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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Alternative Strategies to 
Help Depression

Sep 01, 2016 07:30PM ● By Mark S. Smith

Statistics reveal an alarming increase in depression worldwide, and as the number of people with some level of depression approaches more than one in 10, antidepressant prescription medications have become the number one class of drugs prescribed in the U.S. We may believe that medications for depression are effective, yet those who are on antidepressant medications often know a different reality—only 30 percent of those on prescription medications are helped and many only partially, meaning 70 percent or more are not helped by prescriptions.

The Biomedical Central Medicine journal states, “Meta-analyses of antidepressant medications have reported only modest benefits over placebo treatment, and when unpublished trial data are included, the benefit falls below accepted criteria for clinical significance. Drug/placebo differences in antidepressant efficacy increase as a function of baseline severity, but are relatively small, even for severely depressed patients.”

This statement is not uncommon in the psychiatric literature; depression, anxiety and other common emotional and cognitive issues are all viewed as symptoms of underlying biological/health issues, specifically due to inflammation of the body and brain.

This inflammation is documented to come from diet, gut issues, allergies, nutrient imbalances and deficiencies, infections, blood sugar problems, obesity, chemical intolerances and other metabolic issues. There is usually not a single cause, and thus brain-based concerns actually require a broad therapeutic approach including integrative programs created for patients on an individualized basis.

Medications are known to carry significant side effects, including the ability to cause depression to become a chronic, long-term condition that worsens. Not only does depression make patients sad, it can cripple memory and other cognitive processes.

From our functional neurologic and nutritional viewpoint, we see the greatest results with a supportive care combination of brain-based nutritional and anti-inflammatory programs, neurofeedback and home brain exercises, along with counseling, supplements and prescriptions as needed. The science that is being gathered now is confirming the limitations and risks of medications as well as the underlying neurobiological causes, and that we all need a broad-based and comprehensive approach to virtually any health challenge.

Getting rid of any and all sources of inflammation is a major key to optimizing our brain function. While functional neurologic, functional fitness and functional nutritional approaches cannot be considered primary care for mood disorders, these natural supportive therapies are needed to create the optimal health necessary to maximize therapies of all types.

Mark S. Smith, DC, DABCN, FACFN, is a board-certified chiropractic neurologist and owner of Richmond Chiropractic Neurology at 13354 Midlothian Tpke., Ste. 100. For more information, call 804-897-9194 or visit