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A Critique Of The Book "Feeling Good" By David Burns

2580 words - 10 pages

In the book Feeling Good , David Burns, MD, the author, outlines certain cognitive techniques an individual suffering from depression could use in combating the disorder. He begins the book by briefly describing the pertinence and the prevalence of depression. The author captures the audience's attention in the first paragraph: ' In fact depression is so widespread it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances' (Burns, 1992) p. 9. Burns(1992), continues to suggest that the difference between the common cold and depression lies in the fact that depression is lethal. Irwing and Barbara Serason (1996) suggest that at least 90 percent of all suicide victims suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. Irwing and Barbara Serason (1996) also state that one of the risk factors in committing suicide is the presence of mood disorder. Silverman (1993) states that suicide among young people 15 to 19 years of age has increased by 30 percent from the years 1980 to 1990.In my opinion David Burns brings up a valid issue in addressing the pertinence of depression as it pertains to peoples tendencies of committing a suicide; other academics have agreed with the same findings. However these academics have not specifically stated that depression is the only risk factor of committing a suicide. They did not even suggest that depression is the heighest weighted risk factor in committing a suicide. The impression the reader gets after reading the introductory paragraph of the Feeling Good book is that severe depression will inevitably result in suicide unless it is cured. Implying that if a person has a depressive disorder, it will lead to a suicide can be dangerous and counterproductive for a person who already feels hopeless; this may reaffirm their belief of hopelessness and the inevitability of the disorder.Once the first paragraph is passed the author indicates that there is hope in curing depression, giving the reader an encouragement to continue with the book.According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-IV), mood disorders are classified into two broad categories, bipolar and unipolar depressive disorders. The book Feeling Good only talks about the unipolar depressive disorders, thus, I will only concentrate on that one category. Unipolar mood disorders are classified under axis I of the DSM-IV. Unipolar depressive disorders are further classified into two categories: dysthymic, and major depressive disorder. Even though both of the disorders are mood disorders they have some fundamental differences and similarities. According to DSM-IV people experiencing major depression must have depressed moods and/or diminished interest for at least two weeks, for most of the day, and for most days than not. They must also experience four additional symptoms, such as: weigh loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor retardation or agitation, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of...

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