There is a horrifying trend in the U.S. to put everyone on pharmaceuticals for mood disorders, rather than trying to find and correct the underlying cause. The medical industry wants us to buy into this idea that we are helpless victims of circumstance, rather than in control of our physical and mental health. They dismiss diet, exercise, and environmental factors as possible minor contributors, but even that seems to be too “inconclusive” for them.
As far as I can tell, they will slap a “disorder” label on perfectly normal people, just so they can cure them with pills. I remember a commercial from a few years ago for an anti-depressant that directed people to ask their doctor about some pill if they have felt depressed for longer than 2 weeks. Anyone who has ever been dumped, worked at a job they hated, or suffered a loss in the family has surely felt depressed for at least that long. I have, and I didn’t take any pills, but somehow I turned out just fine.
Aside from the big question of whether we really need all of these pills, there may be a bigger question of whether these pills even work at all. Leave it to the U.K. to tell us what many have suspected all along: Antidepressants don’t work. For most people, that is. This is a very interesting article that offers an alternative view to our current pharmaceutical culture.
Sadly, in their list of treatments that do work (at the bottom of the page) they make no mention of diet. I can tell you first hand, as can many others, that what we eat and drink does affect mood. Because the effect is often not immediate, many people may not see the connection.
- Alcohol: Without exception, when I drink alcohol, I will feel depressed 1-2 days later. Old, familiar, self-hating comments will repeat in my head.
- Sugar and processed carbs: After the sugar high wears off, I will barely feel like making an effort to do anything. I may also start feeling like there was no reason to get up in the morning since I’m wasting my life away anyway.
- Gluten and wheat: Similar effect to sugar and processed carbs only more severe and with the added physical symptoms of lethargy, headache, achy muscles, and sore throat to make me feel like doing anything is too much trouble.
On the flip side, many people who have adopted a raw food diet, or given up dairy or meat, have reported feeling happy and unburdened. Some have given up their medications just from changing the way they eat. I do not know why diet is so often overlooked or considered only a minor player in our mental health. As individuals, we need to take it upon ourselves to find a diet and lifestyle that works best for us. Doctors aren’t going to offer much useful guidance.