Beat Your Depression

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Archive for the ‘Depression Information’

More about choices and depression

April 03, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Information, Depression Stories, Natural cures for depression 4 Comments →

I would like to elaborate on the subject of choices available to us as a follow on from a previous article relating to choices. There are usually at least two choices that we can make on any subject that we choose to think about [another choice]. We can even choose not to make a choice, and that in itself is making a choice to do nothing.

There is generally a direct opposite to nearly everything that we can think of in life, and many degrees in between. Take, for example, the atmospheric temperature and consider it to be perfectly comfortable. If the temperature increases it will become warm, then warmer until it becomes hot, then hotter and so on until it becomes unbearably hot. If the temperature decreases it will become cool, then cooler and so on until it becomes cold, colder, and then eventually freezing.

The extremes are referred to as being of opposite polarity. An example of this is the axis of the Earth with it’s North Pole and South Pole being at extreme ends of the axis. This is also why the condition where a person may be deeply depressed for a while, return to being contented, and then swing to being deliriously exuberant and unreasonably overconfident [manic], is called “bi-polar disorder.”

This used to be known as manic depression. Between the extremes the person may have passed through being very sad, sad, disillusioned, unhappy, discontented, joyful, happy, very happy, and ecstatic. [Amongst other feelings or emotions]

As it says in the book, “As a Man Thinketh,” we tend to become what we think about. Therefore we have a choice. Do we focus on negative things in our lives or our past and be miserable, or do we focus on pleasant things associated with our lives, including our achievements, no matter how insignificant? We really DO have a choice you know!

Have you ever noticed how it is hard to be depressed when you are happy? Conversely, it is hard to be happy when you are depressed. But you CAN learn several ways how to find happiness. One of the best ways is to focus on being grateful for all of the good things in your life. By doing this, we can re-program our brains into being happy just as we can re-program a computer to overcome a glitch.

If you take just a few moments each day, preferably just after you awaken, to think of several things that you are grateful for, you will be off to a good start for the rest of the day.

You can be grateful for making it through the night, your good health, your cozy bed, your comfortable home, your caring partner, the fact that there is food in the refrigerator, etc. etc. If it is raining you can be grateful for the plants and crops getting a good drink and the reservoirs being topped up with water. If it is sunny you can be grateful for the plants and crops getting good light for growth via photosynthesis.

If you think of your friends you can be grateful for their friendship, and if you happen to think about somebody you do not like you can be grateful that you are not like them. Be grateful for your job if you have one and the fact that it provides you with money to cater for many of your needs. If you do not have a job you can be grateful that you have managed to survive and that you live in a land of opportunity where you should be able to find a job. Your new disposition may help you to get a job over a person who is gloomy or pessimistic by choice [not by nature.]

What about some of the achievements and experiences that you have had to date? Think of some of the lovely sunsets that you have witnessed. Be grateful for your vision. Remember, you won the sperm race to enable you to be born. You managed to beat all of those other sperm to the egg and fertilized it. So you are a winner! 🙂

Even if you have had experiences that you would prefer to forget, be grateful for the fact that you have the opportunity to forge a better future. The list is almost endless if you apply yourself to thinking this way.

Why not write down in an exercise book the things that you are grateful for? Be prepared to buy several more books as time passes as you should fill them up quite quickly once you get the gist of thinking of things to be grateful about. You will be amazed at how powerful this simple exercise can be. If ever you find yourself feeling a little disconsolate you can get out your book(s) and jog your memory into being grateful again.

Another action that you can use to find happiness is to look at yourself in the mirror and smile, even if you do not feel like doing it. Tell yourself that you love yourself and that you are improving your lot in life each and every day. You can even give yourself a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. 🙂 When I did this exercise to overcome my depression I would often sing a little rollicking ditty that I learned a long time ago at school. I am 65 years old and so I must have a good [long term] memory. Here are the words to the ditty that certainly helped to get my days off to a good start:-

“Good morning brother Sunshine!

Good morning sister Song!

I beg your humble pardon if you’ve waited very long.

I thought I heard you knocking.

To lock you out was sin.

