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I Can See Tomorrow--A Guide For Living with Depression

by Patricia L. Owen, Ph.D.

Review by William Zaccagnino, Froma Lippman, and Marianne Thomas

Oct 1996

I Can See Tomorrow--A Guide For Living with Depression by Patricia L. Owen, Ph.D., is a very complete book on depression with informative addenda that include resources and agencies throughout the nation to help people with depression and bipolar disorder.

Dr. Owen has provided a helpful guide for those who recognize or suspect that they have depression. From the start, readers who may only suspect they have depression can hold themselves up against the measures of the types and symptoms of depression to make that first judgment about obtaining appropriate treatment, whether that is medications, psychotherapy, or both. The book is especially valuable for those who also are recovering alcoholics or substance abusers.

Dr. Owen offers an assortment of information about the defining features of depression, the causes of depression, therapy, medications, relationships with family, and the spiritual dimensions of this disorder. Each of her chapters discusses a topic and includes questions readers may ask about themselves relative to the topic and what they may do to help themselves.

Because stigma still surrounds depression as it does other psychiatric disorders, Dr. Owen's discussions about common misperceptions and myths may be particularly helpful. This information can be central to readers' accepting their depression, the causes of depression, selecting a psychotherapist, accepting the need for using an antidepressant, and finding a comfortable position in the family, with friends, and in organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous. The battle against depression is formidable, but the barrier of stigma significantly magnifies it.

Owen also has complied an appendix listing some of the common antidepressants. She includes information about how the medications work, side effects, dosages, and specific pointers for recovering alcoholics and substance abusers.

Dr. Owen comments on the theoretical nature of chemical imbalance as a cause of brain disorders and on persons with depression having the right to contribute to treatment decisions about their own care. The reviewers believe, however, that putting too much emphasis on the empowerment of the person as opposed to the value of the medication may lead to some depressed persons deciding against needed medication, temporarily or permanently, because of their depressed mood. They may act out of simple dislike of taking medications rather than out of clear thinking about the therapeutic value of the prescribed drug.

Overall, Dr. Owen provides valuable information about depression and offers individuals and their families or significant others support and hope for future recovery and relief from illness.

I Can See Tomorrow--A Guide For Living With Depression by Patricia Owen, Ph.D. Hazelden, Center City, MN, 1995. 195 pp.