A fascinating, “rich, and generous” (Financial Times) look at the treatment of depression by an award-winning science writer that blends popular science, narrative history, and memoir.
Is depression a persistent low mood, or is it a range of symptoms? Can it be expressed through a single diagnosis, or does depression actually refer to a diversity of mental disorders? Is there, or will there ever be, a cure? In seeking the answers to these questions, Riley finds a rich history of ideas and treatments—and takes the reader on a gripping narrative journey, packed with fascinating stories like the junior doctor who discovered that some of the first antidepressants had a deadly reaction with cheese.
“Interweaving memoir, case histories, and accounts of new therapies, Riley anatomizes what is still a fairly young science, and a troubled one” (The New Yorker). Reporting on the field of global mental health from its colonial past to the present day, Riley highlights a range of scalable therapies, including how a group of grandmothers stands on the frontline of a mental health revolution.
Hopeful, fascinating, and profound, A Cure for Darkness is “recommended reading for anyone with even a peripheral interest in depression” (Washington Examiner).