No doubt antidepressants can be life saving to those in a major depressive episode, and I am absolutely not suggesting that those on an antidepressant should discontinue use.
But I do think it’s important to highlight new information about how antidepressants are affecting the health of your entire body… not just brain function.
While antidepressant use can be supportive to healthy mood, they are also affecting everything from your circulatory system to your cancer risk.
And… on top of that… there are incredibly powerful holistic ways to treat depression that are medically proven to work even BETTER than antidepressants do… methods that your doctor may not be aware of or may not have shared with you. More on that in a minute.
First let me share with you the results of a new, huge, meta analysis that shows that prescription antidepressants raise the general risk of death from all causes by 33%… which is not something we should be covering up.
(published in Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics on Sept 14, 2017)
- Researchers conducted a meta-analysis looking at antidepressant use and mortality rates in 17 relevant medical studies.
- The general mortality rate from all causes of death was increased by 33% for those who used prescription antidepressants over those who did not use prescription antidepressants.
The Bottom Line?
- Taking antidepressants increases the risk of death by one-third over the death risk of folks not taking an antidepressant.
- If an antidepressant is saving your life by supporting depressed mood with suicidal thoughts, than this risk of death from all causes may be a necessary acceptable risk.
- But if you are on an antidepressant for another reason, it may be worth re-evaluating with your prescribing physician if you need to continue, or if you might be able to decrease dose by adding on one of these medically proven ways to treat depression without a Rx!
An estimated 1 in 10 Americans are on a Rx antidepressant, prescribed by their physician with no formal psychiatric diagnosis.
So it’s worth being honest about how these prescriptions are affecting other tissues and organs in the body adversely and evaluating whether the pros of antidepressant use is outweigh the cons… and also if there might be some adjunctive things we can additionally be offering patients that will help them reduce dose, if not get off the antidepressants all together.
Turns out, there are!
These holistic alternatives that are literally as effective… and even more effective… than Rx antidepressants, and they are all things that can be safely added on top of Rx antidepressant use as well.
Here are the top 5 things you can do to effectively treat depression without a prescription:
(or even with current use of a Rx to minimize the dose required for relief!)
Yet another medical study continues to verify that probiotics absolutely robustly treat depression.
The natural flora of the gut is diminished in depression, so restoring the natural vitality and variety of healthy organisms in the digestive tract is turning out to be a very powerful way to improve outcome in depression (and other mood disorders, such as anxiety.)
Researchers found that only 4 weeks — just ONE MONTH — of probiotic therapy significantly lifted depression, decreased anhedonia, reversed sleep disturbances… and that these improvements were still sustained months later.
These results are so impressive because probiotics had zero of the adverse side effects that prescriptions antidepressants do and can safely be taken indefinitely.
The Study (presented at the 13th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry on June 19, 2017) showed:
- Mood raised by 55%
- Anhedonia improved by 20%
- Sleep quality improved by 33%
- All after only one month on the probiotic!!!
- These results were maintained or continued to improve by the two month assessment.
- Probiotics had none of the Rx side effects, which included: vomiting, severe headaches, increased suicide risk, sexual dysfunction… not to mention the chemical exposure and dependency on obtaining repeat prescriptions from your physician.
Probiotics are safe, effective… and even better… available without a prescription.
2. Sleep One More Hour
A study (presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2017 Annual Meeting on April 27, 2017) reveals that even a minor sleep disturbance (even a shortage of just one hour of sleep!) can significantly up your risk of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
The study showed that sleep duration was inversely associated with mental health. Each hour of sleep made a statistically significant difference in the rates of depression, hopelessness, nervousness, restlessness and fidgeting. Getting just one hour more of sleep significantly alleviated every single one of these symptoms. And these rates compounded with each additional hour…. so getting two hours less sleep TRIPLED the rates of nervousness and hopelessness, and almost QUADRUPLED the rates of depression and restlessness.
