Unfortunately, about two-thirds of people with depression go undiagnosed. Yet, few patients receive adequate treatment once diagnosed.“Adequate treatment” in a traditional model is a drug therapy or ineffective cognitive counseling. It’s important to understand that these treatment methods do nothing to address your underlying problem. In many cases they will simply not work; in others, they may make your situation far worse.
If you are following the traditional paradigm you will most likely receive a prescription for antidepressants. Unfortunately, they are proven to be very uneffective in placebo studies, and there are many studies that clearly document this. It wouldn't be so bad if antidepressants were harmless sugar pills. As you likely know they aren’t and can actually cause many people to have and very serious side effects, such as violent behavior.
Unfortunately, every year, 230 million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled in, making them one of the most-prescribed drugs. Despite all of these prescription drugs being taken, more than one in 20 are depressed.
Of them, 80 percent say they have some level of functional impairment, and 27 percent say it is extremely difficult to do everyday tasks like work, getting things done at home or getting along with others because of their condition.
So why are so many people feeling so low, even though antidepressants -- the supposed “cure” for depression -- are so widely available?Because antidepressants are barely effective -- in fact, previous studies have clearly shown that there is very little difference between them and a placebo.
Physical activity and exercise is one of the most powerful anti-depressants there is. Numerous studies show that exercise can improve your mood and is an antidote for mild depression and anxiety.Dr. James S. Gordon, a world-renowned expert, uses exercise extensively when treating depression. “What we’re finding in the research on physical exercise is that physical exercise is at least as good as antidepressants for helping people who are depressed. And that it’s even more important for older people,” Dr. Gordon says.
Physical exercise changes the level of serotonin in your brain. It changes, increases your levels of “feel good” hormones, the endorphins. And also, it can increase the number of cells in your brain, in the region of the brain called the hippocampus.
These studies have been first done on animals, and it’s very important because sometimes in depression, there are fewer of those cells in the hippocampus, but you can actually change your brain with exercise. So it’s got to be part of everybody’s treatment, everybody’s plan.”If you’re not sure how to use exercise like a drug, including the correct variety, intensity, and frequency, please contact me for more in-depth recommendations and guidelines on how to incorporate it into your life.Please, don’t delay starting an exercise routine. Many don’t get enough exercise, but this problem is easily remedied if you view exercise as a crucial part of getting healthier and happier.
Address your stress -- Depression is 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.
This is so important to remember, because as soon as you start to view depression as an “illness,” you think you need to take a drug to fix it. In reality, all you need to do is return the balance to your life, and one of the key ways to doing this is addressing stress.“Most of the research that I’ve been reading recently indicates that stress is the most important common factor in producing depression of all kinds and in turn affecting neurotransmitters.” Dr. Gordon says.
Eat a healthy diet -- Another factor that cannot be overlooked is your diet. Foods have an immense impact on your mood and ability to cope and be happy, and eating whole foods will best support your mental health. Avoiding sugar and grain will help normalize your insulin and leptin levels, which is another powerful tool in addressing depression.
Support optimal brain functioning with essential fats -- I also strongly recommend supplementing your diet with a high quality Omega 3 supplement.
Get plenty of sunshine – Making sure you’re getting enough sunlight exposure to have healthy vitamin D levels is also a crucial factor in treating depression or keeping it at bay. Vitamin D deficiency is actually more the norm than the exception, and has previously been implicated in both psychiatric and neurological disorders.
These four primary things -- exercising, addressing emotional stress, eating right, and getting regular sun exposure -- will make you feel at the top of your game. Whether you want to overcome depression or just want to stay healthy, these are the lifestyle changes that will get you there