Depression is one of the worst afflictions anyone can suffer because no matter what the outer circumstances of life, the EXPERIENCE of life is dark, painful, hopeless.
Words can’t describe the awful pain that is depression. It’s torture…
The reason I’m so desperate to speak about this is that the truth about depression is just not common knowledge.
Depression, like so many other health conditions, is treated as if something suddenly went wrong with your brain. Anti-depressant prescriptions are taken en-masse…
These drugs attempt to alter the chemistry of your brain to try to FIX a lack or excess of brain chemicals like “serotonin.” The SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) anti-depressants for example aim to stop serotonin being lost from the brain and therefore keep you happier. But there’s a real lack of evidence that these drugs help, and even short-term benefit seems likely to be the placebo effect.
Drugs can only ever treat symptoms
The short-sightedness of this whole approach makes my blood boil. I feel angry about it. Very angry. Because MILLIONS of people are being duped into thinking that they need drugs which can only ever MASK an underlying problem…
Does it ever occur to doctors and scientists to ask just WHY people’s brains do not have enough serotonin? What is the true UNDERLYING CAUSE?
And if you agree to take tablets, and perhaps you feel you can’t cope without them, where now is the motivation to address the underlying causes — IF you knew there were some, IF you knew what they were and IF you knew how to change them. But who knows about this? — Hardly anyone is teaching this stuff. It’s not common knowledge.
Something like “not enough serotonin” is merely a SYMPTOM of a dysfunctional biochemistry, a less than optimal state of health brought about by decades of contributing LIFESTYLE factors.
True causes of depression
I can tell you that overwork, over-stimulation (coffee, tea, cigarettes, chocolate), too much stress, too much alcohol, not enough quality sleep, lack of exercise and CRUCIALLY, poor diet are all contributing factors. Some or ALL of these are the TRUE underlying causes of depression.
Decades of sub-optimal lifestyle is the true cause of depression and folks are being FOBBED OFF with tablets.
And like I said, if you fob people off with a crutch like a drug, they will just get used to using the crutch, get comfy with it.
Drugs should be a last resort where a person is so ill that they are incapable of reason, of hope, of self-motivation, of understanding.
You need the TRUTH, not drugs
You need to know the truth about depression and its causes so that you are EMPOWERED in your life.
Depression is merely a SYMPTOM and your body works as a beautiful synergistic whole.
It’s an INSULT to mask the beautiful harmonious functioning of your body with the sledge-hammer action of drugs where lifestyle changes will not only CORRECT the condition but return your body to a state of balance and your mind to a state of joy.
I suffered 13 years of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) and I can tell you without a shadow of doubt, that depression is a symptom of a body in trouble.
To mask SYMPTOMS with drugs is not the way to go because it DOES NOT ADDRESS the true causes.
The power of lifestyle changes
I remember when I started making lifestyle changes, my brain literally started to wake up again. I felt popping sensations in my brain and I felt like someone just switched on the light! Your diet especially, has an amazingly powerful effect on mood, and it’s not only about nutrients, but about how food alters your hormones, which in turn, not only affect mood, but powerful factors affecting health or disease outcomes in the future.
The other thing you need to be aware of is that if you take a drug, then your body will adapt to the presence of that drug. It will become dependant on that drug. And ALL drugs have side effects. How could they not… they are SLEDGE HAMMERS.
I’m just trying to give you options here. My aim is just to get to the truth. Sometimes a drug is necessary to buy you time to sort your life out, but you need to see the big picture — understand how to correct the true causes of depression.
And I believe wholeheartedly that you were never meant to get depressed. Your body isn’t incapable of joy. Something did NOT JUST BREAK.
Depression cause and effect
There are causes. It’s simple cause and effect. And the cause of depression is decades of sub-optimal lifestyle. Call me a liar.
So please, if you’re suffering the “black dog” as Winston Churchill put it, I want to give you hope, to give you a reason to believe you can be free, that you can be happy naturally again.
Lifestyle has INCREDIBLE power to alter your mood.
A multi-pronged strategy is the way to go
Everything affects everything else!
All SIX lifestyle elements I recommend you pay conscious attention to have a powerful influence on your mood:
- Drugs (get rid of)
- Live in the moment
Start a walking program, eat in the way your body loves, get plenty of sleep, de-stress, learn to relax, drink lots of pure, clean water, learn how to let go of compulsive thinking, spend time with loved ones, get more organized. Do all these things and see for yourself.
“A few months ago it felt as though I was losing control of my thoughts and was slowly slipping into the beginning of a deep depression.
But having put your advice into practice, I can honestly say I’m happy now… Once in a while I’ll have have some unwanted thoughts but it’s improved 99%! You really helped me. You seriously did.
I’ve actually told a lot of people about how your advice helped me. My fiance followed your diet and got all the benefits you said a person would get. Thanks and hope you’re doing great!
Happy Matt =)
p.s. I can’t believe how much this worked.”
— Matt, USA
Believe in the incredible power of lifestyle, get into good habits to make all these things effortless and work with your doctor to reduce medication as the clouds clear and the sun comes into your life again.
Everyone deserves to be happy! Happiness is your natural state and if you’re not happy, something is out-of-whack and needs correcting. Happiness is the birth right of everyone. Don’t settle for a gray life.
Joy is for you, for all.
Michael Kinnaird is the author of Happy Guide, the result of a 20 year exploration into what works for health and happiness.
Read Chapter 1 “The Happiness Secret”
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18 thoughts on “How to beat depression without prescription drugs”
Thank you Dr Kinnaird for your attentive and rapid response. It is really appreciated. I need to give myself a break as well sometimes and take a few steps back looking at the bigger picture. I will take your dietary requirement tips seriously and give this a go and have downloaded the free first chapter of happy guide. I’ll let you know the outcome in a few months time.
