In Light of Mental Health Awareness Month, Depression Author Asks, 'Are Self-Help Books Prolonging Your Depression?'

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Self-help books commonly claim a solution to depression, but fail to explain that there are two types of depression: normal (psychological) and clinical (biological). Since clinical depression commonly requires medication as treatment, readers run the risk of prolonging their suffering by believing that a book’s self-help approach is going to end their clinical depression.

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In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month (May), Bob Olson, the author of “Win The Battle,” is teaching depression sufferers why self-help books may be prolonging their suffering.

Olson warns, “The problem with self-help books is that authors fail to make the distinction between NORMAL and CLINICAL depression when claiming that their self-help methods will allow readers to overcome their depression. Since the treatment for normal and clinical depression is different, understanding this distinction is critical for the 20 million people who suffer with depression and their 100 million supporting loved ones.”

Olson suffered with periodic, clinical depression most of his life without realizing it. He experienced about 3 depressive episodes per year, each lasting 2 to 3 months in duration. Since his “clinical depression” resulted from a chemical imbalance in his brain -- a brain disorder that is actually biological, not psychological -- he needed medication to re-balance those brain chemicals and eliminate his depressive symptoms. The day he found a medication that lifted his depression, all of Olson’s symptoms disappeared and have not returned for over 11 years.

Before the age of 27, Olson sought help for his depression from self-help books -- not doctors. All these books touted techniques for overcoming depression, yet none taught the difference between “normal” and “clinical” depression. In essence, Olson was misled by these books because of their claims to provide a solution to depression without explaining that they only offer a solution to one type of depression: normal depression. Olson is sure he would have sought help from a doctor months or years sooner if he had known there was a difference.

Bob Olson is an author, lecturer and mental health advocate on the subjects of clinical depression and bipolar disorder.


Bob Olson

(207) 967-2201


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