Depression: The SAD State of America on Antidepressants

The growing epidemic of depression

Depression defined:

With regular depression there are times you feel sad, lonely, or hopeless for a few days. But with major depression or “clinical depression” there is a loss of normal functioning to the point of disability. Regular depression is marked by pervasive sadness that eventually resolves.

Chronic depression, or dysthymia, is a long-term (two years or more) depressed mood. Chronic depression does not typically disable the person’s functioning.

Atypical depression involves overeating, oversleeping, fatigue, extreme sensitivity to rejection, cyclic moods that worsen or improve in direct response to events

Major Depressive Disorder has a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.

Bipolar Disorder is sometimes called manic depression. This is a complex mood disorder that alternates, sometimes very quickly, between periods of clinical depression and extreme elation or mania.

Grief related depression: When you are allowed to express your grief, it can go away. Children who are allowed to be sad when they are sad feel better about sadness when they are adults, and usually move through sadness quickly. Children who are told, “Don’t cry,” have a hard time crying as adults and they repress grief. Grief that is continually repressed becomes depression which is an unnatural emotion.

A poor sad fix

People make poor health care decisions not because they necessarily agree with the medical treatment, but rather because they don’t recognize their choices to make an informed decision.

Antidepressants are now the third-most prescribed medications, behind cholesterol-lowering drugs and painkillers. Antidepressant use doubled between 1996 and 2005. SSRI use is linked to a plethora of illnesses and conditions, including increased risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as psychological problems which have actually led to increased suicide numbers.

Antidepressants are not a good solution! Studies prove that placebos are as good as or better than meds at beating depression. You know what else works? Chewing gum, sex, brisk walks, B-12, St John’s Wort, fish oil, psychotherapy and photography. So pick your own version of a sugar pill and knock yourself out.

If antidepressants actually work, then the suicide rate would fall – not rise.

Hooked on drugs

Easy to get hooked on, hard to get off of… Antidepressants such as Ativan, Xanax, Prozac, Paxil and Lexapro drugs prescribed to patients without a mental health condition were more likely provided to white women between the ages of 35-64 and patients with public insurance and chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease along with people complaining of nervousness, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction and an inability to quit smoking. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that half of all patients who take these psychiatric meds never even see a psychiatrist.

Antidepressants only address symptoms of depression and not causes of depression. Even though they seem to work for some people they have their nasty effects also. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) prescribed for depression and even for pain increase your risk for bone loss. SSRIs interfere with nerve signaling involved in bone production.

Perceived value

Look at the facts: St. John’s Wort; in a 2005 depression study, this ancient herbal remedy had a 50 percent remission rate in just six weeks, while Paxil had the usual drug/placebo response at just 35 percent. But Paxil came with a laundry list of lingering effects: insomnia (79 percent of patients), sadness (71 percent), concentration problems (70 percent), low energy (63 percent). GlaxoSmithKline looked at data on 15,000 patients from 57 trials, and found a 7 times increase with Paxil users attempted suicides versus those who took a placebo.

Paxil is involved in 37 percent of all antidepressant-linked suicides.

Antidepressant fail

Antidepressants do nothing for mild depression. Surprised? Not me…Ulrich Hegerl, MD, summarizes antidepressants for mild depression in the review of eight separate random clinical trials as “does not provide evidence for the efficacy of antidepressants in patients with minor depression” and “Effective treatments are urgently needed.” (In case you want a real solution to minor depression instead of drugs, I find diet to be the biggest player in minor depression followed by exercise. More on that soon. Keep reading!)

Researchers examined the prescription drug records of 39,000 seniors on antidepressants between 2001 and 2006, and found that a whopping 60 percent were taking other meds known to interact badly with them. At least 25 percent had the potential for major interactions, while 36 percent were known to cause “moderate” interactions.

Canadian researchers compared data on 19,000 seniors who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to data on 190,000 seniors who skipped the meds, and found that the drugs upped cataract risk by an average of 15 percent. But it gets much worse for users of some meds. Luvox had a 39 percent increased risk, while Effexor increased the risk by 33 percent, and Paxil, upped the cataract odds by 23 percent.

Arrested development

Taking anti-depressants, other drugs or drinking the woes away puts off the reality and arrests the emotional process. When you come off of the drug/alcohol, you are still stuck on square one.

