Dr. Turndorf says: “I have a nearly thirty year track record of helping patients overcome depression. My success comes from my view of depression as a symptom of other underlying and undetected emotional, physical and even spiritual issues.
My success comes from treating each of my patients as unique individuals. In each case, I tirelessly “dig” until I find all the causes of your depression. Then I devise a “cure” that is tailored just for you.
For example, in the early 80s, I was on staff at a posh New York inpatient psychiatric hospital. Four times a year, a man was hospitalized for shock therapy to treat his depression, which was resistant to all other forms of treatment. I sensed that the doctors were missing something. I suspected that he was suffering from a little known condition called “brain allergies” in which the brain is the “target” organ that is attacked by a specific allergen, oftentimes wheat. I suggested that he eliminate wheat and see what happens. Within a couple of weeks, his depression lifted. PS, I never saw the man again!
Another patient, in her late fifties, came to me suffering from decades of depression. Her case was complex. She had been sexually molested in childhood. In her thirties, she underwent a complete hysterectomy. I suspected that buried anger (which often masquerades as depression) was the primary cause of her depression. As I helped her access and give voice to her anger at her father, who’s been dead for years, her depression began to lift. I also suspected that adrenal fatigue and a vitamin D deficiency were contributing to her depression. Using adaptagenic herbs that support and rebuild the adrenals along with vitamin D3, her depression completely lifted.
A young man of nineteen came to me suffering from depression that wasn’t resolving with medication. I suspected that he had an Omega 3, essential fatty acid deficiency. I suggest that he begin eating lots of fatty fishes and almonds. Within a couple of weeks, his depression cleared.
These types of cures are the norm in my practice. I look forward to helping you get the monkey of depression off your back too! ”
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Depression (also known as major depressive disorder) can be challenging to manage because your symptoms may not be limited to just one episode and may return without an appropriate treatment plan. Symptoms that remain after initial antidepressant treatment are known as “unresolved symptoms.”
According to the DSM-IV, a medical reference commonly used by health care professionals to aid in diagnosis, a major depressive episode consists of many of the following symptoms, occurring nearly every day for at least two weeks.
Depressed mood most of the day; feeling sad or empty, tearful
Significant loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
Significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain; decrease or increase in appetite
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Agitation; or slowing down of thoughts and reduction of physical movements
Fatigue or loss of energy
Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
Poor concentration or having difficulty making decisions
Thinking about death or suicide
What is Major Depressive Disorder?
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is commonly known as depression. MDD can be diagnosed by a health care professional when a patient demonstrates at least 2 weeks of depressed mood or loss of interest accompanied by at least four additional symptoms of depression
What Causes Depression?
Although no single cause of depression has been identified, it appears that a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychosocial factors may play a role. The fact is, depression is not a personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away, but it can be successfully treated.
Who Gets Depression?
An estimated 33 to 35 million U.S. adults are likely to experience depression at some point during their lifetime. The disease affects men and women of all ages, races, and economic levels. However, women are at a significantly greater risk than men to develop major depression. Studies show that episodes of depression occur twice as frequently in women as in men.
Although anyone can develop depression, some types of depression, including major depression, seem to run in families. Whether or not depression is genetic, the disorder is believed to be associated with changes to levels of chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
Treatments for Depression
Depression is a disease that can be successfully treated. There are a variety of ways to treat depression, including psychotherapy and prescription medication.
In my practice, drugs are the last resort. In fact, most people come to me because they want off prescription anti-depressants.
There are several types of prescription antidepressant medications that are divided into different classes. Each antidepressant class affects the levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, which are thought to be involved in regulating mood.
The most commonly prescribed prescription antidepressant classes are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs are believed to treat depression by affecting the levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. SNRIs are believed to treat depression by affecting the levels of two neurotransmitters called serotonin and norepinephrine.
It’s important to know that it could take as many as 6 to 8 weeks for the full therapeutic effect to occur. It is important to give the medication a chance to work and to take it exactly as directed by your health care professional.
Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is known as “talk therapy,” which research has shown can be very helpful for people with some forms of depression. Like all treatment options, psychotherapy can be used alone or in combination with medication or other treatments. Most practitioners use either Cognitive-Behavioral therapy or Interpersonal psychotherapy to treat depression:
Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT). Helps to reduce depression symptoms by challenging and reversing negative beliefs and attitudes.
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). Helps facilitate the resolution of role disputes and helps to overcome problems with social skills and other interpersonal factors that may impact the development of depression.
With my patients, talk therapy is always the first approach. My Core Therapy method tm combines an eclectic blend of treatment methods and modalities. In my experience, there are limitations with CBT–the most common form of therapy today. While correcting negative beliefs and attitudes are certainly important, no therapy is complete unless all your emotions are addressed. In my experience, buried anger is an underlying and commonly overlooked cause of depression.
The following are some suggestions for a natural approach to overcoming depression symptoms:
Maintain proper sleep habits as advised by your health care professional. Excess sleep can alter brain chemistry, actually triggering or worsening depression.
Eat a well-balanced diet. The brain requires fats to work properly. Low fat diets can trigger depression.
