A deeply researched and highly original investigation into depression which argues the case for embracing both art and science in our understanding and treatment of the condition
Sadness is an inevitable part of life, but for most people it will usually alternate or coexist with happy times. Clinical depression, on the other hand, is a mental disorder that causes torment and anguish. It has no moments of relief. It unhinges us from everything we thought we knew about the world and makes us strangers to those we love. It is the predominant mental-health problem worldwide, affecting more than 250 million people. More than a fifth of the population of the UK report symptoms of depression or anxiety. Yet how much do we really know of the condition and of ways to treat it?
In MENDING THE MIND, Oliver Kamm recounts what it's like to be mentally ill with severe depression, and he details the route by which, with professional help, he was able to make a full recovery. His experience prompted him to find out all he could about a condition that has afflicted humanity throughout recorded history. He explains the progress of science in understanding depression, and the insights into the condition that have been provided by writers and artists through the ages. His message is hopeful: though depression is a real and devastating illness, the mind and its disorders are yielding to scientific inquiry, and effective psychological, psychiatric and pharmacological treatments are already available. Candid, revelatory and deeply versed in current scientific research, MENDING THE MIND sets out in plain language how the scourge of clinical depression can be countered and may eventually be overcome.
Oliver Kamm is a chief leader writer and columnist for THE TIMES. He is the newspaper's principal editorial writer on economics, international affairs and culture, as well as their unofficial expert on language and style, a subject he tackles in his long-running immensely popular weekly column, 'The Pedant'. He is a regular columnist for the JEWISH CHRONICLE, and his writings have also appeared in the GUARDIAN, the NEW YORK TIMES, the NEW REPUBLIC, FOREIGN POLICY, the NEW STATESMAN, PROSPECT and many other publications. He is a regular interviewee on many high-profile television and radio programmes.