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Natural and Alternative Treatments can help avoid drugs for Depression

Natural and Alternative Treatments can help avoid drugs for Depression

How Nutritional and Alternative Treatments Can Help You Avoid Using Drugs for Depression


Depression is a very serious health problem and can be terminal, as up to 30,000 people who are depressed commit suicide every year. But are antidepressants the best approach?
Contrary to popular belief, there are safer—and oftentimes far more effective—alternatives to the drug route, using integrative medicine.
In the current Western Medicine paradigm Doctors really rely on their own judgment. The current thinking is just a pill for every ill.   In my own practice, I have noticed that what people eat and how they live actually influenced their health.People who eat junk definitely do not do very well. People who eat healthier, more natural foods, actually feel better, do better, are healthier (have less colds, flus and all the rest), and even, are nicer people to be around.

While there are instances where drugs may be warranted, antidepressants are rarely the most appropriate answer for depression. It’s important to realize that your diet and general lifestyle are foundational factors that must be optimized if you want to resolve your mental health issues, because your body and mind are so closely interrelated. Depression is indeed a very serious condition; however it is not a “disease.” Rather, it’s a sign that your body and your life are out of balance.

Mounting and compelling research demonstrates just how interconnected your mental health is with your gastrointestinal health for example. While many think of their brain as the organ in charge of their mental health, your gut may actually play a far more significant role. Research tells us that the composition of your gut flora not only affects your physical health, but also has a significant impact on your brain function and mental state. Previous research has also shown that certain probiotics can even help alleviate anxiety.19, 20
So the place to start is to return balance — to your body and your life. Fortunately, research confirms that there are safe and effective ways to address depression that do not involve unsafe (and ineffective) drugs. This includes but is not limited to the following. For additional suggestions, please review the links listed under Related Articles:
Eat real food Dramatically decrease your consumption of processed foods, sugar (particularly fructose), and grains. There's a great book on this subject, The Sugar Blues, written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into the topic of sugar and mental health in great detail. In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state, especially MSG, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
Optimize your gut flora Increase consumption of probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables and kefir, to promote healthy gut flora. Mounting evidence tells us that having a healthy gut is profoundly important for both physical and mental health, and the latter can be severely impacted by an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. Remember your gut is your second brain and produces more neurotransmitters than your brain.
Get adequate vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to depression and affects one in four people.
Optimize yourvitamin D levels
Vitamin D is very important for your mood. In one study, people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were found to be 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels.21

The best way to get vitamin D is through sensible sun exposure. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that we know is related to sunshine deficiency, so it would make sense that the perfect way to optimize your vitamin D is through sun exposure.
Optimize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio To normalize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, take high quality omega 3 oils such as krill oil and radically reduce if not completely eliminate industrial processed omega 6 oils.

DHA, an animal based omega-3 fat, is crucial for good brain function and mental health.22 Dr. Stoll, a Harvard psychiatrist, was one of the early leaders in compiling the evidence supporting the use of animal based omega-3 fats for the treatment of depression. He wrote an excellent book that details his experience in this area called The Omega-3 Connection.

Evaluate your salt intake Sodium deficiency creates symptoms closely resembling those of depression. Make sure you do NOT use processed salt (regular table salt), however. You'll want to use an all natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt, which contains more than 80 different micronutrients.
Exercise daily
Exercise is one of the most effective strategies for preventing and overcoming depression. Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity. There’s a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place.
Get adequate amounts of sleep You can have the best diet and exercise program possible but if you aren't sleeping well you can easily become depressed. Sleep and depression are so intimately linked that a sleep disorder is actually part of the definition of the symptom complex that gives the label depression.
 

