Weil: Mild depression treatable with simple lifestyle changes
December 16th, 2011
07:15 AM ET

Weil: Mild depression treatable with simple lifestyle changes

Andrew Weil is the director of the of the integrative medicine program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and Professor of Medicine and Public Health, author of "8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Healthy Aging," and the forthcoming "Spontaneous Happiness." 

Depression has many forms. Worst among them is the kind characterized by deep, soul-crushing despair, so eloquently described in novelist William Styron's 1992 book, “Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.”

"The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it. . . . the grey drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain. ..it is natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion."

I’m thankful that, unlike Styron, I have never had a major depressive episode. At times in my life, however, I have experienced a depressed mood for most of the day, more days than not, over weeks and even months.

During those periods I also had low energy, feelings of hopelessness, and a strong desire to isolate myself from social interaction.  Sometimes, I would become anxious and agitated as well. (The line between depression and anxiety is notoriously difficult to draw; many sufferers have some components of both.)

Sleep was fitful. Some mornings, I would find it hard to leave my bed and face another long day of gloomy ruminations about disappointments in life and my own shortcomings.

While, from the outside, my circumstances may have seemed enviable - I was a Harvard-trained M.D., a successful author, and had plenty of loyal friends - from my internal vantage point I could see nothing to make me feel cheerful, find nothing to enjoy, no reason to laugh.

It's clear to me now that according to modern psychological classifications, I would have been diagnosed with dysthymic disorder, the commonest form of mild to moderate depression.  It is this diagnosis that accounts for much of the epidemic of depression occurring today.

Many in such circumstances try to boost their mood with alcohol or other substances, but fortunately, my studies of addiction made me aware that such "solutions" usually end badly.

Over the years I tried various forms of psychotherapy and counseling but got little benefit from them.  Once, in my early 40s, I filled a prescription for an antidepressant medication (Zoloft) but gave it up after a few days because I could not tolerate its effects.  It numbed my body and dulled my mind.

This pattern in my emotional life was frequent in my twenties, thirties, and forties, then began to wane.  It has steadily diminished ever since and now rarely recurs, seldom lasting more than a day or two, even when I encounter tough situations.

It's difficult to pinpoint one reason for this welcome change. I think it is the cumulative result of many lifestyle changes I have made through the years. Specifically, I have:

Made a concerted effort to be more physically active. Increased physical activity is perhaps the single most important lifestyle change one can make to reduce the incidence and severity of dysthymia.

Added more omega-3 fatty acids to my diet, through frequent meals of cold-water, wild-caught fatty fish, and high-quality fish oil supplements. Research has firmly established that adequate intake of these vital fats is crucial to optimal emotional health.

Got my vitamin D levels into the optimum range.  Vitamin D deficiency correlates with suboptimal mood and brain function.

Made other dietary improvements, in line with my anti-inflammatory diet.  New research pinpoints a connection between inflammation and depression.
  • Began meditating each morning.  The practice has helped me improve my attention and not get lost in patterns of thought that make me feel unhappy.

If you struggle with dysthymia, take heart. In both my personal and professional experience, I have found it to be highly treatable through simple, safe, inexpensive lifestyle changes.

For a comprehensive overview of mild to moderate depression and my recommendations for preventing or alleviating it, see my new book, "Spontaneous Happiness." I became happier in the course of writing it and learned a great deal about the effectiveness of simple interventions.

For example, I was impressed by how much scientific evidence exists for the power of gratitude to boost mood. Feeling and expressing gratitude for the blessings you have is a powerful way of enhancing emotional well-being.  All you have to do is remember to do it.

For more on Andrew Weil's experience with depression, watch “Sanjay Gupta, M.D." at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday.

soundoff (870 Responses)
  1. BigDogMom

    Waiiiiit a minute. So this guy has never even HAD depression, but he's sure he knows all about it because he once had a bad day where he felt kinda down? But he BEAT it, so you can too? I have nothing against natural medicine, but this article is frankly offensive in its oversimplification of a very serious disease.

    November 4, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aidan

      @bigdogmom : Read the whole article, perhaps, not a sentence, and maybe you won't look like a fool when you post in reply to less than 3 lines of text.

      November 4, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
    • F

      What's offensive is YOU, thinking that anyone who's suffered depression would be qualified whether he/she had any medical or psychiatric training.

      November 4, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
    • Williams

      I completely agree with you. Fish oil and Vit. D. is not going to do much for people who have serious depression, or even moderate depression. Saint John's Wort and SamE is in used europe to treat mild to moderate depression and some people respond to light if they have SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is clear that he is speaking outside his area of expertise.

      November 5, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Read the whole article. He had months of it. What he describes is moderate Depression; which is pretty bad.

      November 5, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      Please think before you speak...seems to be a malady these days...

      November 6, 2011 at 01:28 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Depression isn't a disease dipstick, lol.

      November 6, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • Opp

      I have severe depression and have, in the past few years, engaged in most all the things this man has suggested. And, guess what, it has worked. This man is an expert. You are not.

      November 6, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm not sure he IS an expert. The guy advocates an 'alternative' treatment for depression. And as another poster pointed out, he has no disclaimer about his treatment methods. For many people reading here, it might be a dangerous route to follow without the guidance of a doctor.

      November 7, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
  2. BBoop

    He states that he had depression, not just for a day, but for days, even weeks. And what he described fits me so well. While I take medication for it, I believe the lifestyle changes he mentioned would also greatly benefit me, and I'm trying to incorporate them now to help alleviate the symptoms. I believe it is possible to beat it, if those of us who suffer only try to make changes...and that doesn't necessarily mean giving up medication.

    November 4, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      I have had Major Depressive Disorder for most of my life. Psychotherapy just grinds it in deeper as I tell my life story over and over. My last pshrink quit treating me as she was making me worse. I have been on many medications and none work for long. I know that the things he suggests would work if the crippling lethargy that is Depression would let me get up and at it. I suffer anxiety with it and am almost always sick with fear, fear based on nothing specific. I was high functioning and worked and made good money but my response to some of the behaviours in the corporate world lead to rounds of disability and ended in disability retirement at 61.

      I like his work and I have read some of his books. I have some of his tapes. The problem with him and every other therapist of his kind is that they do not address methods of dealing with these disorders for the poor. Some of what he suggests are expensive. I love yoga. Cannot afford it and do not have any drive to do it alone. I cannot afford those fresh fish and am morally opposed to fishing the seas until they are empty. I cannot afford the supplements. I do meditate, twice a day at minimum. It helps minimally. Telling people who have lost everything to a disease to be grateful is ridiculous if your life has been one loss after another and one rejection after another. I am grateful for my son. I despair because he cannot get help because he does not have a good health care plan.

