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Depression Overview, Facts and Treatment

Suggested Reading:
Spotlight on Depression

Standard Depression Treatments Inadequate: Antidepressants work for 35 to 45% of the depressed population, while more recent figures suggest as low as 30% at the best Standard antidepressants, SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil (Aropax) and Zoloft, have recently been revealed to have serious risks, and are linked to suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors Antidepressants have sometimes intolerable side-effects, and may lose their effectiveness over time.

The British Medical Journal recently reported they found no scientific evidence whatsoever that SSRIs work for preschoolers (or for anyone under eighteen) Prescription antidepressants have side effects, ranging from loss of libido (in up to 70% of users) to long-term memory loss In the US, prescription antidepressants are not cleared for use for more than 12 months, although most doctors encourage their patients to stay on much longer, often for life There can also be very distressing withdrawal symptoms associated with coming off many of these drugs.

So, what's the alternative?
There are currently four approaches to treating depression: the antidepressants produced by the major drug companies, herbal remedies such as St. John's Wort, alternative medical-like treatments such as acupuncture, and psychotherapy. Natural remedies for depression have the advantages of fewer side effects and work for many people. Natural alternatives are available for people to utilize that enable them to address depression without involving prescription antidepressant medication They are effective in enhancing levels of serotonin with little or no side effects.

St. John's Wort
(which is the primary ingredient in Native Remedies MindSoothe) is an example). The herbal remedy, St. Johns' Wort has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants in trials in Germany and elsewhere, with no major side effects. "Hypericum [St. John's Wort] extracts were significantly superior to placebo... and similarly effective as standard antidepressants... "There is evidence that extracts of hypericum are more effective than placebo for the treatment of mild to moderately severe depressive disorders." - Linde K, Ramirez G, Mulrow CD, Pauls A, Weidenhammer W, Melchart D Title: St John's wort for depression--an overview and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials British Medical Journal 313(7052), 253-258 (1996)

According to the Prevention Branch of the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), St. John's Wort is very effective in treating mild to moderately severe depression with far fewer side-effects. St. John's Wort achieved a 64% success rate compared to the 58% success rate achieved by a variety of standard antidepressants. What's more two of the most worrying side-effects of most antidepressants -- female hair loss and loss of libido -- seem to be absent from those taking the Hypericum.

In conclusion, find out what options are available to you and take action. With treatment, whether traditional or alternative, there is help and better days ahead! Depression is not a life sentence; it can be treated. There definitely is a safe way out and you can go beyond depression and lead a happy purposeful life.


About Depression: Depression is one of the most common and most serious mental health problems facing people today. Depression is also one of the greatest killers of our time. Being depressed interferes with a person's ability to function effectively throughout the day or even to have the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. According to statistics, you are either one of three women, one in six men, or are close to someone who has clinical depression:

Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year

15% of the population of most developed countries suffers clinical depression

80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment

It is predicted that depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 -- and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease

Depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than US$51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills

80% of people who see physicians suffer from underlying depression

Studies are increasingly linking more illnesses to depression, including: osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, eye disease and back pain

Many people begin to feel depressed as the result of some recent, notable traumatic event or events. Family history and genetics also play a part in higher likelihood of developing depression in one's lifetime. Increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms to deal with that stress may also contribute to depression. Many believe that somehow it's their failure that none of the prescribed treatments have worked for them; that they haven't "gotten over it". They are often afraid to put a burden on friends and family with their distress. They hardly dare believe and hope that there really is an answer for them. Depression can be safely treated without the use of prescription antidepressants.

One of the many cruel things about depression is that it is an insidious illness that often disguises itself as something else, hiding in physical symptoms such as fatigue, broken sleep, headaches, stomachaches, muscle pain, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, weight loss and gain, and inability to enjoy life's pleasures. Being depressed can take the form of anxiety, rage and many physical problems such as chronic fatigue, chronic pain and even more serious physical illnesses. Anxiety and panic attacks, which are part of the depressive syndrome, can also be reactions to events in adulthood that mimic those of childhood, even subconsciously.

Although it's been long known that depression is involved in various diseases, spanning from alcoholism to osteoporosis, researchers are now citing it as the cause of physical ailments such as heart attacks, loss of vision, certain forms of cancer and diabetes. Depression is far more than just being confined to the mind or to the emotions according to the latest research.

Causes of Depression
Short-term depression can be caused by loss or extreme trauma whereas Chronic or life-long depression is caused by trauma in childhood which includes:

~ emotional, physical or sexual abuse
~ yelling or threats of abuse
~ neglect, two parents working
~ criticism
~ inappropriate or unclear expectations
~ maternal separation
~ conflict in the family; divorce; family addiction
~ violence in the family, neighborhood or TV; racism and poverty

There may be a genetic basis to some depression, but even if there is that genetic propensity, it must be triggered by some traumatic or stressful event. Physiological problems, plus learned beliefs and behaviors, make functional decisions difficult, and the results reinforce the depression in a vicious cycle.

References in article provided by: Wellbeing, September, 2002- Bob Murray, PhD and Alicia Fortinberry, Dr. John H. Sklare psychologist on eDiets . com, Journal of the American Medical Association, Washington Post, British Medical Journal, BBC News, Mental Help Net . com, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), World Health Organization (WHO) report quoted in BBC-Online January 9, 2001, National Healthcare Quality Report, 2003, WHO report on mental illness released October 4, 2001, 2004 Rand Corporation report, J I Escobar et al, Somatization in the Community, Archives of General Psychiatry (1987) 44:713-718, Z J Lipowski, Somatization: Medicine's Unsolved Problem, Psychosomatics, 1987, 28:294-297, Quantitative Analysis of Sponsorship Bias in Economic Studies of Antidepressants, The British Journal of Psychiatry 2003, 183: 498-506, FDA Links Antidepressants, Youth Suicide Risk. Washington Post, 23 February, 2004, page A01, Association of Risk of Abnormal Bleeding with Degree of Serotonin Reuptake Inhibition by Antidepressants, Archives of Internal Medicine 2004, 164:2367-2370, Efficacy and Safety of Antidepressants for Children and Adolescents, British Medical Journal 2004, 328:879-883.