4 out of 4 stars
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Causes and Cures of Depression is a self-help/advice book by Rivka Levy. The author has personally suffered from depression and anxiety, beginning at the young age of six. The key to her healing was discovering what was causing these problems. In this book, she shares this knowledge and provides encouragement to the reader. The three main reasons for depression are having poor habits when it comes to spiritual, emotional, and physical health. The author debunks the notion that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. In doing so, she also greatly discredits the drug industry. In place of medicine, the author offers useful alternatives, such as being grateful and monitoring the way one’s energy flows through the body. The book concerns how to avoid depression in the first place as well as what to do if one is currently in a depressed state.
The author does a very thorough job. There are some numbered and bullet point lists as well as recaps at the ends of chapters. There is some redundancy, but not in a bothersome way. She takes the time to elaborate and ensures that there are no lingering, unanswered questions by the end. A problem is presented (like what to do about negative people), the author gives her take on the matter and then provides a practical solution. The reader is left with a thorough sense of what does and doesn’t work when it comes to treating or preventing depression.
There are so many great aspects of the book that I could highlight, many of which are lines of the text that I copied directly into my notes. The author greatly urges the reader to actually put the advice into practice. Just reading it isn’t going to change anything. There’s real work to be done! It was easy to agree with what was being stated, with lines such as: “Trouble is, repressed thoughts and feelings don’t just disappear: they fester” and “Telling a depressed person to ‘cheer up’ or ‘snap out of it,’ or that they are choosing to feel so miserable and worthless once they’ve actually sunk into a depressed state is extremely unhelpful.” The author acknowledges that everyone is different, so the book “should be used as a guideline, not as a rulebook.” She’s clearly done her research and speaks from real-life experience.
There is some talk of God when it comes to one’s spiritual needs. I appreciated that the religious aspect of the book was kept at a minimum, as the author provides a very comprehensive view of depression. She recognizes that it’s not a simple problem that will go away and stay away just by praying about it. It’s a complicated issue that takes a lot of work to overcome.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. While reading the book, there were several times when I said in my head: “been there,” “thought that,” or “so true.” I definitely reflected on my own life as the text evoked specific memories. The author presents some interesting notions that I hadn’t heard of before. Some concepts were weird upon first glance (like the idea of "Spleen energy") and others immediately made sense. The book is very ambitious, stating early on that it “could literally transform your life.” Putting some of the advice into practice could possibly do that, depending on how committed the reader is to put it to use.
I’d recommend this book to those who have ever or are currently suffering from depression and need help managing it. I’d also recommend it to families, friends, or others concerned about someone with depression.
Causes and Cures of Depression
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