Second Reformed Church

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Review: "Good Mood, Bad Mood"

Good Mood, Bad Mood:  Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder by Charles D. Hodges, M.D. began as a work about bipolar disorder, but grew as Hodges did his research in preparation for the book.

Hodges argues that people are classified as depressed or having bipolar disorder far more quickly and with far less evidence than should be occurring.  By looking at the criteria from the DSM IV and considering numerous real histories of patients – some of which he relates in his book, Hodges argues that many people ought not to be receiving these classifications.

Often, what people are experiencing is sadness – and he looks to the Scripture and especially Jesus’ interaction with those experiencing sadness as he considers this.

Sadness can come about because of tragedy and sin – and it I right to mourn tragedy and right to mourn sin.  The problem comes when one doesn’t know how to break out of that cycle.  How one does that varies based on the cause of the sadness.

Hodges has encouraged patients to look at whether or not one can change to relieve sadness and/or to look to the Scripture and believe what God has said about His Grace being available to those who believe.  He has encouraged patients to come out of sadness by changing their motivation for life and relief to being one sentence:  “I want to glorify God with my life more than I want to breathe” (114).  Changing one’s motivation can change one’s mood, he argues.

He explains that there are other causes of sadness such as worry – and he shows from the Scripture that this is sinful and encourages belief and trust in God’s Word, as well as choosing to be in a good mood, rather than a bad one.

In the final two chapters, Hodges explains bipolar disorder and explains his recommendation of immersing oneself in Scripture and taking one’s medications.

In the appendices he explains how to find peace and then the real, medical causes of the disorders he has argued are too frequently diagnosed when the real problem is sadness.

Hodge’s book is a helpful one, bot for persons who are sad and for counselors.  My one critique is that one could read this book and think that a real disorder is not real.  I am thankful for the final appendices, but I would have liked to see him expand it.  

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