cover image Spontaneous Happiness

Spontaneous Happiness

Andrew Weil, M.D. Little, Brown, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-12944-2

Weil’s enormously successful blend of mainstream and alternative therapies has earned him the reputation as guru of integrative medicine. Here, he develops a guide to help patients beat back the blues. It couldn’t come at a more opportune time. One in 10 people in the U.S., including children, takes antidepressants. Weil dissuades readers from expecting perpetual happiness, suggesting his program aims for “positive emotionality”—a far better destination than the roller-coaster ride between bliss and despair. He makes his case with what is becoming a signature formula: take the Western medicine your doctor prescribes, and then bend the “biomedical model” to incorporate alternative therapies, including supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and herbal remedies; meditation and other “spiritual” strategies. He reiterates “limiting information overload” as an integral part of the program. Despite plugging his Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine—and predictable endorsements from patients who’ve hopped on the bandwagon—this is more than a New Age prescription for contentment. Weil’s revelations and insights from his own lifelong battle with depression lift this guide from a hip and clinical “how to” to a generous and heartfelt “here’s how.” (Nov.)