You're looking for treatment for severe depression. I can barely imagine what you must be going through right now. How alone you're feeling, and perhaps how scared you are. What will become of you? How are you ever going to get better? Perhaps you've even already tried one or more types of antidepressants but they're not agreeing with you or not working (anymore).
If you’re already taking medication, it’s very likely that it’s not helping you much. Research by those not paid by or in any way connected to the pharmaceutical industry has shown that antidepressants don't work! Quite the opposite, in fact.
Your brain is the centre of your universe. It directs all your internal operations by itself. All you have to do is keep it healthy and engaged. No doctor, medicine, psychologist or other person can do that for you. But the good news is that that means you can overcome depression, all by yourself. Want to find out how? Let's get cracking!
In this article I'm going to familiarise you with the biological, psychological and social aspects of severe depression treatment. And I’ll introduce you to the most effective major depression treatment there is - without a single pill in sight.
We’ll start off with the biology of it all.
In a word, no! And one of the simplest explanations for that is because there is no standard, scientifically ‘correct’ balance. Every brain is as unique as the person it’s attached to! That means your particular chemical balance is unique to you.
Know that your body is infinitely capable of balancing the multitude of chemical messengers it produces and co-ordinates. Just take a look at this Wikipedia page⧉ to see how many there are. Simply throwing a synthetic chemical (any kind of psychotropic drug) into your body’s natural mix is undoubtedly going to create an imbalance.
But isn’t depression caused by a lack of serotonin? Another simple answer: no! That low serotonin level story was created by the pharmaceutical companies. They knew they could take advantage of the medical model to market their wares. You might have heard of some of them:
But I’m afraid to say it’s more likely that any of the above will worsen depression, rather than cure it.
Want some good news? Your brain is not broken! You’re not suffering from a biochemical imbalance. Before I say this next bit, it’s important that you know that I’m not minimising how you’re feeling right now. I’m on your side, and I actively want you to feel better again. I know everything you’re feeling is only too real. And I suspect depression is starting to ruin your life (if it hasn’t already). So stick with me, and keep an open mind…
Depression itself is not an illness. Pharmaceutical companies needed it to become an illness so that they could sell a ‘cure’. Instead, depression is a symptom that manifests itself as consequence of two distinct things:
For this reason, severe depression treatment should not include the prescription of psychoactive medication. For one thing, it’s not necessary. And for another, because the risks are so well-documented, I find it incredible that they are routinely ignored!
Below this article you'll find references for further information. Be sure to avail yourself of the knowledge acquired by specialists who aren't in any way connected with any pharmaceutical companies. And don’t be persuaded by clever television marketing.
Watch/listen to discover how the problems with antidepressants are minimised by the very people who should have your best interest at heart...
Your body and mind are infinitely more complex and wise than anything any pharmaceutical industry can come up with.
As a psychotherapist, I used to hate it if people had been put on antidepressants at the same time as being referred to me. How would they ever get to trust that it was their own actions that got them better and not the antidepressants!
Important: If you’re taking medication at the moment, don’t panic now that you’ve read this list. And whatever you do, don’t stop taking it suddenly. If you want to come off it, talk to your doctor first. You’ll need to do it gradually and safely.
You now know that it’s not a lack of serotonin that you need to fix. I hope it’ll also help you to know that most episodes of depression pass without any (external) intervention at all. There are two major things you can do to help yourself:
And there are three fundamental things we all need in order to be healthy (physically and mentally): a nutritious diet, regular exercise and good sleep.
I know you’re probably severely lacking energy and motivation at the moment. That means taking action of any kind can seem overwhelming and perhaps even impossible. But I know you can do it. I also know it’s hard, but just take one step at a time. It’s not a race. You can go at your own pace, just as long as you do keep moving.
Sugar can also lead to excessive insulin release that can lead to hypoglycemia, which, in turn, causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks, and an increase in suicide risk."
A healthy, balanced diet is so important for every aspect of your physical and emotional well-being. Essentially, as I’m sure you already know, food is the fuel that allows you to function. How well your body performs (including your brain) depends on the quality of the fuel you feed it.
I know that chips, sweets, pizza, fizzy drinks, alcohol and anything laden with sugar or carbs can be so appealing, especially when you’re feeling so miserable. And that you get a temporary high when you eat them. But, it really is temporary, and it’s only a fake high. Believe me when I say: sugar and carbs are not the answer. (Sorry!)
Unless you eat well, your brain becomes starved of the nutrients it needs to function at its best. And eating well involves plenty of fresh fruit and veg, enough protein, and a balanced amount of carbs and healthy fats.
You know how you can feel sluggish and low on energy when you’ve eaten junk food? Well, that’s how your brain feels, too. And trying to restore the balance to an upset mind becomes an almost impossible task.
A poor diet can also lead to inflammation, and there are now reports of a link between the onset of depression and inflammation⧉ in the body.
Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to involve fancy cooking. If you need to, take some time to educate yourself about a healthy diet. And start putting what you learn into practice. This is one of the best ways you can lay the groundwork to give yourself the best chance of overcoming depression once and for all.
And even better, introducing exercise to increase the health of your lifestyle can play a significant role in helping you to overcome depression too. There are plenty of studies devoted to the beneficial effect of exercise on depression. To give you just one example, take a look at this article in the Telegraph⧉.
You may be sleeping too much or not enough. Either way, you'll need to actively deal with this particular problem because sleep is one of our best natural protectors against mental health problems.
Sleep problems can be a little tricky to deal with. But don’t worry - I’ve got you covered. I’ve written several articles dedicated to overcoming problems with sleep:
Talking therapy is a great way to treat severe depression in a variety of ways. Depending on your needs, counselling or therapy can help you to...
A note of caution!
Do not let yourself be submitted to endless navel-gazing. It's particularly counter-productive when you're depressed. As you're very likely to have a negative bias while you’re feeling low, you'll only recall stuff that's gone wrong in your life. And that’s no help at all when you're already depressed. Sure, there may be some work to be done to process difficult childhood events and their consequences on your mental health. However, as a severe depression treatment, it needs to be timed well and balanced with plenty of life-enhancing strategies.
(By the way - don't worry about the difference between counselling and therapy. The one thing that really makes a difference to the success of your treatment is the quality of the professional relationship you have with the person who's helping you) (2)
Living your life means constant trial and error, and plenty of learning, unlearning, hellos, goodbyes, great relationships, lousy relationships, endings, pain, messy feelings, etc.
There is no one way of living your life that can prevent all that messiness, challenge, pain, disillusionment and frustration. But you shouldn’t really want to, either. Because without all that, there wouldn't be any excitement, hope, achievement and joy!
So, here's the best treatment for depression - major, minor, clinical or any other name you want to give it. Don’t forget, it’s not its own illness. It’s the emotional consequence of a temporary downturn in your fortunes or even a life terribly gone awry.
The best treatment for any kind of psychological upset is understanding and working with your natural inborn resources - the Human Givens.
You were born with the physical means for blood to be pumped through your body: your heart, arteries and veins, to name the most obvious. And you were born with the mental and emotional means to deal with the world around you. You've got innate resources to meet your essential emotional needs in balance. When these needs aren’t balanced, it’s difficult for you to function at full, healthy capacity.
What precisely are those needs?
To name but a few:
(I encourage you to learn more about this concept in my article on the Human Givens. It has the potential to revolutionise the way you live your life.)
Perhaps you can see how all the needs above are linked. Maybe you can also see that when something in your life went wrong and you became depressed, you stopped attending to those needs.
Instead, you probably turned inwards, and focused mainly on how bad you were feeling. You probably started to withdraw from the people around you. Maybe you started taking antidepressants which would have flattened your mood - including any feelings of fun, love and tenderness you had left.
Using the Human Givens approach, the best treatment for severe depression is therefore relatively simple. Note: I'm not saying it's easy. It will take effort, motivation and commitment. And I know they can all be hard to come by when you’re feeling so low. But even just a teaspoon of each is all you need to begin with. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is that you feel better. And you deserve to feel better, so you are worth making the effort for!
I’m now going to get you started on the Human Givens approach to severe depression treatment. This will help you to start moving in the right direction. It’s not a full treatment plan - but that would be overwhelming and off-putting!
So, to begin with...
3 Steps for meeting your need to have time and space for contemplation
These days it is easy to access really good help online. You can connect now with a professional, licensed therapist for help with that depression - online. To discover how that works, see my article on Mental Health Counselling.
I also highly recommend self-hypnosis for depression. For further information, see my article: Hypnosis FAQ and Downloads.
I so hope that knowing you do have the ability to heal yourself has made you feel empowered. Treatment for severe or major depression treatment doesn’t have to involve medication (and in my opinion, it absolutely shouldn’t).
I know you have the courage and the strength to overcome this painfully difficult time. I also know that you deserve to be happy and to feel fulfilled. Getting over depression can be really hard work - but the payoff by far outweighs the difficulties of the recovery journey. When you get better - which I know you will - you’ll be healthier, happier… and you’ll be able to protect yourself from ever having to feel this way again in the future.
I really hope this article is of help to you. :-)
I frequently update my articles based on feedback, therefore I really value your vote. If you think I've missed something, please do let me know in the comment section below.
Thank you so much in anticipation. :-)
1 "Psychiatric Drugs: Do They Fix Imbalances or Do They Create Them - Part 1 - Robert Whitaker." YouTube. YouTube, 17 Feb. 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2017.
2 Ardito, Rita B., and Daniela Rabellino. "Therapeutic Alliance and Outcome of Psychotherapy: Historical Excursus, Measurements, and Prospects for Research." Frontiers in Psychology. Frontiers Research Foundation, 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2017.
3 "Important Factors Typically Ignored in Depression Screening Tests." Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2017.