Many books are one-sided arguments for the causes of depression and anxiety. According to these biased books, depressions stems from:
Past child abuse and other negative environment factors
Holding your body in a depressing way - bent down, frowning, etc.
Poor diet, lack of exercise
Fill in the blank
But this book is different.
Healing Anxiety and Depression is a refreshing book, for it takes all of the above factors and mixes it into a complete approach to the causes and treatment of anxiety and depression.
Moreover, Daniel Amen, M.D. and his co-author, Lisa C. Routh, M.D. have pioneered the use of a brain imaging technology known as SPECT: Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography. This interesting brain scanning method is different than other methods because it allows one to see how certain parts of the brain interact to cause these debilitating conditions. Other
methods of brain imaging only give a surface view of the brain - which is of very little use for psychiatry.
The authors also touch upon how these areas of the brain cause insomnia, suicide and violence as well. They also point out the different causes of anxiety and depression between the genders. They convincingly describe gender differences from social, psychological, and biological perspectives.
In short: they give you the full picture on depression from every possible angle - literally. In between the pages, interspersed among case histories, personal stories, and scientific explanations, you will find actual pictures of the five areas of the brain they have focused on via SPECT technology:
1.) Basal Ganglia
2.) Deep Limbic System
3.) Anterior Cingulate Gyrus
4.) Temporal Lobes
5.) Prefrontal Cortex
Furthermore, the authors have taken these five areas of the brain, and through thousands of their own patients, compiled their findings on how these five areas interact to cause seven variations of depression and anxiety:
1.) Pure Anxiety
2.) Pure Depression
3.) Mixed Anxiety and Depression
4.) Overfocused Anxiety/Depression
5.) Cyclic Anxiety/Depression
6.) Angry Anxiety/Depression
7.) Unfocused Anxiety/Depression
There's only one drawback to this book: the technical terms can be a bit annoying. I constantly flipped back to beginning chapters to refresh my memory on what they were talking about. The medications and dosages - and their variations, are mind-boggling. Ask your doctor about them.
Despite this, the book is worth the extra memory and concentration required to comprehend it.
It's very empowering too: Dr. Amen is a strong advocate for natural supplements, exercise, and deep diaphragmatic breathing. He also gives the reader a simple, flexible, easy-to-follow diet that'll maximize your brain function. More wisely, however, he directs you towards a way of eating that's based not on a one-size-fits-all mentality, but a diet that is focused on your
particular type of anxiety and/or depression.
He also has his own version of cognitive therapy: ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts) and ANTeaters, developed by Amen as a child psychiatrist to help make the ideas a bit more concrete for children. Amen's short chapter on the power of thoughts can help you take more responsibility for your own
Closing with "32 Strategies to Overcome Anxiety and Depression," along with a chart summarizing "diagnostic and treatment principles," this book will give you the real knowledge you need to manage your life on a whole new level.