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The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs

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Most Americans work long hours, eat on the fly, and lead increasingly sedentary, isolated lives. Alongside this lifestyle, depression rates have skyrocketed: approximately 1 in 4 Americans will suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. Where have we gone wrong? Dr. Stephen Ilardi sheds light on our current predicament and reminds us: our bodies were never designed for the sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, frenzied pace of twenty-first century life. In fact, our genes have changed very little since the days of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and are still building, in effect, Stone Age bodies. Herein lies the key to breaking the cycle of depression.

Inspired by the extraordinary resilience of aboriginal groups like the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea (who rarely suffer from depression), Dr. Ilardi prescribes an easy-to-follow, clinically proven program that harks back to what our bodies were originally made for-and need. Here you can find the road back to lasting health by integrating the following 6 elements into your life: an omega-3 rich diet; exercise; plenty of natural sunlight; ample sleep; social connections; and participation in meaningful tasks that leave little time for negative thoughts-all things that our ancestors had in abundance.

Already, The Depression Cure program has delivered dramatic results, helping even those who have failed to respond to traditional medications. Interweaving the stories of many who have fought-and won-the battle against this debilitating illness, this groundbreaking book can illuminate the path to lifting the fog once and for all for you or a loved one.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published July 6, 2010

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About the author

Stephen S. Ilardi

6 books22 followers
Stephen Ilardi received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University, and has spent the past two decades as an active researcher, university professor, and clinician. He has treated several hundred patients suffering from depressive illness and other serious disorders, and has authored over 40 scholarly articles and papers on mental illness.

Over the past six years, Dr. Ilardi and his clinical research team have developed and refined a new, highly effective program for clinical depression: Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC). This innovative treatment is grounded in the insight that human beings were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, socially isolated, sleep-deprived, fast-food-laden, frenzied pace of 21st-century American life. Understanding the modern depression epidemic as the result of our increasingly toxic lifestyle, Dr. Ilardi has helped numerous depressed individuals overcome the debilitating illness by reclaiming six powerful healing habits from our ancestral past. Inspired by the program's success - even in cases of chronic, severe depression that failed to respond to antidepressant medication - Dr. Ilardi has written "The Depression Cure," a step-by-step guide to the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change program.

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5 stars
804 (39%)
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349 (17%)
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25 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 212 reviews
Profile Image for Mikey.
89 reviews
October 4, 2018
This book is really one big ad for buying fish oil.

It’s 6 common sense rules to getting over depression are:

1. Get 10-30 minutes of sunlight
2. Exercise
3. Social Support...aka make friends (easier said than done)
4. 7-8 hours of sleep
5. Positive thoughts
6. Omega 3 fish oil supplements

That’s pretty much it. I just saved you from reading this book.

You’re welcome.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,520 reviews8,999 followers
August 14, 2011
The Depression Cure offers six practical steps to fighting depression through Stephen S. Ilardi's program Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC). The six components of TLC are:
- dietary omega-3 fatty acids
- engaging activity
- physical exercise
- sunlight exposure
- social support
- sleep

Most of the things above one can garner from common sense, which is why I relished reading The Depression Cure. As someone who suffers from mild depression every now and then I can say that exercise, getting enough sleep, and having a social support system are all invaluable to maintaining a happy mindset. I'm already implementing some of Ilardi's suggestions and considering utilizing more of them.

However, though the writing in this book is simple and Ilardi's attitude pragmatic, I feel like people suffering from severe depression will be overwhelmed by TLC. Even I hesitate to obtain the omega-3 supplements or purchase the artificial light recommended by Ilardi.

This book will benefit people who are willing to take the steps to ensure their recovery, but I don't recommend it to those ensconced completely by the disease or those who view depression with skepticism.

More information on depression here.

*cross-posted from my blog, the quiet voice.
Profile Image for Alanna.
1,405 reviews38 followers
April 6, 2013
I didn't know what to expect from this book--and then it turned out to be a primal living/lifestyle book for depression (even if it doesn't quite state as much). I've been exploring other sides of primal lately, so tying self-help/anti-depressant factors to the overall concept just fits in. That said, it does make me consider that this book is just telling me what I want to hear/agree with anyway, and the ground it's covering isn't exactly unique.

I will complain that this book spends most of its time telling me what I should be doing--which I'm already aware of and clearly falling short on, thank-you-very-much--and very little telling me HOW. While there is useful information and advice within, the applicable part of the book is the last chapter only.

Simple, clear and direct with some good takeaways, but it won't be the only book I pick up on the subject or the one that turns my life around on its own. I can't say the now is suddenly manageable, the journey is obvious, or the "cure" is in sight, but this book is a useful resource.
Profile Image for The Angry Lawn Gnome.
596 reviews20 followers
February 6, 2011
That question, "What did you think?," that shows up at the top of each review. I had never given it much in the way of consideration until I read through this work. For the simple reason that I am unsure what to think about the work in its totality. But this sense only comes from averaging my feelings: I found certain passages sensible, certain parts worthy of further consideration, and certain sections grit-my-teeth stupid, patronizing, annoying, and written in a tone that only a True Believer can bring forth.