      Just another upper middle class person assuming everyone has enough money to live like he does.

      November 5, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • Fiona

      Calgarysandy, aka Sunshine, you can find yoga classes almost anywhere that cost whatever you can afford to donate, or you can barter services for classes (clean the center, fix something, work on their Website, etc). You can afford fish oil supplements if you buy them at a big box store. You can get out and exercise for free. You get wher I'm going with this? You are looking for excuses not to try. I'm not surprised your therapist gave up on you.

      And before you go accusing...I have suffered from clinical depression for much of my life. The real deal - can't get out of bed, can't stop crying, want to die kind. I got myself out of it with exercise and discipline. Did't cost a thing.

      November 22, 2011 at 01:12 | Report abuse |
  3. whiplsh1

    Your post about health is very nice i am really very impressed here can you more share here i will back soon as soon possible.
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    Whiplash Injury Claim

    November 4, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. martinipaul

    I lost my wife two years ago. I was depressed but I thought I could beat it myself. I wound up with no job, no friends, no life. When I finally sought help I was diagnosed with major depression and ptsd. My advice? If you think you are suffering from depression, go to a doctor! Do not self-diagnose or self-treat. Do not spend weeks or months hoping that tomorrow you are going to feel better. The advice in the article is useful but do not assume that your depression is 'mild' or 'moderate'. Let a professional determine that and the earlier the better.

    November 4, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      I feel for you. MDD is brutal an no one but someone who has not had depression can possibly understand. My experience with my family has been that they said I pretended to get attention and/or I made up the disease. My parents refused to get me help. My son has it too. They say to get children help as soon as possible. That is not possible if you do not have a good medical plan and the disabled, like me, cannot afford to pay for that help. My heart breaks for all the people in the in the US who have any mental health problem and especially the parents of ill children.

      I do not believe his suggestions are a cure and they are too expensive for many people. I think they help you cope with what cannot be cured without massive amounts of retraining the plastic brain. Maybe not then. Even a small improvement is a good thing.

      November 5, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
    • Donnie

      Here, here. I too lost a spouse and have suffered, but after talking to a counselor and a psychiatrist, agreed to try meds. They appear to be working, but I also incorporate many of the vitamins, physical activity. Not 100% but believe that I have at least the desire to feel better.

      November 7, 2011 at 05:31 | Report abuse |
    • luv2livzen

      Sound advice. I have experienced major depression also. People do not have a clue about it. They typically avoid anyone with it. Of course with major depression, isolating is the norm.

      I do agree with the Vit D & some Omega 3 / fish oil. Having the thyroid checked is pretty std., too. Vit d is an easy blood test, & I have felt better physically since taking supplements & my dr. aiming for a level around 60! It is crucial for muscles & bones – mine had been Extremely low, The pain in the bones & muscles decreased alot. Less pain helps the mood.

      January 12, 2012 at 02:19 | Report abuse |
  5. Beanz

    Depression isnt real anyway. Bad shxt happens to everyone-get over it. Its just another "disease" cooked up to sell pills. Dont believe me? Check out their newest scam: Shift Work Disorder. Doctors are claiming that being tired after work is now a "disorder"; and I bet most of you will buy right into it. SMH.

    November 4, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LV7

      Beanz, be thankful that you have no idea how wrong you are. I've suffered from major depressive disorder in the past. When you know intellectually that your life isn't bad and that you have much to be thankful for, but still feel those horrible symptoms of hopelessness, fatigue, disinterest, and have almost constant thoughts about how you wish you could kill yourself without hurting those that care about you, you realize that Depression is real. I took high doses of ant-depressants and was still having those symptoms. By luck, I found that taking high doses of Omega 3 Fish Oil basically cured it. Depression isn't just an emotional disorder. For me it was absolutely a physical disorder with emotional symptoms. The suggestions from Dr. Weil are excellent ones, but anyone who has sufferred the condition knows that exercize is almsot impossible as your entire body hurts and you have no energy; it's a vicious cycle. I started only after the Omega 3 alleviated my symptoms. The one thing I will give you Beanz is that doctors are very quick to just prescribe a pill. While they may have saved me from myself, the side effects are nasty.

      November 4, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
    • Ames

      Maybe you're not real. Sounds like you don't have a clue.

      November 4, 2011 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      To "Beanz":
      I highly suggest you educate yourself. You are obviously cynical of results of many many major research studies conducted over a long time span clearly describing numerous physical changes in the brain in severely depressed patients. Please read some of these articles so in the future you can actually write an intelligent meaningful response.

      November 4, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Beanz is suffering from cranial-rectal inversion disorder. The only cure is education. Get some, muttonhead.

      November 4, 2011 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
    • Stevep1

      You're Gilligan on your own Island. You told all depressed people to "get over it" .With help, they will. Sad, however, that there is no cure for stupid..

      November 5, 2011 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
    • carl

      This guy is an idi0t. "Shift work disorder" is not just being tired after work, if is a form of sleep deprivation due to an inconsistent sleep schedule, which has well-established health consequences. You can't experience a normal sleep state if you keep flipping between day and night shifts, even if you have enough total time available.

      And "depression" in the clinical sense is not just bad things happening, it is a mental condition which, though often brought on by negative events, can happen even in the absence of bad things. It is not a healthy reaction, and it can require treatment.

      November 5, 2011 at 03:11 | Report abuse |
    • Relictus

      Beanz, Depression can and does kill – there have been three murder-suicides in my county this year.

      November 5, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
    • Curtis

      I have to agree with Beans, I speak from experience. Several years ago my doctor "diagnosed" me with chronic depression and immediately started giving me a prescription to treat it. Just to be safe I got a secon opinion and that doctor agreed with the first "diagnosis" and encouraged to take meds. Needless to say I didn't take their advice. I still have days when I just want to pull the blinds down and hide from the world but get up and live my life anyway. I've told the same thing to many people I meet who claim they have depression. "Just move on." That's the best thing to do. No pill or therapy works better than getting over feeling sorry for yourself. I personally beleive depression is a weak character and nothing more. You can get over it, but you have to want to do it. Period. You can call me an idiot if you want but I speak from personal experience and can introduce you to a least a dozen others who have kicked "depression" in the same way. If you think you need pills and therapy you're only fooling yourself!

      November 5, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      What is in it for you to come in here and be so unkind to others? Do you get off on kicking the ill and denying their pain? Are you some kind of new pervert that enjoys suffering in others. You are lucky you do not suffer and it is no reason to be nasty.

      November 5, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Curt, you like living a miserable half-life of dragging yourself around and think you're somehow proving something?

      Stupid. There is hope for depression and no one has to live like you do. You wanna be a miserable dope, go right ahead. But people reading your post and recognizing themselves in it should treat you as a dire warning and not as a good example.

