by Laurie Lynch, ND

 "We are living in an epidemic of depression", according to psychotherapist Richard O'Conner (Undo Depression, p.1),   "Everyone, will at some time in their life be affected by depression -- their own or someone else's.   An estimated 35-40 million Americans living today will suffer from major Depressive Illness during their lives. For each person directly suffering, three or four times that number of their relatives, employees, associates, and friends will also be adversely affected. Of those 35-40 million afflicted, a substantial percentage will commit suicide" (

  •   "Depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than ,,,$51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills.
  •   Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers -- over a million -- are clinically depressed. The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23% p.a.
  •  15% of depressed people will commit suicide.

"Depression will be the next largest killer after cancer and heart disease by 2020 -- and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease. (Bob Murray, PhD  and Alicia Fortinberry, MS , 2005, Depression Facts and Stats)

What is depression?
According to Dr. Murray, 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness".  "Everyone experiences variations in mood -- transitory blues, disappointments, the normal grief that accompanies the loss of someone you love. But a severe or prolonged depression that interferes with the ability to function, feel pleasure, or maintain interest is not a mere case of the blues. It is an illness". (a physical illness)  "Depressive Illness is among the most common and destructive of illnesses prevalent in the United States today. In addition to major depression, many people suffer from manic depressive illness (bipolar disorder) which is characterized by radical mood swings from severe depression to exaggerated, inappropriate elation" (About

I.  The first step in overcoming depression is to recognize if you have it.  "Some people do not admit sadness or guilt, instead they withdraw and hide from society" (Balch, p151).

What are the symptoms of depression?
Symptoms of depression include: despair, guilt, fatigue, poor concentration, significant weight loss or gain, loss of interest in life, "
insomnia or sleeping for excessive periods of time, (anger, irritability), loss of appetite or a ravenous appetite, headaches, backaches, colon disorders, and feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy....loss of interest in things around them, ...incapable of pleasure,... time passes slowly. ...  Many think of death and consider suicide" (Balch, p151)..  

Most people think only of treating the symptoms of depression while the underlying physical causes continue to worsen. Since completely eliminating causes takes a few months, I will share with you some fun, helpful ways to temporarily overcome the symptoms of depression.

  •  NLP techniques – (1) look up whenever you feel sad, (2) hum circus music in your mind, (3) make your perceived source of fear, anger, or hurt appear ridiculous and humorous in your mind.

  •   Exercise – Studies have shown that exercise works as well as or better than antidepressants, if you eat the right blood sugar-regulating foods before and after exercise.

  •   Humor – watch comedy movies, make jokes.

  •   Laughter therapy –Force yourself to laugh for as long as it takes to feel the joy of laughter.

  •   Hypnotherapy and Self hypnosis teach you techniques to control your moods and help you sleep at night.

However the best way to eliminate depression is to eliminate the underlying physical causes. 

II.  The second step in overcoming depression is to understand the underlying causes of these problems.
Most people think of the causes of depression as circumstantial, such as bad relationships, an unhappy childhood, abuse, or financial pressures.  Many tend to blame their parents, their spouse, or their job for their depression. However, if our physical coping mechanisms are working properly, we may feel momentary sadness, but
 not long term clinical depression.  We can learn to deal with intermittent problems and still remain relatively happy.

What are the underlying causes of depression?

  •   Improper diet. - "Chronic depression has been brought on by our modern diets and lifestyles. Since we created it, we can eliminate it" (Raymond Francis, THE DEPRESSION EPIDEMIC, BEYOND HEALTH® News)

  •    Nutritional deficiencies

  •    Fungal, viral and bacterial infections

  •   Glandular malfunctions such as hypoglycemia and thyroid problems

  •   Chemical food additives (MSG, food dyes, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors)

  •   Allergies

  •   Indigestion

  •   Genetically engineered foods

  •   Clogged and coated intestinal tract                                                                                                                                                              .

  •   Hormonal and brain chemical imbalances –" Researchers have demonstrated that it results      from biochemical imbalances in the brain" (About )..                                                                 

  •   Lack of exercise

  •   Serious injury or illness

  •   Prolonged stress

In a Wellness Consultation, I use iridology, which is a fun, entertaining way of guiding my questioning to get an idea of the specific underlying causes for each unique individual, and then I write a list of these causes with the foods and herbs that help eliminate these causes and nourish the body back to health.

What are the standard medical treatments for depression?  Standard treatments are inadequate, according to Dr. Murray.

  •  Antidepressants (particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors {SSRIs}) work only as well (or less) than placebos. Government (FDA) warnings highlight concerns over the efficacy and use of antidepressants in children. ...The BMJ (British Medical Journal) recently reported they found no scientific evidence whatsoever that SSRIs work for preschoolers (or for anyone under eighteen)" (Murray).  SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil (Aropax), Luvox, and Zoloft, have recently been revealed to have serious risks, and are linked to suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors" (Murray) "Many research and case studies demonstrate a link between antidepressants and suicide and other violent behavior" (PROZAC Panacea or Pandora by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 280).    In Health and Nutrition Secrets, Dr. Russell L. Blaylock writes, "It is also known that these medications increase brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which, in high concentrations, can also act as an excitotoxin." When antidepressant drugs raise serotonin to an excitotoxin level, the brain reacts in ways similar to mental illness.   

