In Review

Book review: Mending the Mind by Oliver Kamm

The journalist looks at his experience of severe clinical depression from a ‘biomedical perspective’

Mending the Mind by Oliver Kamm

This startlingly honest book by the journalist Oliver Kamm “documents his experience of – and recovery from – severe clinical depression”, said Stuart Ritchie in The Times. It was after a romantic break-up in 2013 that the “darkness started coming”. For nearly a year, Kamm was seized by a “constant, crushing sense of dread and self-hatred”. Entire days would be spent “sitting at his desk in tears or on the verge of them”. In the end, by combining antidepressants with cognitive therapy, Kamm recovered. In this book, he moves beyond his own story to consider the various possible causes of depression – but acknowledges that the research remains “disconcertingly inconclusive”. 

Even so, Kamm is sure of one thing, said Sophie McBain in the New Statesman: that depression is a “disorder of a physical organ” – the brain. This “biomedical perspective” is understandable, but it sometimes seems like a way to fend off any suggestion that his illness was a “personal failing”. At the very least, the fact that talking therapies can be so successful for treating it suggests that “if depression is a biological disease, it is unlike any other”.

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 320pp £16.99; The Week Bookshop £13.99

Mending the Mind by Oliver Kamm
The Week Bookshop

To order this title or any other book in print, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

Recommended

Best properties: houses with income potential
Properties with income potential
The wish list

Best properties: houses with income potential

July podcast picks: online rage, taboos and obesity
Clockwise from top left: Blocked and Reported, A Thorough Examination, Taboo and You're Wrong About
In Review

July podcast picks: online rage, taboos and obesity

Theatre in review: South Pacific, Anna X and ‘country-comedy’ opera L’amico Fritz
Clockwise from top left: Anna X, South Pacific and L’amico Fritz
In Review

Theatre in review: South Pacific, Anna X and ‘country-comedy’ opera L’amico Fritz

Douglas Kennedy: my five best books
A Flag for Sunrise by Robert Stone, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Expert’s view

Douglas Kennedy: my five best books

Popular articles

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays
Boris Johnson receives his second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

Why your AstraZeneca vaccine may mean no European holidays

How taking the knee began
Colin Kaepernick takes the knee
Getting to grips with . . .

How taking the knee began

Ten great health, fitness and wellbeing ideas
Woman doing yoga
Advertisement Feature

Ten great health, fitness and wellbeing ideas

The Week Footer Banner