Why Prozac is One of America’s Leading Prescriptions
Binge eating, not eating, heavily sleeping – we do what we can when we are trying to feed challenging emotions. If you are feeling excessive fatigue, hopelessness, or have lost interest or pleasure in your life, you may be experiencing depression. You’re not alone. According to the CDC, 1 in 10 Americans are depressed.
Anti-depressants have become so common that one in eight Americans has used Prozac or its generic counterpart for at least one episode of depression. Yet a recent re-analysis of past research on antidepressants concluded that three-fourths of the improvements credited to them could be attributed to an active placebo effect, changes in lifestyle, or simply the passage of time.
While it is sometimes vital to use an antidepressant, there are other treatment options to consider. We have become so addicted to an instant coffee approach to healing that we’ve forgotten that circumstances other than clinical depression can bring on unhappiness. My goal today is to show you ways to monitor and treat depression, without automatically resorting to medication.
How many times have you thought if you could just eat enough chocolate you’d feel better? It’s natural to look to food as remedy for one’s emotional turbulence. In fact, your instinct is correct. But sometimes we crave the wrong food for our body’s balance. Our diet is the first thing to look at in any health challenge. High quality protein, whole grains, and vegetables will feed our system what it needs to feel good. You want to redirect the impulse for comfort food towards food that will actually help you feel better. Just a few days of making sure that you have protein at every meal, not skiping meals, and eating breakfast will make a huge difference in how you feel.
Recent research shows that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression in a similar way that omega fatty acid deficiency is, so you should make sure you have enough Vitamin D and Omega Fatty Acids.
Acupuncture has been reported to successfully cure depression in more than 75 percent of patients treated. It works by balancing your energy to flow more smoothly in your body. When your energy is balanced everything works better including your mood.
Where is your depression coming from? Hormonal shifts such as menopause, “man”opause, adrenal insufficiency, and thyroid disorder, also contribute to depression. Many women and men I’ve seen get depressed during hormonal life shifts. Symptoms improve when menopausal hormones have been balanced. Each hormone can be supported with natural treatments if you know what your imbalance is.
We can now measure chemicals produced in your brain using a simple urine test. Serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and epinephrine are a just a few of the neurotransmitters that affect our energy levels, mood, and behavior. Each of these chemicals can be raised naturally with either amino acid supplements such as 5HTP or L.phenylalanine, or herbs such as rodiola, mucuna puriens, and holy basil.
When all else isn’t working, sometimes you really do need to take a medication. I always look at medication in the same way I look at other modalities, its just part of the continuum of finding balance. I recommend that you seek a good psychiatrist who is familiar with nutritional support as well as medication and begin with a low dose of whatever medication is being recommended. Stay in touch with your psychiatrist, or your integrative doctor, report how you feel, what side effects if any, and listen to your body. You will know if it’s helping within a month of taking it.
Don’t overlook the healing qualities of touch and fun: massage, vacations, romps in the park, helping someone in need, and daily hugs. Recent research shows that a minimum of four hugs a day are needed for emotional balance.