Saturday, July 14, 2012

New guide for recovery

It's not very often that I write about secular books here, but a new book has been drawn to my attention that I want to share with you. I highly recommend it.

Depression and Bipolar Disorder: Your Guide to Recovery (Bull Publishing) was published in May by William R. Marchand, MD. It's a comprehenisive book on the topic. You could almost call it a manual. The author himself suggests reading portions as required and not necessarily reading it cover to cover, though eventually you should try to work your way through it. There is so much good information and advice there.

The cover promises that the book will help us:
  • Understand biological and psychological causes
  • Become empowered to take charge of your recovery
  • Find the best treatment approach for your situation

Many self-help books have been written for people with mood disorders, often by people who themselves live with a disorder, my own books included. But it's refreshing to see the topic dealt with by a psychiatrist - a book not written for other professionals, but for us, people who live with depression and bipolar disorder. Although Dr. Marchand is obviously a very learned man, being a clinician, an academic (teaching), and a researcher, the book is not hard to read.

I found the tone of the book compassionate. Obiously the author very much cares about the people he wrote it for. He wants us to benefit. He truly wants to make a difference in our lives.

Many people will say that the entire cause of our disorder is biological, but Marchand has a better explanation. Here is a sample of how he reads our disease.

"...these are biological disorders, just like diabetes and high blood pressure....mood disorders are also psychological conditions. However, in regard to brain function, 'biology' and 'psychology' are best  understood as different aspects of the same underlying processes. That said, we will likely never be able to completely reduce the complexity of human psychology to an equation describing the underlying biology. I think it is still important to recognize that biology and psychology are not opposites but rather interacting processes that cause mood symptoms." (P.116)

Another thing that interested me was Marchand's discussion of the patterns of thinking about ourselves that develop when we are depressed. He talks a bit about where they come from and about mindfulness, a therapy that can help us with this problem.

At the end of Dr. Marchand's introduction he wrote, "You can expect to get well. Sometimes it takes a little time, but almost everyone with a mood disorder can get better and stay well for life."

Wow! That is hopeful news, isn't it? I wasn't sure whether I could accept that. So I sent Dr. Marchand some questions. In the next post I will publish his response to me on this and a few other things.

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