Is Depression A Prozac Deficiency?

Hey guys! This is an article from Life Tools, but it bears repeating so I am posting it here as well. Enjoy! 🙂


Depression is the leading cause of disability affecting more than 1.1 billion people worldwide. According to Mark Hyman, M.D, “More than 40 million people have anxiety, and more than 20 million people have depression”. Millions of people each year use pharmaceutical antidepressant medicine for their depression. Yet, more people than ever are now depressed. Mark Hyman M.D. goes on to explain that one in ten Americans takes an antidepressant, and the use of antidepressants has tripled in the last ten years. In fact, the rate of antidepressant use among middle aged women in their 30s and 40s is extremely high. One out of every four middle aged woman is taking an antidepressant. That is 25% of middle aged women. With so many people taking antidepressants to treat their symptoms, you would think that depression rates would be going down. If antidepressants are as effective as they say they are, then why aren’t people getting better from them? Why do these people still feel depressed when they are supposed to be feeling better? And why isn’t anyone asking how effective these drugs truly are?

To start with, we all know that there are some undesirable side effects to pharmaceutical antidepressants. Some cause dry mouth, blurry vision, constipation, sedation, lightheadedness, and sexual disfunction. They can also slow the rhythm of the heart, and can therefore result in death in the event of an overdose. Other antidepressants can cause a potentially deadly increase in blood pressure that is accompanied by a severe headache. Yet others can cause nausea, headaches, anxiety, restlessness, weight gain, fatigue, loss of mental abilities, and trouble sleeping. On top of this, eighty six percent of people taking antidepressants experience unpleasant side effects. These unwanted side effects have been justified by proclaiming that they are worth-it because the drug is effective in curing depression. Unfortunately, this is also a misconception. According to Mark Hyman, M.D., most patients who take antidepressants either don’t respond or have only a partial response. In fact, success is considered a 50% improvement in half the symptoms. And this minimal result is achieved in less than half of the patients taking these medications. This is a pretty dismal record in anyone’s book. Unfortunately, the public still believes in the effectiveness of these drugs because drug companies selectively publish studies on antidepressants. The New England Journal of Medicine stated that the pharmaceutical companies publish nearly all the studies that show benefit and almost none of the studies that show they don’t work. This kind of underreporting and deception warps our view, leading us to think that their antidepressants work to cure depression when realistically they don’t. They’re more like a band-aid.

Is depression a Prozac deficiency? Is ADHD a Ritalin deficiency? Is Alzheimer’s an Aricept deficiency? Of course not. Yet the use of these drugs is skyrocketing. According to trends in psychotropic medication use among U.S. adults, psychiatric or psychotropic medications are the number-two selling class of prescription drugs, after cholesterol medication. The rate of increase in the use of psychiatric medications in the last decade is huge (such as 1,000% increase in the use of stimulant medication in children). Yet, as we discussed above, these medications don’t really work. These drugs don’t cure the problem, they cover over the symptoms. So why not look for alternatives? There is always more than one way to do things in life, and fixing your psychiatric difficulties is not an exception. In fact, I am arguing that maybe all of these mental illnesses are actually the noticeable results of deeper issues in the body. There is an answer to brain problems, but it is not more drugs or psychotherapy. Although these tools can be a helpful bridge during your recovery, they won’t provide long-term solutions.

The answer to fix our mental illnesses is in our bodies. Brain function is directly influenced by what you eat, and by nutritional deficiencies, allergens, infections, toxins, lifestyle, and stress. Mental health disorders such as “depression” and “anxiety” are simply names of common responses our bodies have to a variety of insults and deficiencies. Unfortunately, our current healthcare follows a 100% accuracy, 0% validity system. It provides a perfect way to describe symptoms, but has nothing to tell us about the underlying biology for what causes them. For example, being labeled ‘clinically depressed’ explains all of the symptoms of someone who is depressed, yet it does not explain why they are depressed or how they became depressed. Their depression may have been the result of a multitude of causes, for example, “folate or B6 or B12 deficiency, low thyroid function, brain allergies (reactions to food that can take many forms, including mood disorders, ADD, autism, insomnia, and just plain brain fog), an autoimmune response to gluten, that inflames the brain, mercury poisoning, abnormal proteins called gluteo- or caseomorphins from poorly digested food that alter brain chemistry, brain inflammation from a hidden infection, blood sugar imbalances, low testosterone or other sex hormones, a deficiency of omega-3 fats, or adrenal gland dysfunction from excessive stress, etc.” (Mark Hyman, M.D.). All of these body issues can result in depression. How can you fix anything before you know what is wrong? You can’t – yet that’s what modern medicine does today by diagnosing the symptoms and assigning a drug. In reality, mental illness subjective for each person. All psychiatric illnesses are results and symptoms of deeper physical problems.

