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The Instinct to Heal: Curing Depression, Anxiety and Stress Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy Paperback – Dec 23 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; 1 edition (Feb. 5 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594861587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594861581
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #74,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Pointing to the stark statistic that more than 11 million Americans currently take antidepressants, Servan-Schreiber, psychiatrist and co-founder of the University of Pittsbugh's Center for Complementary Medicine, offers seven natural treatments for stress-related disorders. Honed by his travels as a Doctors Without Borders founder, Servan-Schreiber's holistic approach involves neither drugs nor traditional talk therapies (which he notes have never been proven effective), but relies on the brain's own healing mechanism. Combining solid scientific data, diagrams and anecdotal evidence in a highly accessible format, the author smoothly guides readers through alternative therapies, including acupuncture, dawn simulation, heart coherence and nutrition, "a field almost entirely abandoned" by today's mental health professionals, but of vital importance, he notes, to such conditions as postpartum depression and bipolar disorder. While admitting all treatments should ideally submit to a rigorous controlled study, the author laments the lack of economic interest on the part of pharmaceutical companies to study anything unpatentable. A final section, with tips and techniques on improving communication in personal relationships and integrating therapies into daily life nicely rounds out this valuable resource.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Written with grace and elegance, this book might well become the most important mental health landmark of this generation."-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., author of Flow, Creativity, and The Evolving Self

"A brilliant, absorbing synthesis of science, experience, and thought . . . essential reading for all those who want to understand the frontiers of mind-body health."-Michael Lerner, Ph.D., author of Choices in Healing

"This refreshing alternative is sound. Highly recommended."-Library Journal
"A fascinating account of unorthodox approaches to treating the emotional brain and mind."-Joseph LeDoux, Ph.D., author of The Emotional Brain

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. El-nahas on April 5 2006
Format: Paperback
Great book written by a prominent doctor and backed by solid research. The book discusses how modern medicine is way off track in treating depression, anxiety etc... and preaches seven natural, simple and effective remedies that anyone can follow to improve his or her well being. All recommendations in the book are backed by hard medical evidence. Highly, highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jed Shlackman on July 2 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book provides some useful insights and empirical data concerning the importance and efficacy of mind-body "alternative" approaches to relieving mental health difficulties. It focuses on the importance of the subconscious mind and related brain hemisphere in the nature of these issues, explaining why conventional approaches may have limited utility in addressing issues that are embedded in a realm that is not addressed by standard therapies. This book examines Chi/Qi-based therapies, EMDR, nutritional therapies, and other common holistic approaches that have helped many resolve emotional issues and distress. This book is an important contribution, although it is somewhat restrained in getting to the heart of certain matters. It does not really address the issue of whether the mind is a metaphysical construct that merely uses the brain as an interface or is a product of the brain [parapsychology research and related scientific investigations have clearly shown that the mind is not a product of the brain]. It also fails to meaningfully consider the possible hazards and ethical violations associated with drug treatments for mental health issues, as most health care professionals are reluctant to admit that what they have been practicing may contribute to unnecessary harmful effects for patients. This book, coming from a physician who has been immersed in the worlds of both modern western medicine and various old and new techniques of holistic medicine, should be a wake up call for many physicians and mental health professionals.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. L Lamendola on Feb. 29 2004
Format: Hardcover
Record numbers of people are on Ritalin and other behavioral drugs. Yet, they are not cured of what ails them. They simply get alleviation from the symptoms. Others have been in talk therapy for months, or even years, and yet still grapple with the problems that sent them there in the first place. Is there any hope for these people? After reading "The Instinct to Heal," one can only answer with a resounding "Yes."
Behavioral drugs treat only symptoms, and they carry undesirable side-effects. Talk therapy seeks to resolve the underlying problems, but it addresses our conscious thoughts to do so. And therein lies the problem.
The human brain is composed of two structures, one imposed over the other. These two structures are very different in construction. The logical brain--the one that contains our conscious thoughts--forms a sort of covering over the emotional brain. This emotional brain is composed of limbic structures--and these are the same in all mammals.
The key to effective healing is to "reprogram" the emotional brain. This may sound like an impossible job, but it's not. The emotional brain contains natural mechanisms for self-healing. Thus, Servan-Schreiber's "instinct to heal" concept.
Servan-Schreiber explains this concept in a logical, lucid manner. But, he does this in a way that allows us reach our own conclusions. Topics covered include brain structure, heart coherence, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, the energy of light, the power of Qi, the role of Omega 3 fatty acids (or lack thereof) in depression, the role of exercise, and emotional communication.
Throughout, Servan-Schreiber provides solid evidence, anecdotal accounts, research data, and even diagrams.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner on March 6 2004
Format: Hardcover
With millions of Americans suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber offers seven holistic alternatives to the usual chemical-baring the soul solution. Using his work as a Doctors without Borders participant where economics forces non cost solutions, Dr. Servan-Schreiber provides other possibilities that he has observed work. Though anecdotal and the author agrees greater scientific testing should occur, he combines his observation with data in an easy to follow and even easier to use format. Readers learn about Qi (acupuncture), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, dawn simulation, heart coherence and nutrition, etc. As in the third world nations, economics plays a vital role in American as Dr. Servan-Schreiber feels many of these stand-ins are not given a chance because there is not a lot of money to be made on them. Adding a chapter on the importance of and improving personal communication in any relationship (including with one's self - "to thine own self be true"), readers receive a terrific constructive and effective reference book that offers help to those who find drugs and chit chat failing.
Harriet Klausner
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