Lifestyle Changes Effective in the Treatment of Depression...cont.
by  Dr. Jerry Cunningham


Recent research indicates that 15 million people (nearly 5% of the entire U.S. population) have been taking antidepressant medication for greater than 5 years.  Many are interested in discontinuing but encounter a condition called “discontinuation syndrome” causing their symptoms to return making coming off the medication difficult.  Given this difficulty, one might consider alternative lifestyle changes such as exercise, rumination mitigation techniques, and omega 3 supplements prior to medication when appropriate (remember to discuss with a holistic physician prior).

Exercise has been one of the most proven and effective interventions with significant impact on the depressive condition and, for some, has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant medication without the problematic side effects. A trained therapist can assist with the development of an appropriate exercise regime as the depressive patient often needs help maintaining an appropriate schedule and overcoming depression driven resistance.

Another technique to minimize the impact of depression comes in the form of mitigating rumination (the constant cycling of negative thoughts). Ruminating negative thoughts are almost always present for those suffering from depression and can feel almost impossible to control.  However, a trained therapist can help with strategies to control these ruminating negative thoughts.

As another tool to naturally combat depression, one might also consider adding an omega 3 supplement.  Considerable research has shown that a disruption of omega 3 and omega 3 ratios is strongly connected to depression.  Studies show that an appropriate balance of omega 3 can lead to improvement in depressive conditions.  Dr. Stephen Ilardi, PhD, recommends in his book, “The Depression Cure,” beginning with supplementation of omega 3 in the form of 1,000 EPA and 500 DHA in a quality fish oil supplement (always check with your holistic physician before starting).

For some, lifestyle changes such as exercise, negative thought counseling, and omega 3 supplementation can be an effective alternative to antidepressant medication.  Seek out a trusted, licensed therapist and holistic physician to see if these techniques will help.

For more information, please call Dr. Jerry Cunningham, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist,
at 208-866-9025.  Most insurances accepted.