The future of medicine is personalized treatment, not “one size fits all”. The outdated method of naming a disease and then assigning a drug to fix it clearly isn’t working. This problem is a direct consequence of the myth of diagnosis. Doctors are trained to name the disease, and then assign a medication to ‘treat’ it. But if the causes of a disease can be radically different for each person, why should we believe that a “one size fits all” prescription of medications would work to treat those underlying causes of the disease? For example, two people might go to a doctor both complaining of a bad headache. One gets headaches because she drinks too much wine. The other gets headaches because he keeps getting hit over the head with the wine bottle! They both have the same symptoms of a headache, but they have very different reasons for their headaches – and therefore, very different treatments. Just giving these patients Motrin or pain medication will not solve the underlying problem. One needs to drink less and the other needs to stop getting hit in the head!

Medications can be lifesaving and are incredibly useful if given in the right dose, for the right reason, at the right time, for the right reason. The problem in medical practice today is that their only tools are medications. This means that the best or right treatment for any particular condition may be ignored, because all that doctors have studied and used are medications. Our goal in medicine should be to find the right cure for each person, without prejudice, whether it is a drug, a nutrient, diet change, detoxification, a hormone, exercise, etc. For example, patients might just need a vitamin to cure a B6 nutritional deficiency causing their depression instead of a harsh antidepressant drug.

We need a completely different approach to address mental illness. It starts with your lifestyle and your body.This includes living a physically active life with social interaction and quality relationships. It also includes optimizing nutrition, balancing your hormones, cooling off inflammation, fixing digestion problems, detoxifying your body, boosting your energy metabolism, and calming your mind. In essence, it basically means that it is time to get healthy. This country is so unhealthy that we don’t even realize how bad we were feeling until we feel better again. If you keep your body healthy by doing these things, and also live a life that makes you feel happy, you will be healthy.  You will not be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, etc. because you are taking care of your body, mind and soul. This is the holistic approach to treating mental illness, and it is extremely effective – especially compared to the harsh drugs used to “treat” these disorders. This approach addresses the root causes of your mental issues and heals you from the inside out.

If you are suffering from some kind of mental illness or difficulty, you should consult a high-quality holistic or naturopathic doctor who can help identify exactly what you need to do to fix the underlying problem, not just the symptoms. They also will be able to refer natural solutions to you for your depression, anxiety, stress, and much more. There are so many amazing natural supplements to help with mental illness and depression that are much more effective than pharmaceutical antidepressants and have fewer side effects. I also suggest using Life Tools as a resource. We are a community first and foremost. Our mission as a community and company is to help each other and the world become naturally happier and healthier to live a higher quality life. We have a Life Tools Community on Facebook where you can learn more about natural health and happiness for less stress, better sleep, and a better life. We also offer natural products that help people become happier and healthier in their lives, such as Peace of Mind Natural Blend, which is a natural supplement for less stress and better sleep. It is a harmonious blend of herbs and vitamins that also replenish your nutritional deficiencies and help you feel good while doing it. Like Dr. Mark Hyman says, “You can sit on a tack and take all the pain killers you want, but it is still going to hurt until you remove the tack”. Peace of Mind Blend removes the tack. Between recharging your body with the vitamins you need and the herbal comfort from our special blend, Peace of Mind Natural Blend will help you permanently reduce (or even eliminate) stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as increase your energy and greatly improve your sleep. Many people have enjoyed taking the Blend as a safer and more effective natural alternative to harsh antidepressant drugs.

Depression is not a Prozac deficiency, and it is time that we start finding real solutions – not just band-aids – so that we can become our happiest and healthiest together. Here at Life Tools, we want to address this disconnect to help make our community and our world a naturally happier and healthier place. If you would like to help with our mission, then please join us and share this article!

 

Life Tools

Live Natural, Live Happy

 

Sources:

Demyttenaere, K. WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium. 2004.

Hicks, MD. 50 Signs of Mental Illness. Yale University Press, 2005. pp. 104.

Hyman, MD. The Ultramind Solution. Scribner, 2008. pp. 11, 42, & 47.

Paulose and Ram, R. “Trends in psychotropic medication use among U.S. adults.”

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf, vol. 5, 2007, pp. 70.

Turner, H. “Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent

efficiacy.” N Engl Med, vol. 3, 2008. pp. 60.


I think that this post could help thousands of people realize that defeating depression for good is an option if they use natural, holistic principles. I have been wonderful proof of that. Please feel free to share this article with others and let’s make this world a better, happier, and healthier place!
To living your happiest life,
-Alex

:) How to Literally Smile Your Way Out of Negative Feelings & The Art of Body Language (w/ Pictures & Examples)

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Smile! It’s Friday 🙂

How often do you find yourself smiling? Next time you feel grumpy, stressed, or down, try forcing yourself to smile for 3 minutes. Doing this will noticeably increase your mood and your happiness.