Pregnancy risk

Exposure to SSRIs late in pregnancy has been associated with short-term complications in newborns including jitteryness, mild respiratory distress, excessively rapid respiration, weak cry, poor muscle tone, and high rates of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit. Another study found exposure to a common antidepressant during the first trimester to be associated with a high risk of congenital heart malformations.

Cancer risk

A meta- analysis of 61 studies published in an April in PLoS ONE, found an 11 percent increased risk of breast cancer for women taking antidepressants. Curiously, the 11 preclinical studies done by investigators who were financially supported by Big Pharma showed no cancer risk. And I thought preclinical studies that are supposed to determine drug risk before offering a new medication to the public.

Side effect risk

When the drug fails, market the side effects! There is a new failed antidepressant coming soon one with more side effects than benefits – including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and urinary infections. But it makes women ready for sex so it’s a winner (NOT). It’s called Fibansarin and it is for “hypoactive sexual desire disorder.”

SSRIs antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac affect the thyroid hormone production. “Side effects” are slow metabolism, poor digestion, depressed mood, lowered immune function and impaired muscle function. Risks include: hypothyroidism, depression, weight gain, lowered immunity and a litany of others.

Combined risk

Tobacco use complicates psychiatric treatment. Components in tobacco smoke accelerate the metabolism of some antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, resulting in lowered blood levels and reduced therapeutic benefit. Studies have revealed higher hospitalization rates, higher medication doses, and more severe psychiatric symptoms among patients with schizophrenia who smoke. Tobacco use also is one of the strongest predictors of future suicidal behavior in psych wards.

Countless lives have been ruined and changed for the worse forever by the over-prescribing of Big Pharma manipulating drugs while the causes go unchecked. Every chemical drug has effects and consequences. There is no such thing as “side effects”. They are all effects.

How antidepressants “work”

Serotonin, one of your body’s feel good hormones: Ninety-five percent of your body’s supply of this hormone is in your gut, and women have greater fluctuations in their serotonin levels than men do. SSRIs block the uptake of serotonin in the synaptic gaps of the neurons of the central nervous system. SSRIs work by malfunction and when the body figures out that it has been tricked, it modulates the drug’s effects and tunes them down so you need higher doses to achieve the results.

It takes Serotonin for healthy BMs. Depression and constipation are often related. Taking SSRIs speeds up bowel peristalsis and fakes the levels but only treats the symptoms.

Blood tests for neurochemicals are bogus as these chemicals are behind the blood-brain barrier ad tell nothing about the actual chemicals in the brain. If you want to know what is going on in the brain, look at the output.

A Newsweek cover story, showed a negligible difference between antidepressants and placebos in treating all but the severest cases of depression.

Gut reactions

Depression is a gut reaction Taking probiotics can reduce markers of depression and anxiety and help normalize cortisol levels–partly because probiotics have a modulating effect on GABA receptors in particular parts of the brain. According to one study, “alterations in central GABA receptor expression are implicated in the pathogenesis of anxiety and depression, which are highly co-morbid with functional bowel disorders.” Not a surprise to me because I know that about 80 percent of your brain chemicals are made right there in your gut.

There are common neurotransmitter links between acne and depression. Both of these disorders share common bowel symptoms.

Emotional eating

Food does more than just fill our stomachs! If you take more notice of what you are eating, why you are eating it and what you are feeling it may surprise you. Eating to satisfy hunger is a normal part of human function. Emotional eating can be a self defeating and destructive force in someone’s life. Emotional eating is to eat for a reason other than hunger.

Emotional eating moods: stress, distress, depression, happiness, boredom, anxiety, sadness, agitation, avoidance, compulsion, tired, weak, sleepy, frustration, disappointment, adversity, failure.

To check your emotional eating guage, next time you are hungry for your favorite food, eat something else on purpose and see if it defeats your hunger.

University studies have been done do see what foods people eat to match which mood they are in. People tend to eat popcorn, pizza or steak when they are happy, ice cream, cookies and cake when they are sad and potato chips when they are bored. Studies also show that depressed people tend to eat twice as much at a snack session than happy people which also links depression to obesity. Eating can be a highly emotional process.

