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I have read this entire thread and having depression issues myself, there really is no "miracle cure" or easy answer. As a psyc. degree holder and based on my personal studies and personal experiences, depression is a condition that plagues everyone at some point in his or her life. It is normal to get "depressed" sometimes when life throws some bad stuff your way, but most ppl go through a mourning phase and rebound with time. Some ppl though have a life long battle with depression. There are genetic links to whether or not someone is more likely to have a depressive illness based on family history. My mom's side of the family is where the alcoholism, depression and all the "mental" instability took place. My mother was an alcoholic and her boozing and depression went hand-in-hand reinforcing one another for over 40 years, 20 of these which I had to witness mostly as a child and the psychological toll it took on me cannot be explained. I will explain it in a book someday I plan to write about what it is like to grow up in a family where there is an alcoholic involved. Alcoholism effects the drinker and families in so many different ways, but depression is def. a huge factor with alcholism and so is anxiety, but I won't get into all the details about that here.
As far as taking herbal remedies to combat depression? I am against it. Some claim this works and that works, but ultimately u need to be diagnosed first and see what kind of depression you are dealing with. Is it a temporary depression as the result of a negative life change, ex: losing a loved one or a relationship breakup? or something you have been feeling for a long time with no particular reason involved, u just feel down and out all the time?? This could indicate a more serious depression problem and a longer term issue, and severe depression can augment every day until it cripples u where u don't want to do anything, not get out of bed or u have thoughts and feelings of suicide. Some people slip even deeper past this point and don't even have the will to "carry out" a suicide. These are the people that u have to watch when put on anti-depressants (SSRI-Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor drugs) as the serotonin is released into the body. The early phases of treatment for people with "severe depression" should be supervised from an in-patient facility until the person gets stable on the drug b/c it may provide just enough "enegry" to lift them out of the black hole but back up to the point of having major depression but with the ability to act on things. This is why drugs like Prozac and many others have been "labeled" to possibly increase suicide risks, esp. in teens that are more prone to mood swing type of behavior. Regardless of what stage of depression you are in, your can regress or progress. Anti-depressants release serotonin, and people with a genetic link or diganosed with a medical depressive disorder have brains that do not realease enough serotonin, so it is the job of the anti-depressant to pick up for this slack. That said, co-existing issues such as anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, PTSD, anti-social behavior, or social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder can make things even more confusing. Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, but some people suffer from anxiety much worse than from the depression and vice-versa.
For me, I have what is called Panic Disorder with Agorophobia (and PTSD) but also a generalized depression. My treatment is complex, but it has been working. Been on anti-depressant SSRI meds for awhile now and that has elevated my mood and I take a benzodizepine only as needed for panic attacks (like Xanax, although I think Valium is a better alternative b/c of its long half life, but I am on Xanax). I also take a sleep medication once a night, Ambien and have learned to change up my lifestyle by incorporating exercise into the equation. I also get therapy, so I am able to vent. I know these options are not for everyone or may not be available to everyone, but really watch out with so called-herbal remedies. Fish Oil is fine. That is very good for u, but things like Kava Kava, Melotonin, Valerian Root and others...u really should talk to your doctor. None of it has been studied by the FDA. Milk Thistle is supposed to aid with liver function and even repair damaged livers. Did alot of research on this as I was scared that maybe my liver was damaged from years of drug and alcohol abuse. I do take this supplement because it makes me feel good "mentally", but honestly I have no clue if it really works. I hope it does, but I think it is this hope that has us all reaching out for products that have not been studied extensively. Sorry for the novel, lol, I am a writer afterall. Anyway God Bless to everyone out there.
Last edited by primetimegrape; 09-17-2011 at 02:26 PM.
Where do drugs come from
Respectfully, long before the FDA existed, indigenous cultures around the world had
Originally Posted by primetimegrape
complex medical systems, based on plant medicine. The Vedic system goes back at least 5,000 years, but many estimate that zooastrianism is much much older.
