This week I read an article in the PSYCHIATRIC TIMES about antidepressant medication that really surprised me. University of Pennsylvania researchers did a study on 2 traditional antidepressants (Imipramine and Paxil). Their conclusion was “Whereas antidepressant medications can have a substantial effect with more severe depressions, there is little evidence to suggest that they produce specific pharmacological benefit for the majority of patients with less severe acute depressions”. The article went on to explain that most people do not fall into the category of severe depression as defined by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS 23 or higher) and the study’s author pointed out that a full 71% of people had scores below 22. Therefore, if most people’s depression is in the mild to moderate category, and that antidepressant medication does not seem to help them, here is the opportunity to try natural approaches.
Diet and Supplementation: There are many situations which improve with good nutrition, amino acids healthy fats and vitamins.
Energy medicine: I have used flower essences and homeopathic remedies with good results in many people with anxiety and depression.
Exercise:I try to fit a program specific for the individual involving aerobic, flexibility and strength training. I have seen this alone lift a depressed mood.
Counseling: I have worked with people both psychologically and spiritually. Sometimes, a little psychological work on old patterns that keep one locked into dysfunction can free up the persons energy. Others need a spiritual nudge in the right direction towards self-fulfillment and then find a sense of wellness that they have been seeking.
In Summary, if your depression is mild to moderate in nature, give natural approaches a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Yours in health, Jerry Gore M.D.