Uplifting, strongly researched but accessible book by Kathy Cronkite, Walter's daughter, following her studiously serious On the Edge of the Spotlight (1981). Herself a victim of what Winston Churchill called ``the black dog,'' and here offering hope and courage, Cronkite attacks the stigma of depression, describes the disease as it's known through the latest research, and interviews well-known medical researchers and famed victims—including Mike Wallace, Joan Rivers, Dick Clark, Kitty Dukakis, Rod Steiger, Rona Barrett, Ann Buchwald, Jules Feiffer, John Kenneth Galbraith, Rose and William Styron, and Judith Belushi Pisano, among others. Clinical depression, Cronkite finds, can't be lifted by simple affirmative pick-me-ups and self- help slogans: ``However, if you've had one bout of depression and can learn to recognize the symptoms early on, often you can avert a full-blown relapse by practicing good self-care and self-esteem building activities....'' Says Barbara Parry, M.D.: ``Over the course of a lifetime, if depression is not treated aggressively in its early stages, it tends to get worse, not better. You don't develop antibodies.'' Cronkite focuses on ``moderate, unipolar [no manic highs], major depression, not on the small percentage of the severely ill, the chronically hospitalized, the psychotic, or on those whose depression is amenable to self-help therapy, such as exercise or meditation.'' Is depression biological or psychological? It's always both, says Dr. A. John Bush. Life stress doesn't do the illness any good, ``but it doesn't explain everything; people have an underlying biological/genetic proclivity, and with or without the stress, they get the illness.'' Riveting, with not a dull word throughout. Should be of help to depressives in understanding their illness while seeking treatment.
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