Thus, I record my thoughts of the book, but leave the "rating" area blank. Averaging the entire work to a 3 simply would not be a fair reflection of my thoughts.

A great deal of what is contained in Ilardi's program is simple common sense: eat a reasonable diet, get enough sleep each night and get exercise of some sort on a regular basis. Who can argue with that? Moreover, wasn't it Benjamin Franklin who commented that there is nothing less common than common sense? Meaning, you can "know" something to be true, and still not do it. And in Ilardi's program he at least attempts not only a reminder, but build a mental structure to facilitate all of the above.

I'm no expert-- to put it mildly -- to form any sort of opinion on the question of the dietary supplements he recommends, from fish oil to vitamins. Can't see where the fish oil would hurt (other than going down, Ick), but he also seems to be pushing some very high dosages of things like Vitamin D, some other things, to the point where I'd personally not rely just upon his word as final.

Ditto the business of the "light machines" to reduce the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know I've read something somewhere that says pretty much the opposite of what he does: these things don't work, they're junk. Most likely harmless junk, but again I'd want verification from another source before I even considered buying one.

And now where I think he falls off a cliff: his "anti-rumination" claims, and his requirement for socialization. Ilardi seems to glibly assume that human beings are as fungible as lima beans when it comes to the desire for contact with others, and that somehow this lack of contact contributes to depression. No evidence is offered, either as proof of the first claim or that his conclusion arises from the assumed premise. The anti-rumination business I can sort of see, but I just don't buy that it is as important as he makes it out to be. Heck, he pushes a flavor of Behavioral Therapy himself, which I can only take to mean you work through your depression via action, not thoughts.

As best I can tell both claims are unproven, and both seem pushed with an almost religious fervor. Perhaps Ilardi is saying something via his method of presentation on these two topics? Certainly the comparison between modern society and hunter-gatherer groups was silly, even though I've been told that recently the idea that most members of such groups being dead around age 30 has come under fire, it is as much a matter of debate than anything else.

Finally, why a silly acronym like "TLC?" Ouch.
Profile Image for Johnny.
156 reviews5 followers
March 21, 2016
Have you suffered through depression? If your answer is 'yes', read this book and apply the strategies it suggests. I can't say they will cure you, but I can say they will only make your life better.

I started applying the strategies in this book back in late August, and the change I have experienced in the way I view life has been dramatic. I was bordering on suicidal despair. I am now loving life despite an empirically non-ideal situation, living with my parents and working a minimum wage job. Because I have hope, optimism, dreams, and passions again. It's not all back, but it's building.

So just try this, please, if you feel lost, hopeless, desperate, or utterly disinterested. Push past your resistance and do it even if you don't feel like it or are skeptical. It could save you.

Profile Image for Jessica.
11 reviews6 followers
August 27, 2018
This book is a miracle, and I cannot enthusiastically recommend it enough. As someone who has suffered from depression for my entire life, with varying degrees of severity, I have tried endless methods of treatment. Medication has worked and been a blessing to many who suffer from this debilitating disease, but it has never worked for me. I have tried many different medications on many different doses, and most have never brought even the slightest degree of relief. Years of trial-and-error experimenting with medication- all with inevitable failure- is more demoralizing and soul-crushing than I can possibly describe- talk about feeding a sense of absolute despair and hopelessness of ever finding recovery or relief.

So at my therapist’s suggestion, I began reading The Depression Cure. Backed by an immense amount of study and clinical research, Dr. Stephen Ilardi created a six-step program that provides, in his words, the most promising treatment for depression he’s witnessed in his entire career of clinical research and practice. Each of the six key elements he suggests- sufficient omega-3 fatty acids, sunlight exposure, sleep, physical exercise, social connections, and engaging activity (to avoid rumination) have been clinically shown *on their own* to be as effective at treating depression as medication. All together, they form a program that (as my therapist says) kicks depression in the ass.

All of the suggestions Ilardi makes seem like common sense on the surface, but the book illuminates the incredible science behind each method and explains HOW they are to be effectively implemented in our lives (some of which are not as straight forward as they would appear, especially regarding the necessity of high-quality, molecular distilled omega-3s in the correct dosage (drug-store varieties are often far too low in dosage, not molecularly distilled, and filled with toxins)).

They’re major lifestyle changes I’ve been trying to incorporate into my daily routine for the last several weeks. My depression is not gone (not even close), but for the first time in a VERY long time, I am beginning to feel improvement, something which I hope continues to grow as I progress and keep up with the treatment.

