Addressing the root cause of depression

by Nancy Liebler, Ph.D. on May 24, 2010

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Women suffer from depression twice as often as men.  This statistic has been shown to be true, not only for American women, but for women in eleven other countries as well.  This high statistic for depression among women exists regardless of racial and ethnic background or economic status.

Can depression in women be prevented and treated?  Of course it can, but we need to shift our thinking away from medications and talk therapy toward more workable solutions.  We need to make this shift because approximately half of all people treated for depression with only the conventional treatment methods (medications and talk therapy) show virtually no improvement. In addition, of all Americans who experience a major depressive episode during their lifetime and use only medications and talk therapy to deal with them 50 percent will have a recurrent episode.  Seventy percent of those who experience a second episode are likely to have a third.

It seems that pills and talk do not address the root cause of depression.

In order to prevent and treat depression we need to utilize a technique which tugs and pulls at the intertwined roots of the disorder.  These roots are created by stress which can be triggered through genetic predisposition, individual situations and the difficulties incurred in everyday living.

Stress is basically “gunk” in the nervous system which blocks the flow of life energy.  It is like weeds in the garden.  Just as we remove weeds to allow flowers the freedom to flourish we must weed out the stress which blocks the free flow of our energy, intelligence and creativity.

Healing-Depression-mind-body-wayWeeding out these deep-rooted stresses requires profound rest.  The Transcendental Meditation technique has been shown to offer this opportunity by giving the kind of rest which removes stress from the mind, body, and spirit.

During meditation, the physiology is in a deep state of rest—much deeper than it is during ordinary sleep.  This deep state of rest purifies stress from the nervous system and creates stability and balance.  The changes continue after the meditation session ends.

Purification of stress from the nervous system positively affects the mind.  People who practice meditation begin to shed negativity, they make room for positive thoughts and emotions.  Meditation practitioners experience an increase in self-confidence, tolerance, orderliness of thinking, and self-esteem.  This is partly because the Transcendental Meditation technique also reverses the effects of anxiety, which is associated with the impairment of functioning in almost all areas of life:  physiological, perceptual-motor, intellectual, and emotional.

In the past 50 years women have come a long way toward equality.  With the regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique we can, in very short order, close the gap on the statistics on our higher rate of depression.

Nancy Leibler, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, teacher, and writer who lives in Detroit, Michigan. She is the author of “Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way,” which is available at Amazon.com

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  • Hap Mullenneaux

    Dear Dr. Leibler,
    Your statement that “we need to shift our thinking away from medications and talk therapy toward more workable solutions” could lead individuals to drop their medications and therapy in favor of the TM technique with potentially tragic results. I speak from personal experience when I say that the TM technique is not always a “workable solution” to depression. The greatest need in the mental health field, it is for compassionate, pragmatic therapists who can work closely with their patients and help develop the treatment program that works best for them.
    Respectfully,
    Hap Mullenneaux

  • Nancy Liebler Ph.D.

    Dear Hap,

    When I say move toward “more workable solutions” for depression I am speaking not only of TM.

    The condition of depression is all-encompassing. Depression is a physical problem that is beyond the reach of pills, it is a mental problem that is beyond the reach of words, and it is a spiritual problem that requires techniques to help us connect with the abstract qualities of life. To heal depression we need to improve our overall health and activate our inner source of healing. This can be accomplished through a wide variety of interventions such as nutrition, exercise, breathing techniques, yoga, herbal medications, sleep and TM.

    Episodes of depression recur in 50 to 85 percent of people who have had none episode and used only the conventional techniques of drugs and talk therapy. In addition 70 percent of all people using only conventional methods of treatment remain depressed. And 40 percent stop taking the medications in the first month because of side effects. The anti depressants have been shown to be no more helpful, in most cases, than placebos. Talk therapy is helpful for mild depression which is time limited anyway, however, seriously depressed people do not have the energy to incorporate insights and no matter how compassionate the therapist talk therapy fails for these people.

    TM is sometimes a total solution for depression, but often it is not. TM will always offer some help but research would agree with you that TM alone will frequently not cure depression. This is because the roots of depression are not only in the mind and spirit they are in the body. The physical needs purification and nourishment. Treatment for depression must be holistic as the mind-body and spirit is one seamless energetic system.

    Thank you for expressing your concern.

    Health and Happiness,

    Nancy

  • Maria

    I am about to finish reading your book and I think it is great. Not only is clear and easy to read, but also gives a very comprehensive approach to treating depression. I am starting my own process of healing and I would like to know where I can find more information.
    Thank you and thanks to Sandra Moss for writing this book.

  • Nancy Liebler, Ph.D.

    Dear Reader,

    Thank you so very much for your kind note regarding Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way. Sandra and I so enjoy knowing that our book is being utilized and is helpful. You have made our day!

    You asked about further information. Well, Sandra and I wrote this book because we could not find much “out there” about the holistic aspects of depression. We still have not located any other books that deal with this subject in the same way that we did. However, if you wish to read more about Ayurveda I recommend Contemporary Ayurveda by Sharma and Clark.

    If you are embarking on a healing journey I would suggest that you choose something from the book which you can easily do and begin to incorporate that into your lifestyle. Add other interventions when you feel ready. The mind-body will move toward health when it is nudged in that direction. Ayurveda teaches that we never should stress or strain and never make too many changes at one time. If you move slowly then changes will become permanent. If you have a mixed type of depression (imbalances in more than one dosha) focus on balancing vata dosha first. Vata is the principle of movement and it can move the other doshas out of balance. When we balance vata we are making a major step toward feeling good, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

    I wish you the best for perfect health and happiness.
    Nancy

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