Recently, my best friend was diagnosed with textbook clinical depression and they want to perscribe her Zolfoft. Shes not to fond of the idea of being on a perscription drug and we have been debating the idea of a vegan or even simply organic diet to help with her depression. Does anyone have any ideas, helpful tips, or past experiences that would help with this?
I was personally diagnosed with depression and I didnt like the idea of taking a pill my whole life. I was already not a big meat eater. So I cut out wheat which is EXTREMELY hard cuz its in everything. If you can cut it out all the way just cut back on the amount you eat. Also Dairy was causing A LOT of the problems. They give animals hormones and you eat or drink like milk you ingest the same hormones. To many hormones can give you the side affect of depression. I noticed a difference when I give up cheese and eggs. If you go vegan just cut off one thing at a time. There are subsitutes for everything.
Sometimes people really do need pills. Other people can control it with diet, exercise, and therapy. I would have your friend consult professionals so that they can help her decide what is best for her and moniter her. :)
Lupus and Hypothyroid aside, I have bipolar 1, severe anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Due to my aversion to medication, my doctors worked with me to try to wean me off of pills, and it just wasn't going to happen. Like peasloveandhappiness said, some people really do need medication. I have a really good psychiatrist, who gives me options. He'll tell me exactly what he wants me on, what is in it, side effects, etc. and lets me compare it to different meds and lets ME choose which one I feel molds best into my lifestyle. I know that many people think that "shrinks" are just pill-pushers, but they aren't all that way. Zoloft is a very mild anti-depressant, one of the safest, and her doc clearly isn't pushing the heavy stuff just to push it, so that's a pretty clear sign that meds are probably what she needs.
I agree with what everyone has said. If the doctor does not feel it is imperative that she begin taking medication immediately, I would seriously consider going on a vegan diet, with only minimal (or no) processed foods, including sugar. Some people can truly be helped through such a change. I would suggest she speak with her doctor about wanting to try the diet change first, and setting up a follow-up appointment in a few months (or sooner, again depending on how serious the doctor feels the situation is - like serious suicidal thoughts may need to be combated immediately with medication, but she could go vegan at the same time and then, with monitoring by her doctor, could try to go off the pills while maintaining a clean vegan diet.) It all depends on the individual, but I would definitely at least attempt the change, with monitoring. I know that when I allow myself to slip into eating more junk foods - sugar and processed stuff - that I start slipping back into behaviors that I exhibit when I'm depressed. Eating cleanly doesn't cure me, but makes it manageable without medication, so I try really hard to remind myself of that and stay away from the food that exacerbates it. So, for me I know it makes a difference, but it is going to depend on each individual.
Everyone has covered everything so well. I think it really depends on how bad the situation is and how well your friend can deal with their depression. Some people will always need medication and there is nothing wrong with that. My husband suffered from anxiety attacks a few years back and he is borderline biopolar. He was on prozac and a bipolar med (forget which one!) for years though at a very low dose. After being vegan for a few years he weaned himself off of the meds under the supervision of his psychiatrist. I think for my husband, it helps that he is able to catch himself early. He can sense when his anxiety is coming on and control it or do something to blow off steam, whether it is meditation or exercise. He can feel his mind racing at times and can feel the fluctuations of his mood at different times of the month and try to remedy these. This doesn't work for everyone and there have been times when he has gone off his meds and had to go back on because he knew he couldn't control it. So, as everyone said, it depends specifically on the person and their diagnosis. Good luck to your friend and I hope a vegan diet helps, even if it is just a little.
I've had issues with depression, and bad reactions to it,including overeating (ugh feels horrible,even when still adhering to a vegan diet!). I make sure to do yoga first thing when I wake up, eat a lot of vegetables and fruit,go and out and interact with people,get exercise every day,and keeping busy is the best thing! I would never go on medication.Also talking to someone about it helps a tremendous amount!
I was at a point a few years ago where I was depressed and suffering from a nervous breakdown. At the time I wanted anything that would make me feel better so I started on an anti-depressant called Citalopram (I live in England so this may be called something different abroad). I wish I had never started on medication because it didn't really help that much and now three years on I'm still on it and am finding it really hard to come off because the withdrawal symptoms are giving me really bad panic attacks. I'm trying to ween myself off really gently at the moment and am trying to implement a superhero diet at the same time in the hopes that this will aid me. The thing that worked best for me was therapy and relaxation techniques.