The Depression Cure by Stephen S. Ilardi

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

The Depression Cure offers six practical steps to fighting depression through Stephen S. Ilardi’s program Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC). The six components of TLC are:
– dietary omega-3 fatty acids
– engaging activity
– physical exercise
– sunlight exposure
– social support
– sleep

Most of the things above one can garner from common sense, which is why I relished reading The Depression Cure. As someone who suffers from mild depression every now and then I can say that exercise, getting enough sleep, and having a social support system are all invaluable to maintaining a happy mindset. I’m already implementing some of Ilardi’s suggestions and considering utilizing more of them.

However, though the writing in this book is simple and Ilardi’s attitude pragmatic, I feel like people suffering from severe depression will be overwhelmed by TLC. Even I hesitate to obtain the omega-3 supplements or purchase the artificial light recommended by Ilardi.

This book will benefit people who are willing to take the steps to ensure their recovery, but I don’t recommend it to those ensconced completely by the disease or those who view depression with skepticism.

More information on depression here.


Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

7 responses to “The Depression Cure by Stephen S. Ilardi

  1. Katie

    Hi, Thomas. (: I stumbled across your blog earlier today, and I’ve really enjoyed reading your various thoughts in each post. You had some very clairvoyant beliefs in all of them, but my particular favorites were “That’s So Gay,” “Why High School Relationships Fail,” and your posts about anorexia and child abuse. You’ve really got a knack for tackling delicate issues such as those fairly but with a drizzle of tasteful humor, and it’s really nice to hear such a confident and mature voice from someone the same age as myself (sometimes I lose hope in our generation…ha). I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to hearing more from you. (:

    I initially decided to comment on this post because it’s the most recent, but it made me start to think about the plethora of “self-help” books on the market and whether they really have any validity. I haven’t read this so I’ll have to pick this up if I ever run into it in a bookstore, but I have to say that for the most part I’ve always thought self-help books (and, to take it a step further, self-help websites, videos, and television shows) are a load of [insert explicit word here]. I believe it’s a money-making industry that takes advantage of people who are feeling down, and in return offers sappy, new-age, faux-philosophies that give people unrealistic expectations and keep them coming back for more.

    With that said, I try to stay away from making umbrella statements because In my limited experience, they’re usually wrong. I’m sure some self-help authors have good intentions, and some may have some good, valuable advice. The Depression Cure sparked my interest because its platform that being active, eating healthily, staying intellectually stimulated, and being social is so beneficial to combat depression (they are the ONLY thing that helps during my own mild bouts). But then it just had to throw in dietary supplements and artificial light contraptions and knock itself back down to 0% validity in my eyes.

    Haa…sorry about the rant; I am opinionated to a fault, and once I start it’s hard not to keep going (TWSS). (; How do you feel about the self-help genre in general?

    • Nice to meet you, Katie! Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot to me coming from someone who has read quite a few of my posts. I love blogging because it allows me to express my opinions on important issues I’ve dealt with in my life while hopefully raising awareness and inspiring new thoughts from my readers. I also like sharing my other interests – mainly books and pop culture – to keep things refreshing.

      I’m ambivalent towards anything self-help related. You bring up several good points. I agree that a lot of the time they’re just in it for the money, and it’s even worse when there’s a clear emotional disconnect from the person who’s giving the help and the individuals receiving it (like if the author of a self-help book obviously does not care about the subject at hand). I tend to avoid self-help books or television shows that offer outrageous claims or methods that seem ridiculous.

      That being said, one of the reasons I bought The Depression Cure (besides having a coupon) was that the advice the author supplied appeared realistic. Like you said, we know that being active, staying engaged, eating healthy, etc. works because we’ve done it ourselves. I was pleased by the practical approach recommended by Ilardi as it differed tremendously from the untactful ways other books suggested to treat depression.

      Yet the book lost its five-star rating when the superfluous supplements and contraptions (again, like you said) were introduced. I wouldn’t say these things reduced TLC to 0% validity, but they do detract from what would have been a completely pragmatic viewpoint on curing depression.

      Look at “The Biggest Loser”. Some say it’s an inspiring and powerful show while others state it’s a sham. I’m in the middle because I’m sure they take more drastic measures than exercise and reducing portions to lose that much weight in such a small time period, but I also like the show because it motivates people to exercise and eat healthier.

      Wow, I haven’t had that much fun responding to a comment in a while. Thanks for subscribing, I’ll do my best to make sure you don’t regret it. (:

      • Katie

        Nice to meet you, too. (: No problem, I think it’s commendable that you put so much time and thought into this blog when some of the issues are clearly very personal to you.

        I think being ambivalent toward the self-help genre is an excellent perspective. As you said, the validity of individual books or productions really relies on four things: the intent of the author (integrity vs. greed), his/her personal experience with the issue, the degree to which the claims are based on science, and the percent discount off the cover price you receive with your coupon. (;

        I love that you brought up The Biggest Loser–that show always seems to raise the most provocative debates. I agree with you in that I’m also in the middle as to the helpfulness of the show, but I think I’m significantly more cynical. I think the show has an excellent message and is certainly inspiring while you’re watching it, but I feel like it gives viewers who are struggling with their own weight such unrealistic expectations that they become disheartened. Like you said, the measures taken on the show are so drastic in order to meet the deadlines that they’re not even healthy the majority of the time. In all fairness to The Biggest Loser, I think that the reason obese viewers become disheartened and give up on changing their lives is due to poor health education and a lack of government regulation on the snack and fast food industry, which in turn cause them not to see results after all of their hard work even when they think they’re dieting and exercising properly. I guess I just wish they would address these serious problems and try to educate as well as entertain through shock value. But regardless, it is a very entertaining show!

        I’m glad! (: I’ll try to keep commenting on the posts that I find most stimulating. My classes start next week so I may be inconsistent with my comments, but I’ll try to keep up responding because I love a good discussion.

    • Dan

      This comes a little late, but I’ve only recently read the book. How could you say that dietary supplements and artificial light contraptions hurt the book’s premise? This is science. Our modern diet is severely lacking in Omega-3’s, and most of us don’t get the amount of sunlight needed to regulate our sleep/wake cycles, which in turn affects mood. The book provides ample evidence to back these claims.

      • I wouldn’t say that they hurt the book’s premise – in my review, I meant that people who suffer from severe depression may find it difficult to go out and obtain the dietary supplements and the lamps that provide light that were mentioned in the book. They don’t hurt the book’s overall premise at all.

  2. tezcatlipoca2011

    I like his advice; it makes good sense in my opinion. But I also know that in some cases of depression it is due to chemical imbalances of the brain that require medication.

    • I suppose, though the author argues against the effectiveness of using medication to treat those chemical imbalances. The statistics he includes and his own patients’ experiences show that TLC is better for treating depression in the long run. I agree with him but because I’ve never taken antidepressant medication myself I can’t really say for sure.

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