On World Mental Health Day (October 10), the World Health Organization (WHO) let it be known that more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. But, they say, a stigma is still attached to the condition, leading people to keep their struggles quiet rather than reaching out for help. The WHO says the stigma must be dropped so that depressed individuals can have access to treatment, including therapy and Big Pharma medications.
There is no doubt that many people are depressed and there is little doubt that these people need help. Depression, after all, can lead to serious health conditions and can drive some people to suicide. The stigmas associated with depression certainly don’t help anyone. But pushing pharmaceuticals as the most viable treatment method is a travesty, particularly when it comes from a body as esteemed and large as the WHO.
“We have some highly effective treatments for depression,” said Dr. Shekhar Saxena, the Director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “Unfortunately, fewer than half the people who have depression receive the care they need. In fact, in many countries, this is less than 10%. This is why WHO is supporting countries in fighting stigma as a key activity to increasing access to treatment.”
Anti-depressant medications are the most frequently used of all drugs in the United States for people between the ages of 18 and 44, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In their Data Brief (pdf) published last year, the CDC says between the years of 2005 to 2008, antidepressant use grew 400%. This is astounding and an issue that must be addressed—not with more medication, but with a closer look at what’s causing it and alternative, natural treatments. Interestingly, arteries thicken 400% more than aging from antidepressant use, upping the risk of heart disease and stroke.
We all deserve to be happy, but we are quite literally being spoon-fed a diet that leads to depression. Study after study has linked depression to modern diet failures like fast food and junk food, BPA, and MSG. Because not only are you filling yourself with manmade chemicals when you eat the standard American diet (SAD), you are likely deficient in the healing compounds present in natural food sources.
Some experts say that the “chemical imbalance” frequently cited as the cause of depression doesn’t exist at all, that there is zero evidence to back this imbalance and that depression is something that doesn’t need to be managed with a chemical cocktail of Big Pharma remedies.
Perhaps eliminating the stigma associated with depression could begin by eliminating the false ideas we have about the disease. By honestly looking at what’s causing this pervasive sadness in our communities, we may just find the solution is much simpler than even a pill. We may find that, like most other preventable diseases, the right diet of whole, natural foods could stop the frightening growth of depression and related prescription drug use. Unfortunately, at least for now, you won’t hear calls for this radically simple solution coming from the WHO.
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