DEPRESSION: WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Eight Natural Tips
It has been observed that in most cases depression disappears by itself after some time (weeks, months, unfortunately sometimes years). But what do you do when you’re in the middle of it? Taking pills anyway despite all their great risks? Or are there other possibilities?
By C.F. van der Horst
July 18, 2018, updated September 16, 2022
What is Depression?
Before we look at the options, let’s look at what depression is. Depression is defined as a “persistent feeling of dejection.” Such a period can occur in any healthy person. A loss of a family member, the breakup of a relationship, layoffs, accidents, illnesses, there are countless reasons that can cause someone to have a setback for an extended period of time. Is that something you need to see a doctor for? Absolutely not. In most cases, the unpleasant and despondent feelings disappear on their own and peace returns to your mind.
Psychiatrists have made the criteria for the label “depression” as a disorder so broad (without scientific justification!) that a person only needs to have about five symptoms for two weeks to qualify for the label. They base this on the “bible” for psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM.
Psychiatrist Allen Francis, former chairman of the working group that compiled the fourth edition of the DSM, criticizes the DSM-5. He believes that today, as a result of the DSM-5, people are overdiagnosed based on vague criteria. For example, he writes in his book Back to Normal, “The requirement of five symptoms and two weeks for major depressive disorder stems from a rather arbitrary choice and not from any scientific necessity [emphasis added][nadruk toegevoegd].” Therefore, the diagnosis is arbitrary. Note that the most current version is the DSM-5-TR, a text revision of DSM-5. This revision was published in March 2022 and does not change any diagnoses already made. Therefore, what Frances wrote is also true of the DSM-5-TR.
Francis calls the phenomenon ‘diagnostic inflation.’ Many people are wrongly labeled with depression as a result. And not just any simple depression, as five symptoms over two weeks suffice forthwith for the heavy label of “major depressive disorder.”
Just because a person is dejected or restless in his or her head for weeks or even months does not give him or her a major depressive disorder or make him or her a patient to be medicated. Besides, if you solve the setback yourself, you often come out stronger. Both happy and sad moments are part of life.
Fortunately, there are some natural steps you can do to feel happier. They can help you be yourself—without dangerous side effects and on your own steam!
The potentially serious dangers of antidepressants are discussed in Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived but above all, along with several practical tips for mental health issues, are covered in detail in C.F. van der Horst’s new book, The Hidden Horrors of Psychiatry: Infiltrating the School System, Businesses and Your Home.
Natural Approach to Depression
A one size fits all solution to depression or dejection does not exist. Pills or injections most certainly are not a solution, as these heavy medications only suppress symptoms, do nothing about the cause and, with prolonged use, can even worsen depression. So what are the options for doing something about depression or a persistent sense of despondency, or better yet, preventing them?
It is important to realize that you can indeed do something about it. The following tips work for most people, although sometimes they require patience. Moreover, they are without risk: there are no (life-threatening) dangerous effects like those of antidepressants. The tips cover a number of areas:
- Extraversion (outward attention, directed at the environment)
- Change of environment
- Unfinished jobs
- Nutritional supplements
- Handling medication (polypharmacy).
You will find many more elaborate and practical tips in the book The Hidden Horrors of Psychiatry. Below we elaborate on some of them already.
The condition of your body is a risk factor for depression. Although depression, as psychiatrists define it, does not seem to have a physical cause (at least that has never been proven), it may have a real physical and medical condition underlying it. It will not be the first time that a vitamin or mineral deficiency or a dormant condition is discovered, the addressing of which puts the situation right.
Rule out an underlying cause and do a thorough medical examination with an orthomolecular or homeopathically trained physician. Such a healthcare professional has more strings on his bow than the merely pharmaceutically trained doctor.
Whether something is found in the medical exam or not, the key is to keep your body as healthy as possible Contributing factors include:
- At least 6.5 hours of natural sleep per day (some need 10 hours)
- Healthy and organic food with lots of vegetables, little red meat, no processed foods, no artificial additives, and little non-natural (refined) sugar.
- Supplemental vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids (see also below)
- Half an hour of exercise per day
- No drugs
- No or very moderate alcohol.
These points alone can prevent what psychiatrists refer to as depression in most cases
Away from Negative and Patronizing Influences
Dejection is more common in an environment where you cannot be yourself and where family members or ‘friends’ make condescending or belittling remarks. Inspect your surroundings and take an honest look to see if anyone makes you feel better or worse. Do you have the freedom to be yourself? Or is that person making your world smaller by portraying the outside world as dangerous? Or that you get your attention very much on yourself (‘becoming introverted’) instead of being focused on the outside world and daring to go out (becoming extroverted)? Does someone say you look tired and overworked? Such comments only serve to discourage you. To quote the late Dr. Hans Moolenburgh Sr. “You can do much more than you think.” Contrary to what is often heard, people are more likely to be underworked than overworked, provided they maintains a balance with their other activities (see below).