      November 5, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
    • PenguinMan

      Walnuts have the highest Omega-3 than any food, twice as much as salmon. A handful a day will help keep the blues away

      November 5, 2011 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
    • retired therapist

      I hope for you that you never expoerience a real depression. You won't get help. It could be fatal

      November 5, 2011 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
    • Susan


      So nice for you that depression is not real. It's very real for me as it was for my 19 year old son that died from suicide. There are many reasons for depression, sometimes physical due to shxt happening that effects a person.

      November 6, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Susan, I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to lose a child.

      Ignore people like Beanz. They are idiots.

      November 6, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought a fool, than open it and remove all doubt.

      You don't know beanz.

      November 6, 2011 at 18:42 | Report abuse |
  6. EN

    Most everyone meets challenges of some kind every day. Dr. Weil's information sounds helpful to people who need to learn to be healthy for both their physical and mental well-being. Not taking stock of our happier or better moments can leave us in a rut sometimes. His article is a guideline to finding more peace within each day and night. Learning to create happiness within your own life and those that are connected to you is admirable. Others can benefit from each other's positive personalities. It's good that Dr. Weil took the time to write this article and for CNN put it out there for others to learn from. Personally I had to go the route of slight amounts of antidepressants and higher amounts of melatonin to decrease insomnia problems, natural thyroid supplementation, adrenal supplementation temporarily and change up my nutrition to improve my physical health. Basic happiness is easier to achieve when a person feels better and there aren't as many obstacles to deal with. Finding solutions and filling your time with positive actions is rewarding as Dr. Weil notes in this article.

    November 4, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. martinipaul

    Beanz: You have my sympathy.

    November 4, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Tina

    I can tell you that depression is something that is real as can be and those who fluff it off and say "just get over it" haven't a clue. I lived with it, my mother had it and we tried everything and so did she but ended up an alcoholic and dying at 58. It is not something that one can just get over and from what I understand most of the meds for it are just as bad but if it helps then it is worth a try. I feel sorry for anyone who lives with this on a daily basis.

    November 4, 2011 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. abby

    Severe depression can be a chemical problem and medication is necessary. I think that anyone who has suffered from depression needs to use anything that will help him/her, not just vitamins or physical activity. Cognitive therapy can be helpful. Sadly, too many people lack the financial resources and/or insurance to afford the treatment they need. Each person is different and requires a personalized (not generalized) approach.

    November 4, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • r

      I think you are absolutely right.

      November 5, 2011 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Thank you. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy did not work for me. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy may have but my therapist ran off to a better job after promising she would not do so. It is not covered so I cannot afford to go back to it. Poverty can cause depression, aggravate an existing condition and deny you the ability to do what would lessen the symptoms if not cure you. It is criminal that the ill cannot get help but corporations and the sinfully rich can gather enough money to last hundreds of lifetimes.

      November 5, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
  10. Squash

    Beanz, depression is real, I know this because I suffer from it. Believe me, it is not something I advertise or even tell friends (except two very close ones), family or colleagues about, and I have never sought any advantage, sympathy, or a day off work because of it. It can be absolutely crippling in an utterly illogical way, by which I mean that internal worries and self-loathing magnify and are felt in intense and massively-exagerated degrees, to the point that life can seem unbearable. Churchill described his depression as his "black dog", which he tried his whole life to tame. You wake up in the morning, and wonder whether that dog will sink his teeth in, or leave you alone for the day. For me, exercise is absolutely key, as well as understanding that I am not alone in this.

    November 4, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Relictus

      All true. I get unwelcome exercise, though – a physically demanding job!

      November 5, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      I call it the horrors and you are right about what it is like. It is awful that you have to protect yourself from the views of family, friends, and co-workers. That is the reality of these disorders. You cannot seek compassion for fear they will turn on you. In fact, most people do turn on you. No one would do such a thing to someone with diabetes or cancer. The thing is: If you have a brain you can get a mental illness and 1 in 5 people is currently suffering and 1 in 4 will suffer at some time in their lives.

      November 5, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  11. indu chhibber

    While it is true that severe depression requires medication,it is equally true that some find the side-effects absolutely intolerable.So what is a person to do?One excellent cure is Yoga–including the physical postures & breathing exercises or Pranayam,as we call it.Yes i know depression makes it difficult to leave the bed;but if you drag yourself out in the beginning,slowly you will feel more energetic & practice Yoga spontaneously & happily.This is a long process-don't look for magical results.But once you feel better you will get so addicted to it that you wouldn't like to miss it for a single day !
    I have given some information about Yoga in my post "Fit & fine , with Yoga in line" at http://jeeteraho.blogspot.com
    To the skeptics-Yoga has helped me to cut my Thyroid & BP medicines by half.

    November 4, 2011 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. S

    Why are so many of you criticizing Beanz? His response was pretty innocuous and he spoke from personal experience. Did you mean EN?

    November 4, 2011 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Any moron who decrees that "depression doesn't exist" is hardly "innocuous". Beanz doesn't have any "personal experience", and even if he did, so what? Diagnoses for mental illnesses aren't based on "personal experience" and anecdotal evidence.

      November 5, 2011 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Tom Tom: Excellent.

      November 5, 2011 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
    • Supermercado

      I fail to see suicide among the lederly as a problem. It seems a rational approach in many cases. I hope I will have the mental and physical faculties to take that route should it one day become necessary.Let's see...you're very old, in poor health, depressed, and your only prospects for the future are worsening health, decreased abilities, and more depression. We admire someone who "lets go" and wills himself to die when his race is run. Unlike a few years ago, the healthcare industry can keep a body going for years after any quality of life is present. Why should suicide be treated as a stigma or a mental health issue? It seems a solution, not a problem. (And "because God doesn't want you to" is not a valid counter-argument.)

      April 9, 2012 at 05:25 | Report abuse |
  13. jeanne

    When I turned 40 something changed within my body. I received therapy and zoloft. Yes, it does have it's side effects, but I can get out of bed and actually perform a 33 hour a week job. I still experience dysthymia and when I do, I get in touch with a friend or two or take a day off work to do something fun. I never thought that I would have to take medication, but now, the quality of my life is important I have alot to llive for and be grateful for. I remind myself of this daily.

    November 5, 2011 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. leighdodson

    Companies give out samples of their products all the time, it's a very effective marketing strategy. Best place online is "Get Official Samples" find online

    November 5, 2011 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CalgarySandy

      You have to have a prescription to get the samples or get them from your doctor. They do not hand them out. I am not sticking up for the pharmaceutical companies. I put them in the same class of money grubbing thugs as oil companies. They do, however, have a vested interested in coming up with better meds to take the place of the ones that have become eligible to be made as generics.