Wow! If only one hour more sleep is shown to help treat depression, hopelessness and anxiety, we really need to take sleep seriously.
It’s no longer enough to just get by on fumes, stressing out your adrenals and hoping to just catch up your sleep deficit over the weekend. Yes, we know chronic sleep issues are no way to live… increasing rates of Alzheimers and increasing severity of asthma attacks and upping ADHD symptoms and more.
But now we know, as little as a 60 minutes less sleep at night significantly affects mood and mental health too. We need to do everything we can do to maximize how restorative every minute of our sleep is, every night.
My fav way to get better sleep?
EEG studies of brain activity show that connecting to the soothing energy of the earth instantaneously shifts our brain wave patterns and reduces ambient stress levels.
Effortlessly getting into the relaxed but alert alpha brain wave pattern, which is seen in deep meditative states and restorative sleep states, is one of the hallmarks of grounding.
Deeper, more restorative sleep at night puts us in a zone of healing, which helps support everything… from treating mood disorders to decreasing your risk of dementia to boosting metabolism.
We all know that getting morning light each day significantly improves seasonal blues (or winter depression.)
But a new study shows that light therapy lifts depression — even depression that is NOT seasonally related — and actually treats depression more effectively than antidepressant drug therapy!
The Study (Published in JAMA Psychiatry on Nov 18, 2015) showed that after only 4 weeks, depression was significantly improved after only one month of using the light therapy.
And notably, the light box therapy was actually significantly MORE effective than drug therapy in treating depression.
Light therapy can also be used safely in conjunction with medical treatments (including Rx medications) so if you are on an anti-depressant, augment your treatment with light therapy and it’s possible you can work with your physician to decrease dose!
And if you are not on an antidepressant but suffer from depressed mood, whether seasonal or not, consider getting 20 – 30 minutes of light therapy every day for a few weeks before giving those antidepressants a try.
The best light therapy box is waiting for you right here.
Portable, full strength, LED, zero UV rays, clinically proven effective.
A study (published in the November 2011 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings) showed that low levels of Vit D is significantly linked to increased risk of depression.
And the important thing to note about this particular medical study is that the researchers found that the link between low Vit D levels and depression was even higher in patients who had a prior history of depression.
What does that mean?
It means if you have a history of depression, it is extremely important for you to be sure to supplement with Vitamin D, or be certain to get daily exposure to natural sunlight.
Even in those who did not have a prior history of depression, Vitamin D levels were low across the board… with 50.7% of ALL study participants having low Vit D levels.
This suggests that at least half of us, regardless of mood, are already low in Vit D.
So far there have already been two studies that both show that after treatment with high doses of Vit D (thereby achieving an elevation in serum Vit D levels) depressive symptoms declined or resolved entirely.
And especially important for those with a history of depression or a family history of depression… it’s great news that higher Vitamin D levels can actually help decrease risk of future depression.
On December 15, 2013, the medical journal Biological Psychiatry published the results of a huge study that found overwhelming evidence of a link between zinc and depression.
Researchers looked at 17 different studies that measured peripheral blood–zinc concentrations in over 1600 depressed patients and 800 control patients.
The research showed that mean peripheral blood–zinc concentrations were not only lower but that zinc levels correlated with how severe the depression was. The most severe depression was associated with the greatest deficit in zinc levels.
Looking at both animal studies and pre-clinical and clinical trials, researchers found that zinc added to antidepressant therapy produced more rapid and more effective improvement in symptoms of depression than without zinc supplementation.
These 5 holistic treatment options:
- light therapy
- vitamin D &
- zinc supplementation
can all be safely and effectively combined to help treat your depression and can also safely be used in combination with Rx treatment for depression.
So please know, there are lots of all natural ways to support your mood and please forward this info on to any friends or loved ones who could use the extra support.
Not too many physicians know about these holistic ways to help treat depression and many don’t realize that these extra steps can make a world of difference to their patients who are not being adequately treated through a conventional approach alone.
With great faith in your natural healing resiliency…