My heart is standing open.

Won’t you walk right in?

Good morning! Won’t you walk right in?


Good morning sister Gladness!

Good morning brother Smile!

They told me you were coming. So I waited on a while.

‘Twas lonely here without you.

A weary time it’s been.

My heart is standing open.

Won’t you walk right in?

Good morning! Won’t you walk right in? ”

I have promised to record this ditty and will do so soon when I overcome my self consciousness and pluck up the courage to do so.

Another way to kick start being happy is to listen to your favorite music and, better still, dance to it. This is how the ancient Greeks cured melancholia. Dancing and other forms of exercising, even walking, produce the “feel good” hormone, beta-endorphin.

Or you could adopt the methods used by author Norman Cousins and watch comedy movies to promote good belly laughs. Told that he had little chance of surviving from debilitating illness, Cousins developed a recovery program incorporating Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films.

Why not try all of the above? What have you to lose? Better still, think of what you have to gain!

“You are not alone” E-Course

March 31, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Information 1 Comment →

I notice that many people have signed up to receive the mini course showing that “you are not alone” and that many very famous people have suffered from depression in the past. There are also many suffering from depression now. Just read the newspapers or watch TV for a while, especially the news segments.

It does not matter how well you are doing in life, you can still become overwhelmed by various situations and lapse into depression. In fact take notice of how many “successful people” with their vast fortunes, fame, big houses, flash cars and very attractive partners, have problematical lives and resort to drugs and alcohol for respite. This is often because they are missing the key ingredient which is:- being inwardly happy. That is why I promote the e-book, “How To Find Happiness.”

As they say, “Money cannot buy you happiness.” There are many people in the world who are very poor from a materialistic perspective but extremely rich from a happiness perspective because they have learned to be grateful for the good things of life. It is in their mindset.

I am not suggesting that you cease working on increasing your wealth, because as Mark Twain is reputed to have said, “I have been rich and I have been poor. Rich is better!” In fact you CAN be both wealthy and happy. You can derive a lot of pleasure from giving away money to worthwhile causes.

The good news is that depression can be overcome if you are prepared to be proactive in your recuperation. By opting in to receive this information, and even just visiting the Beat Your Depression blog, you have already shown that you are proactive by taking action to learn more about the condition. 🙂

As I research the phenomenon of depression and related conditions, the more I become convinced that its onset is determined mainly by how we think and what we think about. Therefore, I strongly believe that it can be overcome by changing the way that we think.

The more that I research, the more alarmed I become about the use of drugs to treat the condition, particularly after reading Peter Breggin’s book, “Your Drug May Be Your Problem.” This has goaded me into action to write a book on my findings and beliefs. It is still being drafted at this stage.

If you navigate around our blog you will notice several resources that have been recommended. One is an e-book, entitled Understanding and Curing Depression, that we sell.

This book is of value for general information about the condition and conforms more with the “establishment” thinking about the subject. However, I believe that there is far more to know about depression than is contained in the book and the bonus e-book that accompanies it. If you read my posts you will understand why I am becoming more and more alarmed at the use of drugs to treat depression and similar conditions.

That is why I plan to give a copy of my upcoming e-book to whoever purchases a copy of Understanding and Curing Depression.

What I found to be very beneficial to me when I was personally overcoming the problem was the information contained in the Total Success Library. This library is actually a part of the Rapid Manifestation Package that has an audio recording, a type of self hypnosis that I listen to frequently, and a piece of software that can be used to stream your personalized intentions or affirmations across your computer screen. Rather than me writing about it, I suggest that you check out the contents for yourself. You will find that it can be used in many areas of your life, even if you do not suffer from depression.

I suggest that you also take advantage of the gift of the classic book, “As a Man Thinketh,” written by James Allen, and save it somewhere safe on your computer. Then read it of course, several times, as I suggest in the preamble to this give away.

Another thing that I found useful to turn my life around for the better was to listen to self hypnosis audios that are of a positive nature such as Creative Mind Training For Health and Wealth.

