Book Review
by Richard Hill MA, MEd, MBMSc.

Breakthrough Depression Solution (2nd Edition):
Mastering your mood with nutrition, diet and supplementation

Authors: James M Greenblatt, MD with Winnie To, BS
Sunrise River Press—2016

The authors of Breakthrough Depression Solution are quick to successfully establish the two central tenets of the book: that everyone is individual in their makeup, and that depression is not restricted to the skull-based brain, but is related to the wider interplay of the whole body. The principal author, Dr. James Greenblatt, is unapologetic when he describes our current methods of mental health care for depression as a “one size fits all” approach, where psycho-medications are often a “shot in the dark”. He quite correctly points out that the ongoing research into medications that affect neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, is not showing the same highly positive results that were promoted some years ago.

Greenblatt methodically builds up to the work he has been doing by giving a very readable description of the various important elements in the condition that we call depression. He covers a wide range of topics, from the DSM-5 to the relevance of genetics and epigenetics. This gives the reader confidence that he has done his research . Greenblatt clearly has a point of view, and there is a weight to his dissatisfaction with modern psychiatry, but he is not biased or selective and produces a reliable, balanced text. He makes it clear, for example, that medication has a useful and necessary place, but at the same time urges the mental health profession to widen their scope and consider the client as a whole person.

Greenblatt has developed a memorable acronym for his approach to client assessment and treatment, labelling it THE ZEEBrA approach. A chapter is devoted to each letter. writing is clear and eminently readable for those who don’t have a deep knowledge of the material. There is a great deal both to learn and to understand about the functions of the human body. Reading this book will leave you much wiser and better positioned to investigate further.

There is a reference section, broken down by chapter, which is very helpful for the reader—particularly someone like myself who reads the references as thoroughly as the text. One of my few criticisms of the book, though, is that the reference section is not specifically related by number to the text, and some sources that I am aware were utilised are not referenced. But this in no way diminishes the veracity of the book.

Several chapters deal with the various types of therapy that someone with depression might experience, including those typically provided by medical doctors and psychotherapists, spirituality and faith, and mindfulness. This exemplifies the “whole” approach that Greenblatt gives to the subject matter. He is, clearly, genuinely interested in giving the reader a wide range of information so that they can begin to determine their individual needs and perspectives.

After reading Breakthrough Depression Solution, it is unlikely that you will ever again think of mental states or conditions as unrelated to the whole person. This is an important concept that is given sound treatment by the authors. I recommend that practitioners of all related disciplines look into this book, but further, that Breakthrough Depression Solution is a fine starting point for personal mental health research and investigation.


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