Feeding depression

There was a time you could count on your doc to at least TRY to figure out what was wrong with you but these days, the numbers show that he’ll throw his hands up and send you home with a prescription – usually an antidepressant. Peeps, if your doc is this quick to write a prescription without suggesting that you lay off the Twinkies and high-fructose-corn-syrup-Starbucks drinks and eat healthy foods and exercise instead, then you are in the hands of a shill for Big Pharma. Git a new doc… But first, change your lifestyle habits and maybe you won’t need the prescription pad to alter your body’s processing of disease.

In 17 years of clinical experience I have found root causes of clinical depression to be in diet, neuro-organization, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and parasites.

Sad diet

Diet is inextricably linked to conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. However, what we consume also seems to have significant implications for the brain: Unhealthy diets may increase risk for psychiatric and neurologic conditions, such as depression and dementia, whereas healthy diets are protective.

Gluten causes brain inflammation and is directly associated with depression, yet another reason to go gluten free. People with gluten sensitivities have been found to have lower than normal levels of tryptophan and other associated amino acid precursors. These deficiencies can then lead to higher rates of depression and behavioral disorders. In recent studies, volunteers went gluten free and experienced significant reduction in the severity and frequency of depression and associated psychiatric behaviors.

Roots of Depression

Hypothyroidism can cause or least contribute to many common, serious medical problems such as: coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, chronic fatigue, depression, memory problems, fibromyalgia, painful muscles, attention deficit, chronic or recurrent infections, fertility problems and menstrual irregularities. Don’t believe the over-wide TSH blood test though. Go by your basal body temperature. Mark Lupo, a Sarasota endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid disorders, estimates that 25 million Americans, or about 12 percent of adults, currently have a low-thyroid condition, less than half are diagnosed and 80 percent diagnosed are women.

Roots in teeth

Evidence linking mercury exposure to psychological disorders has been accumulating for 60 years. The recognized psychological symptoms of mercury toxicity include irritability, excitability, temper outburst, quarreling, fearfulness, restlessness, depression, brain fog, fatigue and in some cases insomnia. In a study of individuals with amalgam fillings who had them removed, the majority noted psychological improvement.

In Sweden, it is now against the law to use mercury amalgams in dentifrices. Health Canada has urged the nation’s dentists to stop giving mercury amalgam to children, pregnant woman and people with kidney disorders. How about we outlaw it altogether? Any woman that even suggests any of these symptoms will be automatically prescribed psychotropic drugs by docs who never question why or even look for heavy metal poisoning. Of course, heavy metals are passed to the child in utero.

Did you know that dentists have the highest rate of suicide of any profession? They also suffer a high incidence of depression and memory disorders. This is because of the mercury amalgam that they work with on a daily basis.

Statin drug depression

Statin drugs can take you there! Low testosterone levels can lead to low energy, sleepiness, irritability and depression. It can ruin your mental focus and sap your energy. Lowering cholesterol and the subsequent use of statins has become a common and ubiquitous practice among many allopathic doctors, as it is now considered the standard of care in today’s medical and clinical environment. Researchers though, have
determined that low levels of LDL cholesterol are being associated with a significantly increased risk of developing depression in men.

Gaming depression

A new study finds that kids who are addicted to video games turn out to be depressed, poorly adjusted misfits battling anxiety problems and other social disorders.

Solutions for depression

Thankfulness is number one! Research has shown that a regular practice of gratitude has been found to decrease depression, even in severely depressed people.

Research has also found that regular physical activity appears as effective as psychotherapy for treating depression. People who exercise simply feel better and are less likely to overeat or abuse alcohol and drugs. Exercise can reduce anxiety and people who exercise feel less stressed and nervous. A five minute aerobic workout (exercise which requires oxygen, such as a step class, swimming, walking) can stimulate the brain with anti-anxiety effects.

According to a recent survey among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Molasses contains vitamins, minerals, and uridine. New research shows that molasses can help prevent depression. Eating molasses is part of a food strategy that’s just as good as antidepressant drugs.

Omega 3 supplementation can ease depression. Chronic inflammation is just another common feature in depression. Research shows that depressed people have lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory vitamins and nutrients than non-depressed people.

An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnic and age groups, have a vitamin D deficiency. This is mostly because people getting less sun exposure, lifestyle, and unfounded concerns about the sun and skin cancer. Emerging research supports the possible role of vitamin D in protecting against cancer, heart disease, fractures and falls, autoimmune diseases, influenza, type II diabetes, and depression. Many health care providers have increased their recommendations for vitamin D supplementation to at least 1,000IU. Normal blood levels should be 75nanomoles per liter or greater. Take cholecalciferol D3 and NOT calciferol D2.

