Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You
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Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  348 ratings  ·  55 reviews
This refreshingly sensible book teaches how to replace depressive patterns of thinking, relating, and behaving with a new and more effective set of skills.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Berkley Trade (first published 1997)
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Doug
If you or anyone you know has ever suffered from depression, I would highly recommend Dr. O'Connor's book. Reading this book I realized that most people - including those with depression themselves - have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be depressed. The first half in particular offers some especially interesting insights into the psyche of the depressed.

"We confuse depression, sadness, and grief. But the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality - the ability to e...more
Isabell
As others have said, this is probably the best book on depression out there, certainly the best I have read. It's pretty good at explaining what depression is and what causes it. We learn depression, the author writes, because the skills of depression were at one point necessary for our survival. And everything we learn, we can also unlearn. And to explain the unlearning part, the book launches us into things such as mood journals and some basics of cognitive behavioral therapy.

I think he gives...more
Kathy
Dr. O'Connor has written one of the best books on depression out there. He helps untangle the myriad of therapeutic approaches to treat depression, and attempts to sort out the conflicts held by many concerning medications. I totally buy his philosophy on "Big Pharma", and the undenialble fact that more people are diagnosed with depression in this country than ever in history because of the milieu of drugs available to treat it, and the push of doctors to prescribe it. He seems to vacillate in h...more
Bill Bristol
This the first book that I have read on depression. I like the fact that the author has personal experience with depression, understands the paradoxical elements and behavior patterns of those afflicted and "suggests" courses of action to remediate the suffering of those afflicted. As a son of a clinically depressed parent, I am now getting a broader understanding of what my "Triggers" are which affect my marriage. The author's comments on "Big Pharma" struck a nerve as well. The "Fix it fast" m...more
Jessica
A book worth the read, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's been around the block in the neighborhood of depression. I found myself numerous times throughout the reading, nodding my head in agreement or stopping to truly reflect a point, that I had never pondered. I find myself agreeing a lot with another reviewer (Doug) who chose this to say from the book itself: "We confuse depression, sadness, and grief. But the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality - the ability...more
Rebecca Huston
One of the better books out there on how to deal with depression and how to drag yourself out of the hole. If you think that medication alone will fix you, read this book. If you love or are with someone that is depressed, read this book. I got more tips on how to survive and deal with my illness than just about any other book in the market. Five stars and very deserving of them.

