Dr. Ostow is a Freudian-based analyst and this is a study of depression for the layman and for ""paramedical personnel."" It's a far safer and more intelligent choice than either Lucy Freeman's The Cry for Love or Leonard Cammer's Up From Depression (both 1969). Depressions, ""the threat of emptiness, loss of vitality,"" occur at various chronological periods, are prefaced by certain portents, activated by certain situations, initially countered (by overwork, sexual acceleration, etc.) and indicated by a phase of angry withdrawal before the hostility becomes self-directed. Dr. Ostow traces the variables of psychic energy and moodswing; the causes (familial, organic, etc.); the relation of depression to other mental illnesses; its treatment -- taking a practical view of analysis and a limited view of drugs and shock. A last chapter gives a certain social extension of the problem to the scene (affluence and demoralization) which is more conjectural and his classifications (say of schizophrenia) are not always consonant with others' (and are they ever discrete?). In any case, along with a selective, descriptive bibliography, this provides a considered and instructive evaluation of the illness insofar as it can be schematized.