The Druids, Egyptians, Mayans, Incas, and Chinese, all have herbal system of medicine, which are thousands of years old.
Chinese medicine is estimated to be at least 5,000 yrs old. With just under 2 billion people, a medicine would not endure this long for that many people unless it worked.
Some of throngs you mention like Kava--this comes from Polynesia. Western science has studied it, and dissect it like a frog, and miss so much, since they usually isolate alkaloids.
The end up extracting one chemical from a medicine that has thousands of chemicals working together as a syngergistic family. Also, Kava was a ceremonial herb, and served a shamanistic purpose.
The version we get at our health food store, is a far resemblance, from the traditional way it was prepared. And they didn't pluck one chemical out of a highly complex plant medicine, with thousands of chemicals, working together.
This is called a drug.
The German Giant Bayer built their empire on something known as Salycilic Acid. This is simply one chemical found in White Willow Bark. They named it Aspirin. And they have ended up ruling the Pharma world.
At a time, and still to a certain extent, Malaria is still a big problem. The drug Quinine was an isolate from a plant, which saved many soldiers during various wars who contracted malaria. And quinine was the result of a plant.
I could give a history lesson on how most of the drugs we have to day, all can be traced back to a plant.
Take opiates. Whether it's Vicodin, norco, Subutex, or morphine---it was the Opium Flower where morphine and laudanum were first isolated.
Cold medicine like sudafed. Do you think many engineered this molecule. A Chinese twig called Ma Huang, or Ephedra, had been used in Chinese medicine to induce diaphoresis. To make you sweat a cold.
As it turned out, one of it's major active ingredients was ephedrine, which is very similar to human nor-epinephrine, or adrenaline, which is secreted by the adrenals.
The herb is a broncho-dilator (opens the lungs for asthma). Asthma inhalers, whether there for rescue or maintainence, contain a cousin of Ephedrine.mthey are called SABA's or LABA's, short acting beta agonists or long acting, All from a twig.
This is still the drug gold standard for an acute asthma attack, and people take Advair daily tom prevent asthma.
Our earth and oceans possess an abundance of all the medicine we need. We just love to modify, manipulate, and pluck single chemicals out of plants, that have thousands of chemicals working in harmony. This is why there a difference between side effects of herbs vs drugs.
Depression has certainly always existed. I will not try to convince you that there are herbal versions of Prozac. Herbs are a bit more regulating.
But yes, there are herbs that increase dopamine, and others that increase seratonin. They may not work through the SSRI mechanism, but may achieve the same result.
Herbs tend to be more balancing, however some are very specific.
Why do we kiss our lovers under Mistletoe on Christmas ?
Ask the Druids. As this was their symbol of their culture, and most sacred herb.
I hope you feel better and find something for what ails you. There is an abundance of natural medicine out there. Not everything is herbal.
Vitamins are generally made made.
Looks at the Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Amazonian herbal systems, as they are widely practiced throughout the world.
Maybe you shall find what you are seeking.
Herbs are big medicine. We need to let our ego go, and realize how ignorant we are. Our ancestors understood plant medicine. We have seemed to get far far away from that which our ancestors deemed sacred.
There are several alternatives to using anti-depressants.
Regular exercise is actually a very effective anti-depressant. It's also as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. Some studies show that exercise is better then certain drugs in the long-term as an anti depressant. The biggest downside with using exercise as an anti-depressant is that you have to do it every day, even if you are not feeling up to it. If you skip one session, you can end up with a major mood drop. However, once it's a habit and you start enjoying and looking forward to the way you feel after exercising, it will be a lot easier to do every session.
The food you eat has a role in the way you feel. Some foods, like chocolate, actually have an effect on the production of 'happy' chemicals in your brain, which make you feel instantly better (just watch out for the sugar highs and lows with sugary happy foods). An overall healthy diet will have you feeling happier then one high in unhealthy fats and simple sugars.