Ilardi’s research has provided so many insights and such much more understanding to a disease I’ve suffered with for years. Basically, the structure of modern society is a cluster**** for the human mind and body. Human bodies are still evolutionarily adapted for the environment of ancient hunting and gathering. For those of us biologically and environmentally more susceptible to depression, this means that we have to put far more effort and concentration into our diet and daily activities than most other people do. It’s work. It’s hard. It’s unfair, even. But the science behind this shows that it works, and anecdotally speaking, I’m beginning to see that as well.

5/5 stars
Profile Image for Dan Martinez.
13 reviews
October 14, 2010
Despite its somewhat brazen title, this book’s body is thoughtful and reasonable, backed by detailed notes and a substantive bibliography.

It’s also not merely of interest to those grappling with depression: it has a number of eye-opening things to say about general self-care, particularly nutrition. (Executive summary: agricultural industrialization has had a number of interesting side effects: some obvious, some less so; some beneficial, some less so.) Ilardi isn’t the first to point these things out, and indeed he notes that Michael Pollan documented a notable case study, but he does do an excellent job of focusing on the neurological, and attendant psychological, implications.
Profile Image for Jonat.
171 reviews44 followers
April 20, 2021
Lots of researches went into this but they’re deliver in a simple and effective way... the same way this program is purposefully trimmed down to be realistically achievable to the audience intended and I think this is a really good thing!

I’d doubt anyone would have any lingering questions about anything here cause the author is just so thorough in all of our issues, their origins and ways to battle them ..

+there’s lots of real life examples here by his patients _ -even if you’re not that depressed- ou’d relate to a lot of those.

Also, it’d help u become an overall more energetic and productive person I believe. So I highly recommend to everyone.
Profile Image for Russ Smith.
7 reviews
July 31, 2012
Initial thoughts: Don't really like the table of contents, chapters aren't clearly indicated, it shows 'Parts" 1, 2, 3, etc. Then CHapters, but then also shows sections within those chapters, just too much info going on. I like a clean TOC.

Chapter 1. The epidemic and the cure. Good read. Introduces the idea that our ancient ancestors (hunter-gatherer types) didn't have as much depression because their lives had more of the basic needs of humans (fatty omega 3, sun light, exercise, etc. Chapter 1, basically introduces the '6 needs' of the life style change, that will cure depression. (sun light, exercies, human interaction, etc)

Chapter 2. Making sense of depression. Basically talks about it's origin, where it comes from, who's most likely to get it. 40% of likely based on genes. Other contributing factors: our life style (social, abused, etc.). He breaks up life style, by looking at social, abuse, exercise, thoughts. Also partly based on our gender. 3 things. 2 we can't control: Genes, Gender, and 1 we can: lifestyle. Either way, we have to play with the cards we are delt, and tools to overcome depression are what the rest of the book is about.

Chapter 3. Treating Depression. List of possible treatments, their clinical testing, their validity, success rate, etc. Interesting to note how much attention goes to drug therapy. Because there is money to be made by drug manufactures, there's a lot of attention, research and development going towards medication, but research shows least effective. Goes through various methods: medication, 'Couch' - sitting with counselor rehashing deep dark, childhood, cognative therapy - seeking to not ruminate, but keep active, and therefore mind focused on other, more productive things, etc. Finally brings up his method, which is life style, which is implementing the 6 'cures' into your lifestyle.

Chapter 4. Fish Oil. Good chapter on the antidepressant: Omega-3 Fat. Which is found in fish oil. He recommends fish oil capsule a day. Lots of good information, sometimes too much info on the molecular blah blah, and how it effects the brain. Sometimes it seems like marketing mumbo jumbo, but i do believe our bodies are mostly the same as they were for the hunter/gatherer generations. Since we are mostly sedentary now, we need to supplement and help our bodies maintain what they used to be in the hunter/gatherer era, when many were active, and ate food rich in Omega-3 (fish, grass feed beef, etc.)

Chapter 5. Rumination. I found this to be one of the most helpful chapters so far. The idea of rumination, and overcoming the habit of thinking too much, is something i've struggled with a long, long time. This for me, could be one of the most valuable chapters in the book. Should probably read this chapter again.

Chapter 6. Exercise. Nothing earth shattering here, or even overly helpful, since I already excersize regularly. A couple good points: STarting is the most difficult - if you have someone hold you accountable, just have them ask you if you started. That's the most difficult part, and 90% most important part. Most everyone, once they get started, and pretty easily keep going for a little while, but that first step, those first moments when you need to decide to start, and then physically start doing something are the most difficult, and most important. Also some good stats on how long to work out, target heart rate, etc. Another interesting note is that exercise has shown in studies to be more effect (especially when looked at long term) than medication.

