- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
For those suffering depression but reluctant to take chemical antidepressants, Natural Prozac: Learning to Release Your Body's Own Anti-Depressants provides an alternative (note review of Nature's Prozac above). Joel Robertson (Peak-Performance Living), aided by health writer Tom Monte, advocates a "lifestyle approach" to treating depression. Suggesting that the majority of people fall into two categories of personality (Satiation or Arousal), Robertson describes the characteristics of each, then outlines a program of activity, diet and attitude that will naturally balance brain chemistry to lead to a sense of well-being.
In the blink of an eye, your brain interprets every experience you have and responds physically, intellectually, and emotionally, sending you a message that is at once infinitely complex and as simple as a single thought: "I feel good" or "happy" or "sad" or "safe" or "afraid" or "depressed." All your memories, abilities, talents, weaknesses, and potential as a human being lie within your brain. Everything you have ever experienced and learned —indeed, your very identity—is recorded in the tissues of a threepound sphere that is really neither very pretty nor very big.
When you think about all the jobs your brain performs—well, your brain can get tired just thinking about them. A short list doesn't come close to being representative, though it does provide a basis for our awe. The brain is the regulating center of the body, interpreting billions of bits of information received from the body and your environment and then offering a staggering array of biological, intellectual, and emotional reactions too numerous and complex to name. The brain is the seat of consciousness, that state of awareness that tells us who we are, where we are, and what is happening around us. The brain is the receiver and interpreter of the senses. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell—no matter whether these stimuli come from within the body or outside it—is recorded and understood by the brain. `The brain controls all the involuntary actions that are responsible for maintaining life within the body, suchas your heartbeat, nerve function, hormonal activity, immune function, assimilation of oxygen and nutrition, and elimination of waste. Every conscious and unconscious act that you perform is initiated by your brain. The brain is the seat of all intellectual activity. It also mediates all your emotional experiences and instinctive drives, such as hunger, rest, sleep, touch, sex, and companionship. And the brain is responsible for regulating your moods, including joy, hope, and depression.
The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine defines depression as "feelings of sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, and a general loss of interest in life, combined with a sense of reduced emotional well-being." Other authorities state that depression is associated with sleep disturbances, with loss of concentration, energy, appetite, and activity, and with withdrawal from social behavior. People who are depressed typically feel hopeless and suffer from low self-esteem. Many lose weight; others gain weight. Some describe depression as a feeling of "emptiness" or "being numb." Some say that they have no feelings at all. Depression can suppress the immune system and result in generalized fatigue and exhaustion. Those who suffer from severe depression—a condition known as "major depression"—can experience hallucinations, delusions, and recurrent deep-seated guilt.
It is easy to see that depression has a widespread effect on brain function. In fact, when we consider all the physical and psychological symptoms associated with depression and then review all the things that the brain does, we get a clear picture of how pervasive depression's effects can be on the brain and thus on your entire life. Depression, then, has its roots in this remarkable organ.
Obviously, the challenge in treating depression is understanding this complex brain and trying to put it in balance. That is precisely why it should be done naturally. Every time we alter one effect artificially, we create change in another area. The challenge then becomes changing the negative brain issues specifically for me, not a depressed society or group of people, but me—my specific brain and my specific issues. This is a challenge, but it is not insurmountable.
The connection between the dark cloud of depression and the physical brain lies in a set of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are actually messenger chemicals that create feelings, stimulate thoughts, and trigger memories, just to name a few of the things they do. When you have an optimal amount of any single neurotransmitter in your brain, then you will experience the positive feelings associated with that neurotransmitter. A deficiency or excess of any single neurotransmitter usually results in the negative experiences associated with that brain chemical.
In this book, I'm going to discuss five of these neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and gammaaminobutyric acid (or GABA). Of these five, three are of particular importance in depression: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Your brain chemistry changes depending on your thoughts, expectations, and activities, the foods you eat, and the kinds of exercises you perform. In fact, every single physical act, thought, emotion, and image you call to mind triggers a corresponding change in your brain chemistry.
Yet despite the fact that brain chemistry can undergo such significant changes, all of us-no matter what our mood is at any given moment—tend to maintain an internal chemical balance within pretty specific limits. We do this by maintaining a certain consistency in the ways we think, eat, and behave each day. I call this consistent pattern your brain-chemistry baseline, or simply your baseline. In, fact, you maintain your sense of identity by maintaining your baseline.
Depression, as I've said, is the result of an imbalance in the chemical combination in your brain. This imbalance can become your baseline; in other words, some people's identities can become associated with depression. These people maintain their long-standing depression by sustaining the ways in which they think, eat, behave, and interact with others. Throughout this book, I will be talking about personality types that, taken to the extreme, support depression. You will have to look inside yourself to see whether these descriptions fit you and to determine which elements in your personality and behavior might be keeping you from achieving your optimal level of well-being.
|1||The Challenges of Treating Depression||9|
|2||The Biochemical Roots of Depression||25|
|3||The Satiation and Arousal Personality Types||63|
|4||The Satiation-Depressed Personality||87|
|5||The Arousal-Depressed Personality||105|
|7||Tools That Heal||137|
|8||A Program for Healing Satiation Depression||163|
|9||A Program for Healing Arousal Depression||181|
|10||Restoring Balance as a Practical Tool for Healing||199|
|Robertson Institute Mood Optimization Survey||203|
Posted February 22, 2001
This book is great! I had a rough spot in '98. Thought I was depressed because I was getting divorced. Actually I was being divorced because I had been depressed, and for a long time, without recognizing it. I knew something was wrong, low energy & low initiave, is not normally me; but I also knew people who were REALLY mentally ill, and I knew that I wasn't. I mean I had some problems, but I didn't have PROBLEMS like these folks do. Then I found this book. This book was breath of fresh air. It showed me how to fix my (you guessed it) screwed up diet and exercise habits in order to get my life and my brain chemestry back in ballance. The changes aren't onerious, more fish and whole grains, less fast food, more fruits and veggies, more exercise, a bit brighter light in the winter, less coffie, less fat and fried stuff (things I should be doing anyway to stay in shape, loose weight, and be healthy anyway). They made a WORLD of difference, THIS BOOK WORKS (well it works as well as YOU do; you won't fix your life by buying it and keping it on the shelf; you have to buy it, read it, and then DO WHAT IT SAYS). What is better I didn't waste a ton of time and money lying on a couch talking about my childhood to some bored person who is sitting there contemplating their next real estate deal. Since my family has a genetic pre-disposition to depression, I have recomended this to them all. It is GREAT. It is NOT hippie feel good, KUMBYA singing 'eat all you want and still loose weight ' cr@p. It is NOT 'Deep Thoughts- I'm OK, Your OK, Adolf Hitler is OK' crud. It is real, it is good, it WORKS!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 22, 2011
There is on one single book that can be the ultimate authority on depression, there are just too many factors that can contribute to depression. However, for most who are experiencing depression, including teens, this book can provide insight that is very useful and that may help you to alleviate depression without medication. It demonstrates how brain chemistry functions and what can affect brain chemistry, factors, including type and intensity of music, physical factors such as diet and exercise, how these can contribute to depression.
There is no cookie cutter formula for overcoming depression, anymore than there is a single medicine, like Prozac was once thought to be, to cure depression. However, gaining insight into depression by reading well thought-out books such as this, is helpful and can save you a lot of experimenting with antidepressants. Lifestyle changes can positively affect depression. This is an excellent book, I felt it was well worth reading.