Review – The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb

This book is one of many that examines the physical causes of depression and methods for treating it.  I found it more useful than others of the same type I have read.

In the first section of the book, Korb describes how the brain works, focusing on the structures and processes that are involved in depression, anxiety, and focus.  These chapters are highly technical, to the point that I won’t be able to remember a large amount of the information.  However, for my purposes, I need to know only that there are biological reasons for why the actions I take to help myself feel better, not necessarily what they are.  In addition, if I need to find that information, I can find it here.

The second section is where the practical actions can be found.  It is this section where the book shines.  In most books about depression, the author will examine the biology and will then take one of two courses.  Either they will focus on the medical end and give only general methods for treating it, or they will describe the biology briefly and give a specific set of instructions to treat depression, with the implication, stated or otherwise, that this is the only way to successfully treat it.

In The Upward Spiral, Korb does neither.  In each of the eight chapters of the second section of the book, he describes effective methods for preventing or reversing depression.  Korb makes it clear that something needs to change, and that some actions have a stronger effect than others.  However, he also makes it plain that depression can make these changes more difficult.  In addition, he describes ways of starting the behavior, of first steps that are possible, instead of implying that only the more complete actions will be effective.

Not only is Korb sympathetic to a reader suffering from depression, since he does as well, he makes it clear that different people will be most helped by different solutions.  He includes antidepressants as one effective and useful treatment rather than implying that taking them are a moral failure.

All in all, this is a book I would recommend for anyone who suffers from depression.

 

Korb, Alex, Ph.D.  The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.  Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publication, Inc, 2015.  Kindle edition.  Amazon.

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