It is an empirical fact that if you encourage hard-working business people to slow down, that is precisely when they get sick. A similar outcome also rolled out of a British study of people’s mental and physical health after they retire. The researchers concluded, “Employment for the elderly appears to provide long-term health benefits.”
See if the people around you contribute to or detract from your life. If the latter is the case, you will have to deal with it. If the situation with someone cannot be resolved, it would be advisable not to associate with him or her anymore. This is particularly difficult in family situations, but if the association depresses you, there is little choice.
Balance in Your Life
You have multiple roles in life: as an individual, spouse, parent, employee or employer, association member, etc. Freedom to be yourself also applies to each of these roles. However, there should be harmony between each of the roles. The zones in which you operate (e.g. family, work, association) should be balanced. The moment you shortchange yourself in any of these areas, you yourself limit your own freedom in that role. It sounds harsh, but in that case, you cause the situation yourself. Sometimes there is no other way and you have to make concessions. If this is temporary, it is not a disaster. Across the board, however, harmony must be preserved, otherwise it will backfire. This is clearly visible in people who are annulling themselves to please others or, at the other extreme, thinking only of themselves.
Only YOU can determine what needs to be done to maintain this balance. A spouse or family member may see it differently. Therefore, maintain your own point of view. It may very well be different from that of your environment. A great philosopher once said, “What is good for the duck hunter is not good for the duck.”
Direct Your Attention Outward
An important element in dealing with depression is extraversion. Extraversion is practically the opposite of worrying. In worrying, you only look inward and that doesn’t make you any happier. Extraversion is the activity of directing attention outward. This is simple to do by looking closely around you. If you feel dejected, go outside and take a walk until you feel better, preferably in a pleasant environment such as a forest. While doing so, look closely at the trees, animals, and birds. Listen to the sounds and smell the smells. This helps to direct your attention outward. Try to see new things you haven’t noticed before. It is an excellent remedy for worry and dejection.
Sports are also a great way to direct attention outward. If you already do sports and still feel down, change your environment and activity.
A very old therapy is to take long walks. And not just any long one: you walk until you can do no more. The moment you really can’t go any further, turn around and, despite your body’s protests, walk back. It sounds ruthless, but you will be surprised what happens if you actually do this. Do make sure you have time to do this, such as on weekends, and that you eat and drink well. If you know someone who is dejected and you want to help them, it is better to walk together. You can then also keep an eye on their food and water intake.
Change of environment
A change of environment can work wonders. If possible go out and stay for a while with family or friends in another city or state. Sign up for a vacation with an activity program (abseiling, kayaking, rafting, sailing, climbing, etc.) in a totally different region or country. There are hiking or biking vacations for the elderly.
Setting and living up to goals provides a future and will contribute to a better state of mind. Find work and hobbies with a purpose. In any case, having work (and thereby contributing to the community) is important for getting and staying out of setbacks. Just look around you: people who depend too much on others for their survival are physically and mentally often in worse shape. Give and take must be balanced. Your work should have an enjoyable and worthwhile purpose so that you can do your job with passion.
Complete Jobs & Chores
Some people have all kinds of unfinished business or chores not brought to completion. If you are one of them, make a list of all the things you have started and complete them one by one. Do not start new activities before you have completed all the old ones.
Take Nutritional Supplements
To support a healthy lifestyle, dietary supplements can be helpful for depression. The links in the list below refer to the scientific evidence. Some interesting ones include:
- S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe)
- Vitamins B1, B3, B6 and the vitaminoids biotin and folate (see here and here)
- Especially in the elderly, vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to depression.
- Vitamin D
- Magnesium (see here, here, and here)
- Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA)
- 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin and can also have positive effects, in addition to improving sleep.
- Amino acids
- Ashwagandha can help with stress-related symptoms and depression.
- There are indications that saffron is effective in mild to moderate depression.
It is wise to take these supplements in consultation with an orthomolecularly trained physician or therapist.
Beware of Medication, Particularly Polypharmacy
Medication disrupts natural enzyme systems. When used chronically, it can lead to depression. Polypharmacy, taking multiple medications at the same time, exacerbates this effect. Polypharmacy is often seen in the elderly who are then given ANOTHER pill for depression on top of all the medication, when the very drugs were the likely cause of it.
Because of this dysregulation, long-term medication can prevent nutritional supplements from working properly. You will then need to taper off medication and detoxify the body before you can reap the benefits of nutritional supplements.
Read more about this and other tips in The Hidden Horrors of Psychiatry.
Want to Know More?
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