Understanding Depression, Patricia Ainsworth – Book Review

Patricia Ainsworth’s book Understanding Depression explores the nature of depression, its symptoms, most common types, and the impact it has on the lives of people suffering from this disease and those around them. The book also explains who can be affected by depression including children, women (especially following childbirth), and the elderly. The author speaks from the point of view defining depression as a body illness commonly associated to certain medical conditions, or metaphorically, as ‘the great illusionist’ (see Patricia Ainsworth quotes below). Causes of depression are discussed in a way acceptable to doctors, sufferers and the people who care for them. This book is published in a special series Understanding Health and Sickness (University Press of Mississippi, Jackson) featuring a number of talented authors who are experts in specific fields of medicine like Patricia Ainsworth.

Understanding Depression explores the reality of the disease from the author’s point of view both as a psychiatrist and as a family member who experienced the life with depression first hand. Patricia Ainsworth used examples from her practice to discuss different types of depression, the kinds of people at risk, and the risk factors of suicide. Depression, like many other mental diseases, comes with a stigma that sets its sufferers apart from other people. The author also considers the social context of this disease.

The Contents of the Book

Chapter 1 – What Is Depression?

The first chapter defines depression, gives an overview of how much depression costs, talks about depression symptoms divided into four main categories: mood, cognitive, behavioral, and physical. This chapter also addresses the question of depression and suicidal rates. One of many discoveries you may find interesting in this book is the fact that depression as an illness costs the U.S cca. 44 billion dollars annually!

Chapter 2 – Who Gets Depressed?

The author concludes that depression affects women more frequently than men, and suicide associated to depression (the potential lethal outcome of this illness) is the third-leading cause of death among U.S. teenagers. Patricia Ainsworth calls depression an ‘equal opportunity’ illness because it can affect all kinds of people regardless of race, sex, creed, religion, social status, or nation of origin.

Chapter 3 – The Causes of Depression

Depression affects one in five people and the causes do not necessarily have to be the same. The author explains these causes in a scientific style of writing, although she is not overly technical in giving these explanations.

Chapter 4 – What Happens in the Brain

The fourth chapter describes how our body communicates with our brain, and how this communication affects the progress and/or treatment of depression. In this part of the book, Dr. Ainsworth gives a basic description of brain autonomy, neurology, and the processes and the chemistry of the brain. Like the authors says: ‘The living brain is the seat of humanness, the organ that makes us who we are.’

Chapter 5 – Treatment

Treatment methods discussed in Patricia Ainsworth’s book include various forms of psychotherapy, different classes of antidepressant medications, and the controversial subjects of ‘shock’ treatment and involuntary treatment.

Chapter 6 – Helping the Depressive

This chapter is especially useful for family members, relatives and friends who care for depressed people in their life and want to help them, but don’t know how. Also, the chapter aims at explaining to depressive people how to help themselves because although they are not at the mercy of their illness, they are still not completely helpless. Understanding Depression also offers tips for fighting depression day by day. The book also addresses some of the common myths and misconceptions about depression.

Chapter 7 – Searching for a Cure

In the last chapter, Patricia Ainsworth talks about the kind of research is implemented in the field of depression and mood disorders, how to improve them and move towards better solutions and methods to gain more data.

About the author

Patricia Ainsworth M.D. Jackson, MississippiPatricia Ainsworth, M.D., is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and has a private practice in Ridgeland, Mississippi. She also served as the chair of the State Board for Mental Health. She was the co-author of the book Understanding Mental Retardation together with Pamela C. Baker (also part of the Understanding Health and Sickness series).

Photo source: facebook.com

Patricia Ainsworth Quotes About Depression

‘Depression is a serious, sometimes chronic, and too often terminal physical illness that clouds the minds of sufferers, robs them of joy and peace, wreaks havoc with their appetites and sleep patterns, and leaves their bodies vulnerable to physical illness and to death, either self-inflicted or as a result of medical illness.’

‘Depression is an old illness, not a recent affliction spawned by the stresses of modern civilization.’ >> More Quotes on Depression

‘Even love is only a faint echo of itself. A leaden haze obscures the day and folds into a dark tunnel with no hint of light at the end. Where is hope? There is none. Where is happiness? Gone as if it had never been, replaced by tears that must be hidden. Where is relief? Perhaps in death.’ >> More Depression Quotes About Love

Book Reviews by Amazon Buyers

The Kindle edition is reviewed five times in the USA and once in the UK Amazon book store. The same number of reviews can be seen for the paperback edition in the USA. As you will see, the book is a 5 star rated product.

5 star rating reviews of the book Understanding Depression by Patricia Ainsworth

‘I’ve learned that talking about it to others can backfire because many see it as a mere weakness. Words like, ‘snap out of it’ can be extremely painful. Isolation becomes inevitable which just makes the sufferer worse. Well, Patricia Ainsworth does understand this disease and reading her book was comforting…something we desperately need.’ (A Customer, USA)

‘Dr. Ainsworth truly understands how to help people experiencing depression. She has written this book in layman terms making it easy to read and understand. I learned much from reading this book. Her practical advice helped me better understand what my loved one was experiencing therefore helping me understand more how I could help.’ (Martha, USA)

Understanding Depression by Patricia Ainsworth - Book Cover

Book cover photo source: Amazon.com

Want to read the book Understanding Depression?

If you’d like your own copy of the book, it is available at the Amazon store both as Kindle edition and paperback. You can visit Amazon for more information about Understanding Depression from this page.