Chapter 7. Sun Exposure. Actually found some interesting information here. First being that i never really thought about the fact that our Ancient hunter/gatherer ancestors were outside 24/7, all the time, so our bodies, and eyes are used to lots of light, and need it. Helps mental health. Most of the chapter I didn't find enormously helpful, as living in socal, i'm pretty sure i get enough sun light. But it does help explain why I enjoy so much sitting outside at restaurants, or going hiking, or doing things out side. It's as if, my ancestor self really enjoys that stuff. Also good to remember to work at getting out at least a little each day. Current lifestyle is so indoors, how many people spend almost, if not completely all of their day in doors (home, car, work, car, home). But, the research show, that typically, a fair skinned person like me, would get enough Vitamin D, being outside for 2 minutes on a sunny day in Miami. Which is not too far off from my current life style, so I think i'm doing pretty ok with it, but really interesting stuff in the early chapter talking about how our ancient ancestors spent time outside, and how we might instinctively enjoy being out doors (hiking, eating outside), instant mood booster.

Chapter 8. Relationships . Pretty good chapter. I wish it woudl address more specifically introverted people like myself who have an especially hard time connecting with people. Some good information about where to find community, he recommends a church with less than 200 people, or a heavy emphasis on small groups - neither of which i've found at cottonwood, and something that's bothered me, almost from the beginning. I may have to seek out another church, that is either smaller, or with a large emphasis on small groups, the sense of community is really lacking in our lives, and i feel it. Somewhere in the back of my mind is a desire to walk to the store, and see people I know, to refer by name to the people i see on a daily basis, to 'know' and engage with more people, and to feel a stronger sense of community.

There's some good info on vocal rumination, and not letting talking with friends become airing of greivenses. Ultimately it's this, upbeat people = talk or activity. Depressed people = activity (do something like workout, walk, basketball game, etc.)

Good point that the western world is more focused on things, than people, and this has lead to more engagement with things and work, than with people and community.

Chapter 9, Sleeping. Interesting chapter, some good advice on how to get better sleep. (list of good habits). Kind of felt more like a blog post though than a book chapter. But I didn't expect much more from a chapter based on getting good sleep. He does mention almost all his depressed patients had issues with sleeping, which i thought was interesting. Interesting to see the strong correlation between depression and sleep. But most info i had expected, or heard before.

Chapter 10. Summary. This chapter basically puts all the steps together in an 8 week program, implementing little by little, starting with the easiest (supplements). Pretty decent chapter, although, I don't know how practical it is for me personally. It seems that 90% of my stress/depression comes from work, and my lack of it, or lack of motivation for it. I put things off, which causes stress and depression, which causes a spiral down more stress and more depression. Some good suggestions on overcoming rumination, (or at least fighting it). There are several references to getting your stress meter (see Appendix A) down below 10. Also some good information on stress management. Ironically mentions how moving, can sometimes seem easy, but cause a lot of unforeseen stress when all the friends and loved ones are suddenly not there.

Chapter 11. Navigating road blocks, and final word Some good suggestions on finding people to help you. What to do if the life style changed don't work exactly. Some recommendations on clinical psychologists, and resources on finding them. I like his advice on how to find out who you 'click' with, and that you'll know that with in 1 or 2 meetings, so it's best if you don't click pretty soon, to just move on to the next one. It's natural to click with some, and not with others, and obviously you'll want to find someone you click with. Some good info on taking TLC to the next level, more exercise, more Omega-3, less sugar. Good bit on the sugar epidemic in America. Staggeringly grim. eat more meat, work to reduce stress (either remove, or learn ways to cope). Good final word, which is something i'll take from the book definitely, "we were never designed for the sedentary, socially isolated, sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, indoor, frenetic pace of modern American life." Basically, our bodies and minds are more or less the same as they were 5,000 years ago, yet lifestyle has changed rapidly, and in large part negatively.

Profile Image for Brianna Petersheim.
12 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2023
I liked the concepts, but didn’t necessarily appreciate the way it was written. It felt a bit oversimplified and lacking compassion.
Profile Image for Evan.
151 reviews2 followers
October 24, 2021
Important disclaimer: both the author, Dr. Ilardi, and I both believe that depression isn't something that can ever be entirely cured. The title is more clickbait than anything, which I'm not a huge fan of, but it serves its purpose of capturing the readers attention. As Dr. Ilardi explains, while depression can't be cured, it can be sent into remission, meaning the severity of the symptoms can be greatly reduced.