I used, and continue to use, the above set of audios to cleanse, clear, and regenerate my mindset. One thing that I warn against is those audios that contain negative phrases, or phrases such as “I no longer…,” or “I am not afraid of…,” “I release…,”etc. as they can be self defeating by focusing on what we do not want rather than that which we wish to achieve. As an example, consider what you think of when I say, “The dog is not chasing the cat.” If you are like most people, the image of a dog chasing a cat immediately springs to mind. It is better to re-phrase this and say, “The dog and cat are sleeping peacefully on the mat.” Then a different and more appropriate image appears in your mind.

In the past I have returned some self hypnosis audios that I purchased and that promised a lot but have been phrased in terms that I consider, from what I have learned, could actually cause poor mental programming. Our minds are like computers – garbage in, garbage out. Later I plan to produce audios that will encompass messages phrased in very helpful terminology. So keep tuned to the blog and/or keep enrolled in the opt in list. Remember that I shall not pester you or recommend anything to you that I do not believe in or genuinely approve.

I welcome any feedback that you may wish to provide on any of the posts that I write. So please feel free to click on the “comments” tab below and have your say.


February 14, 2008 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Depression Information, Depression Treatment No Comments →

On October 25 2007 I made a post entitled, “What Causes The Chemical Imbalances That Lead To Depression?

I did not receive any real convincing replies as a result of that article and so I have been doing a lot of research on the claims that depression is, more often than not, caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain of sufferers of depression.

The results caused me to have many doubts and genuine concerns about the value and safety of using many of the prescribed medications. In fact, I was made to reflect on the drug, Thalidomide, that was once deemed to be the Godsend for pregnant women to alleviate their pre-natal problems. Unfortunately, there are many people alive today, who will attest to the fact that Thalidomide caused deformities in fetuses.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines ‘Chemical imbalances’ as:-

“Changes in levels of neurotransmitters and other neural level phenomena are hypothesised to be the underlying psychopathology for certain mental illnesses, notably clinical depression and schizophrenia.”

In 1965, Joseph Schildkraut hypothesized that depression was associated with low levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain, and later researchers thought serotonin, another neurotransmitter, might be the culprit.

In addition to depression and schizophrenia, changes in levels of neurotransmitters have also been implicated in anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder). As well as changes in serotonin and norepinephrine, dopamine systems have also been considered. So, while all biology is essentially chemical in nature, rather than being caused by simple chemical imbalances, mental illness is now widely recognized to be caused by complex and, in many cases, as-yet unknown factors.

According to Jaelline Jaffe and Jeanne Segal:

“The misconception the [drug] commercials foster is that the brain somehow develops a chemical imbalance and the result is depression, occurring in a single directional process. In fact, the relationship between brain chemistry and experience is a two-directional phenomenon: Life experience affects brain chemistry at least as much as brain chemistry affects life experience. The ‘chemical imbalance’ hypothesis is not wrong. It’s just not entirely correct.”

Most disorders treated with medication have a hypothesised neural mechanism, but it is important to note that chemical imbalances are not believed to explain all psychiatric differences, nor are medications used to treat all neurological or psychiatric issues.

The chemical imbalance theory, according to critics, is routinely presented as ‘fact’ so often it has become widely accepted as fact, despite having been challenged repeatedly. For example, Pfizer has heavily promoted its antidepressant drug, Zoloft, with ads asserting that mental illness may be due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that “Zoloft works to correct this imbalance.”Without mentioning its own name, Eli Lilly urges viewers to seek treatment for depression, and to visit their website,, because “Many researchers believe depression is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine, in the brain and the body.”

One critic, a psychiatrist mentioned in the book, “Your Drug May Be Your Problem” by Peter Breggin M.D. and David Cohen M.D., is said to have stated that “Biochemical imbalances are the only diseases spread by word of mouth.” Another psychiatrist, Douglas C. Smith M.D., in his praise for the book , stated, ” One hundred years from now, people will read current psychiatric books with the same incredulity we have about blood-letting and snake oil….”