      November 5, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
    • Cazuza

      I've cut myself bferoe. I did it a couple of times after and always felt like an idiot afterwards. I've been through depressed stages since i was 12 and just felt like no body cared or understood who i was. I am now 15 and this year has been rough, with death, my friend trying to kill herself, my parents splitting up and more troubles. It's just everynight I go to bed and cry myself to sleep. I cant really talk to people about it because I feel as though I'm not worth it or its not important

      April 14, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
  15. Kim

    The type of mild and pervasive depression could also be a B12 along with Vitamin D deficiency. Docs don't check B12 much anymore and even in the mid-range self-image becomes stagnant and bleak, and at its worst self-destructive. Been there done that for years. Treatments for severe deficiency has "cured" urges toward self-blame, social isolation, pervasive fatigue and a general sense of unwellness. With treatment it feels like there is life back in every cel of my body–I've even described it to my physician as "sunshine" because I feel alive again. Maybe there is a medical reason for melancholia and maybe not. I just thought I'd share my experience. If I ever get back into the deep hell that severe depression causes again I will go to my doctor for some bloodwork before I go the counselor. Thanks.

    November 5, 2011 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Bobby

    Drs need to be trained in All forms of treating depression that are based on research, not just medications.. For ezample how many Docs know about FDA approved treatment for Depression called a CES ( Crainal Electro Stimulator) machine.. Not many, I bet.. Or what is the research for treating depression with Amino Acid Therapy, Spectrum Light Therapy for SAD. accupunncture, bio-feedback, hypnosis etc.. If a Doctor is not trained in Mental Health they should refer out patients to a qualified psychologist ( Therapy) or pyschiatrist. Drs need to warn parents of Teens regarding the Dangers Of Suicide and side-effects before they just prescribe AD's.

    November 5, 2011 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. mike

    You may or may not agree with this doctor entirely, or about his take on depression entirely. But I have casually followed this doctor for years, since first finding out about him on a PBS Special featuring him and his firts book " Eight Weeks to Optimum Health," which was turned into an eight week series on the same.

    In general, I find him and his advice to be generally helpful, proactive, simple and unobtrusive, full of common sense, and the underlying tone is that you can be healthy, healthier and improve your general well being by doing small simple things to benefit your own health.

    He is not an extremist, recognizing and embracing modern western medicine for what it can do and does do, but his path is to augment with other paths of healthcare when appropriate.

    Best yet is his underlying tone that by making simple changes in our own lifestyles, diets etc., we can all live a healthier life and stave off health problems with preventative healthcare.

    He is right on all levels, I wish all doctors would take his practical, moderate, overview of human health. I wish he were the surgeon general to preach to the country his take on health and healthcare.

    As our country continues to gain weight, live more stressful lives, and embrace more and more unhealthy lifestyles, we could all use a national heath care leader in the truest sense, and this man with his caring gentle demeanor would fit the bill perfectly.

    He may not be perfect, but I defend his efforts completely.

    November 5, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • luv2livzen

      Agree. I've seen him interviewed, have read some of his articles, am familiar with accupuncture, meditation, etc., & he is looking at the whole body – mind, body, & spirit.

      January 12, 2012 at 02:36 | Report abuse |
  18. Marti58

    What Dr. Weil describes here, in this article, is not depression and doesn't need to be treated. Mild mood changes are part of a healthy human existence.
    Dysthymia is more serious – it's a chronic, almost constant depressed mood, where a person is still able to function but feels "down" all the time. Dysthymia might react favorably to antidepressants.
    Serious depression (acute or chronic) is truly soul-crushing, reduces the patient's life to mere physical existence, takes away physical energy, the ability to concentrate, to experience any sort of joy etc. Many times people manage to hide this type of depression because mental problems are still considered a "taboo" in this society. Others seek help desperately from therapists and psychiatrists.
    Unfortunately, just like our health care system is in shambles, getting competent, consistent help for depression is almost impossible. If you're lucky, your insurance company might authorize 6 visits to an approved therapist. That's nothing. Also, many times the therapist is incompetent. Today's "super-fast" therapies don't work.
    So, what's left is trying to get permission from one's insurance company to see a "real" MD for 15 minutes for medications..
    Chances are good here to get a prescription for an antidepressant regardless of your complaints.
    This is my experience Dr. Weil. I've suffered from clinical deression for most of my adult life and went through hell. The most pleasant thought that comes to mind is suicide, because the suffering is so intense.
    Stick with your day job, because you sound like a person who should be a clown not a doctor. Thank you

    November 5, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Marti58 (I did not say this before, CNN!!)

    What Dr. Weil describes here, in this article, is not depression and doesn't need to be treated. Mild mood changes are part of a healthy human existence.
    Dysthymia is more serious – it's a chronic, almost constant depressed mood, where a person is still able to function but feels "down" all the time. Dysthymia might react favorably to antidepressants.
    Serious depression (acute or chronic) is truly soul-crushing, reduces the patient's life to mere physical existence, takes away physical energy, the ability to concentrate, to experience any sort of joy etc. Many times people manage to hide this type of depression because mental problems are still considered a "taboo" in this society. Others seek help desperately from therapists and psychiatrists.
    Unfortunately, just like our health care system is in shambles, getting competent, consistent help for depression is almost impossible. If you're lucky, your insurance company might authorize 6 visits to an approved therapist. That's nothing. Also, many times the therapist is incompetent. Today's "super-fast" therapies don't work.
    So, what's left is trying to get permission from one's insurance company to see a "real" MD for 15 minutes for medications..
    Chances are good here to get a prescription for an antidepressant regardless of your complaints.
    This is my experience Dr. Weil. I've suffered from clinical deression for most of my adult life and went through hell. The most pleasant thought that comes to mind is suicide, because the suffering is so intense.
    Stick with your day job, because you sound like a person who should be a clown not a doctor. Thank you

    November 5, 2011 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. larry


    November 5, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Marti58

    What a useless, senseless article. Depression is an epidemic.
    For CNN, to publish an article that makes a very serious and very common illness out to be a joke is a real insult to the millions of helpless people who don't get much relief for their illness from their doctors or so-called therapists.
    Let's publish all the illnesses we humans suffer and just advice – DIET AND EXERCISE!!
    By the way, neither of them works for depression.

    November 5, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Samuel

      What pharmaceutical firm do you work for?

      November 6, 2011 at 01:41 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, there we go–if someone vouches for the effectiveness of vaccines, antidepressants or pretty much any other medication, he/she MUST work for a pharmaceutical company. To hear people like you tell it, "big pharma" must be employing 80% of the population.

