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Depression and Bipolar Disorder, Nutritional Considerations Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy In depression a person experiences a deep unshakable sadness and diminished interest in almost all activities. Hopelessness, despair, feelings of unworthiness as well as thoughts of death and self-destruction are ofetn part of the picture. To overcome this illness, it must be recognized as an illness by both patient and doctor. While questions about depression should be a part of every medical exam, doctors often neglect to ask. Because depression creates its own false reality, it is difficult for the patient to step back, be objective and recognize it as an illness. Traditional psychiatrists recognize it as a disease, but do not treat it as a disease. What I mean by that is that they are trained to manipulate depression with drugs rather than go to the root cause of the illness. This is not surprising because any psychiatrist will tell you they have no idea what causes depression or any mental illness. Therefore, they try to manipulate depression with drugs. Unless you can believe that depression is a disease of deficiency of psychiatric medications, you cannot believe that psychiatrists treat the root cause of depression.

The orthomolecular approach to depression and bi-polar disorder conceives depression as a deficiency disease, a deficiency of nutrients, not a deficiency of drugs. While, for example, Paxil is suspected of being associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer in men as well as women and Ritalin has been shown to damage DNA which is in turn associated with an increase in risk of cancer, the same cannot be said for specific nutritional supplements which have been shown to have a beneficial effect on depression. I should mention also the association between SSRI antidepressants and osteoporosis, a side effect which is absent from nutritional therapies. While this is not meant as advice for you to try to treat depression with nutritional means, the evidence for relief from depression with omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, SAM-e, lithium orotate, magnesium aspartate, high dose vitamin D, and folate are more impressive than the pharmaceutical antidepressants. Unlike the pharmaceutical antidepressant, nutritionals are not associated with paradoxical depression and suicidal ideation. In short, real treatment of depression should, in my opinion, have as its goal the return of brain biochemistry to its normal condition and this can only be accomplished by nutritional means, never by pharmaceutical means.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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