Nutrition Is Essential for Proper Brain Function
Long before holistic health became a catch phrase, I began pursuing the use of nutritional supplements rather than medication, and lo and behold,  patients improved.
A huge drawback of the conventional mental health care system is that few doctors have the time, or take the time, to sort out the root of the problem with each patient. It’s a lot easier to simply write a drug prescription. In this practice, on the other hand, I takes the time to focus on finding, and then treating, the root cause. (see Health Scans)
It’s so scary when you think of what these medications do. They’re not to be handed out the way they are. That really is disturbing to me. People think, “My doctor knows what he or she is doing.” Well, that’s not always true. I think it’s up to people to educate themselves.
In my training in energy psychology, NLP and Jungian psychology I gained the understanding that there’s an unconscious and that we have scripts in us that are outside of our regular awareness.   And when we make them conscious, we actually are liberated . We can go on and live more fulfilling lives. I began looking first of all, at their psyche, but also at their lifestyle – what they were eating and drinking, and  their attitudes. So many things go into being healthy.


The Placebo Effect in Action
People can get quite defensive when you mention that antidepressants may be doing more harm than good, and that there are better alternatives. Many insist their whole life changed for the better once they started taking an antidepressant, and they cannot conceive living without it.
This can often be the placebo effect in action. You are in essence healed by your belief. If you think the drug will work, it likely will. But the same power of belief could be applied to virtually any other treatment modality, including a sugar pill.
Scientific studies have proven there is very little evidence to suggest antidepressants benefit people with mild to moderate depression, as these drugs work no better than a placebo in at least 80 percent of cases.
An earlier meta-analysis published in PLoS Medicine also concluded that the difference between antidepressants and placebo pills is very small. Other research into the placebo effect noted that “the placebo effect is an unacknowledged partner for powerful medications.”
We have been blessed with these miracle bodies. All we have to do is feed them right and treat them right, and we'll get the most wonderful results
On the other hand, if we overuse or misuse medication, which is often the case, you’re just going to cause these side effects, some of them very dangerous, and won’t ever deal with the root cause.


We need to look at psychodynamics. But we also must take a look at nutritional status. Is there an infection? Is there toxicity? Is there a Vitamin B12 deficiency? Is there an iron deficiency anemia? There are so many medical issues that actually appear as depression.
When a doctor just hands you a prescription for an SSRI, they are not doing you a favour unless they’ve first given you a thorough medical workup, looking hormonal imbalance including thyroid or adrenal, or gluten sensitivity, to name a few of the possible causes.


Gluten Sensitivity—A Common But Hidden Cause of Depression
You may not have realized this, but the gluten level in our grains is much higher today than it ever was before, thanks to various breeding techniques, and gluten can produce depression if you're sensitive to it. In such a case, the key is to remove gluten from your diet entirely. You cannot simply cut down. It must be removed completely. Have seen many people recover from severe depression when going gluten-free.
They start to feel better, their mood improves. The depression, it turned out was really due to gluten sensitivity. And you may ask, How can gluten affect your brain like that? What is going on? It has to do with inflammation?. When gluten is inflaming your gut, it’s also inflaming your brain. Whatever’s going on in your gut is also going on in your brain. They’re very connected.
The gut is the second brain. In fact, there are more serotonin receptors in the gut than anywhere else in the whole body. What I’m saying is, to summarize, it can be gluten sensitivity, thyroid imbalance, anemia, some kind of infection, Lyme disease, or chronic fatigue syndrome.  Many medical issues will show up as depression. Depression is a symptom. Depression is not a condition. It’s not an illness; it’s simply a symptom...
We have this three-pound sophisticated organ, the brain,, the control centre of our whole body, and it does not get evaluated. No one looks at it. You have a symptom of depression, anxiety, or insomnia, and you get a prescription. That’s crazy. That is not good medicine
An important issue to address is junk food, which also promotes gut inflammation. So one of the first steps in addressing problems like anxiety and depression is to clean up your diet and address your gut health. Otherwise, you’ll have virtually no chance of getting healthy emotionally and mentally.
There are times when temporary use of an antidepressant may be warranted, but such occasions are really quite rare.


