THIS PAGE IS OLD, LOOK FOR MY NEW BOOK BEING RELEASED IN 2017 FOR UP TO DATE AND RELIABLE INFORMATION.
Here is the best information I have as at February 2017 from the co-founder of the Cochrane Collaborative:
This video supersedes anything else you find to the contrary on this website as at February 2017.
Like insomnia, the underlying issue that is causing you to be depressed has to be addressed.
There is no way around that, even if it is painful to do.
Instead of ignoring the problem and medicating it, we need to find out exactly what the problem is – and sometimes it could date back to early childhood, or similar.
If you want to start doing something really constructive today, then go for a walk for about an hour. Do this every day.
LOOKING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DEPRESSION TREATMENT?
There are a number of studies linking high EPA:DHA ratio Omega-3 to help with depression.
Depending on the country you live in, the recommended brands are different. (e.g. Dr Andrew Stoll in his Harvard University trials was using “OmegaBrite” brand (7:1 ratio – available in the US and New Zealand) but the highest ratio available in Australia (last time I researched) was 3.1:1 – “eyeq” brand Omega 3.
Don’t bother with “normal” Omega 3 supplements, their ratios AREN’T IMPRESSIVE, and they won’t work as well as this one. You will have to do your own research in your own country, or make your research available in the comments box below to help people out in your country.
It will take a number of weeks, even months of use for you to start establishing the long-string-fatty-acids that are the magic behind this strategy. Please note that trans fats and fried foods will undermine your efforts here – so don’t do both!!
Dr Natalie Sinn’s research in Australia would indicate that Omega-3 supplementation is also very helpful, in some cases (roughly 50%, estimated), for sufferers of ADHD.
For manic-depression and other serious forms of depression expert advice must be sought. Look at the help sites below to locate help.
For milder forms of depression we recommend St. John’s Wort as a herbal supplement, but we prefer the Omega 3.
EXERCISE is recommended for all depression sufferers, not matter how severe, or what type. Exercise is great for everyone.. not just for the depressed. Socializing is also recommended – provided it doesn’t mean overindulging in alcohol and drugs, which would be counter-productive.
Retraining how you think is important. Positive people with disciplined thought patterns are less likely to become depressed. You can train yourself to think and behave in a different way.
Have a look at the drugs and alcohol you are using. Some prescription medications have side effects which include depression.
Likewise for food additives.. refer to the Food Additives section for information on depression.
Finally, some depression is caused by people avoiding life-changing & enhancing decisions. If you’re procrastinating over making an important decision for your health, happiness and spiritual well-being – it’s time to break the pattern! It might be hard to do, but doing nothing is worse.
If you keep doing the same things, you get the same results.
The World Health Organization forecasts that by 2020 depression will be the second largest illness after heart disease. It has been described as an epidemic of mental illness.
Figures of between 16% and 25% have been quoted as the number of Australians who suffer from depression (“the black dog” as Sir Winston Churchill described it).
In Australia it accounts for more deaths than the road toll. Source: 9am with David and Kim, Channel 10, 13.6.06
It is estimated that about 6 million workdays are lost per year in Australia because of depression. Source: What’s Good For You, August 7, 2006.
Number of PBS scripts in Australia written for antidepressants in 2004: 12 million; in 1998: 8 million; in 1990: 5 million… not encouraging! Source: Numbercrunch, Goodweekend, August 26, 2006.
Depression – Link to Insomnia
It is reasonably common knowledge that depression is linked with insomnia. Some believe depression is a chief cause of chronic insomnia. For people who wake up early in the morning and can’t get back to sleep this is very possibly part of the problem (Waking Up Too Early). Similarly it appears to be a factor for those who wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep (Restless, Light and Broken Sleep).
Clinical depression interferes with healthy sleeping – and dreaming. Eric Nofzinger, the director of the Sleep Neuroimaging Program at the University of Pittsburgh published a study with his colleagues that said that depressed dreamers crank up their limbic systems more than other dreamers. The brain is harder to shut off because it won’t stop thinking about things, and it often wakes them in the middle of the night with some more nagging questions or problems.
At least 80% of depressed people experience insomnia. They have difficulty falling asleep or more often – staying asleep. In fact, early morning awakening is a virtual give away of depression. Another 15% of the depressed sleep excessively. There is speculation, that it is more than just a symptom of depression, it may in fact unleash the mood disorder and or be an early indicator of it. Sleep researcher Michael Perlis Ph.D. thinks so.
Source: Psychology Today.
Different types of…
There are a number of different types of depression. They include major depression, dysthymia, mixed depression and anxiety, melancholia, manic depressive illness (bipolar disorder) and psychotic depression (a severe form associated with hallucinations or delusions). Symptoms of anxiety commonly occur before, or alongside, symptoms of depression.
