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July 7, 1993

Understanding Depression: A Complete Guide to Its Diagnosis and Treatment

JAMA. 1993;270(1):100-101. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510010106046

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Drs Donald F. Klein and Paul H. Wender, prominent university-associated psychiatrists, have ambitiously drafted a thin tome aimed at the understanding of depression. Possibly that soul-sapping "mental virus," which afflicts at some time approximately as many as 30 million Americans, might warrant yet another book for the public. Unfortunately, that is exactly what these two authors have produced—another book.

One reason that they give for writing Understanding Depression is their view that "A striking gap has grown between what is known by clinicians and researchers and what is known by the public, even the psychologically sophisticated public." Actually, there is no experiential evidence at all to support that statement, since Americans have become obviously much more knowledgeable about all health matters, and movies, novels, and even advertising have created an impressive gain in awareness compared with that of patients several decades past.

In their introduction, the authors make some excellent