What’s Wrong With “Evidence Based” Depression Treatments?

With all our medical advances, why is it that the incidence of depression and anxiety is skyrocketing. The World Health Organization says that depression is the most disabling disease in the Western World today, yet all mental healthcare specialists seem to talk about is “evidence based” treatments such as counseling and anti depressants. Whilst these strategies have been shown to be helpful for some people, if this was really cutting edge advice, why aren’t we seeing the incidence of depression declining or at the very least plateauing. This in no way seeks to imply that medication and psychological counseling don’t have their place in treating depression, just that we are not exploring all the variables

Having interviewed thousands of people who have battled with depression, I am convinced that there are some serious issues with the “evidence based” approach to treating depression. These can be summarized as follows:

1. The “evidence” is where the money is
Unfortunately clinical trials are very expensive to run so private funding will only be directed towards those areas where “investors” can see a return on investment. In the world of depression treatments, this means that the vast majority of funds are directed towards medication and psychological counseling interventions. This means that important lifestyle strategies such as exercise, emotional support,nutrition, relaxation, and fulfilling work are relatively ignored. Ironically these less discussed strategies can be much less costly to implement.

2. When you’re holding a hammer everything looks like a nail
The vast majority of depression treatment studies are undertaken by doctors or psychologists. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this per se, most of these studies are evaluating areas where they have expertise (which makes sense). This means that the comparisons are often looking in isolation at one drug verses another (or a placebo) or one psychological intervention verses another. Quite often meaningful advancements in areas can come from someone outside the established “paradigms”. I love the story of the little boy who came across rescue workers who had been struggling for 3 hours with sophisticated hydraulic equipment trying to dislodge a truck which had been tightly wedged under an overhead bridge. After being encouraged to leave the site he quietly said “Why don’t you let down the tyres?”.

3. We are not just DNA
As human beings our bodies and minds are intricately linked. Depression treatments that focus purely on a “biological illness” are seriously limited. Much of the despair that exists in the western world today can be linked to loneliness, family breakdowns, excessive and unfulfilled work, and financial crises. Saying that depression is caused by low levels of serotonin is like saying teen pregnancies are caused by a sperm fertilizing an egg – yes, but…. Depression treatments that fail to reconnect us with our passions and purpose are ultimately going to be short lived solutions.

What are the right depression treatments?
To find out what works best in managing or overcoming depression, we must ask the people who are living with depression what works best for them. In 2007 I asked just that, and their answers were (in order) exercise, support of family and friends, psychological counseling, fulfilling work, relaxation/meditation, nutrition and medication.
Coincidentally, the Black Dog Institute (BDI) -one of the pre-eminent mood disorder units in the world – also undertook a study directly asking those with depression what helped them most. Although there were some differences in the studies, lifestyle strategies were also shown to be extremely important. One of the authors of the published study, Professor Gordon Parker, who has been practicing psychiatry for over 30 years, has now started advising General Practitioners and their patients to exercise regularly to aid recovery.

If Professor Parker, who has published over 600 clinical papers and book chapters regarding mood disorders, can learn something from these results, perhaps we all can.

Know More About Natural Remedies For Depression

There are many natural remedies for depression that have worked for many people. However, this does not imply that medical approaches of treating depression are not important. They also work in some people. In life, there are times when one feels like not talking to any one. Time when they want to be alone. At such times, even advising someone to see a doctor may not be easy. This is when natural remedies become very important.

Known Natural Remedies For Depression

Among the most common means of treating depression that have worked with some people include the following;


Popular psychological means of treating depression include;

Considering the cause of depression: There are times when depression is just a symptom of a circumstantial thing in life. It does not necessarily have to be a result of biochemical imbalances. For instance, you can cure depression by being honest with yourself. If you are faced with a situation that presents a decision that is not easy to make, accept it. Consider your condition carefully because it could be the reason you are depressed. You could be sexually restless, your marriage may not be working and you have to end it. You may also be feeling disconnected spiritually. The best way to treat your depression naturally is by getting to the root of your problem.


Yoga is also a good way of treating depression naturally. Yoga leads to stimulation of the Vegas nerve. This alter moods in a positive manner. Meditation which is the main aspect of yoga helps in altering consciousness. As a result, it helps in relaxing the mind. This is very helpful in depression. In addition, yoga involves breathing techniques, postures, and relaxation. Other relaxation practices and approaches such as music therapy and guided imagery gives relaxation to the mind and body and eventually treating depression.

Physical Therapies

There are physical practices that can be used to cure depression naturally. They include;

Moving the body:

Exercising is very important. This is because it helps in releasing endorphins that create happiness in the body. These endorphins acts naturally like anti-depressants. Different types of body movements or exercises can help in reducing stress. They help in relaxing the body, mind and eventually reducing depression symptoms. Exercising also increases flexibility, energy and balance. This ensures a healthy body and mind in a safe, easy and effective way.


Massage helps in relaxing the body through a special touch. Your body and mind are interconnected in a special way. Touch therapies are based on this premises. As such, massage help in promoting both physical and emotional health. Naturally, massage cures depression because when the body is relaxed through touch therapy, the mind relaxes as well. This ensures that your mind ensures better health reduced depression and better overall well being.

Yoga may also be classified in this category because it involve physical body movements.

Biological Treatments

Natural treatments for depression that works biologically include;

Avoiding to skip a meal.

When you keep your blood stable, you help in ensuring stable mood swings. This can only be possible if you avoid skipping meals.

Eat a diet that enhance serotonin:

Many medical anti-depressants such as Prozac works by inhibiting serotonin re uptake by brain receptors. This in return increases the levels of serotonin. However, you can increase serotonin levels in your brain by consuming diets that boost its levels naturally. Some of these food include foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. These include sardines, wild salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies, among others. Coconut oil is another serotonin enhancing food. Eating diet that has high amount of protein, especially protein that has high amounts of tryptophan such range turkey can also boost serotonin levels.

Avoiding caffeine is another way of treating depression naturally. Caffeine reduces the levels of serotonin

Herbal Supplements

There are various herbal supplements that are believed to treat depression. St. John’s wort is one of them. It has been used by many people to cure depression. However, there are no scientific findings to prove its effectiveness. This is the findings have always been mixed. When using herbal supplements, you need to be very careful. You should only take them after consulting your doctor. Herbal supplements may react with other medicines that you could be taking resulting to dangerous consequences. Natural remedies for depression can be a good solution for any one who prefer natural therapies. They are effective and they do not involve use of ordinary medicine.