Critics contend that psychiatric drugs are not always efficacious, not always safe, and not necessarily a scientifically sound method for improving mental health. The number of different chemicals in the brain and their unknown interactions limit understanding and increase the likelihood of unforeseen complications. Moreover, critics assert, the psychiatric establishment merely assumes patients who are diagnosed with a given mental illness have a neurological basis, even though behavioral checklists, and not actual neurological measurements, are used to reach a diagnosis.

Psychiatric diagnostic practices in the United States have come under criticism for over-reliance upon these behavioral checklists rather than thorough, whole-body medical testing, and for making decisions based solely on a fifteen minute consultation each month. For example, in a Florida psychiatric hospital study from the 1980s, one hundred patients diagnosed with a mental illness were subsequently given a complete medical exam, after which it was discovered nearly half of the patients’ psychiatric problems were secondary manifestations of an undiagnosed medical problem, such as hypothyroidism mimicking depression.

Even when neurological and neurochemical differences are associated with certain behaviors, the practice of pathologizing these behaviours has been questioned by some. Because neural mechanisms imply a physiological difference underlying mental illnesses, they appear to justify the use of medication in treatment. Critics argue that the legitimacy given to medication by neural mechanisms can lead to an over-reliance on medication. Similarly, the perceived efficacy of medication as a treatment implies an underlying neural mechanism.

Critics also allege that pharmaceutical companies have a conflict of interest when they fund research into biochemical mechanisms behind mental illness and the efficacy of medication at reducing behavior differences. Remember that they can be hounded by shareholders who want quick and lucrative returns on their investments, and the researchers may be swayed to “deliver the goods,” albeit at a subconscious level, to ensure future funding for research.

An important consideration with regard to chemical intervention is the potential for relapsing into depression or other psychiatric conditions when medication is discontinued abruptly or without medical supervision. This point is argued very strongly in the book, “Your Drug May Be Your Problem.” Aside from malnutrition, the only certain means of creating chemical imbalances in the brain is the use of psychotropic chemicals, a category which includes both legal prescription drugs and illegal drugs like LSD or cocaine. Side effects from psychotropic drugs can be significant. Great care must be taken to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms after using psychotropic drugs. Neuroleptic drugs (typically used in the treatment of schizophrenia) are particularly dangerous to withdraw from quickly. Rebound psychosis is common and can leave a patient more unstable than they were prior to taking the neuroleptic in the first place.

So what does all this relatively technical jargon mean?

It’s a bit like the old song, “It ain’t necessarily so” that recommends that we do not necessarily believe all that is being told to us.

This is particularly true with respect to the preaching of the virtues of the use of drugs to combat conditions of the mind, assuming that the cause is physiological. Many prominent psychiatrists argue strongly against this assumption and consider the cause to be psychological and therefore able to be treated by less invasive methods such as cognitive therapy.

If you, or a loved one, suffers from depression or similar conditions, I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the book, “Your Drug May Be Your Problem.” Whilst it appears to be directed at medical practitioners, it is written in lay terms that most people should easily understand.

I know that I weaned myself from using drugs as soon as practical because I could not feel any beneficial effect and was concerned about the possibility of becoming addicted to the drug. I credit my recovery to the information contained in the Total Success Library and listening to good quality self hypnosis tapes, especially the Creative Mind Training set.

What Foods Can Combat Depression, Anxiety and Stress?

December 19, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Information, Good Mood Foods, Natural cures for depression, Overcoming depression, Stress matters 12 Comments →

Perhaps the question should be, “Can foods combat depression, anxiety and stress?” or, “How to use food to combat depression, anxiety and stress?”

There are quite a lot of foods that are said to be conducive to combating depression, anxiety and stress. Psychologist, David Benton, of Britain’s University of Wales has conducted studies showing that chocolate is one of the most powerful mood elevators. Benton says chocolate contains not just serotonin-boosting sugar and mind-soothing fat, but also other chemicals that favorably affect brain messengers [neurotransmitters] controlling mood.

However, Professor Robert Sapolsky [Ph.D. Neuroendocrinology] of Stanford University states, in his lectures on “Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality”, that neurotransmitters are constructed from cheap and plentiful precursors – simple amino acids that you get in your diet in huge amounts. He also advises that they can be constructed very quickly and can be recycled. So it appears that there may be something, other than the composition of mood enhancing foods, that has a beneficial effect.

