Depression is the world’s most common mood disorder, and it is spreading like a viral contagion. You can’t catch depression in the same way you catch a cold, but the latest research provides overwhelming support that moods spread through social conditions, defining depression as more a social problem than a medical illness. Our social lives directly shape our brain chemistry and powerfully affect the way we think and feel—and our brains can change for the better with healthy social circumstances as much as they can change with medication. Drugs may address some of depression’s symptoms, but Dr. Yapko convincingly argues that we need to treat depression at its root, by building social skills and improving relationships, in order to halt the spread of this debilitating disorder. Filled with practical exercises and illustrative examples, his groundbreaking plan guides readers to identify key social patterns that reinforce depression so they can learn the skills to overcome depression and even prevent new episodes from occurring.
Provocative and controversial as well as prescriptive and hopeful, Depression Is Contagious investigates the social phenomenon of depression’s epidemic-like spread while offering a more realistic road to recovery.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"Finally -- a book that takes on the root causes of depression. Its surprisingly hopeful message: We don't need to turn first to powerful drugs, but instead to each other. Whether you are struggling with anxiety and depression yourself or helping someone else, this book is packed with practical advice on how to combat negative feelings. In fact, the stellar advice here is tremendously useful even to those who are not depressed but simply dealing with life's usual challenges. This is the best and most comprehensive guide I have seen to combating depression on your own -- which should always be the first step." -- Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me and co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic
"Yapko takes a clear, fresh look at an ancient subject. He thinks about the subject holistically, compassionately, and creatively. While respectful of feelings, he urges readers to think and act their way out of depression. He argues that kind, intentional behavior will not only cure depression but heal relationships and build a community of loving family and friends (the best antidepressant on the market). Amen, brother, Amen." -- Mary Pipher, Ph.D., psychologist, author of Reviving Ophelia, The Shelter of Each Other, and Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World
"Michael Yapko rejects the prevailing line that depression is a brain disease caused by malfunctioning neurons and chemicals. Instead, he says, depression is about relationships. We are fundamentally social animals, and when our social worlds are not working, our mental health suffers. Yapko helps us understand how bad relationships can cause depression; he also is brave enough to tell us how depression can wreck our social skills and ruin our relationships with others. Yapko then teaches the skills to help people change their ways of relating to others and as a result prevent or overcome depression. This is a courageous, enlightening, and useful book. Anyone who suffers depression, or is in a relationship with a depressed person, will find this book very valuable." -- Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Yale University, author of Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life
"Move over Prozac, bring on the real depression antidote -- RELATIONSHIPS. Best book I've ever read for depression-proofing one's life! If you or someone you know is in the depths of despair, buy this book and several more for friends! Everyone needs to learn Dr. Michael Yapko's concrete, psychobabble-free approach for choosing, cultivating, and maintaining relationships that provide lifelines for hard times and sustenance for living. At last, the real antidepressant/wellness prescription -- 'Take 50 milligrams of love and call me in the morning.' I love this book!" -- Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W., author of Divorce Busting and Change Your Life and Everyone in It
About the Author:
Michael Yapko, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, author, and internationally recognized expert on the subjects of treating major depression, brief forms of psychotherapy, and the clinical applications of hypnosis in psychotherapy and behavioral medicine. He has written ten books as sole author, of which three were trade books with major publishers (Breaking the Patterns of Depression (Random House/Doubleday, now in its eleventh printing), Hand-Me-Down Blues: How to Stop Depression from Spreading in Families (St. Martin’s), and Suggestions of Abuse: True and False Memories of Childhood Sexual Trauma (Simon & Schuster)), and three books as sole editor, dozens of articles and chapters in books, and the section on “Treating Depression,” for the Encyclopedia Britannica Medical and Health Annual. Hand-Me-Down Blues was the first book to address how depression affects families. Suggestions of Abuse was the first on the subject of the unreliable nature of “recovered memories.” He was recently given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Hypnosis, a professional organization that represents physician and psychologist researchers in over 30 countries.