Yes, please do let me know how it goes. I’m not a doctor by the way. And unfortunately your doctor is usually not the best person to go to with chronic problems — they’re not trained in the true solution to these issues, which is always lifestyle. They can be very helpful for diagnostics however, like checking vitamin levels, blood lipids, infections etc.
If you want professional help, naturopathy or Functional Medicine is more likely to pinpoint the true causes and corrections for you. It’s a shame that naturopathy isn’t the first port of call and not allopathy, and that is because of money. Pills are good business. For example, statins and anti-depressants alone are worth billions in business, amazing when you consider they don’t actually work, they make the situation worse, and that the true solutions are hidden from people. I call it scandalous.
The truth is that we all need the SAME lifestyle, and the body is always trying to be well. So our approach is to identify what that lifestyle is, and move into it. That in itself is a challenge, but the rewards are immense… energy, health, happiness and life-long freedom from disease.
Hi Dr Kinnaird
I’m from the UK and went to the GP in May this year complaining about memory loss. The doctor sent me for a series of blood tests which came back all clear, presu.ably to see if I had no symptoms of physical illness and was therefore diagnosed for depression or mild symptoms of it. I was gobsmacked! It never even crossed my mind I would have been depressed. I was recommended to take SSRI and go on a course of cognitive behavioural therapy. I refused the ssri because my wife used them several years ago and heard about horror stories of addiction etc. I wanted to seek a herbal alternati e to SSRI and went to.local herbal medecine shop and bought L -5 hydroxy tryptophan or 5-htp, started an NHS course of CBT which was done over the phone which I didn’t like as I found it was impersonal. I requested private referral through my medical insurance and saw a specialist psychiatrist who ,incredibly, concurred with the GP after a 20 minute examination. Perhaps the 300 pounds he received from AXA was ample enough incentive?
Anyway I have since june been following a course of private 1 to 1 cbt with a practitioner. I haven’t actually felt any better but actually started to believe I had or was starting to develop depression. I started smoking again drinking more coffee and not doing any regular exercise. My diet was not particularly bad as we do a lot of home cooking but my intake of sugar did increase a lot such as more chocolate sweets. I believe this is perhaps the biggest issue and find it hard to break out of this cycle. I still caanot account however for the memory loss?
It is also important to understand my personal circumstances. I don’t have classical depression but I have a busy work schedule commute 3 hours a day and look after myhouse and young children feel increincredibly exhausted and feel streesed and anxious a lot. Especially when I am driving to work in traffic.
Any tips would be appappreciated
Hi Mitch, well as I say in the article, it’s really all about lifestyle and getting it right, taking manageable steps in the right direction.
You mentioned coffee and sugar, and these are certainly good to reduce. Depression is caused by inflammation, something which is only recently been fully understood, the serotonin thing it turns out, doesn’t stand up well as a hypothesis, although there are things you can do to help your brain make serotonin, like having a carbohydrate only snack before bed. Try a banana or a potato with a little butter as recommended in the book Potatoes Not Prozac. The idea is that insulin removes amino acids from the blood, but not tryptophan, which is then able to get into the brain and be converted to serotonin. This certainly does work. I tried this out by having a carb only meal of salad, rice and fruit and felt quite euphoric and calm afterwards. So a smaller “hit” every day might work well for the long-term.
Having roots in inflammation, as most chronic diseases do, one of the critical things to address is diet and lifestyle. I would suggest immediately removing all vegetable oils from your diet which are high in omega-6, limiting nuts and seeds, and use only butter, coconut oil, lard, beef fat (tallow) (Tesco sell it as beef dripping), olive oil, palm kernel oil, macadamia nut oil. These are low omega-6 oils. Also limit chicken and other poultry and focus more on fish, shellfish and red meats like beef and lamb. And eat oily fish, say 150 g, 3 or 4 times a week.
Also, I recommend cutting out all grains apart from white rice, and use potatoes and sweet potatoes more often. So all your carbs come from rice, tubers, and fruit. Grains can be a nasty key that cause a cascade of undesirable effects in the body, so it’s best to avoid them. Also, mainly stick to full fat dairy but not milk….cream and yogurt etc, I use goat’s. Butter is okay.
So to combat inflammation, there’s lots to get right. I recommend reading Happy Guide to start with to get the big picture and the right mindset, to get ultra clear that our health is the result of many variables that continue for years on end, either positively or negatively affecting health outcomes.
Luckily for you and me, the true picture of what creates health is now crystallizing, as science is more available to free-thinkers, and communities and health leaders have sprung up to piece it all together. Getting your daily routine nailed and optimized is the key to life long freedom from disease and lots of energy to enjoy life.
All this new info is a LONG way from being played out in the NHS. It could be 20 years before enough textbooks are updated with today’s science, and as a result, chronic disease is treated with lifestyle intervention to address the true causes, which a multi-factored. One pill is never going to solve anything, it never has. Personally I would not take tryptophan… that is still the pill for an ill mindset, and the body expects nutrients to come packaged with cofactors.
Now the issue with lifestyle changes, which are the true place to look to correct, is that it is not enough to just know WHAT to do, though God knows it has taken me a long time to pin that down because the health information industry is a mess of confusion. It’s also critical to know HOW to change. Happy Guide has all that covered. If you attempt too much in one go, it will cause a biochemical storm that will mean you will feel worse not better. So you need to take solid steps and allow your body to stabilize with the new normal, then step again, till you have the best lifestyle for long-term health and happiness.