There is no doubt that most people enjoy eating. We consume a variety of foods and treats, including highly processed “junk foods”. We enjoy eating so much that we may indulge in restaurant meals, often as a special treat to celebrate occasions such as a birthday, a promotion at work, for a romantic interlude, or for no specific reason at all, other than to enjoy the experience. Just think of the many other occasions when we partake of food, including beverages, at social gatherings viz: following christenings, weddings, office parties, and even wakes when we celebrate the life of a departed friend or relative.

The enjoyment of eating can make a person feel good and have a beneficial effect on the mood of the consumer. This increase in feeling happy or contented has a corresponding reduction in the feelings of being depressed, anxious, or stressed. Even believing that certain foods can improve a person’s mood can do just that by virtue of the placebo effect. The placebo effect is the result of how our bodies react to what we believe in, either consciously or subconsciously, even when that is not necessarily the case. The saying, “If you think you can, you can, and if you think you can’t, you can’t,” is quite valid and shows just how powerful our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings (all closely related) can be and how they can impact, in a positive or negative manner, on our bodies.

I believe that any foods that produce an enjoyable feeling may be useful in combating depression, anxiety and stress. So what may be beneficial foods for one person may not have the same impact on another. It is the enjoyment gained from eating that matters most as it is this feeling that triggers our neurons to release neurotransmitters such as seratonin, which is our body’s narural opiate.

Food and drink with a high GI [glycemic index] rating also provide us with a relatively quick burst of energy that can make us feel better.

Unfortunately, the benefits of eating foods with a high GI rating give a quick fix of short duration. The refined sugars and fats are considered to be empty calories as they provide the rapid, unsustained, release of energy. When this energy dissipates a period of lethargy follows. When this occurs you will often get an urge to eat more of the high GI foods to increase your energy levels and replenish feelings of well-being again. Eating low GI food and snacks will provide a gradual release of energy that prevents the “yo-yo” effect, or highs and lows, associated with high GI foods.

It is not only the highly refined foods that have a high GI rating; sodas are right up there with them as sodas invariably have a high sugar content, especially sports drinks.

If necessary, a compromise may be to eat a banana [high GI] to get a quick impact plus a few almonds [low GI] as a snack to obtain a sustained benefit.

Everything needs to be taken in moderation, even natural cures for depression. Take care, as too much chocolate, caffeine, or sodas may result in weight gain that could have the opposite effect and cause depression. Luckily, you can enjoy some chocolate and keep your weight under control as it is claimed that only small amounts are needed to produce the desired effect.

Whilst eating your favorite foods may improve your mood substantially, a shift away from negative thoughts, may be all that is needed to correct the “chemical imbalance” that many medical practitioners quickly blame for states of depression and anxiety etc? You may end up being a happier person without the need to resort to drugs that have dubious benefits and may result in a life long addiction to them!

How the Brain Generates the Human Tendency for Optimism

November 04, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Causes, Depression Information 1 Comment →

 New York University   Research News

Study Reveals How the Brain Generates the Human Tendency for Optimism
Wednesday, Oct 24, 2007

A neural network that may generate the human tendency to be optimistic has been identified by researchers at New York University. As humans, we expect to live longer and be more successful than average, and we underestimate our likelihood of getting a divorce or having cancer. The results, reported in the most recent issue of Nature, link the optimism bias to the same brain regions that show irregularities in depression.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the laboratory of NYU Professor Elizabeth Phelps. The lead author is Tali Sharot, now a post-doctoral fellow at University College London. ……….

“Our behavioral results suggest that while the past is constrained, the future is open to interpretation, allowing people to distance themselves from possible negative events and move closer toward positive ones,” said Phelps, a professor of psychology and neural science. “Understanding optimism is critical as optimism has been related to physical and mental health. On the other hand, a pessimistic view is correlated with severity of depression symptoms.” [more]

[You can learn to program your mind with the information contained in the Total Success Library.]

