Depression-free for Life: A Physician's All-Natural, 5-Step Plan

Depression-free for Life: A Physician's All-Natural, 5-Step Plan

by Gabriel Cousens, Mark Mayell

Paperback(1ST QUILL)

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Overview

A customized, drug-free program that attacks the biochemical roots of depression — with a 90% success rate

Not all depressions are alike. And despite the attention given to Prozac and other drugs, there quite literally is no magic pill. Instead, writes Dr. Gabriel Cousens, someone who suffers from depression needs a customized, individual program, one that attacks the personal, biochemical roots of the problem.

In Depression-Free for Life, Dr. Cousens shows how to heal depression safely by synergistically rebalancing what he calls "the natural drugs of the brain," using a five-step program of mood-boosting substances, vitamin and mineral supplements, and a mood-enhancing diet and lifestyle. Grounded in cutting-edge science, yet accessible and safe, this book shows how to regain your optimism and energy through balancing your own biochemistry.

Depression-Free for Life
  • Helps you customize your approach through easy self-assessment exercises
  • Outlines a five-step program for harnessing your own body chemistry
  • Incluedes a seven-day menu plan
  • Features thirty savory but simple recipes

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060959654
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/03/2001
Edition description: 1ST QUILL
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,177,474
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

Gabriel Cousens, M.D., is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, family therapist, and licensed homeopathic physician. He received his medical degree in 1969 from Columbia Medical School and completed his psychiatry residency in 1973. He was the chief mental health consultant for Sonoma County Operation Head Start and has served on the board of trustees of the American Holistic Medical Association. He speaks internationally on health topics and is the author of numerous books and articles. Dr. Cousens is the founder/director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, an innovative holistic retreat center for the renewal of body, mind, and spirit, based in Patagonia, Arizona.

Mark Mayell has written on natural medicine for twenty years. As the editor of Natural Health magazine, he guided it to become the leading national magazine of its kind. He is the author of four hooks, including Natural Energy. He is on the advisory board of the American Holistic Health Association and lives with his family in Wellesley, Massachusetts.


Gabriel Cousens, M.D., is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, family therapist, and licensed homeopathic physician. He received his medical degree in 1969 from Columbia Medical School and completed his psychiatry residency in 1973. He was the chief mental health consultant for Sonoma County Operation Head Start and has served on the board of trustees of the American Holistic Medical Association. He speaks internationally on health topics and is the author of numerous books and articles. Dr. Cousens is the founder/director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, an innovative holistic retreat center for the renewal of body, mind, and spirit, based in Patagonia, Arizona.

Mark Mayell has written on natural medicine for twenty years. As the editor of Natural Health magazine, he guided it to become the leading national magazine of its kind. He is the author of four hooks, including Natural Energy. He is on the advisory board of the American Holistic Health Association and lives with his family in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

Natural Drugs of the Brain:
A New Approach to
Alleviating Depression

By the time I was in the eighth grade I'd read all the books in the school library on anything to do with medicine. I didn't know at the time that I would eventually become a psychiatrist and holistic physician and that I would focus on the treatment of depression, but I do remember having the impression that the discussion of depression and other mental diseases seemed awfully vague. Some of the typical treatments, such as electroshock therapy and amphetamine drugs, seemed primitive. Most of the medical books I was reading at the time were no doubt published in the 1950s or even earlier, so it wasn't surprising that they waffled about the causes of depression and how best to treat it. The problem was simply that not enough was known about the functioning of the brain and the central nervous system. Doctors at the time were the proverbial researchers-in-the-dark, trying to describe an elephant when they were able to feel only its trunk.

Exactly how moods are generated is still being determined. Even so, since the 1950s, scientists have made a number of important inroads in the understanding of depression. The condition's biochemical underpinnings are being identified, especially with regard to the activity of brain biochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, among the fifty or so known neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, the conventional drugs used for adjusting the activity of these neurotransmitters leave much to be desired. The first generation of antidepressants, potent drugs such as phenelzine (Nardil), developed in the 1950s, are notorious for their acute toxicity and adverseside effects, from headaches right up to sudden death.

Since the mid-1980s, pharmaceutical companies have responded by developing new and better antidepressants. Despite the initial hoopla surrounding fluoxetine (Prozac) and the rest of the new serotonin-boosting antidepressants, these drugs too are now being reevaluated with a more critical eye. Increasing numbers of both patients and doctors are acknowledging that these drugs don't work for everyone and that they can have adverse side effects, from anxiety to decreased sex drive.

More recently, the herb St. John's wort has been hailed as a natural, less toxic alternative to prescription antidepressants. I've found that it does help some people, although exactly how it works remains unclear. Because many factors no doubt contribute to depression, however, it is not possible for any single substance, whether natural herb or synthetic drug, to be a magic bullet that alleviates all depression. Although it may seem that a consensus has developed with regard to the cure for depression-increase serotonin activity-in many cases this approach provides no more than temporary relief of some of the symptoms.

The more holistic Depression-Free for Life approach, I believe, offers much greater potential for treating depression. It recognizes that a more diverse range of biochemicals than one or even a few neurotransmitters influences brain and nervous system activity. Recent studies have helped to confirm what many of my patients and thousands of other people have found out: that aspects of mood and behavior can be affected by the foods we eat, by the nutritional supplements we take (or fail to take), and by such everyday lifestyle choices as how much exercise or physical activity we get. This broader perspective is the basis for the natural five-step program described in Part Two of this book.

The coordinated five-step program is not only just as effective at alleviating depression as prescription drugs but is also safer and carries along with it a host of "side benefits." These include a reduction in cravings for alcohol and other drugs, increased alertness during the day and better sleep at night, and optimal control of appetite and weight. Although my depression-relief program has not yet made it into the medical books of the 1990s, I am convinced that no better alternative exists today.

A Modern Epidemic

Depression disrupts the lives of tens of millions Americans-and women in particular. It is a leading cause of disability and suicide in the United States. As many as 70 percent of the nation's 30,000 suicides annually can be attributed to untreated depression, and upward of 50 million Americans feel debilitated by some form of depression or anxiety every year. The costs-for medical care, lost work time, and loss of life-associated with depressive disorders are in the range of $40 billion annually. People who suffer from depression have much higher rates than average for various types of serious diseases, from heart ailments to alcoholism. People suffering from depression experience a worse quality of life than do people with such devastating conditions as diabetes, arthritis, and back pain. A recent study even concluded that longevity might be determined as much by your ability to avoid depression and maintain emotional stability as by what you eat or how much you exercise.

America is enjoying a sustained economic boom, but psychologically our current era may best be described as the second coming of the "great depression":

  • Doctors estimate that as many as 8 million women and 4 million men in the United States are treated for major ("clinical") depression each year.
  • Almost 40 million Americans frequently fall into chronic negative moods characterized by loneliness, boredom, and restlessness, according to a recent extensive survey of tens of thousands of adults.
  • As few as one in ten people who could benefit from mood-elevating drugs or supplements are currently taking them, studies have found. In the United States alone, an estimated 12 million people suffer from depression without realizing it.
  • Studies suggest that as few as one in twenty people suffering from depression receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment.

This epidemic of depression in America and the widespread suffering associated with it is what ultimately inspired me to find a more natural program to treat it.

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