How to Overcome Depression

Q: Hi Dr. Liz! Can you please tell me about Depression?
A: Sadly, about 10% of Americans from the age of 12 and older, report taking antidepressants, according to a 2011 report from the National Center of Health Statistics.

Q: That is a LOT of people taking antidepressants! What exactly are antidepressants?
A: Yes! Antidepressants are drugs that act on specific brain chemicals which regulate your mood. Antidepressants are the 2nd most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S., according to the American Psychological Association. The 1st being analgesics, which are drugs prescribed to treat pain.

Q: Would you speak to us about the types of Antidepressants?

A: Yes, of course. There are many different types of drugs used to treat depression including SSRI’s, SNRI’s, NDRI’s, Tricyclics and MAOI’s to name a few.

Q: Wow! Sounds like a foreign language to me. Can you please tell me about the most common type of antidepressants?
A: Sure! I bet you’ve heard of Prozac. Well Prozac is an example of an SSRI, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Prozac and Zoloft are examples of an SSRI. The SSRI’s work by increasing levels of Serotonin in the brain. They block the reabsorption of Serotonin in the brain, making more Serotonin available.

An SNRI example would be Cymbalta. SNRI involves Norepinephrine, and is related to alertness and energy. SNRI’s block both Serotonin and Norepinephrine from going back into the cells that released them.

Wellbutrin is an example of an NDRI. NDRI’s involve Dopamine and Norepinephrine, and work similarly to SSRI’s. These are fairly common ones. Tricyclics and MAOI’s are not any longer commonly used due to the potential dangers they cause to patients, which include side effects and interactions with other medications.

Q: So do antidepressants even work?
A: That is the question! Studies show that pertaining to mild to moderate depression, they work, but only as effectively as a placebo, And placebo’s do work. For someone with an extreme condition of depression, antidepressants are found to be effective.

Q: What can someone do if they don’t want to take an antidepressant and they suffer from mild to moderate depression?
A: Exercise and eat an anti-inflammatory diet.

Q: I see. Well what kinds of foods should I consume if I am depressed?
A: It is key to consume antioxidant rich foods which include fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and folate rich beans and greens.

Q: Can I eat fish?
A: No, I don’t recommend eating fish for Depression.

Q: Why is that?
A: The mercury content in fish may help explain links found between fish intake and mental disorders, depression and suicide.

Q: So can you please provide me with a summary?
A: Yes! Studies show that if you suffer from mild to moderate depression, you are better off to exercise and eat an anti-inflammatory diet than to take an antidepressant drug therapy, which only works as effectively as a placebo.

About Dr. Liz Perry
Dr. Liz is a primary care provider with a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and a Master’s degree in Business Management from Harvard University. For over 22 years, Dr. Liz has worked as an international healthcare consultant, has traveled the world, and has written hundreds of published articles as a health journalist.

Liz Perry