Source: Depression, Out of the Shadows
It is most important that you learn to recognize the differences between normal sadness and emotionality and depression so that you can make steps to improve your life. For chronic and serious depression it is important not to delay getting help from properly trained professionals. Some friends and associates, even with the best intentions, may not have the skills to really take you forward. There are many informed helpers who understand depression and who will know the most appropriate strategies for you.
A gene has recently been linked with depression, and is now being studied in Australia. We await further information.
Is it genetics or bad circumstances? The latest research seems to indicate that it is both. Apparently 1 in 5 people hold the gene for depression. That, coupled with 3 or more negative life events in a year can result in an 80 per cent chance of becoming depressed. Source: What’s Good For You, August 7, 2006.
Watch the video above to become informed. February 2017.
Exercise and Socialize
Studies have confirmed that exercise is very beneficial for uplifting your mood. Not ‘finding the time’ is a great disservice to your well-being. It is suggested that exercise is combined with any and all the other strategies you implement. Let’s not forget the basics!
Likewise for socialising. Get out with your friends and enjoy the day.
Omega-3, Essential Fatty Acids
Apparently it was the late Dr. Horribin who initiated the idea that high grade omega-3 EPA could be used to help combat depression and other related disorders. His pioneering lipid research, involving the brain and central nervous system, was undertaken as early as the 1970s. Since then, a number of studies into the positive psychological affects of omega-3 EPA have been made including at Harvard University; London Hammersmith Hospital; Israel Ben Gurion University, the Stanley Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland; and Sheffield, England to name a few.
An interview with Dr. Andrew Stoll, Director of the Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School – McLean Hospital, with Patrick Perry of the US Post can be found at www.fabresearch.org
Low Omega-3 levels have been associated with depression, and hyperactivity in children.
Our modern diets are apparently very low in Omega-3. This is exacerbated by our intake of trans-fats. Trans-fatty acids are apparently taken up more quickly than Omega-3, and block Omega-3 absorption. So there is a double effect of eating less Omega-3, and it not being absorbed correctly as well. We over-consume Omega-6 contained in corn, soy, canola oil and sunflower and safflower oils. It has been estimated that ideally the ratio of Omega-6 intake to Omega-3 intake should be around 1:1, but that modern society can have the ratio as high as 20:1 and 50:1. Cooking with olive oil apparently is very acceptable – even though it does not contain a lot of Omega-3 or Omega-6 as it does not adversely affect the ratios.
For more information please refer to www.nutrisana.com/html/EFA_Bipolar.html.
Additionally, some people are now very wary of eating a lot of fish because of the risk of mercury intake and other issues.
Good sources of Omega-3 include mackerel, herring, tuna (including tinned), whole anchovies, salmon, sardines, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil, walnuts, spinach, seaweeds (dried), spirulina, watercress, and pumpkin seed.
Information on flaxseed oil can be found at www.fabresearch.org/view_item.aspx?item_id=455 which includes a downloadable fact sheet at the bottom.
Information can also be accessed from www.nofreudnoprozac.org, and the book Healing Without Freud or Prozac by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber.
NOTE: Any person with a known allergy to fish products should consult a healthcare practitioner before taking any fish-based Omega-3 product.
We have also seen Omega-3 linked with tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema and psoriasis (some brands actually list it on their labels) – but we have not been able to access the specific studies yet.
Positive Psychology Techniques
According to Dr. Martin Seligman (Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania), therapy may not be the best answer. He says the term happiness can be usefully broken down into a pleasant life, an engaged life and a meaningful life. He has developed a Reflective Happiness Program that dramatically decreases depression through a series of simple, formulated daily exercises.
Some of his tips that work include:
- Identifying your top strengths and using one of them in a new way
- Nightly recording three things that went well today and why they went well
- Increasing your optimism by learning to recognize and dispute catastrophic thoughts
- Writing a gratitude letter and then making a visit to someone who made a big difference in your life who you never properly thanked.
For more information visit www.reflectivehappiness.com
Professor Gordon Parker of the Black Dog Institute says that depressed people are more likely to be self-critical, rather than having a low self-esteem.? Source:? What’s Good For You, August 7, 2006.
Refer to the Mind Games section (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) for some tips on changing and improving your self-talk.
There is good evidence that the following alternative treatments could be beneficial: St John’s Wort, physical exercise, self-help books involving Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Light Therapy (for winter depression).
Source: Beyondblue Fact Sheet 14.
St. John’s Wort has been found very useful in the treatment of mild levels of depression. It is not recommended for clinical depression, such as melancholy and bipolar disorder. And don’t mix St. John’s Wort with other anti-depressants, medications or supplements without proper investigation!
Women in abusive relationships are often on prescription medication for depression or to help them sleep and regularly struggle with heavy use of tobacco and alcohol. Changing these damaging conditions and habits is extremely difficult when the abuse has led them to feel worthless and think so negatively about themselves.