Manage blood sugar levels by avoiding “white” foods (white sugar, white flour, white pasta, white rice, potatoes, etc.)
Participate in a structured and supervised exercise program as advised by your health care professional. Exercise raises serotonin levels.
Yoga and Qi-Gong
Raise your body temperature using a sauna or steam room, which has been shown to increase serotonin levels
Aromatherapy has a mood lifting effect
Set realistic goals for yourself
Create small and manageable tasks
Let others you can trust such as family and friends help you
Herbal and Nutritional Remedies for Depression
Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort): the active ingredient in St. John’s wort, acts as a reuptake inhibitor of the brain’s natural “feel good” chemical messengers: serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine & GABA. AMORYN contains the same hyperforin-rich St. John’s wort extract prescribed in Europe for depression and anxiety.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan): 5-HTP is used by the brain to make serotonin, the brain’s natural “feel good” neurotransmitter. By increasing serotonin levels, 5-HTP promotes a positive outlook.
Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that can increase serotonin activity by up to 30%. Rhodiola also increases the activity of two other mood-related neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. Within a few days, Rhodiola produces increased energy and motivation, reduced anxiety, and elevated feelings of confidence and optimism.
B Vitamins: B vitamins provide nutritional support for mood-related pathways. B6, B12 and Folic Acid allow your brain to produce extra SAM-e, a proven natural antidepressant used in Europe for over 20 years. SAM-e is crucial to maintaining proper levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
Selenium: Clinical research shows that a diet low in selenium may contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety and fatigue. Unfortunately, many adults do not receive the optimal daily dose.
Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol): Vitamin D deficiency, common during the winter months, can contribute to a negative emotional outlook. Likewise, increased vitamin D consumption has been shown to elevate mood, and may be particularly effective at relieving seasonal depression. Vitamin D appears to increase the activity of serotonin, the brain’s natural “feel good” neurotransmitter, and may also reduce the risk of cancer.
Zinc: Studies show that certain depressed or anxious individuals may be deficient in this important mineral, and zinc supplementation can help improve mood in these patients.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant used throughout the body to protect cells, including nerve cells in the brain. Vitamin C is also involved in many mood-critical metabolic processes.
Foods that Ease Depression:
Brazil nuts. Selenium, a trace mineral found abundantly in Brazil nuts (100 mcg in one nut), can help ease depression. Studies have shown that people who had low levels of selenium tended to be more anxious, depressed, and tired. Once they ate foods containing selenium, however, they felt better. Other selenium-rich foods are tuna, swordfish, oysters, and sunflower seeds.
Coffee. If you’re a regular morning coffee drinker, you know what life can be like if you don’t have your morning cup. You get a headache, you’re cranky, and you feel bad. Well, researchers are finding that caffeine can indeed alter your mood. It makes you less irritable and helps you feel better. Experts do think that having a cup or two of coffee a day may indeed help ease mild depression. But don’t go overboard. Downing too much caffeine can make you jittery and may even make you more anxious.
Garlic. German researchers studying garlic’s effect on cholesterol discovered that participants being treated with garlic experience an elevation in mood. So try a little garlic therapy if you’re feeling down.
Chicken. Low levels of vitamin B6 may be an instigator of depression, especially in women on birth control pills. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the body to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter. The RDA for vitamin B6 is 1.3 mg for men and women up to age 50; after age 50 the amount increases to 1.7 mg. There are 0.5 mg of vitamin B6 in 3 ounces of chicken.
Spinach. Studies are finding that a folic acid deficiency is a major cause of depression. Scientists began to suspect a link between this B vitamin and the brain when they discovered that people diagnosed with depression have lower levels of folic acid than the general population. It seems that folic acid deficiency causes serotonin levels to fall, which can lead to feelings of depression. Ironically enough, folic acid deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in women. But the good news is you only need about 200 mcg a day to meet your folic acid needs. That adds up to about 3/4 cup of cooked spinach.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The brain is one of the richest sources of fatty acids in the body. And research is finding that depressed people have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This polyunsaturated fat is found mostly in fatty fish, such as salmon, cod, pollock, and flounder. It’s also abundant in flaxseed and soy products. Researchers believe that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is essential to ensure the brain is at its healthiest. And a healthy brain is less likely to become seriously depressed.
To take time to stop and smell the flowers.
Junk the junk food. Sure, that sugar high feels good, but when you go through detox a couple of hours after that cupcake, you can feel terrible. Try skipping the sugary stuff and eating something more nutritious.
Abstain from alcohol. Alcohol is known to aggravate a depressed mood.
Focus on friends and family. Leaning on others is one of the healthiest things you can do to get through a tough time in your life.
Learn to laugh. Laughing actually triggers the same endorphins that are affected by exercise. When I’m down, I do a stand up comedy routine and laugh hysterically over the situation.
Think happy thoughts. A recent study found that people who learn to have a more optimistic attitude are less likely to become depressed–even if they were naturally pessimists. Changing the way you perceive life can have a dramatic affect on your mental health.
I look forward to working with and helping you overcome your depression.