That being said, I think Dr. Ilardi has a very solid book here. I really appreciated his scientific approach to everything, and it was evident that he clearly put a lot of research into his work. All of his points were very clearly stated and supported, and I understood the reasoning behind each of his recommendations. I'm glad he actually did research on his recommendations too, safely carrying out trials on patients, nearly all of whom saw improvement (though, it must be kept in mind, this is only one doctor and more testing is likely needed). I feel that many similar books that have been recommended to have have been more along the lines of "just stop thinking negatively, snap out of it, be grateful, etc," this book actually gives practical advice which I really appreciate. Will definitely be trying to put some of Dr. Ilardi's recommendations into practice.
Profile Image for Marla.
383 reviews22 followers
August 28, 2019
Is there ground-breaking, new information here? No. However, Ilardi takes a look at things through the lens how how we used to live - hunger/gatherers. To me, this was a helpful approach as it shone a light on why some of these things make as big a difference as they do. And why depression has been climbing at alarming rates in the 20th and 21st centuries. Because our way of life is exponentially different, but there are things we can do to help combat the affects of those changes.

Do I buy into, whole-heartedly, everything in this book. Again, no. But, I appreciate the way Ilardi offers options, the changes he's seen in his patients who tried it, and never falls back on absolutes. He remains even and fair throughout, acknowledging that we will all deal with the pitfalls of depression differently and that we all have different reasons (even medically induced) for falling into depression.

I plan to keep this one on my shelf and continually go back to it as I struggle and even when I'm not. There are good options here and it can be truly hard to remember to do some of the things folks call "common sense" when you're in the throws of a depressive episode.
Profile Image for Carol.
825 reviews
July 14, 2011
Over the last 10 years my daughter has suffered from depression. She has been to multiple doctors, outpatient programs including the infamous IOL (Institute of Living) and is no better than when it all began. So why not try the 6 steps this doctor offers in this book?
The 6 steps:
1. dietary omega-3 fatty acids
2. engaging activity
3. physical activity
4. sunlight exposure
5. social support
6. sleep

Profile Image for Chrisanne.
2,412 reviews64 followers
April 18, 2022
I called up my insurance to get a preauth for my yearly therapy appointment and the lady who answered the phone tried to convince me to switch to a different clinic.

"They're the number one in the state at diagnosing depression!" she said.

I almost died. It was the first time I had laughed in weeks.

That is a huge red flag. What you really want and should always be asking from your physicians is the odds of complete healing, whenever a procedure or treatment plan is recommended. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: Search for side-effects, take that to your doctor, ask if they've seen any of those effects, how often. Ask them what the worst thing was that ever happened to a patient of theirs during the treatment or surgery. Assume it will happen to you and ask what would be done in that situation. Do it in person so you can see their expressions. And I know that from personal experience.

So I went to my psychologist and we talked about my problems and, after giving me a bit of homework, he reminded me that medication was an option. Per usual, I said I'd rather go as long as possible without it. So he suggested this book.

Other readers have suggested it's similar to Lost Connections. It is. In some ways it's superior to Hari's book because it's got the benefit of Ilardi's PhD and more specific studies, as well as clinical observations. Don't settle for bandaids. I also liked his point about ruminating. Too many professionals make that easier instead of harder. I know someone who's been paying a "professional" to listen to them ruminate for a long time. Unsurprisingly, it hasn't made much of a difference.

But, as I've stated in other reviews, this book struggles like the typical therapists' book touting their new breakthrough(though it's much better because it's based on legitimate studies). The patients are all educated and can afford the regular visits. Hari's book, on the other hand, really illustrates the way that it hits the vulnerable groups the hardest. So I think they both add value.
Profile Image for Dat Huynh.
41 reviews
February 23, 2022
Lots of practical things that one can do to help beat depression or live an anti-depression lifestyle. Good for all people even without depression. May be hard to implement if you have depression and no one in your life to encourage you to do these things or if you're too depressed to want to improve your life. Good luck to anyone who reads this and needs help. You've made this day special by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you. And I like you just the way you are.
Profile Image for Justin.
8 reviews5 followers
February 24, 2013
Fantastic book for those who either suffer directly from depression or love someone who does - which probably covers most of us. Ilardi pulls together the latest research from several fields to create a very practical, common sense strategy for beating the often devastating effects of depression.
Profile Image for Mèo lười.
189 reviews223 followers
March 22, 2021
Có nhiều thông tin hữu ích nhưng hầu hết khá quen thuộc, tác giả chỉ đưa thêm vài dẫn chứng và một liệu trình hợp lý.
Dĩ nhiên, có thể tóm gọn mọi thứ trong 1 trang A4, nhưng dài dòng như này cũng không tới nỗi nào. Giọng văn còn hơi khô (chắc do nội dung sách thế, đố ai dám đùa).
Profile Image for Christine Grabowski.
Author 1 book788 followers
February 12, 2021
I listened to this book on audible. A great book about lifestyle choices a person can make to combat depression. Has tons of ideas of how a person can implement the 6 steps into their lives. Also includes lots of statistics to show lifestyle choices work better, especially in the long-term, than medicine and cognitive therapy. Of course these lifestyle changes can supplement other options as well. These activities can also keep depression at bay.
18 reviews5 followers
December 23, 2013
He is a little too "neat" at times. Mental illness is a lot messier than he allows it at times. But, for a lot of people struggling with minor forms of depression (the clinical minor - no depression is minor), I'm sure this is a very good program.
Profile Image for Emily Kestrel.
1,110 reviews64 followers
November 9, 2015
Well, this is good advice, but I already do these things, and guess what...I'm still reading this book, so that should tell you. It did motivate me to be more consistent about taking omega three supplements. Overall, I thought Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Happiness was more informative.
Profile Image for Trung.
113 reviews30 followers
October 11, 2020
Sách bổ ích với những phương pháp góp phần điều trị trầm cảm:

Bổ sung Axit Omega:
Tăng cường bổ sung Omega-3 (giảm viêm).
Giảm tiêu thụ Omega-6 (gây viêm): giảm các loại ngũ cốc, thịt đỏ, các loại hạt chứa nhiều Omega-6. sử dụng thịt gà/vịt (nuôt chăn thả) hay hải sản đánh bắt tự nhiên. Bớt đồ chiên xào. Dùng dầu Olive, không dùng dầu thực vật. Tập thói quen xem nhãn của các sản phẩm trước khi dùng.
Với Omega 3 thì nên dùng bổ sung theo tỷ lệ 2 Omega trung bình (EPA) trên 1 Omega dài (DPA).
Các loại hải sản tự nhiền thì thường có sẵn hàm lượng Omega theo tỷ lệ này. Tuy nhiên với các loại Hải Sản được nuôi, không còn được ăn tảo tự nhiên mà thường từ thức ăn chế biến từ các loại cá nhỏ khác thì không còn tỷ lệ này. Nên cách dễ nhất là tìm loại viên uống có tỷ lệ này

Bớt Suy Nghĩ mà Hoạt Động nhiều hơn:
Bớt các hoạt động Trầm Tư: suy nghĩ về quá khứ, suy nghĩ về tương lai, đặc biệt nhai đi nhai lại trong đầu các suy nghĩ tiêu cực.
Tham gia các hoạt động thể chất.

Thể Dục Thể Thao Đầy Đủ
Tuần ít nhất 3 lần, mỗi lần không ít hơn 30 phút thể thao Ưa Khí (tức là phải đẩy được nhịp tim mạnh lên ít nhất trong 30 phút). Nếu được thì tập lên 45-60 phút ưa khí mỗi lần.
Các bài tập nên có tính cộng đồng, tính hấp dẫn và tính mục đích. Điều này sẽ giúp duy trì các hoạt động. Nên lên lịch trình để tạo thành thói quên.
Không nên hoạt động TDTT quá trễ dễ gây mất ngủ

Nhận Đủ Ánh Sáng Mặt Trời
Ở VN thì không sợ vấn đề thiếu ánh sáng. Nên chủ yếu cần bản thân mỗi người chịu xách mông đi ra ngoài trời. Tiếp xúc buổi sáng càng tốt.
Bổ sung Vitamin D3

Kết Nối Xã Hội
Tăng cường các hoạt động xã hội, tăng cường các hoạt động cộng đồng.
Tránh những mối quan hệ có hại.
Kiểm soát sự thôi thúc nói ra những suy nghĩ tiêu cực và lên kế hoạch tương tác xã hội càng nhiều càng tốt với các hoạt động mang tính chia sẻ.
Đừng tìm kiếm sự trấn an quá mức
Đôi bên phải tránh sự cám dỗ của việc cùng nhau rơi vào tư duy tiêu cực
Các lưu ý khi tham gia hoạt động cộng đồng: quy mô vừa phải (dưới 200 người); có mục đích rõ ràng; có sự đầu tư (thời gian, tiền bạc, công sức) của bản thân.

Thói Quen Ngủ Lành Mạnh
Thói quen 1: Chỉ sử dụng giường để ngủ
Thói quen 2: Thức dậy vào cùng một thời điểm mỗi ngày
Thói quen 3: Tránh kiểu ngủ chợp mắt.
Thói quen 4: Tránh ánh sáng mạnh vào buổi tối.
Thói quen 5: Tránh sử dụng cafein và các chất kích thích khác sau giờ trưa.
Thói quen 6: Tránh sử dụng đồ uống có cồn vào buổi tối
Thói quen 7: Nếu có thể, hay duy trì đi ngủ vào cùng thời gian mỗi đêm
Thói quen 8: Giảm nhiệt độ vào ban đêm
Thói quen 9: Không mang các vấn đề lên giường cùng bạn.
Thói quen 10: Đừng cố ngủ.
Tránh lo lắng suy nghĩ nếu mình ngủ chưa đủ 6-8 tiếng. Quan trọng ngủ dậy thấy tỉnh táo khỏe mạnh là được.
Profile Image for Tomi Kaukinen.
25 reviews3 followers
January 8, 2021
I’d give it a 3,5/5. It is a good book and maybe reading Hari’s brilliant Lost Connection just a couple of days before affected my take on this book. Some of the examples Ilardi uses seem to me like he is stating the obvious.

