Managing the Depression Puzzle: A Book Review

Today, I’m excited to share a book review for Managing the Depression Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together, by Ashley L. Peterson. Ashley is a mental health nurse, mental health advocate, author, and blogger. Today, I will share some of the highlights of Ashley’s latest book, which is being released today.

Purpose of the Book

Managing the Depression Puzzle is basically a holistic manual designed to help those struggling with a depressive disorder to construct their own treatment plan. By “holistic,” I mean that this book covers the various angles to depression treatment: body, mind, social connections, and even spirituality.

“Essentially, that means throwing everything up to and including the kitchen sink at all things illness-related and hoping that enough sticks to promote recovery.”


I love that Ashley doesn’t tout a one-size-fits-all  cure for depression. Nor does the book come across as self-helpy. Instead, this book feels like a menu of options that a depressed person (or caregiver) can use to construct a unique treatment plan. The book focuses on improving one’s quality of life, which I certainly endorse.

Noteworthy Insights

  • There’s a wealth of information regarding psychotropic medications.
    • “There are a couple of things I would recommend keeping in mind. Don’t give up too soon. Two or even three weeks is not long enough to know if an antidepressant is going to work for you or not. Side effects tend to be the worst during the first couple of weeks on a medication, and then they start to ease off.”
    • “Try not to let anyone else’s negative experience influence your choices. […] Their experience with a medication does not predict how you will react to the medication.”
  • Despite the fact that I’m a therapist, I had very little understanding about how electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) works. Apparently it’s quicker and has better outcomes than medication therapy for depression. Unfortunately, Hollywood has done a bad job at depicting ECT. From what I read, ECT is actually a medically supervised, controlled seizure that is done under an anesthetic to help those with the most stubborn forms of depression.
  • The therapist in me was happy to see the wide variety of psychotherapy approaches covered in the book to include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and even online therapy.
    • “What is just as important, if not more important, than the type of therapy is the relationship with the therapist.
  • A variety of other great holistic approaches are covered to include CBD, light therapy, massage therapy, yoga, meditation, exercise, religious practices, and so much more!
    • “A study of U.S. military veterans found that high levels of religiosity or spirituality was associated with decreased risk for depression and decreased suicidal ideation.”
  • I learned that Botox has been used as an adjunct treatment for depression! Cool science behind how that works… but you’ll need to check out the book to find out more!


I believe that this book will be a great resource for those struggling with depression and those who care for someone with depression. I would not hesitate to suggest this book to my therapy clients, as it is both clinically sound and user-friendly. You can find this book here.

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