Take the time. Life is short – George Carlin

November 03, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Causes, Depression Information, Overcoming depression 17 Comments →

What a difference a sad event in someone’s life makes.
GEORGE CARLIN (His wife recently died…)

Isn’t it amazing that George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent…and so very appropriate.

A Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour.

We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less.

We plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete….

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you don’t recommend this to at least 8 people….Who cares?

George Carlin

How true this is!

From the above, it is easy to understand how the pressures of life on most of us, including the rich and famous, can cause so much misery, depression and discontent.

I believe that if we can all follow these recommendations, the problem of depression in the world will diminish considerably. Here is a complimentary quote:-

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

– Leo Buscaglia

What causes the chemical imbalances that lead to depression?

October 25, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Depression Information, Depression Treatment 11 Comments →

The medical fraternity often claims that a major cause of depression, anxiety, and other forms of emotional disorders, is chemical imbalance. However, there is seldom any discussion about what causes the chemical imbalance. I have been searching for answers to this question and so far I have found that there is very little information provided by doctors, scientists, or clinical researchers.

There is a considerable amount of information discussing what the chemical imbalances are and what can be done, medically, to adjust the imbalance of chemicals. However, despite a lot of research over a long period of time, it appears that there are only several theories put forward regarding possible causes. One of these relates to a sustained increase in the production of adrenalin as a result of daily stressors, and a corresponding and compensating reduction in the production of the neurochemicals [or neurotransmitters] such as seratonin and cortisol.

Another theory suggests that disturbed sleep patterns and/or chronic pain cause seratonin to be used quicker than it can be replaced by the body. This leads to a situation where the synapses [the region where two or more nerve cells meet and across which an impulse passes] have insufficient amounts of neurotransmitter in them to allow the passage of complete signals relating to sleep, pain control, and mood control. This, in turn, often results in a snowball effect that compounds the problem.

There are some people out there who believe that pharmaceutical companies may know more about the causes of the imbalances than they are prepared to divulge because it may lead to a downturn in the lucrative sales of their products. Perhaps the tobacco industry’s record caused them to have this slant on their outlook? They may have a point though as I understand that not all sufferers of depression and anxiety etc. have a chemical imbalance; many people do not respond to antidepressants used to compensate for chemical imbalances; and there are times when sufferers respond positively to placebos. In other circumstances it is time that tends to heal the problem.

I believe that the medical profession really is trying to get a much better understanding of the problem. viz:-

“A study at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston may lead to a better understanding of how antidepressants like Prozac work — and how to make them more effective.” 2005

“Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Eric Gouaux at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and colleagues Satinder K. Singh and Atsuko Yamashita published their findings August 8, 2007, in an advance online publication in the journal Nature. ….. The researchers began their studies with the goal of understanding how TCAs interact with their clinical target, sodium-coupled neurotransmitter transporters. These transporters mop up neurotransmitters from the synapse, the junction between neurons. Neurotransmitters are molecules that neurons use to communicate with neighbouring neurons. TCAs work by inhibiting the reuptake of neurotransmitters by neurons.

Disorders such as depression, epilepsy, autism, or obsessive-compulsive disorder can result from impaired function of sodium-coupled neurotransmitter transporters. Thus, these molecules are the target of a variety of drugs, including TCAs.

It has been a great challenge, however, to understand precisely how these molecules function and interact with drugs. The problem, Gouaux said, is that the transporters found in humans are not amenable to study.”

Another person has remarked that life would be miserable if we did not have some chemical imbalances that affect our moods. When you think about this there is some merit to the statement. Without mood swings, ostensibly brought about by chemical imbalances, we would all be like the legendary Zombies, or living dead. We would not enjoy the natural highs of endorphin, the body’s opiate-like hormone, brought about by singing, dancing and exercise. Nor would we be able to display sorrow or grief when it is appropriate to do so. And if we did not have our down days we would not have a yardstick to measure against and appreciate the good days.

We are all probably aware that it is our thoughts that generally prompt the secretion of the various hormones. For example, if we think that our safety is being threatened, we quickly secrete adrenalin and its cohorts to equip us for fight or flight by closing down nutrient supply to some organs, such as the digestive system, and re-directing the nutrients to the muscles, heart and lungs until the threat is gone and our system can return to normal.

