Depression is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs

by A.B. Curtiss

Hyperion, 2001.
Hardcover, 480 pages.
ISBN: 0786866292

Depression is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs by A.B. Curtiss

Over seventeen million Americans suffer from depression, with symptoms ranging from mild sadness to incapacitating misery. A.B. Curtiss is a board certified cognitive therapist, who was herself diagnosed with manic depression. Both her father and brother were also severe depressives, who did not benefit substantially from years of traditional treatment: psychotherapy and anti-depressant drugs. Through a trial and error process and much study, Dr. Curtiss came to realize that it was her reaction to the depressive feeling which was really incapacitating -- not necessarily the underlying chemical imbalance which was causing the problems she was experiencing. By separating the idea of herself from her "mind" she was able to distract herself from depressive thoughts as soon as they showed up. Curtiss gives specific examples of directed thinking which she has used to great effect in her life.

Curtiss strongly rejects the notion that we cannot control our own moods, saying "We are not some kind of empty bags that periodically fill up with either pain or joy. The overwhelming feelings of depression lead us to believe we have nothing within us to fall back on. But this is not true.... It is our moods that come and go.... Our mind always remains completely intact and immediately available to us when depression hits... We simply have to remember how to properly access it at this time." (p. 200)

Curtiss' work will be of great benefit to those who wish to take control of their own recovery and feelings. In fact, Curtiss' theories will also be of help in teaching people to control their own minds, while they are on antidepressants with the ultimate goal of being drug-free. One caveat: these techniques will likely be beyond seriously ill or suicidal patients, and seem more suited to treat mild to moderate depression.

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This review was published in the February, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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