Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

There’s a Best Time to Talk to Your Therapist — And That Time Is Specific to You

You’re likely aware that your energy and your mood shift throughout the day. Have you ever noticed you also have preferences for certain activities at certain times? You like to wake around the same time in the mornings. Exercise feels best at the same time, day after day. Your appetite follows a daily pattern, too, as do your desire for sex and physical intimacy.

The body’s bio rhythms regulate much of how we feel and what we do. The bio clock that keeps these rhythms in sync runs a little differently from one person to the next. These individual differences in bio time result in preferences for morning or evening activity, or something in between. (That’s why you like to rise with the sun and your partner hits the snooze button five times. Or vice-versa.)
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

9 Steps to Treat Depression Naturally

Ever since I started an online community for treatment-resistant depression -- depression and anxiety that don't respond to psychotropic medications -- I’ve been inundated with mail from desperate people who have tried as many as 30 to 40 different kinds of antidepressants, and feel no relief.

I repeatedly hear from family members of folks who have tried everything, and are not getting better. I sense the utter frustration and despair in their words, and it pains...
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

10 Ways to Cultivate Good Gut Bacteria and Reduce Depression

We are all born with genes that predispose us to all kinds of things -- in my case, most of the psychiatric illnesses listed in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

While we have some control over the way our genes express themselves or “turn on” -- a new science called epigenetics -- we are more or less stuck with our human genome. But we are by no means permanently attached to a diagnosis of Major Depression Disorder (if that is what Mom and Dad kindly handed down).

Each of us also has a complex collection of bacteria living in our guts -- our distinct microbiome -- that also has genes. And THOSE genes we can maneuver in any way we want.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Employment as an Antidepressant

The ads pushing pills are everywhere. It's difficult to avoid images of what we're supposed to believe happiness looks like. A pill a day keeps depression away.

I wish it were so simple.

For many of us, a pill a day keeps other things away. Enjoyable things, necessary things, even normal body processes. For some of us, the side effects from these pills are too much to handle, their ill effects negating any good the pills may do.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

10 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack

“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination,” said the 19th century writer Christian Nestell Bovee.

As everyone who has ever experienced a panic attack knows, there is nothing imaginary about the way you feel. I've tried to convince my husband on countless occasions, in the middle of an attack, that I was dying. Many people I know have driven to the emergency room convinced they...
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

The Surprising Role of Nutrition in Mental Health

If you’ve been reading my blog for a month or more, you know that I have found nutrition to be a powerful force in my recovery from depression. Since 2008, I haven’t responded to medications or have had only a minimal, partial response, so I have been on a mission -- for myself and for the millions of other people with treatment-resistant depression -- to find other, drug-free ways to lift debilitating depression.

Recently I have been following the research of
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

How the Media Affects Body Image

Body image is the way we perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror. We imagine ourselves to look and act a certain way, even though we may look and act differently to those around us.

Someone has a positive body image if he or she is attuned to the reality of his or her physical shape and size. This person fully understands his or her weight, the form of his or her body (from curves to wrinkles), and the way his or her body moves and functions.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

A Recipe for Recovery: Ingredients for Good Mental Health


I believe mental health self-care starts with the right medication. The right medications are crucial for recovery. Personally, I have realized finding the right combination of drugs really makes the difference between being well or unwell.

Medications, while imperfect, are the leading treatment for mental illness and could make the difference between being high-functioning or going through a lot of pain. There are a few principles that help when choosing to take medication. Do not go off prescribed medication without consulting your doctor. Psychotropic medications are powerful, with serious side effects. Withdrawal can cause, at the very least, a flare in mental health symptoms.

Secondly, when making medication changes, work with a doctor, do it slowly and pay attention to the warning signs of relapse. Third of all, do research on medications. Know the side effects, in particular how to detect them and how to reduce them. 
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Know What to Expect When You Love Someone with Bipolar Disorder


It's no one's fault.

I was 18 years old, pregnant, scared, and lonely when I met my now-husband. We became best friends, and two years later he married another woman and had a baby. Fast forward six years: we were madly in love and engaged, then married.

One year after that, my husband came home after work, sat down at the kitchen table, and told me he wanted a divorce. I refused, and not very nicely. A few months after that, he was diagnosed with 
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Healing with Nature

If you have ever tried tending a garden or plant, you probably have experienced both joy and frustration, as in life. Nature offers many examples of our human spirit, and how to navigate ourselves, relationships and change. Many great writers and philosophers have echoed nature's wisdom and ability to heal. Tuning into nature allows us to cultivate the following:

Patience.
We are so hard on ourselves about where and who we should be in life. We often forget that we have our own seasons of development and change throughout our life cycle. Do we expect newborns to dress or feed themselves? Of course not; we know they are not there yet in their growth and development. If a loved one became disabled due to disease or accident, we would appropriately adjust our expectations of their growth and development. Start with what you know and meet yourself where you are, just as nature does.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Aromatherapy: Can Essential Oils Relieve Depression?

For nearly 6,000 years essential oils have been used for therapeutic purposes. A number of ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used them for cosmetics and perfumes as well as for rituals and spiritual reasons. Oils are documented by the Greek physician and botanist Pedanius Dioscorides in the first century in his five-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine, De Materia Medica.

Fast forward to the early 1900s, when French chemist
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