Book Review
by A. Hoffer, MD, PhD

Depression Survivor's Kit. R. Sealey, BSc, CA, 291 Princess Avenue, North York, ON M2N 3S3. Paperback, 100 pages, 1996. $19.99 US, $24.99 Cdn

The Depression Survivor Kit is not the usual type of book written about depression and for people who are depressed. Many books describe in agonizing detail what it is like to be depressed. A variety of psychosocial interpretations are given, depending on which of them the authors accepted the usual psychodynamic interpretations. Many people recovered, giving credit to the treatment they received, although it is equally likely the would have recovered without treatment. Of the huge number of studies on the effect of psychotherapy on anxiety and depression, there are very few which have demonstrated that the particular form of therapy was effective.

Other modern books content themselves with describing the disease, giving information about the current hypotheses of the causes of depression and on the limited treatments, again depending upon the orientation of the writer. Some are interested only and drugs, others (not as many) in the use of nutrition, and supplements or orthomolecular treatment.

This book is different, for it provides the information that nay person who is depressed will want to learn and to use in overcoming the depression. This book's main purpose is to restore normal mood.

Sealey describes five tools (from the Kit). But as in any kit, one does not need to use them all for any particular job, or in any precise order. Ideally, one would start with one and if it did not work could then go on to use the next tool. And also, as with any kit, the work will have to be done by the person who is using the kit. No one else can do it for them.

The first tool describes the phenomenon of depression, the type of professions that can be consulted for help, and a variety of treatments ranging from drugs to herbs and nutrients which might be used. Tool 2 goes into greater detail with the phenomenon of depression, the effect on the sufferer, both personally and on interpersonal relationships. Tool 3 outlines what can be done. Tool 4 give more information about additional tools that can be used, and Tool 5 provides an excellent literature list including a large number of books to which the person can refer and in which he or she will surely find themselves. These books include the orthodox approach (drugs only) and the more modern orthomolecular approach, a combination of diet, supplements, herbs and drugs. The author of this book was helped by the herb Gingko Biloba and provides much useful information about this herb and how it should be used.

The author is not an expert on depression by having gotten an MD or PhD. He is an expert from the inside, having been depressed for many years, and from the outside by reading and studying ravenously all the approaches which have been used. These are all distilled into this valuable depression kit with its five major tools. I do recommend this kit for people who are or have been depressed and would like to avoid any further depression, and for professional people to use as a reference work to improve their skills in treating depression.

Reprinted from The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine
Fourth Quarter 1996 - Volume 11 Number 4
Publication Office: 16 Florence Ave., Toronto, ON M2N 1E9
Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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