Review: A Cure for Darkness by Alex Riley

When I saw this book by Alex Riley, it looked like something that would be super interesting; and it was! I’m not sure exactly who the intended audience is for this book – it isn’t really solution based, but it is filled with a ton of very interesting information.

Riley begins the book by giving a lengthy history of depression treatments, mental health and psychotherapy (Freud, anyone?). I’m not sure if everyone will be as fascinated by this as me, but I’m a therapist so maybe not!

Riley talks about his own struggle with depression and the things that he has tried, but also goes into the myriad treatments that are out there for this disease. He talks about the differences between anti-depresssants (MAO inhibitors, SSRIs and tricyclics) and why some might work better for different people. He gives a history of ECT, which has gotten a bad name, but has been very effective historically for depression.

The most fascinating part of the book to me (and something that I really didn’t know, but should have!) is the connection between inflammation and depression. There is a clear connection between inflammation in the body and depression, so lowering your inflammation might help you more than anti-depressants will. Following a Mediterranean diet (which lowers inflammation) and not drinking alcohol (which raises inflammation) are places you can start. Also, intense exercise can raise inflammation, whereas moderate exercise 3 days a week might help.

Lastly, he talks about psychedelics and ketamine, and the new research about how it might be helpful. This is a really fascinating book and a must-read for anyone who wants to know more in general about depression.

Disclaimer: The Amazon link above is an affiliate link and I receive a small compensation for purchases made through this link. I received this book free from Net Galley for my review.