For the complete review, please go here:
http://www.epinions.com/content_79184...
Msstacylynn Turner
Amazing! Finally a book about depression by a Dr with depression. This book was like reading the pages of my life. He gets it. The chapters address all areas of depression and help you overcome the habits you have created living with depression. I have re-read this book and re-read this book. It is a self help book for people with depression. Everyone with depressin must read this and all their family members.
Mohammad
Amazing, well-written, deep book on depression, written by a doctor who suffered depression himself. He carefully explores depression uncovering a lot of hidden aspects of the psyche of the depressed. The book touches you and changes how you perceive and understand depression. He offers a full recovery program that works on emotions, behavior, thoughts and relationships and offers insights on how to apply new skills in dealing with your depression. In the end he introduces 12 principles for reco...more
Deb
A good read for those living with or have a loved one surviving with depression. The authors speaks from a place of knowing and is able to capture the feelings (or the lack thereof) that come from depression. The science/psychological info is helpful. The suggestions made to help oneself are considerate and do-able.
I found it encouraging to read a book that was able to describe my experience. This would be a book I would hand to my family or friends so that they could better understand what I...more
Petr
It has been more than two years since I started reading this book. Since then this book managed to save my sanity at least twice and probably will do so in the future. The amount of red, green and blue color lines almost on every page spread is staggering. I never underlined so much in any other books. It was not always pleasant. There are no magic bullets in it. It’s a true self-help book. But at the very least it can help reader to see what is wrong, how it is wrong and what you can do to chan...more
Robin
The best description of depression I have ever read, and I've read a lot of books on the subject. Its particular insight,mentioned by quite a few other reviewers here, is that clinical depression is more a lack of feeling, rather than feeling "depressed" in the sense that the term is commonly used by people who are not depressed. This mistaken view of depression prevented me from recognising it in myself for nearly twenty years. O'Connor also doesn't gloss over the complexities of the condition,...more
Kristen
One of the best books I've ever read on the subject. Coming from the unique perspective of a psychologist who has also suffered from depression and been treated himself, he treats the reader with compassion and understanding which I appreciated. The only problem I had with the book is that the subtitle seems inaccurate. To me, the subtitle implies that therapy and medication are perhaps unneeded and that is not at all what the book advocates. He approaches the topic with the understanding that d...more
Denise
This was great. It took awhile to read--not that the writing style was difficult or anything, but it just contained so much information and a lot of thought-provoking suggestions. I think this is one I'll buy for the reference shelf. There certainly are a lot of post-it notes in my library copy!
Georgiana
I've dealt with depression on and off for well over twenty years (probably closer to thirty), and read all sorts of books on the topic. But never before have I read anything that really made sense of *why* people get depressed, and why it gets harder and harder to avoid the downward spiral the more times you've been sucked in. The only reason why I didn't give it five stars is that the author does take a bit of a preachy tone sometimes, especially when he's talking about how the ills of modern s...more
Will
Self-help is not a genre I enjoy, so the fact that I read this entire book speaks in its favor. The author is a professional therapist who has personally suffered from depression, so he has both knowledge and experience of the condition. He also writes clearly. But I ultimately found, as I have with most other self-help books, that the advice could be distilled into common sense: eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly. He also emphasizes the benefits of meditation, which is intriguing (if myst...more
Lisa
Very helpful book for me. I probably should own this.
Sarah
Extremely useful. Implementing helpful strategies of any kind is virtually impossible when really deeply depressed, and this book can't fix that. But if used in a not-as-terribly-bad period I think it can enable improvement, reduce the frequency of recurrence, and lessen the intensity of future depressive episodes that do occur. It's gentle, but points out that there ARE things depressives can do for themselves, rather than encouraging unproductive (even if PARTIALLY true) beliefs that justify t...more
Emily
Great resource to change behaviors and cognition
Heather
What a refreshing perspective on depression! Written by a professional who also struggles personally with depression, I found his perspective intriguing. He doesn't wholly espouse any current theory of treating depression, but talks about how a combination of elements of each coupled with the decision to live life differently are the key to treating (or undoing) depression. A must-read for those counseling the depressed, those who are depressed, or those who have a friend or family member who's...more
Caroline
This is a must read for everyone: from those who are depressed or who are trying to understand a loved one who is depressed, to those with the numerous disorders (adhd, fibromyalgia, chronic lyme, etc.) which actually come from stress. O'Connor writes clearly so anyone can comprehend rather than getting lost in the jargon, and he also suffered from depression himself. I think it helped me understand how other people work, especially my students!
John
Not a bad book, but not as good as I had hoped it would be. It is written by a practicing clinical psychologist/Ph.D who suffers from depression himself. I had the impression that the book would discuss some of the newer approaches to treating depression: cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, etc. It does touch upon these subjects, but not in great detail or depth. However, if you're looking for a self-help book on depression, it's fine.
Emiko Salim
A great book for those who are depressive and feel like no one can understand them.
As a person who is depressed, I can totally relate to the situations mentioned in the book.
I get to know many things that my shrinks never even bothered to explain to me.

I can personally vouch that the author depicted our thought patterns realistically.
I wish more people; with or without depressive disorder can read this book.
Jill
I appreciated that Richard O'Connor admitted that he suffered from depression himself. Given that mostly women seek help for this problem, it was nice to have examples of men with depression.

This book is a good resource for those who struggle with depression or know someone else who does.

I would give it 4.5 stars.

Wanda
Richard O'Connor gives practical advice on how to undo the self-defeating thought processes depression established in us. He promotes healthy self-awareness and persistence in practicing healthy coping mechanisms for life's ups and downs. He also respects the connection between medical, psychoanalytical, and self-treatment of depression. I appreciate his balanced, down-to-earth view.
Katie
Really great read for anyone who is suffering from depression, or if you care for someone who suffers from depression. It explains a lot of the science behind depression, in addition to thoughts/feelings/emotions. Not only is the author a psychiatrist but also suffers from depression. Good read for those against medication also.
Laurie
very good. more practical, personalized info than older books. truly worth reading. or better yet, listening to...

read by the author. at first he sounded depressed to me, and I was worried that would be depressing. but soon i saw that this was actually the sound of a slow and steady person reading in a calm voice.
Niel Malan
I wish I can remember where I ran into this book, but for some reason I bought a copy. It was the first book I read on depression that wasn't in the style "this is the disease and this is its treatment," but suggested useful approaches to remove the behaviours that have us 'doing' depression.
Glenn
Pretty good effort--liked his emphasis that depression isn't a single-cause disorder so the need to incorporate a number of different approaches to deal with it is needed. Also liked how he kept on harping that you have to take action if you're going to overcome depression.
Jan Birdsey
This book is very informative and should be read by everyone. More people should understand depression and its costs.
Linda
First part of this book is a must read for anyone dealing with depression either personally or through a loved one; friend, co-worker, relative. It describes in great depth and accuracy the internal life of a depressive and why they behave as they do.
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“I realize now that no simple, single-factor theory of depression will ever work. Depression is partly in our genes, partly in our childhood experience, partly in our way of thinking, partly in our brains, partly in our ways of handling emotions. It affects our whole being.” 5 likes
“This is a little dirty secret of mental health economics: if you're depressed, you don't think you're worth the cost of treatment. You feel guilty enough about being unproductive and unreliable.” 4 likes
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