"Dr Stuart Donovan and colleagues published a crucial article in the British Journal of Psychiatry on  2,776 patients taking SSRIs who were treated over two years. They found a "relationship between taking SSRIs and all forms of deliberate self-harm - including overdose, attempted overdose, hanging, gassing, laceration, deliberate road traffic accidents, head banging, swallowing non-medicines - much higher for SSRIs than for the older tricyclics" (PROZAC Panacea or Pandora by Ann Blake Tracy PhD, page 15.) "In all the cases of school shootings, the kids responsible for the violence were taking SSRI medications, which are known to produce suicidal and homicidal "side effects" (Health And Nutrition Secrets by Russell L Blaylock MD, page 79) "Studies indicate that serotonin, which is targeted by most antidepressants (SSRIs), is not as much a factor in depression as the long-term presence of stress hormone cortisol" (Murray).

WELLBUTRIN XL (a different type of antidepressant) may cause seizure. Taking more than 450 mg/day increases the chance of serious side effects. Wellbutrin XL is approved only for adults 18 years and over. ...It could cause worsening depression, thoughts of suicide, or sudden or severe changes in mood or behavior, especially at the beginning of treatment or after a change in dose.  Wellbutrin could also cause a variety of harmful side effects such as cardiovascular problems, gastrointestinal problems, dermatological problems, genitourinary problems such as impotence, arthritis, and neurological problems (PDR, p1308).

  •   "Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has an 80% relapse rate in the long term" (Murray).

What are the safe, natural remedies for depression?
"The fact that both our brain and our body are made from foods suggest that our thoughts and our actions should both respond to changes in nutrition.  Physical substances can affect perceptions, moods, and thoughts, and the behavior that flows from them.  Drugs- both pharmaceutical and street – prove that." (Dr. Udo Erasmus, p. 356).  “Foods have chemical effects far beyond supplying energy.  Some act as strong drugs, others have weaker effects; but taken together in a diet, foods help shape entire personalities.  Some foods act as antidepressants, some help induce sleep, some stimulate creativity, some induce mystical states of consciousness." And some cause fatigue, depression, anger, aggression, and violence. “If a person takes a drug that affects his mood and behavior, his personality will eventually change.  The drug effects of foods… similarly modify the personality….A consistent diet of a particular food with relatively weak chemical action can have additive effects” (Schwartz 2, 4).

III.  The third step in overcoming depression is learning how to eliminate these causes with safe natural foods and nutrients by :

  •  Substituting healing foods for the harmful foods.

  •  Correcting nutritional deficiencies.

  •   Nourishing the damaged glands with the right nutrients so they can heal themselves.

  •   Killing infection with specific fresh herbs.
  •   Avoiding chemical food additives and cleansing them from the blood and tissues with the right safe, time proven herbs.
  •   Eliminating allergies by eliminating the underlying causes.
  •   Improving digestion.
  •   Cleansing the bowels
  •   Exercising – a scientific study showed that exercise was more effective at relieving depression than the drug, Zoloft
  •   Practicing stress and depression reduction techniques.
  •  A Wellness Consultation gives an idea of the underlying physical causes, instructions on how to eliminate theses causes, and information on the right foods and nutritional supplements that help nourish the mind/body back to health and happiness.

Since both our brain and our body are made from chemicals we ingest, inhale, or touch, changes in these chemicals can change our health, thoughts, attitudes, moods, and behavior, as drug research has shown.  Our body and brain function best when supplied with the right plant chemicals in the right balance from natural whole foods, while man-made chemicals upset that delicate chemical balance and adversely affect our health, moods, perceptions, and behavior.   

The chemical effects of foods shape entire personalities.  Some foods act as antidepressants, some help induce sleep, some stimulate creativity, some induce mystical states of consciousness, and some cause depression, fatigue, anger, aggression, and violence. Foods that have been shown to be helpful in relieving depression include: whole grains (contains B vitamins, protein, and complex carbohydrates to help regulate blood sugar); garlic (contains calcium and fights infection); baked potato, tofu, pineapple, pomegranates, and bananas (contain L tryptophan); kelp (contains all minerals and trace elements); mangos, limes, olive oil, avocadoes; hemp seed oil, flax seeds, sun flower seeds, sesame seeds, and nuts (contain essential fatty acids); green and cabbage family vegetables( high in magnesium); legumes; celeriac (celery root); and raw honey (aids serotonin production in the brain).

Here's one of my favorite recipes for a calming, comfort food.

4 large POTATOES, baked, cooled, diced with skins on                    1 grated CARROT                                    4 stalks CELERY, diced                                     1 LEEK or RED ONION, sliced                                                        4 RADISHES, sliced                                 1 Tbsp. CELERY
SEED                                    1 cup CELERIC, grated                                                                     1 GREEN PEPPER, minced                       ½ cup fresh green PEAS                               Mix veggies with enough mayonnaise substitute to taste. 

6 oz. drained, pressed TOFU                                                              1 & 1/2-2 Tbsp. LEMON JUICE               2 T. cold pressed
Olive Oil                            1/2 tsp. BRAGG'S AMINOS                                                              Dash CAYENNE PEPPER (optional)        1 tsp. RAW HONEY  (optional)               Blend until smooth.              

IV. The fourth step in overcoming depression is to figure out how to implement these changes.

  •  A Wellness Consultation with Laurie Lynch, N.D. provides information on the specific foods, nutritional supplements, and herbs that are most effective for each individual's unique needs, a schedule that shows how to properly space out  meals to improve energy and moods, and how to combine foods to aid digestion, plus 30 pages of good health promoting recipes.  A gradual change is usually more readily accepted, and easier when dining with other people who like the healthier foods and who offer encouragement. Make healthy meals fun; be creative!

  •   Hypnotherapy and Laughter Therapy with Laurie Lynch, N.D., CHt. is very helpful in quickly relieving the symptoms of depression., as well as finding and dealing with any underlying emotional or circumstantial causes.

 Start now on the path to health and happiness!

Call Dr. Lynch at the Living Well Health & Education Center, (910) 426-5159.

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      Copyright © Laurie Lynch, N.D., 2008-2011