      I don't work in the medical or pharmaceutical industry, but every SINGLE time I opine that a medication has proven to be effective in studies or for me or someone I know, some moron vomits up the usual "what pharmaceutical company do you represent?"

      None. I just have a brain and know how to read. Maybe you should try it.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • Samuel

      I have a brain and can read and from what i have read diet and exercise can help in cases with mild to moderate depression. That is why doctors recommend it usually when taking an anti-depressant though. Furthermore, i think a distinction needs to be made between depression, and Major Depressive Disorder. Most people go through bouts of depression over the course of their lives and this is quite normal. Major Depressive Disorder is a different beast altogether. And in terms of studies for the effectiveness of anti-depressants for mild depression, they are not better than placebo. A serious debate needs to take place on how and to whom anti-depressants should be prescribed because when 11% of Americans over the age of 12 are on them, something is seriously wrong. Talk to you later Tom

      November 6, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      But you're NOT distinguishing between them. You just shot from the hip at a poster who said that for most depression that is diagnosed, not just a minor case of the blues, diet and exercise don't work, and all but accused him/her of working for 'big pharma'.

      Just because someone recognizes that medication and vaccines actually WORK is no reason to pull out your sarcasm pistol and fire it off.

      November 6, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
  22. SAWolf

    I disagree with Marti58. I have an extremely depressive personality. But I know what to do, I get off my butt and walk, 50+ miles a week and don't require any meds. Plus 8% body fat and its FREE.

    November 5, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gee, you are just amazing.

      Too bad you aren't depressed. If you had ever been depressed, you wouldn't have written such an idiotic post.

      November 5, 2011 at 21:06 | Report abuse |
    • SAWolf

      So Tom is now my Clinical Psychologist, put your lips on it pipers son.

      November 5, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It doesn't take a clinical anything to see what you are, dickfor.

      November 5, 2011 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Idiots like you bray about their superior ability to "overcome depression" with exercise, meditation, omega 3s, and a host of other "cures" that worked for THEM. You aren't qualified to proclaim that you "know what to do" for anyone. You think you "cured" your depression and that you have the answer-just like every other boob on the web. You don't. No one knows what is best or effective for ANYONE ELSE unless it's the doctor who's treating the person along with the person himself. Stop attempting to prescribe your cure as if you knew some big secret that will fix every problem anyone else might have.

      Just go blow and quit attempting to impersonate a doctor.

      November 5, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse |
  23. Dot Hage

    I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Weil and his work in natural healing and all the fnformation provided on weil.com. However, I find it hard to believe that psychotherapy didn't help him, and his experiment with one antidepressant was insufficient. It is very common for one type of antidepressant to produce unwanted symptoms(in my case, dizziness and deadness of feeling), while another brand or type will work quite well. It takes a bit of time and suffering through some unpleasant side effects in order to find the best drug. In my case, major depressive disorder returns when I stop my medication, so I stay on.

    This is not to say that Dr. Weil's natural healing methods to treat depression are not excellent suggestions, just to say that they aren't always enough.

    November 5, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bengal

      So very, very true. I read the article and shook my head. I follow all Dr. Weil's suggestions except meditation. I run 2 miles daily. I lift weights. I take vitamin D and omega-3 supplements, and eat a balanced diet of real, healthy foods (nothing processed) with plenty of fruits and vegetables. I am suffering right now, and have finally asked my doctor for medication. Sometimes that is all that helps. I have suffered from MDD/anxiety off and on for 20 years. Dot Hage is right...sometimes natural healing methods just don't cut it, no matter how much we might want them to.

      November 5, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
  24. grumpygramma

    Curtis- you haven't beat deprssion- you've just learned how to live with it. I would like to hear from your loved ones about you (if you have any)lol.
    I had bouts of depression my whole life..almost never the result of something 'bad' happening. I took antidepressants and got on with my life. Recently I developed Major Depression and am just now getting better after months of pain and anguish for me and most importantly my family. They are so much happier when I am doing well....depression is like many other disorders that not only affect you,but those close to you.

    November 5, 2011 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jen

    I have bipolar disorder

    November 5, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jen

      I have bipolar disorder and primarily deal with the severe depression. After 13yrs and 26 different meds in various meds I tries ECT (electroconvulsive therapy over the summer. It has been a blessing, I feel better than I have in years and only need 1 medication now. Relieving depression does however take a lot of effort. You have to do other things in addtion to meds and therapy. Forcing yourself out of the house, exercising and other activities. Sometimes you need the meds to get you up enough to have the energy to do these other things. For me no one thing will work it really takes a combination of meds, therapy and just pushing myself. Not easy, I'd never say it was but you can gain a better quality of life. You have to put in the effort and not expect others to just make it better for you. I may always have times where I'll struggle but I've learned what will help and who I can trust to help me.

      November 5, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
  26. bet

    Perhaps, his suggestions work for mild depression as indicated but, for someone whose suffered from clinical depression for 20 years, I'll keep the anti-depressant prescription my doctor provides me with. At it's worst, I could barely walk and was almost catatonic. I couldn't get my body to move let alone, exercise. Make healthy meals? I couldn't concentrate long enough to make a phone call let alone, prepare a meal for myself. With the anti-depressant, I work full time and manage to take care of myself.

    November 5, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. S

    As Abby stated, each person's situation is unique. Everyone's life has challenges and blessings. I experienced severe depressive symtpoms for an extended period (six months) this year for the first time. It was hard to deal with as this was something that happened to 'other people' not me! Wrong. My kids are grown I'm divorced, have a good job; suddently out of the clear blue, depression hit. Others have described the symptoms I experienced very well. I gave in in spite of being embarrassed and feeling the stigma of being depressed and anxious and went for help. Meds seem to have helped some. I am doing better but know that it can come back. Also have been experienced heightened anxiety in situations that shouldn't be that tough (at least intellectually). Also having problems sleeping. All three seem to work together to enhance one another. I also did think about suicide. Have continued to work but have been spending too much time isolated when away from the job. People have noticed that I've 'changed.' Interestingly, in my professional life I have talked a number of people out of taking their own lives, glad to say. I don't want sympathy. I want to enjoy the rest of my life. It is true that most others cannot understand what they have not experienced. And many people can be cold and crue in their lack of empathey, caring and understanding, as well as their sense of superiority and judgmentalism. My heart and best wishes go out to those of you also dealing with depression in all its forms. When the brain chemicals are out of balance, it is no joke. There is still much that is not known about the brain by the experts. The field of mental illness is still in its infancy. In spite of that, I am appreciative for what is known, and for the many excellent professionals working to help. Yes, it's true that many people all over the world cannot get the help they need because they cannot afford it. That is sad. To end on a positive note, thanks also to Dr. Weil for his excellent article!

