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Dr Russ Blog - Depressed? Pick Up This Book
Depressed? Pick Up This Book
Created on 12/16/2011


There seems to be an epidemic of it these days. Surprisingly, there's an increase in the incidence of depression around the December holidays. Blame staying indoors, loneliness, stress, and other factors.

But there's more than enough depression to go around during the rest of the year, too.

Why so much depression, especially in a highly developed country like our own? Can depression be prevented? Is it possible to be happy all the time?

These are just some of the questions that Andrew Weil, MD adresses in his new book, Spontaneous Healing. I read the book months ago and shared with Dr. Weil that I feel this is his finest work, although he has written many best sellers.

In the book, Dr. Weil describes the increase in rates of depression around the industrialized world and offers explanations for the epidemic.

He then goes on to say that everday happiness is not a reasonable goal, and that some fluctuation in mood is not only natural, it may be good for us. It is only when we get stuck in a particularly bad frame of mind, or frequently experience extremes of mood, that treatment might be indicated.

The book offers plenty of guidance on how to prevent depression, including dietary advice (following a Mediterranean-style diet, for example, can help enhance mood), stress management, detailed information on some vitamins and supplements that can help with depression, secular spiritual practices to optimize emotional health, and the appropriate use of anti-depressant medication.

I like this book because it puts more control over moods in our hands, while at the same time acknowledging that in moderate to severe cases of depression the use of medication is clearly indicated. Even in these instances, however, there may be a way to participate more fully in our care and hopefully lessen the need for anti-depressent medication over time.

If you are visited from time to time by the blues, or if you are frankly depressed, go to your local library and take out the book, Spontaneous Happiness. I honestly believe you will find useful information there that can help you to be well - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

During this holiday season and beyond, may you be happy, at peace, and well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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