The Myth of Depression as Disease: Limitations and Alternatives to Drug Treatment

By Allan M. Leventhal; Christopher R. Martell | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

The field of mental health research and care has progressed in fits and starts over the last several decades. At its best, when supported by sound research, treatments have improved and have been developed that outperform the standards of care from the past. At its worst, ideas, treatment philosophies, and practice guidelines have become ingrained as truisms that lack empirical support, but are erroneously accepted as based on fact. The belief that we already know how to treat a problem or disorder can become the enemy of finding out how to do it better.

One of the more exciting advances in recent years is the emergence of the neurosciences as a partner with the behavioral sciences in both developing new treatment paradigms and in researching the mechanisms of action among current effective treatments. In considering the wedding of neuroscience with behavioral science and its impact on mental health treatments, a number of factors must be remembered. First, all human action and reaction, including observable behaviors, emotional responses, thoughts, images, and sensations, are biological events. That is, there is nothing human (or animal of any kind) that is not biological. Nor is there any human activity that does not involve some sort of neural firing in the brain. With the advent of the newer and more powerful methodologies of the neurosciences emerging over the last several decades, the intimate relationship of neural firing of the brain with thought, emotion, and action became clear to both the

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