    November 5, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CSL


      Your comment spoke to me as from what you wrote, we share some similarities. Sounds like you are doing everything you can to get better. One other thought keeps running through my mind: A friend recently reminded me that one of the best ways to help yourself (myself) is to find an organization that really needs volunteers, and get involved....so simple, really. And hard to get started, but it will help! I am a bit of a hermit myself so I really have to push myself to get going.....best of luck to you!

      November 6, 2011 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
    • Sophie2Wc

      S-Thank you so much for sharing your experience, perspective and wisdom. I know the pain and puzzlement of depression/anxiety/panic from my own experience as well as from family and friends. The puzzle of why it happens and the dilemma of how to get help/give help while daily life swirls on. To act or not to act...the withdrawal...the inability to do even seemingly simple things....harshness and judgementalism from the outer world. That there are no quick fixes. That all one wants is simply to feel right again-to have an inner sense of well-being instead of a darkness and a puzzle. Reading your articulate words gave light to my day. Thank you. I wish you well.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  28. Daniel

    All- I do not typically participate in these online conversations but- I have MS, I am in a wheelchair-marriage ended in divorce from the same 2 years ago so with all that said depression for any MS sufferer is likely. My experience is that I do get effected from depression and it takes a lot of effort but meditation (for me AM and end of work day 15-25 minutes), if you do not meditate look into TM or Vipassana, good diet as much as you can as possible, exercise if possible, vitamins as Dr Weil advises depending on your body, fulfilling personal time(art-writing-photography) and maintain relationships (or make new ones- I am a loner and this is important)... good health to you.

    November 5, 2011 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. PenguinMan

    The food by far highest in Omega-3 are walnuts. Twice as high than salmon. Walnuts & raisins are a great snack.

    November 5, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donnie

      walnuts contain minima amounts of DHA and EPA

      November 7, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
  30. CSL

    With a 25-yr-history of moderate to sometimes major chronic depression, and being a Registered Nurse for 35 years, I think I might have a bit to say: First, to the person who doesn't believe depression exists--you are so very wrong. Almost anyone who suffers from chronic depression would cure themselves if they could.....and self-pity is almost never present in those with this disorder. In fact, most depressed people are far, far too hard on themselves!!

    As to Dr. Weil's suggestions about supplementing Omega-3 in our diets-I can tell all of you it helps me quite noticeably-but it does take a couple of weeks. Good quality fish oil capsules aren't cheap, but they are too valuable to not give them a try. The Western diet is quite unbalanced and severely lacking in Omega-3 oils....that's one reason grass-fed beef is getting more popular...it's much higher in Omega-3's. Just think about how abnormal our diets often are–the processing, the preservatives, etc.--if one or two supplements like fish oil and vitamin D have helped me they may well be of help to others.
    And I am not a 'health nut'–I detest most fish and would rather have my drive-through tacos, any day....

    November 6, 2011 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Norasusan

    My depression started at age 8, although I was too young to know it was depression. Along with MDD, I suffer from full-blown panic attacks, which led to agoraphobia for a few years. At one point, I tried to hang myself in the basement, but could not bring myself to kick out the chair. Twice I was hospitalized because I became so numb, I felt nothing, absolutely nothing so to see if I could feel anything, I took a razor blade and cut my arms to see if I could feel pain. The burning from the cuts was a relief because I knew I could feel something. I've been in therapy like you several times, but you're right when you say it's hard to tell your story over and over and over to different therapists. Like you, I work and at times the depression is so bad that I have to take time off. My favorite thing in the world in going to school and teaching at the university level. I went to college at age 39, earned an honors degree and a Master's Degree, but even then the depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia interfered with what I love best.

    I'm 55 now, take medication, and I've become adept at hiding my feelings because so many people don't understand the darkness or the fear.

    I'm going to try the fish oil and diet. What is considered a therapeutic dose?

    November 6, 2011 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SAWolf

      Have you looked into eccentric weight training? It is extremely painful, yet right after a set I can sense a dopamine rush,and feel better, plus it is beneficial for lymphatic circulation and glucose uptake.I employ a circuit training mode. I also take 1.3 grams fish oil,and 1.2 grams of krill oil a day,and walk50+ miles a week and when I get really bad will talk out loud to myself, trying to force myself out of ruminating on the negative.If I get really bad, I will run until I can't handle the workload, but this may not be viable for you Staying away from the processed foods that agribusiness poisons us with helps me also. I hated the way I felt on meds, movement makes me feel alive again. Good luck!

      November 6, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • Nomathemba

      Itching and brnuing after a bowel movement is often a sign of hemorrhoids. However, with all your other complaints, I suggest you make an appointment for a complete physical just to be sure that there isn't an underlying medical condition. Please note though that anxiety can cause almost any symptom you can imagine. A visit to your doctor is definitely in order.

      February 1, 2012 at 01:26 | Report abuse |
    • arnmwvorrgs

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      February 3, 2012 at 12:09 | Report abuse |
    • vtvwbg

      ex5G2y cfqnjeswiwbn

      February 6, 2012 at 03:33 | Report abuse |
  32. naomiow

    I just saw this segment & I wish Dr. Gupta emphasized that this is just one man's experience with depression & that people with more severe forms will require different treatments; and that Zoloft is an old drug & newer ones like Lexapro don't usually have those side effects.

    I personally didn't respond much to therapy UNTIL we found medication (13 yrs ago) that worked for me – I needed to get a little bit out of "the black hole" before I could even start to believe that I could get better. Depression is illogical – it tells you you're worthless even though you've accomplished a lot & have lots of of people who love you. You can't fight the illogical with logical positive affirmations – the depressed mind just rejects it all. I still struggle with it, but I finally started working again & have new hope since I recently cut out a very toxic family member out of my life. Best of luck to you all!!

    November 6, 2011 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thank you for relaying what so many don't grasp–therapy can only help if you can get past the debilitating, paralyzing symptoms of depression to put the suggestions of the therapist into action. Medication can help.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
  33. Eggsacklee

    Unfortunately, depression is not like any physical disease, such as diabetes type II: daily insulin will keep you even. There is no one cure or treatment for all the many forms of depression. Dr. Weil is speaking of his own form, mild to moderate long term depression. The lifestyle changes (he never uses the term "cure") he recommends can HELP with mild to moderate D, maybe. He's not making any guarantees- these things helped him, maybe they can help you. READ the article. If any one person is helped, then the article was worth it. I've had depression stemming from body dysmorphic disorder for over 30 years not. I'll take any tid-bit of advice/help i can get.

    November 6, 2011 at 09:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eggsacklee

      whoops- "for over 30 years NOW".. ( i wish it was NOT!!!)

