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The Chemistry of Joy: A Three-Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom

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Book Overview

The classic book that New York Times bestselling author Dr. Larry Dossey called "a valuable guide for anyone wishing to find greater exuberance and fulfillment in their life," The Chemistry of Joy... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Amazing Book!!!

Anyone looking to improve their lives should definetly take a look at this stuff. This book literally changed my life. Whether you suffer from mild or severe depression, the small suggestions offered in this book are priceless and very easy to follow (plus, they're fun to try). I've spent years battling severe depression. I dropped out of college for a year, and recently ended up in the hospital with suicidal thoughts. I'm not sure if I would be here if I hadn't accidentally picked up this book. It was refreshing to find so many extra steps that I can take to improving my lifestyle, other than just medications and therapy. The book is easy to read and fascinating. These practices have kept me on track in graduate school, and many people have told me I look better than I ever have (I'd bet everything that it has to do with my better diet and meditation practices). The book was just a start, but it's the only book I've ever seen that allows that kind of start. I've read extensively on depression, and I've never learned more than I learned in one little book. Most of all, I feel better than I've felt since I was 16 (before the depression). This book has opened new doors for me and I feel well enough to take them all!!!

Wonderful! Not all depressions are created equal...

At last! A doctor that differentiates between different types of depression... Most doctors rate depression according to its severity. They may state that you are experiencing a major depressive episode or a mild depressive episode, or perhaps you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Dr Henry Emmons has a different approach. He classifies depression as follows: Anxious Depression Agitated Depression Sluggish Depression This is a potential break-through in diagnosis and the possibilities it offers for treatment. According to Emmons you may be a combination of the above three types but most likely show a preference to one type or another. More significantly, each type of depression is attributed to an excess or deficit of chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain. Many people will already know that low levels of serotonin, otherwise known as the happiness brain chemical, can lead to depression and disrupted sleep patterns. However Emmons suggests that dopamine and norepinephrine also have a role in depression. This is not entirely new, however the attribution of specific types of depressions and tailored treatment is new. Anxious Depression is characterised by low levels of serotonin and feelings of inadequacy and excessive worry, together with insomnia and potential carbohydrate cravings. Agitated Depression is said to result from an excess of dopamine and norepinephrine resulting in restlessness, anger, irritability and digestive problems. Sluggish Depression is characterised by increased sleep, withdrawal and passivity due to low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. In Emmons' book The Chemistry of Joy he suggests eating plans for each type of depression, together with generalised recommendations for vitamin supplementation. Most of the information on vitamin supplementation will be familiar and include the usual mainstays, such as B complex, folic acid, omega 6 (fish oil) and the like. Interestingly Emmons speculates that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which are commonly prescribed for depression, are not effective long term. This contradicts accepted wisdom, however his reasoning is sound. He hypothesizes that SSRIs simply manipulate existing stores of serotonin and do not help create new sources of serotonin. Accordingly, if an individual has difficulty manufacturing serotonin then over time the existing stores will be depleted as the SSRIs can not stop re-uptake indefinitely. It's an interesting theory. I couldn't find any source for this from published research and it appears to be based on Emmons' observations of his patients but I think the theory has merit. Emmons favours a combination of lifestyle changes and supplements to treat depression. He does not rule out medication but seems to prefer a diet rich in tryptophan (the precursor to serotonin) together with 5-HTP. If you have a deficit of dopamine and norepinephrine then dopamine/norepinephrine enhancing foods and supplements are reco

A broader view of depresssion

Excellent book. A multi-disciplinary view of depression, it looks beyond drug and talk therapy without denying their importance. Emmons studied, practices, and writes about other approaches to depression, such as diet, supplements, exercise, Ayurvedic (historical Indian) medicine and the Buddhist psychological/emotional types. This provides a deeper and broader understanding and treatment of depression. A richly woven text.

A wonderful tool for regular folk and for professionals

As a mindfulness meditation teacher and a spiritual mentor, I am keeping copies of The Chemistry of Joy in my office. I have already recommended the book to numerous friends and family members. Some of the highlights for me: 1) the gentle, clear way that Dr. Emmons reminds us readers that there are many doors to healing, that it is good to open the door that moves most easily for us first, and that it is often through making one or two adaptations on a number of levels that we begin to experience life as having more comfort to it; 2) the empowerment that comes from having this kind and seasoned psychiatrist steadily reminding us to believe in our deeper self; 3) the way desperation is allayed as one realizes that brain chemistry correlates with two ancient wisdom systems from other parts of the globe- ah, what a balm for the isolation that one can feel on this difficult journey to relieve depression.

A Superb Book!

Dr. Emmons' book is a great gift to people who suffer from depression as well as to their families and friends. It addresses an extremely complex problem with competence and clarity, warmth and compassion, and with great respect for the reader -- a remarkable accomplishment. I have suffered from mild depression. My spouse has had serious clinical depression. We have found Dr. Emmons' book to be a valuable reference to which we can turn for reliable information, both general and specific. Better yet, as we read this book, it almost felt as though Dr. Emmons was right there with us, offering not only wisdom and counsel but his gentle and healing presence of encouragement and hope as well. The combination of Western science and Eastern wisdom is a welcome contribution to the literature on depression and is presented in a very accessible way. I hope that the many people who suffer from depression, as well as those who treat them, will find their way to this superb resource.
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