However, for anyone struggling with depression this is a good book indeed.
Profile Image for Brandon Soat.
12 reviews
July 26, 2023
This book provides simple day to day changes that can equip you to fight depression long term. It also provides a simple 12 week guideline for implementing the TLC program towards the end of the book.
Profile Image for Lindee Keller.
30 reviews14 followers
October 25, 2020
When I was dusting off this book for the hundredth time to see what time of day I should use my happy lamp to help correct for my body suddenly wanting to stay up all night, it occurred to me that I owe it a review-- because this is a book with substantive and helpful core content distorted by commercial marketing decisions.

You can learn the basics of the TLC protocol here. Take caution with light therapy, it does have side effects and can be harmful for people with epilepsy or bipolar disorder. If you find that's not enough to get it working for you and your life, or want more background, well, that's where the book comes in.

This book, at its core, is a detailed look at six different evidence-based lifestyle interventions effective in treating depression based on the author's clinical research with the University of Kansas, and a plan for implementing them. Unfortunately, wrapped around the core is a lot of pop psychology bullshit like using the word 'toxic' left and right and going on and on about the lifestyle of Stone Age humans. Hey, you know what evolutionary psychology isn't? 1) A prescription for how humans should live. 2) Falsifiable.

And what it's framed as is a 'cure', a 'six-step program' (that you can do by yourself at home!) and a solution rendering medication unnecessary. In the actual text of the book, all these statements come with so many caveats as to render them virtually untrue, most of which don't appear until the book's final section, on troubleshooting.

This book may 'cure' your depression if it is mild or prevent new episodes of depression if you do it in remission, provided you have no other physical or mental health complications. I do not have mild depression with no comorbid conditions. I have severe recurrent depression with a big ol' alphabet soup of other mental health diagnoses. On disability, been to the psych ward, did day treatment, the whole shebang. So for me, and quite possibly for you reading, this book is not a cure.

For me, it's a detailed manual for what have become truly valuable tools in my mental-health toolbox. Like a crowbar and a rubber mallet and some Allen wrenches. (The crowbar is exercise, in case you were wondering.) They haven't enabled me to be completely off of medication, but they have enabled me to be on only one medication as opposed to six. They aren't going to cure my depression, but they do make my remissions last longer and can alleviate my symptoms enough for me to be able to take other steps.

It's not just a simple list of recommendations. It specifies exactly what implementing the change looks like-- like that your light box needs to be 10,000 lux to be effective and where it should be positioned, or how much DHA and EPA needs to be in your Omega-3 supplements and how to avoid fish oil burps-- and how specifically those changes can help, and how researchers know. Many of these are things I personally made mistakes about back in 2009ish when my mental health was rapidly deteriorating and I had no access to care. (This may be less likely now given we have much better access to information.) I read this book for the first time in 2010ish and ten years later I still use it for reference. That's real shit.

I appreciate that, in spite of the title, the suggestions here are modular enough that they can work for someone regardless of how they personally relate to pharmaceuticals or psychiatry, because there's a real need to fill in the gap between 'pharmaceuticals are evil, be in nature more' and 'depression is just like diabetes, shut up and take your insulin'.

I will say I feel like the section on avoiding rumination is not nearly specific enough, and in my (experiential) opinion, if you are experiencing even moderate depression, you probably need a few weeks of the more concrete interventions under your belt easing your symptoms before you're able to tackle it. I would also strongly recommend, rather than the tedious and unsustainable practice of keeping an hourly log, using a golf counter (the kind that goes click, click and bouncers use to monitor crowd capacity at the bar) or some other physical marker when you catch yourself ruminating instead. The book falls a little short of where it could be for addressing the problems that executive dysfunction can present in carrying out the protocol. It also does not include the great big disclaimer anything promoting lifestyle interventions for chronic disease should: don't go around offering this as unsolicited advice, it just sounds like shaming. So I am. Don't do it!

In short, I don't always love the package it's wrapped in, but the information in this book has been of enormous help to me and to people I care about who asked me for guidance on treating their mental health issues without being absorbed into the mental health system.
Profile Image for Ruby.
348 reviews9 followers
October 15, 2013
This book sounds promising... How effective is it? Time will tell.

I have a fair bit of faith in this book and the writer's claims. I have battled with my own black dog and become quite disillusioned with conventional therapy, but I also am not someone who has a lot of faith in airy-fairy new age therapy, either. I want to see things tested properly. I want to see proof that they work. There are a lot of snake oil merchants out there, particularly in mental health.

