As we’ve said before, antidepressants do not work any better than placebos in almost all cases of depression.Only 13 percent of people suffering from depression have severe symptoms and it is only in those cases that researchers can detect a statistically significant effect from antidepressants.
The jury is in and the verdict is that most people with depression are going to do as well with a sugar pill as they will on medication. The good news is that sugar pills don’t have any side effects!
The bad news is that millions of people now feel terrified because since learning that antidepressants don’t work, they don’t know what to do to solve the problem of how they feel. I have a simple suggestion for these millions of folks: Step out (or stay in and use Amazon) and buy a copy of Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way.
In our book, published in 2009, Sandra and I discuss life style changes that are helpful for treating and preventing depression.
How did it happen that the public was so taken in by the pharmaceutical industry for such a very long time? After all, antidepressants have been on the market for about 60 years and it is only fairly recently that we have learned they do not work.
According to Andrew Weil, M.D., the reason we believed that drugs would help with depression is that we have been living under a “Biology Tells it all” belief system for quite awhile. The credo of this biomedical model has been “There is no twisted thought without a twisted molecule.”
The development of antidepressant drugs fit the model. If a person was depressed there was a biological reason and correction lay in a medication. Isn’t it always this way? Our solutions lay in how we see our problems.
Fortunately mind-sets are changing and knowledge of Ayurveda and integrative medicine is coming to the foreground and we are realizing that depression results from a nexus of risk factors; not from brain chemistry alone (or at all).
Depression is endemic in all industrialized countries in the world and this is because of life style. We must realize that the mind and body are not separate entities. The mind, body and spirit is one seamless energetic system which is continually interacting with the environment. Each action creates a reaction and if life style is not healthy a problem will show up physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or in every area of life experience.
People are eating more processed food, sleeping less (especially teen agers), not exercising or exercising too much, and perhaps most significant of all—-millions are moving far away from their spiritual center. Spirituality is an appreciation for the abstract qualities of life and this is easily lost in the chaos of today’s hectic world.
Sandra and I hope that more stories like the one last night on “60 Minutes” program will be presented and will help to move our society away from a “biology tells it all” attitude toward a “lifestyle tells it all” mind-set.
Things can and do change very quickly. Not even a decade ago, physicians treated heart disease by focusing on the organ of the heart, rather than focusing on the whole person experiencing the disease. Nowadays, no cardiologist would think to give a pill for heart disease without simultaneously discussing the impact of lifestyle on heart health. Perhaps sooner than the blink of an eye (or so we hope), the psychiatric and psychological communities will shift their current paradigm and begin to think of depression in a holistic manner.
We are hopeful that this switch will happen quickly because we know we’re living in a time of great and rapid change. Previous mind-sets are melting away and new ideas taking hold. These are exciting times in which to be alive. All fields including medicine are changing rapidly. The positive aspects of western medicine—and there are many—will be kept and will expand. The negative aspects based on a division of mind and body will be swept away. I envision millions of little antidepressant pills bobbing up and down as they float downstream and out into the airless sea where all bad ideas eventually sink to their demise. The replacement for these millions of pills will be an awareness of lifestyle habits that empower our populace and promote health and happiness. This is all to the good!
Here is a short video that was shown before the segment but gives good insight into what they talked about:
As always Sandra and I wish you perfect health and its by-product, happiness!