When we anticipate [think] something favorable is about to happen, we produce hormones that put us in a good mood; and thinking of a sumptuous meal causes us to salivate in anticipation of partaking the meal.

This, together with my personal experiences, convinces me that, if our thoughts influence our body’s endocrine glands [those that excrete the hormones and saliva etc.] then, by controlling our thoughts we can influence the secretions of hormones, and the timing of such secretions, to our advantage. Cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT] is a relatively new method of treating problems associated with depression and anxiety etc. and is certainly a step in the right direction. This, and other forms of mental programming, will be the subject of much of my discussion in future.

In my case, I applied the information that I gleaned from the “Total Success Library” and listened to relaxation recordings to hasten my recovery from depression.

Note: Since I originally wrote this post I have been searching for the answer to the question that I posed. My research has caused me much to be alarmed about, especially when a prominent psychiatrist has stated that chemical imbalances of the brain is the only disease spread by word of mouth.

There seems to be a considerable number of psychiatrists who disagree with the position taken by the pharmaceutical companies that produce anti-depressants and the many doctors who prescribe them. One such psychiatrist is Douglas C. Smith, M.D. from Juneau, Alaska, who stated “One hundred years from now, people will read current psychiatric text books with the same incredulity we have about blood-letting and snake oil…”

I was particularly concerned to read about the association of anti-depressants and suicide, attempted suicide, homicide and attempted homicide by people who take anti-depressants, plus the fact that during the first 12 years after its introduction, there were 40,000 reports of adverse effects from Prozac submitted to the FDA.

Expect to read more about these concerns in future posts.

Symptoms and signs of depression

October 01, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Facts, Depression Information, Depression Symptoms, Manic Depression 1 Comment →

Symptoms are the things that a person feels. For example a person may feel pain from a burn or may feel dejected because of a bad experience.

Signs are what others observe. Examples of these are when one person observes another person exhibiting the signs of apparently being in pain for some reason, or when they notice that somebody is not being their usually bright self with a positive outlook on life.

If you feel that you may be suffering from depression then you will need to check out your feelings as well as your actions.

If you are concerned that a loved one may be depressed, you will need to observe their behavior and make judgments about how they may be feeling. It may even be advisable to ask the person how they are feeling. However, you may get a vague response and even a sharp retort. Your ability to use tact may be put to the test.

Before we proceed, we need to realize that short term feelings of “the blues” are quite common and do not necessarily constitute a state of depression. Things such as, the death of a loved one, a failed relationship, the loss of a job, or the disappointment of missing out on a promotion, etc., can make us feel sad for quite a while. However, time tends to heal most wounds and we generally pick ourselves up and get on with life again. It is when a reasonable amount of time has passed, and the condition has not improved, that we need to consider the possibility of depression.

Let us look at the symptoms of depression:-

  • Low self esteem.
  • Inability to sleep well at night. Managing to get to sleep well but often waking in the early hours and unable to return to sleep.
  • Oversleeping or wanting to sleep during the day.
  • Constant feelings of fatigue.
  • Being unable to enjoy life as well as you used to. [Chronic low grade depression].
  • Not being able to function to the best of your capabilities.

The symptoms mentioned above are typical of the depression condition known as dysthymia, or as the ancient Greeks called it, ill humor. It usually has a slow onset and persists for two years or more.

With more severe cases of depression [clinical, or major, depression] some of the following symptoms will also be noted:-

  • Change of mood from being ill humored at the beginning of the day to being much better at the end of the day.
  • A change in appetite. Appetite may decrease and result in weight loss in many cases, especially in older people. In other cases binge eating may occur and weight may increase.
  • A lack of interest in hobbies and other interests. You just cannot be bothered doing what you used to enjoy in the past.
  • A loss of libido. Sexual activities diminish or cease.
  • Feeling sad or crying for no apparent reason.
  • Having feelings of shame, guilt and/or worthlessness.
  • Feeling vulnerable or anxious.
  • Feeling overwhelmed, or that you are lost in a fog or in a deep chasm.
  • Inability to make decisions or to concentrate on a subject.
  • Becoming withdrawn from society, including family and friends. Wanting to be alone and then often feeling rejected when you are left alone.
  • Being easily agitated and angry.
  • Failing to look after yourself [appearances, hygiene, well being etc.].
  • Considering, or causing, self harm. This can culminate in suicide in severe cases. Statistics suggest that 80% of suicides relate to people who were suffering from depression.