High Dose Niacin for Psychosis
It turns out that pellagra, a disorder caused by niacin deficiency, produces the same psychiatric symptoms such as irrational anger, feelings of persecution, mania, and dementia that were found in many psychotic patients. The cure was giving them the deficient B vitamin.
As long as the patients continued to take their niacin, as well as vitamin C, they are OK. On the other hand, nowadays if psychotic patients stop their medication, they may or may not relapse. This brings up another issue; we’re seeing more relapses than we used to in psychosis and depression. It may be due to the meds. Before people were on meds to the extent that they are, they would have a depressive episode, then  recover  and not necessarily have another one...But we’re now having far more chronically relapsing depression and psychosis than before the introduction of medication.
Moreover, we’re having more bipolar illness than we ever had. Something is going on. The medications are actually changing the brain. This is what is so scary. We have people who start off being depressed, being put on antidepressants for their depression, end up becoming bipolar, and then they’re placed on a whole cocktail of medications. And they’re kept on that cocktail indefinitely, which frequently ends their ability to function normally.


How to Revert from Antidepressants to More Natural Treatments
If you’re currently on an antidepressant and want to get off it, ideally you’ll want to have the cooperation of your prescribing physician. Some doctors are happy to help you to withdraw if they know that you’re going to be responsible about it. Others may not want to bother, or they don’t believe that you can get off the medication.   You may need to do some reading in order to be better prepared.
It doesn’t make much sense to withdraw unless you’re implementing some other strategy to address the cause of your depression. In summary, keeping the following guidelines in mind:

  • Under your prescribing physician's supervision, start lowering the dosage of the antidepressant you're taking. There are protocols for gradually reducing the dose of the medication that your doctor should be well aware of.
  • At the same time, start taking a multivitamin. Start taking low doses. If you're quitting an SSRI under doctor supervision, you can go on a low dose of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).
  • For bipolar patients, a holistic practitioner may prescribe nutritional supplements such as fish oil (omega-3 fats), inositol, tryptophan, and others, depending on the individual's need.  Bipolar symptoms can also be related to Lyme disease, so if Lyme infection is present, that needs to be addressed, also by a more functionally oriented doctor.
  • Chronic inflammation in general appears to be a significant underlying factor causing symptoms of depression, so keeping inflammation in check is an important part of any effective treatment plan. If you're gluten sensitive, you will need to remove all gluten from your diet. A food sensitivity test can help ascertain this.It is vital to treat the underlying root cause.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is another important biological factor that can play a significant role in mental health. A double-blind randomized trial published in 2008 concluded that: "It appears to be a relation between serum levels of 25(OH)D and symptoms of depression. Supplementation with high doses of vitamin D seems to ameliorate these symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship." Recent research also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. Ideally, maintain your vitamin D level between 50-70 ng/ml year-round.
  • Unbalanced gut flora have also been identified as a significant contributing factor to depression, so be sure to optimize your gut health, either by regularly eating traditionally fermented foods, or taking a high quality probiotic.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough high quality sleep, as sleep is essential for optimal mood and mental health.  The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be due to elevated cortisol levels, so if you have trouble sleeping, you may have chronic Adrenal stress. Another alternative is to take adaptogens, herbal products that help lower cortisol and adjust your body to stress. There are also other excellent herbs and amino acids that help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Meditation can also help. A new piece of technology that can be quite useful is a headband sensor called Muse. It gives you real-time feedback on your brain wave frequencies, which can help train you to enter into deeper states of relaxation and meditation. I've been using it for 15 minutes twice a day for about six months, and I've noticed some really impressive improvements. Slowing your breathing through meditation and/or using the  breathing techniques, also increases your partial pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2), which has enormous psychological benefits.
  • Other helpful tools to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is well-studied, and recent research found it significantly increased positive emotions, such as hope and enjoyment, and decreased negative emotional states like anger and shame. Another recent review found statistically significant benefits in using EFT for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and phobias.

