SCOTT EATON, MFT
Dr. Richard "Medicine Bear" Cantrell
type of psychological problems require treatment from a licensed professional.
This is especially important in psychotherapy. While a person may find relief
by taking psychotrophic drugs, herbs, or homeopathics, this does not eliminate
the cause of the condition. An expert must determine the cause and orient treatment
towards eradication of that cause.
Always keep your physician and or
therapist advised of any types of natural treatments you are considering. Drug
interactions can -- and often do -- occur between conventional drugs and herbal
remedies. Many times herbal or homeopathic remedies are rendered useless by conventional
medications, and vice versa.
is the most common of the psychological disorders, affecting nearly everyone at
some time or another -- it is a normal emotion and no one escapes an occasional
confrontation with it. It is when depression disables a person to the point he
is not able to conduct his life in the fashion desired that it becomes a problem
which needs treatment. Once treatment is required it becomes, in my opinion, chronic
or clinical depression.
Some people have a very difficult time coping
with anger, guilt or sadness. Most of us can ride out the storm of these emotions
and find ways to cope, but others can't. They lose interest in life and become
incapable of finding pleasure in anything. Time passes slowly for them; they are
angry, irritable and bored, but unable to motivate themselves to remedy the situation.
Some try to sleep off their depression or lie around, waiting for it to go away.
Depression can be caused by anger and aggression turned inward, guilt,
a great loss, behavior learned as a child, use of alcohol or drugs, tension and
stress, upset stomach, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, sugar, yeast in the
body, endometriosis in women, thyroid disorders and many other things. Some people
suffer from seasonal depression in the winter months.
Diet has been
linked to depression. Most of my patients grew up with terrible dietary habits
-- they had high intakes of caffeine, fried foods, sugar, white flour and other
foods that feed yeast in the body. At our clinic we do take a holistic approach
to the treatment of depression and try to cover all bases while we get to the
My advice to anyone who is chronically depressed (i.e., unable
to function due to depression) is to seek competent professional help immediately.
I also offer, however, some basic information about combating your depression.
Begin your healing with the spiritual. All healing must take place at
that level first. If you are not a spiritual person, take the time to learn about
spiritual things or religion. You are missing a wonderful gift, for unless there
is a marriage of the spiritual self and the physical self, life will remain unfulfilling.
Prayer is always the best medicine.
Focus on the positive things in
your life. I will admit that this is easier said than done, especially if you
have never been taught how to focus on the positive. When you first wake up in
the morning, thank the Creator that you are still here and breathing. That is
the first of many positive things that happen each day. I once knew a man who
could not see how well his son mowed the grass because of one piece of grass that
was missed -- he focused on that one blade of grass still standing.
Self-criticism and the criticism of others should always be positive in nature.
Congratulate yourself and others for the good things first. Then address what
needs to be worked on in a positive way. Keeping a journal listing only the good
things that happen each day -- even if it is only one good thing -- will also
help. At the end of the day reflect on the good things that happened and thank
the Creator for them. Everything happens for a reason. When bad things happen,
try to find the hidden reason behind them. Then try to see the good that can come
out of a bad thing.
We recently had a death in our family. A very bad
thing. For years, parts of our family had not communicated with each other. There
had been divorces, and quarrels that had led to ill feelings. The death in our
family pulled everyone back together and now the past has been forgotten. Our
family members are friends again. Life is an education. We can learn from the
bad things that happen to us and apply them in a positive way, but to do this,
you must learn to focus on the positive aspects of everything.
allow your home to have a dark and gloomy atmosphere. Open the curtains in the
daytime and let the light in. Remember -- light is positive and dark is negative.
A dark environment will feed your depression and allow it to consume you with
despair. Turn off the television and get outdoors. Enjoy nature and its many gifts.
Studies have shown that those who spend more time outdoors than indoors suffer
from depression less frequently. If it is a rainy day, its a good time for cleaning,
or exercising indoors. Inactivity feeds depression. Force yourself to do something.
If you enjoy books on horror, violence, or negative things, try something
different. Reading is a great way to combat depression but try to interest yourself
in reading uplifting material that has a spiritual lesson to it and a positive
Force yourself to exercise daily. Exercise balances the release
of neurotransmitters to the brain, stimulates the cardiovascular system, reduces
stress and increases overall health and vitality. Just the fact that you accomplish
sticking to an exercise program will lift your self-esteem and be a vital step
in overcoming your depression.
Change your diet. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine,
tobacco, fried foods, fatty foods, sugar, white bread, white flour and other yeast
feeding items from your diet. Eliminate junk food and foods high in saturated
fats. Make sure you get sufficient protein and complex carbohydrates. Poor diet
interferes with the correct balance of neurotransmitters. Avoid red meat and pork.
Chicken, turkey and fish are fine as long as they are lean and not fried.
People who are depressed often have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Ensure
that you take a good B-complex vitamin -- with B3, B6 and B12 -- each day. High
doses of buffered vitamin C (3500mg a day and up) also seems to help, as does
choline, inositol, lecithin, Gerovital H3, L tyrosine, aslavitol, megavital, calcium,
magnesium, and chromium has also helped my patients.
and herbs known for helping with depression are evening primrose oil, black currant
oil, bee pollen, kava kava, St. John's Wort, passionflower, ginseng, ginko biloba
and gotu kola. We treat all of our patients with a homeopathic constitutional
remedy, which always helps. If you are placed on a constitutional homeopathic
remedy, make sure you check with your homeopathic physician to see if any of these
herbs will decrease the effectiveness of the remedy. Generally, anything with
camphor, caffeine, nicotine and mint will adversely affect a homeopathic remedy.
Other recommendations are to eat fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, as well
as soybeans and their byproducts. Diets too low in complex carbohydrates cause
a deficiency in serotonin levels, increasing the risk of depression. Avoid Tyrosine
and dairy products if you are taking an MAO inhibitor. They may cause high blood
pressure. Have your blood sugar checked. Hypoglycemia has been linked with depression
and many other psychological problems. Avoid oral contraceptives and steroids
if you suffer from depression. Studies have shown that they may decrease serotonin
levels in the brain. Above all, keep your mind and body active and get plenty
of rest. Avoid stress as much as possible. Find an outlet for the stress that
you do encounter.
1998 Richard Cantrell
copyright New Yorker Magazine, 7/23/01