The above sets of conditions are known as unipolar conditions.

When a person experiences extreme mood swings from being “on top of the world” to being “down in the dumps” this is known as bipolar condition and was previously called “manic depression”.

Depression can be cured, and because suicide is a real possibility you need to seek help very soon if you are suffering from it. Talk to somebody about your feelings because a problem shared is a problem halved. I am sure that you will find a sympathetic ear without too much trouble.

Make sure that one such person is a doctor. One factor associated with depression is often an imbalance of chemicals within the body. Doctors can provide quick relief with the modern medications that are available nowadays. More on this, and causes of the imbalance, will be in future articles.

If you have a loved one whom you consider to be in need of help, you will have to use a lot of tact and discretion when broaching the subject. Perhaps drawing their attention to this article may be useful.

The first step to recovery is to acknowledge that help is needed and that it is readily available. Remember that when a person has reached the bottom of a pit the only direction left to go is up.


Check out the Recommended Resources section for more detailed information.

Placebo effect may influence depression treatment

September 20, 2007 By: John Category: Depression Information, Depression Treatment, Recovery from depression 1 Comment →

It is interesting that some sufferers of depression do respond favorably to placebos. This suggests that with many sufferers the problem is associated with emotions and low self esteem rather than a chemical imbalance. See the article below:-

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – It cannot be assumed that an antidepressant has lost its effectiveness if a patient relapses while continuing on the medication, because the medication may never have been effective in the first place, according to study findings reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

In the study, the majority of relapses occurred in patients who had never been true responders, Dr. Mark Zimmerman, director of outpatient psychiatry at Rhode Island Hospital, told Reuters Health.

Some patients with major depressive disorder, similar to other medical disorders, respond to placebo, Zimmerman explained. In clinical practice, everyone is given an active drug, so it’s not clear if a patient who responds has improve because of the drug or because of “nonspecific” effects, such as the placebo effect.

The placebo effect is a sort of “power of suggestion” response in which a patient begins to feel better because he thinks he has received treatment (and doesn’t know he has been given a placebo). These responses are usually short-term.

Similarly, relapses that occur during a continuation phase of treatment could be because of a true loss of response or they could be because an initial placebo response has worn off.

To investigate, Zimmerman collaborated with Dr. Tavi Thongy on a review of four studies involving 750 patients. These were continuation studies of new generation antidepressants.

Using two different methods of estimating relapse, the researchers found that the majority of relapses occurred because the patients were never true responders to the drugs.

This suggests, Zimmerman told Reuters Health, “that a message can be conveyed to patients who have repeatedly improved on medication and then lost its benefit that perhaps they are more capable than they think in bringing their own resources to bear to improve their depression.”

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, August 2007.

I firmly believe that the information and guidance that I gleaned from the package entitled Total Success Library helped me far more than the medication that was prescribed for me. It also helped me in other areas of my life.

Ten Rules for Being Human

September 12, 2007 By: John Category: Attitude, Depression Information 19 Comments →

This is another golden oldie that found its way into my email inbox on a couple of occasions.

I have included it here as I feel that it is good for us all to have a reality checkup from time to time. Reading this certainly makes me sit up and take notice of some of the negative self-talk that I bombard myself with occasionally and encourages me to eliminate such negativity from my thought processes.

Ten Rules for Being Human

By Cherie Carter-Scott

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.”
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this.


When I was overcoming a bout of severe depression, I found that, in addition to learning as much as I could from books such as Understanding and Curing Depression, I also gained extremely valuable insights into my outlook on life, and how my attitude plays such an important role, from the package entitled Total Success Library.