On a more scientific level, what happens is this: When you smile, you are changing your physiology by partaking in positive body language. It turns out that your physiology directly affects your psychology (brain, thoughts, mood, etc.) and therefore, the positive body language of smiling sends messages to your brain that are in direct contradiction to your unhappy feelings. The reason to smile for a consecutive 3 minutes is to continue to strengthen this process happening in your brain until your negativity is overridden. 🙂

To double the strength of this exercise, smile for 3 minutes in front of a mirror. By doing this, we are activating one of our powerful senses: sight. When others smile at you, it brings on feelings of openness, warmth, and a greater sense of happiness. It is also very easy to smile back. By using a mirror, you are recieving all of these benefits from yourself while compounding your own efforts to efficiently boost your mood. So smile more, and enjoy a higher quality & more relaxing life! Oh and remember to spread the love and smile at other people too!!

To triple the strength of this exercise, practice more forms of positive body language while smiling. The more the merrier. Here are some examples of positive body language (these are all just free stock photos I found on the internet for examples):

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The boy in this photo has excellent positive body language going on. This particular pose (with both hands up in a “victory” type of stance) is scientifically proclaimed to be embedded in our subconscious brain as an action we do when we succeed at something great, or just feel really good.

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Great one to do while smiling at yourself in the mirror for 3 minutes straight like a crazy person. Might as well look even crazier, right? 🙂 This one will make you feel more important and more self-confident, but it only works in front of the mirror or if someone else is doing this action to you. 

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Hands on the hips helps you keep a good overall posture, regardless of whether you are standing or sitting during this exercise. Good posture is also good body language and therefore it will help you feel happier as well. 

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Arms outstretched and open to the world. Opens up your body and lungs to take deeper breaths (which is good for you, and is a topic for another post someday) and this pose helps you feel more relaxed thankful. 

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Hands on the head is a good one to feel more relaxed as well, along with more confident. 

 

 

Hre Are some examples of body language that leads to unhappy feelings (and what NOT to do during the smiling exercise):

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Curled up and closed off. This will make you feel worse than you already do if you are in a state of negativity. Bad.

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Bad posture, hunched over, looking down, not smiling, and looking small in the way that he is sitting – which in turn, of course, makes you feel smaller as well. Also bad.

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Better, as she is smiling, but crossed arms is a sign of defensive behavior and closing off from interaction. Unless you are cold, doing this pose is just going to make you feel more insecure and defensive toward others instead of open and relaxed. 

As you can see, smiling and positive body language is really important to your general happiness. Notice yourself slumping in your chair, or looking down a lot? Those types of body language poses will not help you feel better. Luckily, the body language you use everyday can be changed. It is just a bad habit, so all you need to do is change your habits and replace your bad body language habit with a good one! My Article on changing habits can help you with this.

So smile more and share this article with anyone you think would find value in it! The more we can get people to smile, the happier this world will be as a whole 🙂

 

To your highest quality life,

– Alex

What is happiness? Are You Happy?

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Here is a picture of me looking happy. Truth is that when this photo was taken, I had been fighting depression for about 7 months. I was feeling particularly down that day because I felt like I was making little progress toward defeating depression. It took me a while, but I did end up getting out of depression for good (and 100% naturally) by mid 2013. I can confidently say that I will never fall back into depression again. 🙂

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Truth About High School. Although I wrote this book for people in high school, there is a lot of valuable information in the book for anyone of any age. So without further ado, let’s get into it! 🙂


…What is happiness and are you happy?

Happiness is an “inside job” many people say. Which is true, of course. You don’t find lasting happiness in objects, places, or tons of friends. It all must start with you. Happiness is the end result of having positive emotions like inner peace, love, compassion, joy, etc. You come to these emotions by doing what fulfills you, what excites you, and what you are passionate about. You also can get these emotions from spending time with the people who are closest to you and who you really care about. These are the ones who will always be there for you no matter what. Who are these people in your life?

If you are unhappy or constantly negative it is time to reconnect with your happy and positive side. The happy life is one where positive emotions dominate. So by simply enhancing positive emotions, or experiencing them more frequently, you can become a happier person. BUT you need to get these frequent positive emotions through the things and people that fulfill you, or your happiness will be short lived and inauthentic.

Even life circumstances only contribute about 10% to your life’s happiness. This includes getting what you want in life, such as becoming a billionaire or getting married. So if getting what you want doesn’t give you that much lasting happiness, then what does? The answer: appreciating what you really have and being happy within yourself. If you want to be truly happy, a major part of happiness is gratitude and positivity. The happiest people:

  • feel and express gratitude even during tough times in life
  • stay in the moment as much as possible
  • enjoy the simple pleasures of life
  • don’t let unavoidable ups and downs disturb their inner peace

How happy are you? Stop right now and seriously ask yourself this question. If you aren’t sure how happy you are, don’t worry. Happiness is pretty tough to measure. It may help to rate your happiness level on a scale of 1 to 10. Try out this set of questions that can also help you determine how happy you are.

