There have been hundreds of studies over the years about the effectiveness of antidepressants or SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac and the results have always amazed me.
There is often only a minor success rate over the placebo sugar pills used as a comparison in these trials, and even these results need to be viewed knowing that the results of many trials are never published (by the drug manufacturers) due to unfavourable results.
When treating general depressive disorders I feel antidepressants should only be used occasionally, for a short period of time and only following a dedicated attempt to change the way you think, the way you act and address the aspects of your life that induce stress and anxiety.
On the whole most people don’t want to take antidepressant drugs because they can clearly see that they are not an intelligent solution for the plethora of problems modern day man faces – relationship issues, stressful job, unemployment, low self-esteem, social anxiety, menopause, midlife crisis, illness, the list goes on…… Depression drugs just can’t address these circumstantial and behavioural elements.
General depression is not a disease – There is no good evidence that general depression is a disease in the way we might accept that insulin dependent diabetes is. There are hardly any consistent post-mortem discoveries from people who were depressed at the time of their death, no abnormalities in their brains, the chemical balance of their blood or anomalies in their spinal fluid.
In fact, a lot of resent research is pointing towards stress and the action of stress hormones as a major contributor to depressive feelings.
However, there does seem to be a correlation between traumatic early life experiences, rejection, loss, abuse, bullying or just not ‘fitting in’ during childhood that predisposes some people to certain self-views, behaviours, self-beliefs and these often lead to bouts of depression in their adult life.
There is another way to treat depression
There is a treatment that does make sense for general unhappiness, depression and anxious emotions, this depression treatment combines many psychological routines with common sense and practices that change you from the inside, rather than you having to change the world so you feel better, these include:
- Understanding how you biologically work
- Recognising limiting self-beliefs
- Stopping the mind from living in the past
- Changing unhelpful emotional reactions
- Learning to love and respect yourself
- Exercising and eating nutritionally
- Meditation and spiritual growth
- Guided imagery to train your brain
- Alignment with values and beliefs
- Managing the negative voices in your mind
- Self-expression through art, hobbies and charity
For example; there is much evidence to support the significant capacity our brain has to regenerate itself (neuroplasticity) and evolve new ways of thinking through non antidepressant approaches that lead to improved feelings and mood.
The cerebral cortex (the outermost layers of the brain) have been measured to thicken in those who frequently meditate. In addition, decreased brain activity was recorded in the centres associated with unhappiness and increased responses in those sectors pertaining to compassion, love and happiness.
These techniques significant improve the mood of people suffering from depression without the emotional numbing or side effects of antidepressants.
Common sense and logic urges us to carefully consider our needs as an animal, human, woman, wife, mother, daughter, employee, employer. This more integrated approach is far more sustaining and is likely to deliver better short and long term results than chemical interventions.
These approaches target the causes and not the symptoms, they allow us to recharge our own emotional energy and allow us to reconnect with ourselves and others.
How can we listen to symptoms depression?
When depression comes upon us we need to listen – our body is clearly announcing through dark thoughts, emotional pain and many other physical signs that we are unhappy. That it is not OK to just carry on the same way as before. We should not deny and run away from these uncomfortable symptoms of depression and although we feel like a prisoner to them, we also need to learn from them and take time to re-evaluate our lives, thoughts, actions and desires.
You can protest, moan, cry, give up or fight all you like, you can pretend it’s not happening, you can hide yourself in drinks, food or drugs, but deep down you know the time has come to pay attention and do something!