Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Are New Treatments for Depression Right Under Our Nose?

“The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.” - Edith Wharton
Yogic breathing, a phone app, and laughing gas may be some of the best new remedies for depression.

Some interesting pilot studies in 2014 are providing hope for the future of depression. Curiously, these new possibilities all involve the mouth and nose. Breathing a certain way, speaking a certain way, and inhaling nitrous oxide all may have potential in reducing symptoms and breaking the cycle of depression.

Continue Reading


Sidestepping Depression Stigma

According to the mental health charity Mind, one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. These figures aren’t too dissimilar to those for cancer; it is estimated that more than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

Despite these statistics regarding the prevalence of mental health issues, they haven’t been addressed with nearly the same attention or support as physical illnesses. This could have to do with the stigma surrounding mental health.

Continue Reading


Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Reasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way
~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

Continue Reading


Depressed? You Should Be in Therapy & Taking an Antidepressant

If you're like most people with depression, you probably should be engaging in two simultaneous treatments -- some type of psychotherapy combined with an antidepressant medication. That is, if you have moderate to severe depression and you've had it for less than 2 years.

So says yet another study confirming what we've now known for decades... The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that you can expect full recovery from such a depressive episode when you employ the full double-barrel of depression treatment.

Yet most people don't -- they opt for one or the other, but not both at the same time. In making this choice, most people are short-changing themselves... And their chances at recovery from depression in a shorter period of time.

Continue Reading


5 Medications or Supplements that Made Me More Depressed

The more medications and supplements I try in an effort to minimize my symptoms of depression and anxiety, the more I realize that every edible item you place in your mouth has a risk associated with it. Even the natural ones that are supposedly made from cats’ claws, wild yams, or some organic plant. Moreover, you need to read about its potential side effects and inform yourself before you place the thing on your tongue, because chances are your doctor won’t be well-versed in all the strange reactions it could cause.
Continue Reading


How to Deal with the Side Effects of Your Meds

When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago, the first medication I took was called Abilify. It was a new drug, one that was supposed to protect against metabolic issues like gaining weight.

It would’ve been fine but it had a nasty side effect no one told me about -- the constant, restless feeling of needing to move. I couldn’t sit still and I was so uncomfortable that I’d take miles-long walks every day just to ease the feeling. I felt like I was about to jump out of my skin.

Continue Reading

Defeating Depression with a Pill

There was literally a time when patients suffering from depression used to talk about their problems. But times have changed and now talk therapy is becoming a rarer form of treatment in favor of psychotropic drugs.

A pair of studies, which ran from 1998 to 2007, tracked the use of antidepressants versus psychotherapy to treat depression among inpatients. Both were a followup of sorts to similar research done a decade earlier which saw a doubling in the amount of outpatients treated with antidepressants for this population. From 1987 to 1997, the percentage of patients prescribed antidepressant medication rose from 37.3 percent to 74.5 percent.

Continue Reading


The Importance of a Support Structure After a Mental Illness Diagnosis

When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago it was like walking in a fog. I was lost in my delusions, I was confused about what was happening to me and I was trying to grapple with what exactly reality was.

My family was suffering too.

They had no background with mental illness and no frame of reference about what to expect with it.

I had asked for help a few times but they just thought my skewed thinking was a result of smoking marijuana and that once I stopped everything I would be fine. It didn’t click for them until after my first major episode, when they took me to the hospital and I was finally diagnosed.

Continue Reading


5 Mistakes People Make When Managing Their Depression

When you’re treating any illness, making mistakes is inevitable. After all, making mistakes is how you learn, grow and get better.

Depression is a difficult illness, which colors how you see and feel about yourself. So, if you find yourself making the “mistakes” below, try not to judge yourself. Rather, view these mistakes as stepping stones, as signposts that lead you in a more helpful direction.

Continue Reading


The Process of Love Addiction Withdrawal

It is well established that when a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, they can experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Less is documented about the reality of physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms from love and sex addiction, yet they are no less real.

I see clients who are in withdrawal from love addiction and are struggling with symptoms indicative of a very real physical and emotional experience.
Continue Reading


When Depression Becomes Depressing

"I am larger and better than I thought." ~ Walt Whitman

In the movie "All Is Lost" with Robert Redford, the vast expanse of the never-ending sea could serve as a metaphor for stretches of life when there seems to be nothing on the horizon but more depression and inevitable despair. The increasingly futility of his efforts to survive also can be compared to treating depression as a losing battle, considering the over 120 million sufferers worldwide and counting.

In his latest book, Out of the Blue, Bill O’Hanlon makes a valuable contribution to turning that tide. In his opening dedication he writes, “Let me reassure your soul that there is a way out.”
Continue Reading


Women Taking Antidepressants: Improve Sexuality with Exercise

One of the most common complaints related to taking antidepressant medications is their impact on one's sexuality. For the most antidepressants prescribed today, sexual side effects are often significant -- and troubling (in a way quite different than depression is).

I mean, it's one thing to think, "Great, this medication is helping alleviate my depressed mood." But in the next breath, you have to admit, "My sex drive has gone out the window. I just have no interest in sex any more." And let's admit it -- sex is a pretty important component of most people's romantic relationships.

That's why a recently published study may provide some hope.

Continue Reading