I was impressed with the rigorous scientific study behind this book, and that the program had been successful for so many clients. It has given me a real sense of hope. Other reviewers have said the program might be difficult for people with depression to implement and I agree, however, with social support, I believe many people could adopt the program... It's just the teething stage that might trip people up, in my opinion. I believe many people struggling with a mental health issue hit rock bottom. It sucks, but shortly after that, a time will come where they will resolve to fight it with all they have. It becomes necessary... Catch people in that stage, and they will follow the program (with setbacks perhaps). Also, those in recovery can use these steps to maintain their mental health and prevent relapse.

For me, I am fortunate to have good support around me, and I am convinced enough by this book to attempt to implement the changes it suggests. I have started the program this week, and I have noticed small changes already. I will check in from time to time and offer a report of how I am going with the program, if anyone is interested. Hopefully some other reviewers will do the same, as I am genuinely curious to see how it goes for others.
9 reviews7 followers
April 8, 2012

I've been suffering from mild mood swings for the last 4 years and I didn't do anything about them. It wasn't until 4 months ago when I was feeling so blue and was forced to see a psychiatrist. He diagnosed it with major depression episode and started me with anti-depressants ( prozac ), and I've been on them for a couple of month with no improvement so I started looking for other treatment options.

This book is written in a clear and reasonable way. Dr. Ilardi starts with a brief introduction of depression with several stories about his patients from their therapeutic sessions that I related with most of them. He then discusses and compares the success rates of common treatment plans such as drugs, Electro-Convulsive Therapy, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

After that he goes on to explain a method he developed with his colleagues called (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes), which focusses on eliminating six of depression risk factors, which are
1. decrease on Omega-3
2. decrease Vitamin D
3. sleep deprivation
4. social withdrawal
5. sedentary lifestyle
6. Rumination

In the last part he present a weekly step-by-step program to incorporate all the techniques he talk about. He also presents a scale for depression to measure it severity.

I plan on starting the TLC program tomorrow hoping to beat my depression onece and for all. I'll share my results in 12 weeks.

Profile Image for Alona Perlin.
Author 10 books3 followers
July 19, 2012
This book was fantastic. It really speaks about depression in a clear-cut way, so the reader has a true sense of the full meaning of depression. It breaks depression down to its core and talks about depression in a way that people can understand it, relate to it (for those persons that are depressed)and also conquer it. It sheds a new light and understanding on this insidious disease and also eliminates the stigma associated with it.

The only two complaints I have about this book is the efficacy of the treatment techniques without the aid of psychotropic medication. I think that the techniques that are postulated in this book may work, but may not be effective enough to combat the problem of depression sans medication.

Secondly, the author makes countless recommendations to consult with one's physician regarding the various treatment options in this book. How many doctors in our time have sufficient time to discuss all of our treatment options during the medical visits? The business of medicine has become a conveyor belt, in which people are shipped in and out as quickly as possible and are prescribed "band-aids" as coping mechanisms for their problems, rather than gathering at the root of the illness and using a holistic approach to it.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The topic of depression was discussed in unique and innovative ways and approached the elements of depression in a true and realistic manner.
4 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2011
The book's major insight is that there is an epidemic of clinical depression because humans are poorly designed for modern life. In that sense, depression is an illness of lifestyle like obesity or diabetes. The writer doesn't blame people for getting depressed, but the book does empower them to combat the illness through simple changes in lifestyle. According to the author, many of these changes (things as simple as swallowing fish oil or going for brisk walks) can improve brain chemistry, often more effectively than medication in the long-term. Although the book's six major lifestyle strategies are laid out in easy step-by-step fashion, the author acknowledges that severely depressed readers will probably need the added help of a therapist to coach them through the process (especially to learn how to stop brooding over negative thoughts). Many readers may also benefit from a personal trainer to help with the exercise part of the program. Overall, I thought the book was quite helpful and insightful, and surprisingly easy to read.
Profile Image for Megan.
200 reviews14 followers
August 10, 2017
My problems with this book are not with the content. The content is great, if largely rooted in common sense. Every depressed person has been told that they can fix their depression with sunlight/kale/yoga/etc. My complaint with this book is actually largely with the formatting. Presumably to lead to a more seamless reading experience, the author doesn't do citations by number, but rather has them in the back of the book with the lead-in words to show what was cited. This sounds like a really picky and trivial reason to complain, but the reason I wanted to read the book was to see exactly where the common-sense and practical iterations in the book are rooted in science--not that one can't do that here, but it's not made easy.
Profile Image for Claire Caterer.
Author 2 books62 followers
October 1, 2015
While the title may seem like hype, this book offers a real, doable step-by-step program based on solid research to help those suffering from depression. Some things sound like common sense--get more exercise, increase your social interaction--but this program offers specific therapeutic recommendations as well as a way to chart your progress. Easy to read, great information. Highly recommended.
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