Do you feel stuck in depression, sadness, or anxiety? Or are you just a little confused, overburdened, or unhappy?
Maybe you are one of the 25 percent of Americans who experience a major depression in their lifetime.
Or maybe you are taking one of the 189 million prescriptions written for depression, at a cost of $12 billion a year, and wondering if there is another way.
Perhaps, like most people who take antidepressants, you find that they don’t work, lose their effectiveness over time, or give you only slight relief from symptoms.
Or maybe you quit your antidepressant regimen after a few months, like 60 percent of people who take them do, because of side effects such as weight gain, loss of sex drive, or worse.
Are looking for a way to reconnect to your life’s meaning and purpose and emerge from a life that feels half lived? Are you looking for a way to overcome the depression that’s been haunting you?
If you are, I guarantee you are not suffering from a Prozac deficiency. In fact, I want to challenge you to consider that depression, as we understand it, does not really exist.
“Depression is not a disease…” That is how the remarkable new book, by James Gordon, MD, begins. It is called “Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression.”
James Gordon, MD, was recently given an award by the Bravewell Collaborative for being one of the most pioneering medical thinkers of our time.
Ideas that can change a culture come only a few times in a generation. “Unstuck” is such an idea. It provides an answer to the leading cause of disability -- depression -- that until now has had very poor solutions.
So why does Dr. Gordon say that depression is not a disease?
Because it is actually a sign of underlying imbalances that need to be addressed if we are to be “whole and happy.”
Dr. Gordon has been working in the field of mind-body medicine for nearly 40 years. I have come to know him well, after first meeting him when I testified before the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He was appointed the head of the commission. His vision for a new medicine is strong and clear.
He has treated patients, taught healthcare professionals about mind-body medicine and nutrition, and helped so many people “heal the wounds of war” and trauma by working in conflict-ridden places like Gaza, Bosnia, and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. His work, through his Center for Mind Body Medicine, has given him remarkable insight into the causes and nature of our suffering.
“Unstuck” is a guide for healing your body, mind, and soul. In this book, Dr. Gordon helps us understand why we may be out of balance and guides us to the origins of depression.
But he also helps us discover how trauma, chronic stress, lack of meaning, and the stories we tell ourselves about life can all make us depressed. And he helps us uncover the hormonal imbalances, food allergies, heavy metals, yeast infections, and nutritional deficiencies that can also lead to depression.
These problems are the real causes of depression. This is why Dr. Gordon says that depression is not a disease. Even though the symptoms of depression may be the same or similar in people diagnosed with the “disease”, the causes that lead each person to become depressed may be very different.
This concept is also the core principle of Functional Medicine and UltraWellness.
Dr. Gordon not only explains this concept, but provides practical tools to help us address each of these issues that effect the health of your body, mind and soul. He gives you:
* Simple, effective meditations to enhance the biology of your brain and body, making it easier to deal with and transform the beliefs and fears that inhibit and overwhelm you.
* Clinically tested practices that use words, images, drawing, movement, yoga, and dance to help you move through depression.
* Detailed, practical plans for using food and supplements as well as the ancient and powerful methods of Chinese medicine to balance your physical and mental functioning.
* Ways to make the world’s spiritual wisdom and spiritual practices an ongoing part of your healing journey.
* And, most importantly, ways to tailor each of these approaches to help restore balance to your unique, individual life.
Dr. Gordon has many stories in his book of the journey people take to get unstuck and become whole and happy again. They reminded me of a recent patient I had who had been given the diagnosis of “depression” -- but the last thing he needed was antidepressants. In this particular case he didn’t have trauma or stress; it was his biology that made him depressed.
J.P. was an 18-year-old young man who showed up in my office with fatigue, depression, anxiety, 27 pounds of weight gain, and acne, which had worsened over the 4 years before he saw me.
He also couldn’t tolerate the cold and was tired in the morning. He had canker sores, cracking at the corners of his mouth, acne on his face, chest, back and shoulders, and seasonal allergies. He also had trouble falling asleep. His anxiety was increasing, and his depression got worse every winter.
He had been treated with an antidepressant called Paxil for 4 years. It made him crave sweets and starchy food and caused his weight gain. He had also been taking antibiotics every day for 2 years for his acne, which led to a low-grade yeast infection. Of course, he ate the typical junk and processed food teenage diet, topped off with lots of sodas.
When we examined what was really causing his depression, we found many nutritional deficiencies that have been proven to cause depression.
These included severe vitamin D deficiency. He also had severe omega-3 fat deficiencies, vitamin B6 deficiency (which is needed to make serotonin), and vitamin B12 deficiency.
He also had hormonal imbalances, with a low-level autoimmune thyroid problem as well as very high levels of insulin from all the sugar he consumed. Both of these have been linked to depression.
He also had many food allergies, including gluten and dairy. Again, these are linked to depression in many cases.
So I did what I always do, which is the basis of treatment of all “diseases” -- take away the bad stuff and add the good stuff.
We got rid of gluten and dairy from his diet. We got him to stop taking the antibiotics that caused yeast overgrowth in his gut.
We got him off his junk food and sugar diet and encouraged him to eat whole foods.
I also helped balance his thyroid with a low dose of thyroid hormone, which helped his mood, fatigue, and cold intolerance. And I gave him nutritional supplements of vitamin D, B6, and B12, as well as a multivitamin and fish oil.
After two months, his energy, depression, and cold intolerance all got better. His acne, cankers sores, and cracks at the corner of his mouth went away. He lost 15 pounds and his carbohydrate cravings were gone.
So just as Dr. Gordon shows in his book “Unstuck,” this young man clearly didn’t have the disease “depression” but simply a number of imbalances that, once corrected, took care of all his physical and emotional symptoms.
If you are suffering from depression or just feel stuck, unhappy, or that you are not living a whole life, give yourself the gift of Dr. Gordon’s book, “Unstuck.”