      November 6, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse |
  34. SAWolf

    Pharmaceutical products are first tested ex vivo with dosage set when animal cells stop being killed off,next come trials en vivo, again when animals stop being killed, thats the workable dosage,next human cell ex vivo, then come small population human experiments with same criteria, finally clinical trials with larger populations. Side effects are completely unknown, and will hopefully manifest as those in clinical trials are still experimental subjects. Ask yourselves how many medications have been taken off the market because of side effects not discovered in the clinical phase. Also note large pharmaceuticals spend quite a bit more on advertising then R&D. NO medication just does one thing, a whole host of metabolic pathways are mediated. Now note that 65% of Americans are overweight, adipose tissue, the collagen IV membrane, induces chemotaxis, a response analogous to bacterial infection, with an auto immune response. Also dopamine production is suppressed. The human form is made to move and be fueled by unprocessed whole foods, and we don't comply. Medications are a gamble, in some cases the lesser of two evils, but if you believe they are benign then you will reap what you sow. That said, my last gig was as a Medical Technologist , a Generalist in all 4 depts. of a Clinical Lab, but back earning another degree and studying molecular genetics,and to ward off depression what works, only for me, is intense physical training, with natural plant based foods.People should be active in following their own path,not passively accepting medication from a pill pusher, but its your choice.

    November 6, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I have a sibling who used to suffer from anorexia. She ran obsessively, too.

      November 6, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  35. Maureen

    I understand depression and most people will have an episode that will cause problems for a time. I was having great difficulty with fatigue, brain fog, aches and pains. Realizing that I was not improving despite rest and exercise and nothing definitive from my doctor I began looking at diet. I cut out wheat for one year and reduced the amount of fructose in my diet and followed the guidelines for fructose malabsorption. Very quickly I regained my energy and felt completely better like 20 years had been knocked off. I can deviate from my diet as long as I go back to the guidelines if I start to feel fatigued. Read as much as you can on the effect of food. You will be amazed how digestion and the absorption of tryptophan plays in all of this. This is just my story, but many have also found sucess with this. There is hope.

    November 6, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Darla

    What about Pyrolauria? It is a major reason for depression and no doctors ever talk about it. Pyrolauria is a condition where your body does not properly use vitamin B6 or Zinc. Instead they get excreted in your urine. Treatment is simple: Activated Vitamin B6 (otherwise known as P 5 P) and Zinc! Fatty acids are also very important, particularly Omega 6 and High EPA Fish Oil. When I started to take better B vitamins (with activated B-6, enough vitamin D, extra B-12, and high EPA Fish Oil, my recurring depression DISAPPEARED. I took a urine test for Pyrolauria and found out that indeed I do have this condition. Now I know that what I need is not Zoloft or Prozac, but the proper vitamins. Why don't doctors talk about this??!!

    November 7, 2011 at 04:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No doctors talk about it because it's been found to be without any basis.

      November 7, 2011 at 08:24 | Report abuse |
  37. Darla

    I want to add that too much zinc and too much vitamin D can be toxic. So you have to be very careful. If you can't find an MD who understands this stuff, go to a good qualified Naturopathic Doctor. With Pyrolauria sometimes some trace minerals are also out of balance in a person's body, such as manganese and copper. There are tests you can take to see how your cells are actually utilizing the various vitamins and minerals. Often, regular blood tests don't show the whole picture. It took about 2 months of the right type of fish oil (I take a brand called Omega Brite), B-12 (Jarrow makes a good brand) and B6 (Pure Encapsulations B complex) for me to start feeling better. Now I am not depressed anymore. And I used to get depressed on and off al lthe time, from mild to moderate depression. Been on and off various SSRIs. Now I don't take anything but my vitamins every day and I feel happy and motivated. Look up Pyrolauria. Spend $73 through Bio-Center lab and get your urine tested. You will be glad you did!!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, I'll bet YOU'LL be glad we did. Stop shilling.

      November 7, 2011 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
    • Maya

      Flowers in the Attic- VC Andrews, Great series! It's about well, I don't leraly want to give it away, but it's about these children locked away in an attic VERY dysfunctional family issues.My Sweet Audrina- VC Andrews, A stand alone novel. It's one of my favorites and fits into your category greatly. Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay AsherRunaway-?, A good, quick, read.The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold, A MUST read.The Almost Moon-Alice SeboldLucky- Alice Sebold, A story Alice Sebold wrote about her ****. I could probably go on forever, except I can't remember anymore Happy New Year!

      April 7, 2012 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
  38. Zoe Zimmermann, MA, LPC

    I see many clients in my practice with depression and anxiety. What I've noticed is that, often, depression begins (and often recurs over and over again) at some point in life when a person was in a situation where they felt overwhelmed and unable to find a solution. Like coming up against a wall over and over and being stopped by it. Finally, something inside gives up, and the feeling that results is depression: hopelessness, helplessness, soul fatigue. I use a method called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), first exploring with the person until we find the source or core issue behind the feeling of being stopped. After that, relief often comes relatively quickly, especially with dysthymic disorder. Chronic depression takes somewhat longer, but with EFT practice, this too is solvable. For more information, check out my website: http://www.eft-emotionalfreedom.com .

    November 7, 2011 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donnie

      Shameless Promotion

      November 7, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No kidding. Check out quackwatch.

      November 7, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  39. Blue Eyed Girl

    I have much respect for Dr. Weil and believe that most people, whether or not they experience depression, could benefit from the lifestyle choices he speaks of. What I am surprised about is how Dr. Weil underplayed the importance of professional help and receiving evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy to help treat depression. Dr. Weil is no lay person; he's a Harvard education MD. People take what he says very seriously. I believe that this article can easily be taken out of context and seen as malpractice. Most people don't know what dysthymia is! But they do know what depression feels like. I'd hate for someone who is struggling with depression to wait out seeking help while they wait for lifestyle changes to take hold.
    Dr. Weil, you know better! There was no disclaimer and no mention of integrative mental health practices for which you are a founder of. Please make these considerations in the future.

    November 7, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. sentient1

    I woke up this morning and I thought "what is the opposite of a victim? " the answer came, " someone who feels grateful."

    November 7, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you making some sort of reference to people who are depressed?

      November 7, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      You seem to be implying that depression is just "all in our heads" and all that's needed is a big dose optimism and turning our frowns up side down.

      If your friend had diabetes would you tell them to just not let the symptoms get to them? That would be just about as useful..

