Mood: The Key to Understanding Ourselves and Others by Patrick M. Burke (Prometheus Books, $18.95, 275 pages)
Patrick Burke has written a straightforward and detailed layman’s textbook that explains the importance of recognizing behavioral problems early in life. Before emotions and feelings there is mood. Typically, we think of observable signs like irritability, hostility and withdrawal as key elements associated with psychological issues. What we don’t take into account is that one’s mood is always – for better or for worse – present. For example, it can be happy or anxious. We usually aren’t aware of our mood until it begins to shift.
Mood sets out the scientific explanation of the brain’s structure and the interactions of the physical and chemical elements that allow it to function. There are diagrams and ample text to support the hypothesis that mood exists within us even before we are born. It is the combination of genetic material and environmental influences with mood that are observable as behavior. The accompanying narrative provides the reader with useful, practical information contained within scenarios.
Mood supplies parents and caregivers with valuable guidance that can demystify the difference between occasional behavioral issues in children and/or adults and mental problems that need attention.
A review copy was received from the publisher. Mood was released on November 11, 2013.