This was overall an excellent book. Prior to 1999 psychiatrist and therapist erroneously believed that all mood disorders were chemical imbalances. As if all people had a very specific level of biological chemicals that you could stick a dipstick in and check the level and than prescribed a med, one dose fits all. This thinking applied equally to men and women. I never accepted it and got into several disagreements with many doctors.
An applied science is something that can be tested and proven by the scientific method over and over. The above thinking could not be proven with the scientific method but the psychiatric community had become so convince that they in turn convicted the public of this lie. Why? They had no other way to explain mood disorders. There was no way that the psychiatric community could prove a cause so they theorized an explanation and sadly it became fact. Much like all old beliefs, the world is flat, going faster than 20mph will kill you, eating tomatoes will kill you...
When researchers like Bruce Perry and many others started proving that the brain is plasticity the psychiatric community was forced to take a real look at the causes of mood disorders.
I have long held the view that mood disorders are rooted in the layered structures of the brain. As we develop in the womb and as we experience childhood the brain develops in a layered fashion, this is now well established. The layers of neurons fire across these layers, if something happens in childhood these layers and firing get messed up, the wiring of the brain not chemical levels gets messed up. I also believe the family factor is embedded in the structure of the brain, and like blue eyes or a big nose these genetic factors of the structure of the brain are passed along.
In this book David has let go of the chemical level and is now focusing on the plasticity of the brain and the firing structure. Because of that understanding I rate this book as excellent. I would like to also note that with this change of thinking the psychiatric community is on the cusp of testing bipolar by the scientific method.
There are two issues that he is way off the mark.
1) He states in every chapter and perhaps on every other page that no one with any mood disorder should drink alcohol of any kind for any reason. He states this so much I believe it is his religious view and not a professional view. I have not looked at the data but I do not believe that 100% of people with a mood disorder suffers from drinking a glass of wine. I have bipolar 1 with psychotic episodes, BPD and PTSD. From time to time, days and days apart I will drink a glass of white or red wine. I have been drunk in my youth and I hate the feeling, I also hate the feeling of being buzzed. I drink wine for the same reason I drink tea or orange juice, I enjoy the taste. I have never suffered adverse effects from drinking wine and this is attested to by my wife and son. David severally over reached by saying over and over that no one with a mood disorder should drink. Some yes but there is never a 100% of reaction in all people and as a doctor he should have known that.
2) David's viewpoint of medication is super dangerous. He states that all psychiatric medication has side effects and one that does not can't be effective. That statement is so dangerous that it leaves no reason for error on his part. It would also be difficult if not impossible for David to be corrected. I take prazosin which is a blood pressure medication but it was found to effectively treat PTSD. When returning veterans from Iraq were given it their fight or flight symptoms lessened and their night terrors lessened. I have been on it for almost 6 years and my nightmares have stopped for the most part, as well as many of my PTSD daytime symptoms. Although I do have to maintain a strick routine, the medication has no known side effects, nothing that I experienced with psychological medications. Thus the effective treatment of prazosin really smacks in the face of David's statement, but there is more.
Two institutions, one in Houston Tx the other in Canada are currently testing the effectiveness of high doses of Melatonin in people with mood disorders. The testing level is 10mg 2 hours before bedtime. I have been taking it for about 6 years as well and have had excellent results. I sleep well through the night and it has helped me to maintain a steady sleep routine. In the morning I turn on as many lights as I can to stop and dump excess Melatonin. I have suffered no one single side effect and it works better than any prescription sleep medication. I am not concerned with addiction, lingering drugging effect, or doing something in my sleep. I take two other non-psychological medications that also have no side effects. I have been doing better than when on the highly addictive, massive weight causing drugs given to me by doctors. I gained almost 200lbs from those drugs and suffered horrible side effects that would have killed me. I will never accept that the side effects of SSRI's are worth the benefits. His thinking on medications is extremely dangerous to anyone that goes to him, it is a do or die with no other options. David's view of drugs is a god like view and he is his own god.
He mentions the mood diary, I have been keeping one on my Tab for some time. The app emoods is very good and follows the exact same method he mentions to do on paper. I learned much of what he mentions from a psychiatrist I had in the early 2000's. That doctor was very forward thinking and saw the future of plasticity and the non-need for drugs in all people.
I do hope David can be humble enough to realize that not all people with mood disorders must give up all drinking of wine etc, I also hope he does more research into his personal opinion on medications.
Overall I do recommend this book, but please read it with an educated view and remember even doctors have strong opinions that are not based on supported data or scientific fact, they are imperfect humans.