      January 11, 2012 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
  41. Christine

    I posted a comment yesterday in the hope of receiving a response, yet it is not posted?
    Have you closed comments for this post. Please respond to longing24@gmail.com
    thank you

    November 10, 2011 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Concerned Friend

    I watched the show yesterday and thought it was great. I am trying to determine whether or not I should try to help a dear friend, or even if I am the best person to help. I am aware depression hits people differently but I am hoping someone can share their experience with me. In 2005 my best friend of 19 years completely isolated herself from me (said she wanted me out of her head) and said that she needed a year or two to collect herself and that she didn’t want to be a burden. After a few emails back and forth, it was clear she wanted no help from me. So now, 3 years later her daughter asked that I surprise her at dinner one night and intuitively I knew that was a bad idea but I agreed to start communicating with her again, which I did. It’s only been a month and I see her depression still very strong. I am afraid my reappearance may have made things worse. I am by no means perfect but I know that I remind her of what she (thinks) she wants in life, her past mistakes, and the other people she isolated. She has a lot of hate, resentment and jealousy (these are her words) and doesn’t know how to “fix” it. I also know that until I came back into the picture she was doing better, she found hobbies, new friends, she travels. In the past she got very upset for suggesting she was depressed and suggesting a few books she might relate to. So here I am now, wondering if I should go see her, what to say if I do, am I just making it worse?? Thoughts anyone?

    November 10, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Fiona

    If this doc wasn't such a shameless self-promoter, I'd give more weight to his pronouncements. Anyone who - especially at his advanced age - finds it necessary to oh-so-not casually mention that his medical degree came from Harvard is laughable.

    November 22, 2011 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Scott Miller

    How dare you! Depression is a very serious condition requiring numerous anti-depressants/psychotics. How do i know this? My television said so. People, don't be afraid to seek the help you need and take the medication you want.

    December 16, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ocie

      Very true. But first, seriously, try spending less time around any rude or annoying companions you may have, or avoid situations in which they usually act rude or annoying. Also, if there is a reason you can put your finger on for feeling down, it's probaby normal sadness, not depression. If that is the case, instead of treating a disease you don't have, try fixing the problem that has you down. If you do and you still are depressed, even after fixing the reason you felt sad in the first place, maybe you DO need to see a doctor.

      December 17, 2011 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
  45. Stacy

    Depression is real and has a physical cause. I became severely depressed years ago as I came into menopause, and was told that it definitely has to do with chemical imbalances caused by hormonal changes. I was put on Prozac, and though it took a while, the depression lifted. Thank my family doctor who saw the signs and didn't hesitate the right med for me. I KNOW my depression had a physical cause, as many years ago, I lost my first child to cancer and didn't experience clinical depression. I find it hard to understand why so many people first do not believe that true depression exists, and second, that anti-depressants definitely help. Yet these same people know that people take other certain "recreational" drugs to take feel better...why do they feel better? Because their brain chemistry is altered. To those of you who scoff and don't believe, I sincerely hope that you NEVER experience being so low that you just want to find a way to end it all because you can't possibly go on living and feeling SO bad.

    December 17, 2011 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Ocie

    I have found that removing the a** holes from one's life works wonders for all sorts of emotional ills 😉

    December 17, 2011 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • luv2livzen

      I agree! & for the ones that can't be removed: I try things from books on dealing with difficult people, or think of other things from personal growth books. I like to remember to tell myself to remain 'centered' & that they are just creating more bad karma for themselves! And ... look how Stupid they are acting. Chances are someone else is seeing / hearing. Like a co-worker, neighbor, friend, etc.

      Eliminating anything negative (that's in one's power) is SO powerful.

      January 12, 2012 at 02:04 | Report abuse |
  47. Char

    I really wonder does this lifestyle change help. I have seasonal depression and this year I got it during the spring/summer months where I normally don't get depressed in. I'm young and I don't want to take pills, I'm really intrested in trying this because I don't want alcohol to be my "medicine"

    December 18, 2011 at 04:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Robert

    As one who has taken anti-depressive drugs to try and beat this, this is how I resolved this problem.

    1. Stick to a routine. Go to bed the same time every night and wake up early every day. Try to keep the rest of your day pretty much the same every day. May sound boring, but you will grow in other areas.
    2. Go to the gym. Daily if you can, first thing in the morning. Do something, anything to get started and do not worry about anyone else there. Even if you go for five minutes and leave. Over time, the accomplishment and feeling better will lead you to do more.
    3. Get good sleep. I take 1/2 of a 5 mg ambien every night. I bought a sleep number bed and use adequate covers to stay warm and use an electric blanket to micromanage that last little bit of comfort. I never use an alarm clock, I just get up.
    4. Watch your hormone levels. I discovered as a result of reading a msnbc article four years ago that I had low testoserone after I requested it to be tested, the physicians were clueless and never thought to check. So I apply a gel every day and that made a lot of difference.

    I found when I do these things that my metabolism sped up. I got rid of the pills and take vitamin pills, watch my diet, get to the physician on a regular basis for physicals etc.

    The result of all this is I lost a substantial amount of weight (because I felt better) and have an exponential physical and mental capacity increase in my ability to handle simultaneous tasks every day. Everything in my life improved and am 55 and look 44 or younger as I have been told. I have doing this for five years now.

    The problem with some people is they are so used to living in misery or at a certain weight that when they start to feel they are stepping out of that they get out of their "comfort" or known zone or are responding to others that want to keep them there. You need to reach beyond that. I am not saying I do not have my down moments, we all do, but nothing compared to what I felt before I made these changes.

    December 18, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Fred

    During the newscast Dr. Weil mentioned two different supplements to address mild depression, one was SAM-E, however I did not catch the name of the second, can you please supply ?
    Thank You

    December 18, 2011 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wendy

      I'm sure it's all true...sunlight, excercise, tneiag right, human contact, I'm sure it's all helpful. But another factor that probably prevented your average Cro-Magnon from getting depressed...he didn't have the luxury. He didn't have the time or the opportunity to sit in the corner of the cave and mope in an exestintial funk. If he frittered away his time feeling bad instead of getting out there hunting and gathering, he'd starve come winter.And I suspect it also simply wasn't tolerated by his or her peer group. "Hey, Mog! I know you're feeling a little blue right now, but if you don't pick up your spear and get your butt out here to help us fight off the saber tooth tiger none of our descendants will ever be born to invent Prozac!" Again, life didn't allow for this nonsense back in the cave.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
  50. Dan Weintraub

    My name is Dan Weintraub. I recently posted a website in which I discuss my thoughts with regard to issues of self-sabotage; how, through awareness , insight meditation and a few other “practices”, we can arrest some of our self-sabotaging behavior. I have found that some of my own issues with DEPRESSION precipitated actions that tightened the self-destructive spiral...of course leading to a deeper depression! Anyway, here is the URL, just in case you want to check it out. Thanks! http://freeyourselffromyourself.com

    February 29, 2012 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
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