The ABS Women’s Safety Survey found that of the women who experienced violence by a current partner, 61 per cent reported that they had children in their care at some time during the relationship, and 38 per cent said that these children had witnessed the violence. Domestic Violence: www.australiasaysno.gov.au
Talk about . talk…
The most outstanding challenge with depression appears to be the inability to talk about it, and the reluctance to ask for help. Middle-aged men are the most likely sufferers apparently, and they have also been earmarked as a group who find it very challenging to ask for help. Lately a number of courageous men have begun to open public debate about it, by highlighting their challenges with depression, or with the deaths of close friends or family because of it.
Be Brave ….? Ask for HELP…..
Pain – A Common Side Effect of Depression
Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine indicates that depressed patients often talk to their doctors about physical symptoms such as headache, back, leg or muscle pain, stomach ache and dizziness instead of the things we normally associate with depression (such as fatigue, moodiness, lack of motivation etc). These types of pain can be more common in depressed patients. In fact, the pain can be an indicator to doctors as to whether or not certain anti-depressants are working satisfactorily. Dr. Kurt Kroenke monitors physical symptoms as well as emotions when assessing depressed patients. There is a relationship between the severity of pain and the responsiveness to anti-depressant medication. Physical symptoms can apparently persist longer than the depression symptoms in more than a third of patients.
DID YOU KNOW THAT SOME FOOD ADDITIVES HAVE BEEN LINKED TO DEPRESSION?
For further information refer to the Food Additives section on the Nutrition page.
Postnatal depression effects about 14% of women.? If you expect that this could be a factor before, during or after the birth of your child, speak to a professional about it.? 40,000 women have been screened in Australia, WHILE they were pregnant, as part of a larger study involving about 100,000 women (possibly the largest such study in the world).? It is partly genetic.? Acting in advance of real problems can help you manage the problem.? Source:? Jeff Kennett, 9am with David and Kim, 13.6.06.
Omega-3 is also an issue with postnatal depression. The American Journal of Psychiatry, published an article by Professor Gordon Parker of the Black Dog Institute, linking low Omega 3 levels with higher rates of depression. It was found that lower omega 3 levels in mother’s breast milk were associated with higher rates of postnatal depression. It also stated that Western diets were effecting a range of health issues, including depression.
Source: Health Report, the Sun-Herald, August 6, 2006.
Please note that some of the leading sites do not have the latest information about the adverse effects of anti-depressants – including the INCREASED risk of suicide and suicidal ideation, particularly in children, but not limited to that age group.
We do not recommend taking antidepressants.
Many of the following organisations have only recently recognised the adverse effects of antidepressants (if at all), and many still believe that they are not addictive. (Updated February 2017.)
I cannot wholeheartedly recommend ANY community organisation in Australia that I am confident has the most up to date and excellent information and help for you and/or your children. There are significant serious issues in the industry – which is included in my upcoming book. (Posted February 2017.)
www.depressioNet.com.au – which includes a 24 hour email service.
Post and Antenatal Depression Support and Information
The Food Intolerance Network
The Black Dog Institute
Information, symptoms, treatment, young and older people, during pregnancy, postnatally, baby blues etc.
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS AND FREECALL NUMBERS:
Depression and Mood Disorders Association
(02) 9816 5688
Freecall 1800 674 200
SANE Australia Helpline
Phone: 1800 688 382 (9am – 5pm weekdays)
Postnatal Depression Helpline
Phone: (02) 9794 1852 (24 hours) 1800 655 961 (NSW only)
National Association for Loss and Grief (NALAG Inc.)
Phone: (02) 6882 9222
Level 13, 133 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9390 5366
Kids Help Line
Phone: 1800 551 800
Phone: 13 11 14
Phone: 1300 789 978
Postnatal Depression Helpline
Phone: (02) 9794 1852 (24 hours)
Rape Crisis Centre
Phone: (02) 9819 6565
Abortion Grief Counselling (does not refer for abortions)
Phone: 1300 363 550
SIDS and Kids NSW
Phone: 1800 651 186
What to tell your GP:
When visiting your GP or health care professional, remind them of your total health profile, including the intake of other medications, ‘natural remedies’ (such as St. John’s Wort), alcohol and illicit substances.
Depression can be a side effect of some prescription medications and non-prescription drugs. How drugs and substances mix can affect your health. For more information see Side Effects of Prescription and Non-Prescription Medicines.
We do not recommend antidepressants.
Coming Off Anti-depressant Medication
Never come off anti-depressant medicines without first obtaining advice on how best to do that. Many prescribed medicines have side effects upon withdrawal if they are not reduced correctly. According to leading experts the taper phase is the most dangerous, which can include suicidal ideation, suicide and aggressive behaviour.