Cheryl A. Major

If You’re Taking an Antidepressant, You’re Not Alone

 Cheryl A. Major is a volunteer contributor to WestfordCAT News. Subscribe to our free, online newsletter for all your local news.

More than 30 million people in this country, one in seven women, and 20 percent of women over the age of 40 are taking an antidepressant.

We are told depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain; but what if that is not always the case?  What if the root cause of our depression is often something we have complete control over?  What if it’s caused by inflammation triggered by our diet, our environment and our lack of movement?

I sense two results if the preceeding question is true.  First, we have tremendous power over how we feel mentally and physically, which is very exciting; and second, we have to let go of our hope that taking a pill and changing nothing else will “fix” us.

Remember that antidepressants have side effects some of which include weight gain, liver damage, suicidal or homicidal behavior and reduced cognitive function. The cognitive function was something I experience when I took antidepressants.  They made my head feel like Jello, and I had trouble assimilating information and thinking clearly.

What doctors don’t always tell you when you start taking these drugs, is that they are extremely difficult to stop taking.  Called “discontinuation syndrome” in the medical field, you must wean yourself off them with a doctor’s guidance.  I know someone who has taken antidepressants for decades; trying to stop causes extreme anxiety attacks.

So…where is your power to feel better?  The answer is simple and difficult at the same time.  I say that because the simplicity lies in great part in what you eat, what you expose yourself to in your environment, and whether you are sufficiently physically active or sedentary.  The difficulty lies in our convenient processed food American diet, our chemical laden creams, shampoos and cleaning products and our choice to sit on the couch and watch TV rather than go for a walk.

Very simply, begin by making some basic changes..at the very least, reduce or eliminate sugar, dairy and gluten.  For goodness sake, rescue your poor ailing gut, now known to be your “second brain” by taking a good prebiotic and probiotic every morning.  Our American diet has left our gut flora in a terrible state which contributes to food cravings, obesity, depression and so much else that challenges us in our bodies.  It’s a huge topic, and you can read more about it here.

Become aware of what you’re eating; become aware of what’s being touted to you as a “good meal.” When you watch advertising on TV, notice if that fast food meal has anything green or colorful on the plate, or is it just beige soft stuff? Look at your own plate of food at your next meal with those same critical eyes.

Awareness is your first step to saving yourself and to feeling better both mentally and physically.  I rescued myself from decades of living with depression by making significant changes.  You can do it too, but you must commit to changes in lifestyle to put your body back in balance.

Treat your body well, and it will reward you.  Now, get up and go for a walk!

Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!

Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show Thin Strong Healthy airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com   Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier.  Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor.  She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.

Questions?  Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Health Question in the subject line.  Your question and its answer will be included in a future article