Treating depression without drugs – Part III

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  1. Bruce’s avatar

    I don’t think grain-fed meat has anything to do with depression. I have had depression back when I was eating junk food loaded with PUFA oils, refined sugars, and bleached enriched flour. I think it’s the amount of PUFAs that is the problem, not the ratio. Omega-3 fats are more prone to oxidation than omega-6, so a little goes a long way. (Only the oxidized derivatives have an effect anyway.) Beyond that, I think there are other problems with the modern diet, like the lack of protein and fat and the excess of highly refined carbohydrates. We need to remove variables not add them. I would want to see a study that removed all PUFA oils, trans fats, refined sugars, and bleached / enriched grains. Then see if there is any depression in that group. I doubt there will be, since most depressed people I know eat all of those foods.

    I would never eat flax oil, canola oil, wheat germ oil, safflower oil, corn & soybean oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, cottonseed oil, rapeseed oil, large amounts olive oil, large amounts of avocados, nuts, or seeds in general. I don’t care for the strong taste of olive oil – macadamia is better. The total amount of PUFAs matters more than the ratio, IMO. A high ratio will cause disease ONLY if it comes with a high amount of PUFAs (e.g. safflower oil). Coconut oil has no omega-3 and it won’t cause any disease, unless it has been partially or fully hydrogenated perhaps.

  2. Chris’s avatar

    Thanks for your comment, Bruce.  I agree that diet is one of the most significant – if not the most significant – contributors to depression.

  3. Gordon Farmer’s avatar

    “Great religious and spiritual traditions from around the world view suffering as an avenue to greater understanding of oneself, life and God. Suffering can be viewed as a signal drawing our attention to issues in our life that need to be addressed.”
    “Spirituality and prayer can help people who are suffering to understand their experience in a more empowering and self-validating context than what is offered by mainstream medicine. When one views their suffering as an opportunity for growth and evolution, rather than as a disease requiring treatment with drugs, it is far more likely that lasting, positive change will occur.”

    I wonder how many people you folks will kill with these two paragraphs. This is not 2008 BC. How dumb can you get.
    You make me sick to my stomach.

  4. Bruce’s avatar

    I don’t agree with the religious content, but what is upsetting about taking control of your own health? Treating problems with drugs and supplements is dumb, IMO. I think it’s smarter to change your diet and lifestyle than use drugs or supplements with potentially toxic effects. Companies don’t make drugs and supplements out of the goodness of their hearts. They sell them for money. Most of the problems wouldn’t exist if people stopped eating an awful diet, sitting indoors all day, and subjecting themselves to chronic stress (including sleep deprivation).

  5. Chris’s avatar


    Such a baseless and obviously ill-informed personal attack doesn’t deserve a response. But on the off chance that you are actually capable of thinking rationally about this, please feel free to provide evidence to support your claims and I will gladly reply.

    I have provided several citatations from major peer-reviewed scientific journals to support my arguments. You have not. You have provided your opinion, which, unless supported by evidence or years of direct clinical experience is not worth much in this debate.

    Your comment seems to suggest that modern treatment of depression (with antidepressant drugs) has saved lives. I challenge you to show me proof of that assumption. On the contrary, I have presented several studies which show that:

    - There is no evidence that antidepressants reduce the risk of suicide or suicide attempts in comparison with a placebo in clinical trials (Kahn et al. 2000).

    - In fact, rates have actually increased in some age groups and in some countries despite increased antidepressant prescribing (Moncrieff & Kirsch 2006), and when antidepressant trials have been re-analyzed to compensate for erroneous methodologies, the SSRIs have consistently revealed a risk of suicide (completed or attempted) of between two to four times higher than placebo (Jackson 2005).

    - Sharply rising levels of antidepressant prescribing since the 1990s have been accompanied by increased prevalence of depressive episodes (Patten 2004) and by rising levels of sickness absence for depression (Moncrieff & Pomerleau 2000).

    - Longitudinal follow-up studies (which study the effects of antidepresants over the long term – not just the 6-8 week periods the clinical trials look at) show very poor outcomes for people treated for depression both in the hospital and in the community, and the overall prevalence of depression is rising despite increased use of antidepressants (Moncrieff & Kirsch, 2006).

    - Over the long-term, people prescribed antidepressants have a worse outcome than those not prescribed them, even after baseline severity had been taken into account (Brugha TS et al, 1992; Ronalds C et al., 1997). No comparable studies exist that show a better outcome in people prescribed antidepressants.

    As I said, if you have evidence or objective information which supports your viewpoint, I’d be more than willing to engage in a debate with you. However, if all you have to offer are personal attacks based only on your opinion or dogma, I see no reason to waste time responding to them.


  6. Chris’s avatar


    In my own considerable experience working with my own depression and that of others, I have found that understanding what is at the root of the discontent is essential to lasting healing. Sometimes the answer is nutritional, but that is not always the case. To deny that our beliefs, thoughts and behavior play a role in the suffering we experience, or that seeking the source of this suffering and then responding appropriately is an important part of healing is to ignore perhaps the most essential aspect of healing from depression.

    One need not be “religious” or even “spiritual” to embrace this. It is simply a matter of being willing to examine oneself and one’s choices, to ask questions, and to be willing to hear and act on the answers. I simply mentioned spirituality and religion because these are two contexts in which these questions have been asked historically. But they could just as effectively be asked on one’s own, by a psychotherapist or by a concerned friend or family member. There is nothing inherently religious about the process.


  7. Bruce’s avatar

    Diet obviously affects beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. Having a stressful environment can enhance those effects. Sitting all day (in work or school) is stultifying and depressing. Basing your life on shopping and mindless consumption is equally meaningless, un-fulfilling, and empty. To quote Eric Hoffer, “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.” True happiness can only come from within. The root of the discontent, IMO, is wanting things you don’t need. To reword Socrates a little, “Contentment is natural wealth. DESIRE is artificial poverty.”

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