Last Sunday, CBS Sunday Morning did a segment on depression. Wow! It was depressing.
One in every 10 Americans is depressed. More people (30 million) take anti-depressant medications than go to the movies every week. And this is just what is known: it is assumed that many others, perhaps millions, are among the walking wounded, depressed people who have not received medical attention. People with deep depression tend not to see their physician about the problem and people who are mildly depressed are put on medications that don’t work for them.
Millions of people are confused by their depression. They believe that they should only feel bad if “something” is wrong in their lives. In other words, they believe externals not physiological holistic health, is the cause of depression.
Dr. Jerome Wakefield from the New York University School of Social Work informed the listeners that what causes depression is a “big mystery.” Dr. Wakefield said that no one knows what happens in a depressed person’s brain. By these words he reinforced the idea that depression is the result of the “broken brain.” This was, I thought unfortunate, because as long as our culture is stuck thinking that depression is only about a chemical imbalance in the brain, there will be no cure or plan of prevention in sight.
Depression is about more than a “broken brain” (a chemical imbalance.) It is a condition that intimately involves many facets of being. It affects the physical being as well the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual self. It is much more than a broken brain yet is often successfully addressed by changes in lifestyle and by natural interventions.
Dr. Wakefield put forth a strong argument against the idea that rates of depression are going up. I found his argument to be intriguing. He believes that through television the pharmaceutical companies have succeeded in changing our cultural view of how we should feel. Based on the plethora of ads for anti-depressants, consumers feel it is no longer acceptable to feel sad. They believe they are depressed when what they are really experiencing is simple normal sadness.
I wonder if Dr. Wakefield is right about this. I think he might well be. Although, on the other hand, if chronic sadness is affecting millions of Americans that is certainly a problem that needs to be addressed. Sadness is an aspect of everyone’s life, but it should not be chronic. To counter chronic sadness Ayurveda offers strategies that help to generate a vibrant life force. Sandra and I discuss these in depth in Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way.
The CBS broadcast repeated the message we have often delivered, the that anti-depressants do not have any effect for most people who take them. Western medicine is now accepting this as fact. However, millions of people continue to take the pills because they do not know of another solution. I do wish these millions of people would pick up a copy of Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way. Besides the fact that the pills do not have a positive effect, their side effects can be extremely troublesome.
Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way offers a holistic view of depression. It screams out the good news that happiness is our birthright and if our physiology is in balance and healthy we will experience this emotion. At the same time, we will always have access to the full depth and breath of emotions. It is inevitable that at times sadness will come to us. But happiness can and should be a backdrop and accessible the majority of the time.
It is personally empowering to know that we hold our health and happiness in our own hands. Sandra and I wish this empowerment for each of you! We hope that your physiology is filled with the vitality that wards off depression and ensures good health and happiness!