Dehydroepiandrosterone. Your adrenals make the DHEA plus the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenal exhaustion comes from coping with chronic stress, poor nutrition, yo-yo diets, emotional turmoil, and even job-related stress. Adrenal exhaustion means that your adrenals are bone-tired from pumping out cortisol and they can’t make enough DHEA to support a healthy hormonal balance. What is the end of this? You feel worn out, tapped out, stressed out, overwhelmed and depressed. Try supplementing with 10 mg every morning.

Rhodiola rosea came to prominence in the US after the Swedish Herbal Institute conducted a comprehensive study to evaluate using rhodiola for depression. The results of this study strongly suggested the use of rhodiola for treating mild depression and anxiety. The adrenals can have a lot to do with depression and rhodiola helps tune your adrenal glands up or down as needed.

Folate benefits include red blood cell production, protection against many forms of cancer, pulmonary diseases, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. B9 or folate deficiency can exacerbate all these health issues.

Low B-12 levels or deficiency can often lead to irritability, apathy, confusion, forgetfulness, serious depression, dementia, paranoia and/or hallucinations. It can also lead to symptoms which can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes a little methylcobalamin (methyl B-12) is enough to boost the old mental blues. (NEVER cyanocobalamin). A good multi-mineral can also help.

Turmeric not only aids against diabetes but also helps cleanse the liver; offers natural anti-inflammatory properties; protects against breast and prostate cancers; counteracts depression; and slows the advance of Alzheimer’s disease. The yellowy-orange powder turmeric, made from the rhizomes of a plant native to South Asia.

Rosemary is good for improving memory! Rosemary contains carnosic acid which helps fight off free radical damage to the brain. In addition to improving memory, rosemary can protect the brain from strokes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Another use for rosemary is to fight depression. Add 15 drops rosemary oil to a warm bath to ease muscular tension, improve circulation and boost the spirits.

5-Hydroxytryptophan is a naturally-occurring amino acid and chemical precursor and metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan. 5-HTP can cause hypertension by increasing plasma renin activity. It is best taken with vitamin B-6.

Signs of zinc deficiency include white spots on fingernails, hair loss, weight loss, delayed wound healing, chronic infection, and rough skin or rashes. Other symptoms of zinc deficiency include poor appetite, depression and mental lethargy.

Homeopathic Zincum metallicum — for treating both restlessness and depression.

Cardiff University discovered that caffeine helps you process information more quickly and it’s also linked to a reduced risk for depression. Beyond two cups of coffee though, the benefits actually diminish. And if you flavor it up you could be doing more damage than good.

Dark chocolate lovers: Raw cacao is the number one antioxidant food in the world topping some thirty times higher than red wine and twenty times higher than green tea. This tasty favorite provides magnesium, chromium, iron, fiber and is high in vitamin C. Antioxidants in raw and dark chocolate can prevent heart disease, reduce blood pressure, enhance brain function, lift depression, improve blood sugar levels, ease chronic fatigue syndrome, suppress coughs, and more.

Antidepressants or chocolate covered TLC? State health officials in Arizona went after the Beatitudes nursing home in Phoenix for offering some patients chocolates instead of meds – they even threatened a citation, according to a report in the New York Times. They must have had a good naturopathic doctor on board because Beatitudes stood its ground while insisting that chocolate can be as effective as Xanax. The approach is part of a philosophy where the staff will allow Alzheimer’s patients just about anything that brings them comfort – even a sip of booze at night, according to the Times report.

Eating together as a family is one of those things that doesn’t seem like such a big deal but it can make a big difference for your kids in terms of self-image, sense of security, self-esteem and overall sense of happiness. Family meals are associated with lower teenage pregnancy rates, higher grade point averages, fewer eating disorders in teens and lower risk of depression.

Grief depression

Kübler-Ross model: 5 stages of grief
* Denial “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
Anger “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
* Bargaining “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”
* Depression “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
* Acceptance “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”

Bible verses for depression (KJV)
  • Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
  • Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
  • 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Read more in-depth with this book series: Fixing The Brain by Craig Stellpflug

Authored by Cancer Nutritionist Craig Stellpflug NDC, CNC Dayspring Cancer Clinic Scottsdale, AZ
Copyright 2012 Craig Stellpflug© Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this article but only in its entirety

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