Depression: You Need a Program, Not a Pill
According to the CDC, one in six American women over the age of 15 takes antidepressant medications.
These women take daily medication even though no single region of the brain or neurotransmitter pathways has been identified as the root cause of depression or anxiety. Yet, mental health problems are treated as if most people have a broken serotonin system.
If you go to your doctor with symptoms of depression or anxiety, then chances are you’ll get an SSRI* medication. Honestly, you don’t really need a doctor for this. Your doctor will do NO testing, NO bloodwork, and will pull a likely SSRI drug out of the air and tell you to try it. (I’m not critical: there ARE no tests for these medications). If it doesn’t help, you’ll be given another SSRI to try out. You really should be able to go to a pharmacist for your SSRI prescription and skip the doctor visit.
*SSRI: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. A type of antidepressant that increases levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is often referred to as the “feel-good hormone.”
If you take an SSRI, there are many downsides, including side effects and addiction.
As well, your SSRI drug treatment upside of helping your depression and anxiety is not that great:
Following is from “Depression: How effective are antidepressants?” NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine):
Studies involving adults with moderate or severe depression have shown the following:
- Without antidepressants: About 20 to 40 out of 100 people who took a placebo noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
- With antidepressants: About 40 to 60 out of 100 people who took an antidepressant noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
In other words, antidepressants improved symptoms in about an extra 20 out of 100 people.
These study results seem pretty indistinguishable from “20% effective” to me.
The following chart will give you a good idea of what the SSRI side-effect downside looks like:
A Common Anxiety/Depression Patient Case History
- Patient presents to their doctor with stress, mild depression, and anxiety. They also have digestive problems, altered appetite, headaches, and can’t sleep. But the doctor ignores all these other symptoms and refers the patient to a therapist.
- The patient may see some improvements over time. However, they still have anxiety and other physical symptoms. The patient plateaus and stops improving but continues with therapy, and this could go on for decades.
- OR: The patient develops periods of depression and panic attacks, becoming increasingly fragile. The patient is agitated, stressed, worried. The doctor refers them to their PCP or a psychiatrist that starts them on some combination of SSRI medication.
- Perhaps the patient has some slight improvements. In which case, they will start the merry-go-round of medication. Or the patient stabilizes and will be on these medications for the rest of their life (complete with side effects).
Notice that nowhere in this story is anyone looking for a root cause. There are plenty of clues to the cause: digestion, sleep, and probably other symptoms if only the doctor had dug in to find out.
The truth is the patient doesn’t need a pill; they need a program
Anyone with depression and/or anxiety has many interrelated health issues that have resulted in their symptoms. No, there is no “silver bullet” single treatment that will solve the problem. As I pointed out above, there isn’t a combination of therapy and drugs that will solve it, either.
What is needed is an integrated program including:
- History of infections
- History of head trauma
- History of chemical and toxic metals exposure (such as amalgam dental fillings)
- History of previous drug use
- Dietary, exercise, and sunlight habits
- Testing for allergies, blood sugar problems, and hormone imbalances
I have been using this evaluation method and finding the root causes of depression and anxiety for decades in my practice. I can report that most patients improve, don’t take medications, and progress through any mental therapy course.
As a “bonus,” these patients make overall health improvements that often result in greater energy, better sleep, better digestion, less pain, and overall well-being. Yes, I often ask myself if becoming healthy is itself a valid therapy for anxiety and depression? You can answer that one yourself!
I Have a Real Sense of Hope Instead of a Chemically Induced High!
I have seen significant improvement with my last 3 – 4 visits. My headaches have all but vanished. I have so much energy and mental clarity, and it feels amazing. I have been waking up in the morning feeling like my night’s rest was adequate and restful instead of needing 3 hours to get myself fully alert. I can get so much more accomplished during the day than I used to. I have been off antidepressants for over a month and a half, and I have a real sense of hope about my life instead of a fleeting, chemically-induced high. My sugar cravings have diminished significantly, a truly amazing feat considering when I first walked in here about the only thing I ate or craved was sweets and sugar. The best part is that I have learned so much about nutrition and my body, information that will be invaluable to me for the rest of my life. THANK YOU! — J.R.
NEXT: Ways to Achieve Healthy Brain Function
My next post will cover this fascinating subject.
- Learn what EEG measurements mean and where brainwaves originate.
- Learn about the stabilizing factors in your environment that keep your brain functioning correctly.
- Learn about brain dysregulation.
Are you experiencing anxiety and depression?
I may be able to help you.
Would you please take five minutes to fill out a health assessment survey and send it to me? I’ll review your information, then have my assistant call you for any additional information. Then, I’ll let you know if your case might be a good fit for my clinic. This assessment is complimentary, with no strings attached. Either I can help you–or point you in the right direction to get help.
Don’t give up! You can recover your health if you persist.