The Noonday Demon

Andrew Solomon, author of the award winning book on depression, ‘The Noonday Demon‘, is interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Taking A Stand‘.

Solomon wrote the book after suffering from an intense clinical depression and managed to convey not only his own personal experiences, but much of the science and history of the disorder as well.

Approaches to depression vary, but Solomon believes that both medication and psychotherapy are worthwhile approaches.

He occupies the middle ground between Lewis Wolpert, the Nobel Prize winning biologist who wrote of his own depression in the book Malignant Sadness, and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist William Styron who recounted his experiences in Darkness Visible.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wolpert tends towards an almost exclusively biological view of depression and treatment with anti-depressants, whereas Styron is less convinced by the physical explanations and medical treatments. Solomon however, maintains a strong belief in the biological reality of depression, but does not suggest that life events and emotional turmoil are unimportant either as a cause or a focus for treatment.

Either way, it’s an important debate which is shaping both how society understands depression and the most appropriate forms of care for people with mental illness.

All three books come highly recommended and Solomon is always worth listening to, as he is an articulate and knowledgable part of an ongoing discussion.

Link to ‘Taking a Stand’ webpage and audio archive (looks like the audio will be available until Tue 1st Feb)

Other links:

Realaudio stream or transcript of ABC Radio ‘All in the Mind’ show on evolutionary approaches to depression.
Link to excerpt of Malignant Sadness.
Link to review of little known but excellent book on depression called ‘Speaking of Sadness’ by David Karp.
Link to Mind factsheet on depression.

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