Many 'Depressed' Women Are Actually in Perimenopause
Amazingly, 23 percent of women over the age of 40 are on antidepressants.   This is likely due to misdiagnosis of perimenopause or other hormonal imbalances. Women are entering perimenopause at younger ages these days; some even before the age of 40, and this phase can last for years.
Often women who have never had PMS or mild PMS are suddenly having bad PMS. They are feeling depressed and irritable. They’re yelling at their kids and their partners. They’re having a very hard time. They may be fatigued and feeling like they’re falling apart. What do they do? They go to their doctor, and guess what they get? They get a prescription for an antidepressant. Guess what they shouldn’t get? An antidepressant.
They need to get their hormones balanced. Start with all the usual things: good diet, make sure your liver is able to detoxify properly so you may need some liver supportive herbs like milk thistle or bupleurum. There are also well-researched herbs for menopausal and PMS symptoms like dong quai, black cohosh and vitex.

Key Factors to Overcoming Depression Without Drugs
While there are instances where drugs may be warranted, antidepressants are rarely the most appropriate answer for depression. It’s important to realize that your diet and general lifestyle are foundational factors that must be optimized if you want to resolve your mental health issues, because your body and mind are so closely interrelated. Depression is indeed a very serious condition; however it is not a “disease.” Rather, it’s a sign that your body and your life are out of balance.
Mounting and compelling research demonstrates just how interconnected your mental health is with your gastrointestinal health for example. While many think of their brain as the organ in charge of their mental health, your gut may actually play a far more significant role. Research tells us that the composition of your gut flora not only affects your physical health, but also has a significant impact on your brain function and mental state. Previous research has also shown that certain probiotics can even help alleviate anxiety.19, 20
So the place to start is to return balance — to your body and your life. Fortunately, research confirms that there are safe and effective ways to address depression that do not involve unsafe (and ineffective) drugs. This includes but is not limited to the following. For additional suggestions, please review the links listed under Related Articles:
Eat real food Dramatically decrease your consumption of processed foods, sugar (particularly fructose), and grains. There's a great book on this subject, The Sugar Blues, written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into the topic of sugar and mental health in great detail. In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state, especially MSG, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
Optimize your gut flora Increase consumption of probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables and kefir, to promote healthy gut flora. Mounting evidence tells us that having a healthy gut is profoundly important for both physical and mental health, and the latter can be severely impacted by an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. Remember your gut is your second brain and produces more neurotransmitters than your brain.
Get adequate vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to depression and affects one in four people.
Optimize yourvitamin D levels
Vitamin D is very important for your mood. In one study, people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were found to be 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels.21

The best way to get vitamin D is through sensible sun exposure. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that we know is related to sunshine deficiency, so it would make sense that the perfect way to optimize your vitamin D is through sun exposure.
Optimize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio To normalize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, take high quality omega 3 oils such as krill oil and radically reduce if not completely eliminate industrial processed omega 6 oils.

DHA, an animal based omega-3 fat, is crucial for good brain function and mental health.22 Dr. Stoll, a Harvard psychiatrist, was one of the early leaders in compiling the evidence supporting the use of animal based omega-3 fats for the treatment of depression. He wrote an excellent book that details his experience in this area called The Omega-3 Connection.

Evaluate your salt intake Sodium deficiency creates symptoms closely resembling those of depression. Make sure you do NOT use processed salt (regular table salt), however. You'll want to use an all natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt, which contains more than 80 different micronutrients.
Exercise daily
Exercise is one of the most effective strategies for preventing and overcoming depression. Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity. There’s a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place.
Get adequate amounts of sleep You can have the best diet and exercise program possible but if you aren't sleeping well you can easily become depressed. Sleep and depression are so intimately linked that a sleep disorder is actually part of the definition of the symptom complex that gives the label depression.
 

If you have mental health issues and are not happy with being prescribed many pharmaceutical drugs, and are suffering from the harmful side effects, but would rather get truly well…help is at hand in this practice.   We specialize in the root cause diagnosis of chronic and disabling disease, and in natural harmless yet effective treatments.  Having had over 35 years of experience in the field of natural integrative medicine, I know this approach works…my clients results stand the test of time.
Please feel free to speak to me about your situation and lets find  way to dramatically improve your health and quality of life.   02866328200