers.
Frank and unflinching, Against Depression is a deeply felt, deeply moving book, grounded in time spent with the depressed. As his argument unfolds, Kramer becomes a crusader, the author of a compassionate polemic that is fiercely against depression and the devastation it causes. Like Listening to Prozac, Against Depression will offer hope to millions who suffer from depression?and radically alter the debate on its treatment.
Baker & Taylor
Examines depression from a historical and scientific perspective, challenging cultural beliefs about depression and calling for a greater awareness of its devastating impact, as well as renewed efforts to provide curative treatments.
Blackwell North Amer
Against Depression is an assessment of the science of mood disorder - a field that has taken leaps forward in the past decade. Walking the reader through the full range of new research, Kramer shows how depression endangers nerve cells, disrupts brain functioning, damages the heart and the blood vessels, alters personal perspective and judgment, and interferes with parenting and family life. As the evidence mounts, there is no denying the obvious - that depression now qualifies fully as a disease, one of the most devastating known to humankind. And yet, says Kramer, we do not approach depression as a disease, not in our daily thinking.
Depression, linked in our culture to a long tradition of "heroic melancholy," is often understood as ennobling - a source of creativity, integrity, insight, and even sensuality. Tracing these beliefs from Aristotle to the Romantics to Picasso, and to present-day memoirs of mood disorder, Kramer suggests that the pervasiveness of the illness has distorted our impression of what it is to be human. He shows how a head-on look at depression as we now know it will change our sense of self, our tastes in art and in love, and our account of what it is to live a good life.
The best-selling author of Listening to Prozac examines depression from a historical and scientific perspective, challenging cultural beliefs that depression is a noble or romantic disorder linked to soulful or creative achievements, and calling for a greater awareness of depression's devastating impact, as well as renewed efforts to provide curative treatments.
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