Overview of changes in revised edition of Feeling Good
Some people have asked about the changes in the 1999 edition of Feeling Good. What is new and different? Why did I revise the book?
Let me say first what was NOT changed. All of the sections on how to use cognitive therapy to overcome depression are the same. Why is this? Several recent research studies published in scientific journals indicated that approximately two thirds of depressed people who were asked to read Feeling Good improved or recovered in just four weeks with no other therapy.
The references to these articles are contained in the new introduction to Feeling Good, along with summaries of other interesting new research studies. Much of this research was conducted by Dr. Forrest Scogin from the Univeristy of Alabama. My thinking was, "if it's not broken, don't fix it!"
However, there is an entirely new section in the 1999 version of Feeling Good on the chemistry of moods. These new chapters contain nearly 200 pages of material on how the brain works, including detailed information on all the drugs currently prescribed for depression as well as manic depressive illness. The material on antidepressant medications had not been updated since the first edition in 1980 and was out of date!
Individuals who are taking these drugs can learn all about the doses, side effects, and toxic interactions with other substances such as prescription or over-the-counter drugs they may be taking. They will also learn how to find out if the drug is really helping, how to monitor side effects, what to do if the drug doesn't work, how long to stay a drug it if it does help, and so forth. I believe interested readers will find a wealth of practical information on medicatons in these new chapters.
Readers familiar with my work will know I have not been overly enthusiastic about antidepressant medications over the years. Although I started out my career doing full-time research on brain serotonin and on antidepressant medications, I was never impressed with these agents. This is because I always had many patients who just weren't helped by these drugs. Others were helped a little, but still were not getting back to full self-esteem and joy in daily living.
That's why I developed a keen interest in the new type of drug-free therapy I describe in Feeling Good. These methods have subsequently been shown to as effective as the best current antidepressants, and often more effective, in many research studies. In the past 20 years since I first wrote Feeling Good, I have become even more impressed with the healing power of these new methods for individuals suffering from severe or mild depression.
Nevertheless, depressed individuals often receive antidepressant drugs and many people have benefitted from them. Certainly all patients deserve to have the best and the latest information about these agents. I spent approximately six months working full time to create the new material for the revised edition of Feeling Good--so that my readers would hopefully have available the best of both worlds: the best information about cognitive therapy, and the latest information about the commonly prescribed medicatons as well.
I hope these comments are useful and that readers who are suffering from depression will find the help and relief they deserve. If you have any further questions or suggestions, feel free to visit my new web page at www.feelinggood.com.
One last point. If you already own a copy of Feeling Good, and you are not interested in medications, then there is no reason to update to this new edition. I am working on some exciting new projects for you--visit my web page to learn about them.
David D. Burns, M.D. Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
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