1. In general, I am:

Not happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very Happy

2. Compared to others, I am:

Less happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 More Happy

3. Some people are generally happy regardless of what’s happening in life. To what extent does this describe you?   

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

4. Some people are generally not very happy. Although they aren’t depressed, they never seem to be as happy as they could be. To what extent does this describe you?

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

5. I smile:

Hardly ever 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very often

If you look at the numbers you circled, it will give you a very broad understanding of your happiness level. You could always average these numbers too if you want another way to look at it.

If you got a low score on these questions, then you may be depressed. Take this quiz to find out. This quiz was created by Carol Landau, who has a Ph.D. in Depression. I don’t know if I would have ever realized that I was depressed or gotten out of depression if I hadn’t stumbled upon this quiz during my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to include it in this book because I hope that it helps you like it helped me. Even if it only helps one person, I’ll be happy. So let’s take the quiz!

To be diagnosed with depression, you have to feel extremely sad or have lost interest in life, and you must experience 4 out of the 7 following symptoms every day and for at least two consecutive weeks:

– Increase or decrease in weight or appetite without conscious dieting

– Insomnia or excessive sleepiness

– Agitation or lethargy and difficulty getting out of bed

– Loss of energy and fatigue nearly every day

– Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

– Difficulties concentrating, thinking or making decisions

– Recurrent thoughts of suicide.

Scientifically, if your mood is constant and lasts more than two weeks, that’s a sign that you might be slipping into depression.

According to Lifescript, which operates the leading website for healthy living, more warning signs for depression include:

  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or self blame
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Now, there is a difference between grief and depression. Mourning the death of someone close to you is an exception to the two-week rule. For the first month or two, it is typical to have symptoms similar to depression, such as unrelenting sadness, frequent crying, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, and weight loss. But if it continues for longer than this, with no signs of improvement, then the grieving may have turned into depression.

If you are depressed, or if you would like to know more about depression, don’t wait to get help. Your condition will only get worse. But be careful when getting help. It always amazes me how many people think they know what depression is, and that they can solve it for others when they haven’t even been through it themselves! If they haven’t gone through it personally, then they don’t understand. I promise you this. I learned this the hard way when I was getting out of depression myself. If you think you are depressed, even if you aren’t completely sure, please please please do not wait. It is important to take action and start getting out of depression as soon as possible. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you can get out of it!

Trust me, I have been there. It is a dark place, and it is very difficult to see the light. But when you get a glimpse of light, hold onto it and don’t let it go. Build on it until there is no more darkness. You can do it! If I can do it, then you can too. I believe in you. I know that you have what it takes to be happy again and to get out of depression for good. And, strangely enough, once you have completely overcome the challenge of depression for good, never to fall back into it again… your past depression becomes a gift. How? That is a discussion for another book which I am currently writing, so stay tuned. 🙂

If you would like to be happier, you must take time to consistently develop your inner qualities. Every minute you have a choice of where you focus your attention. The more you relax, try your best, and allow life to unfold, the more you will get out of life and the happier you will be. When your mind starts spiraling into negativity, stop yourself. The more you do this, the easier it will be and the more control you will have over your own thoughts. Eventually, you will be able to decide what you want to think about and what thoughts you want to let pass through your mind. Notice the good things in life. Pay attention to the positive things and be an optimist. Understand what makes you happy, and appreciate yourself. Choose to be happy!

“As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, external facilities or conditions will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality, a calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life. Achieving a genuine sense of happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook, your way of thinking, and this is not a simple matter. In taking care of your physical body, you need a variety of vitamins and nutrients, not just one or two. In the same way, in order to achieve happiness, you need a variety of approaches and methods to deal with and overcome the varied and complex negative mental states… It is not possible to accomplish that simply by adopting a particular thought or practicing a technique once or twice. Change takes time.”

–Dalai Lama

So, what about you…

How happy are you?

Did you just find out that you are depressed?

Do you have a success story?

Feel free to share in the comments. We are a community here and we support each other. 🙂

To your greatest happiness,

-Alex 🙂


Odds & Ends:

  • There is now an Instagram page for this blog’s lifestyle! If you would like to  surround yourself with happy, healthy, and wealthy aspects of your dream life then don’t hesitate to follow @lifetools_official  I promise it will be worth it! 🙂
  • If any of you would like to contact me directly there are two ways:
    • One: Leave a comment on this blog. I will see it 🙂
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