home
RSS
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 (770 Responses)
  1. rv shower repair

    https://tieba.baidu.com/mo/q/checkurl?url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=gT6-wF0cMUQ

    May 12, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. california horse trailers

    http://enseignants.flammarion.com/Banners_Click.cfm?ID=86&URL=ocrvmotorcoaches.com/rv-repair-shop-valley-glen-california

    May 12, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Furniture Orange County

    http://stevefury.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.youtube.com/channel/UCGb9aC76nAmfzNsCru2KBHA/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Solar Panels Systems California

    http://www.alganika.com/bitrix/redirect.php?event1=news_out&event2=http3A2F2Fria.ru2F&event3=CACDC4D0+F5EEF7E5F2+EA+2030+E3EEE4F3+F3E4E2EEE8F2FC+EFF0EEE8E7E2EEE4F1F2E2EE+E7E5F0EDE0&goto=http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCWA5o3d2u11KvEjA3wLVUA/videos

    May 12, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Generator Near Me

    https://pechanga.net/ext_link?url=http3A//yelp.com/biz/ocrv-center-yorba-linda-2&popup=1

    May 12, 2021 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV AC Orange County

    https://www.olgalingerie.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=instagram.com/ocrvcenter

    May 12, 2021 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. c and o body shop

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

    http://www.themza.com/redirect.php?r=youtube.com/watch?v=ADjDEjaDdZU

    May 12, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Handicap Van Ramp Repair

    Excellent blog post. I certainly love this website. Continue the good work!

    http://chtbl.com/track/118167/commercialvanrepairshop.com/conversion-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. motorhome repair shops near me

    https://www.etypeservices.com/Flash/LinkRedirection.aspx?IssueID=46912&Returnurl=https://youtube.com/watch?v=Ja7al218hUc

    May 12, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. trailer repair shop near me

    I was extremely pleased to find this great site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you book marked to see new stuff in your web site.

    http://services.accredia.it/engines/banner2/jump.jsp?idArea=234&idBanner=2&destination=https://ocrvcenter.mobi/delivery-truck-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county

    May 13, 2021 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sprinter Black Death Repair

    http://sendfwd.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicerepairshop.com/sprinter-van-frame-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Dry Van Trailer Repair

    Very good post! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    https://www.attaka.or.jp/cgi-bin/click3/click3.cgi?cnt=05&url=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/services/

    May 13, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Maintenance Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!

    http://hotelspak.us/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=youtube.com/channel/UCGb9aC76nAmfzNsCru2KBHA/videos

    May 13, 2021 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. oc furniture yorba linda

    Good post. I certainly love this website. Stick with it!

    http://p-bandai.jp/access/ocrv.me/rv-repair-shop-lemon-grove-california

    May 13, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. semi truck shops near me

    http://www.joomla-code.ru/go.php?gogo=http://youtube.com/watch?v=JFmdy94Hj3E

    May 13, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. repair rv toilet

    http://library.sust.edu/cgi-bin/koha/tracklinks.pl?biblionumber=32573&uri=https://ocrvcenter.org/rv-repair-shop-canyon-country-california

    May 13, 2021 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. bus repair shop

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Thank you for providing this info.

    https://assine.hostnet.com.br/cadastro/?rep=17&url=https://ocrv.us/motorhome-countertop-repair-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. rv body shop near me

    There's certainly a great deal to find out about this issue. I like all the points you have made.

    https://redirect.camfrog.com/redirect/?url=https://ocrv.xyz/rv-repair-shop-south-el-monte-california

    May 13, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    http://www.viidii.info/?https://commercialrepairshop.com/cargo-van-conversion-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. tv repair temecula ca

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I really hope to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own site now 😉

    http://cn.onkyo.com/2018newsite/newonkyo.html?url=https://ocrvcenter.net/rv-repair-shop-baldwin-park-california

    May 13, 2021 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. orange county rv

    http://admsapi.businessweekly.com.tw/?w=408691ac-acd6-4c54-b973-1a0f3d8fcffb&c=a85512e7-29e2-4eb5-8744-1767c0122729&p=11FA92D8-D718-4768-8364-ED0F4EC976D1&a=a188cc7b-1ba1-41da-a070-4d25fc82a98a&po=e1c41fc0-17d2-4c56-b716-d4a2c579a64d&s=6ac78b7f-21a1-47bc-b320-65ad67f39446&m=5bf58492-6afe-42cf-bf12-c1c7cc29679b&u=http://youtube.com/watch?v=m2PPAssc4VI

    May 14, 2021 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. orange county car upholstery

    https://partner.pccomponentes.com/servlet/effi.redir?id_compteur=13404640&url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=X-shO4miSxU

    May 14, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. rv ac repair near me

    May I just say what a comfort to discover someone that actually understands what they're discussing over the internet. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people should look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.

    http://testphp.vulnweb.com/redir.php?r=https://ocrvart.com/rv-seats-repair-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair Near Me

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

    http://webgozar.com/feedreader/redirect.aspx?url=https://sprintervanrepairshop.com/flatbed-truck-repair-shop-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. motorhome interior renovation

    https://dsu.regione.marche.it/Logout.aspx?Returnurl=https://ocrv.guru/rv-repair-shop-lake-balboa-california

    May 14, 2021 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Frame Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am having issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone else getting identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://www.99bottlesofbeads.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=

    May 14, 2021 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. airstream restoration california

    I used to be able to find good information from your content.

    http://www.bytecheck.com/results?resource=youtube.com/watch?v=YWko9kf_e0Q

    May 14, 2021 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Dent Repair Los Angeles

    Your style is so unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

    http://worldstages.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=goo.gl/maps/iCzoZ1dDPjhG6Dsh6

    May 14, 2021 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. body shop raleigh nc

    Fairly high-quality explanation. continue the good work

    https://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/faizan-schenectady-ny/2021/5/Auto-Auctions-Luxury-Vehicles-for-Economy-Budgets/2006816

    May 14, 2021 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. كفر ايفون شفاف

    I'm not sure exactly why but this website is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end?
    I'll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

    May 14, 2021 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sprinter Van Repair Los Angeles

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't fail me as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I truly thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://rs.rikkyo.ac.jp/rs/error/ApplicationError.aspx?TopURL=https://fleetautorepairshop.com/mercedes-high-top-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. bus body repair

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I am going to forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

    http://www.themza.com/redirect.php?r=ocrvmotorsports.com/rv-repair-shop-carson-california

    May 14, 2021 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. upholstery shop near me

    This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Many thanks!

    http://marianvarga.sk/scripts/redirect.php?http://ocrv.info/

    May 14, 2021 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. homes for sale hayden lake

    https://rondomusic.com/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=bwcornwell&page=https://meganleary.com

    May 14, 2021 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. houses for sale bayview

    https://edesk.jp/atp/Redirect.do?url=https://meganleary.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Vision Center

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?

    http://bigtimesportsohio.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=arizonasvision.com

    May 14, 2021 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Lasik Phoenix

    https://pixel.everesttech.net/1350/cq?ev_sid=10&ev_ltx=&ev_lx=44182692471&ev_crx=8174361329&ev_mt=b&ev_dvc=c&url=https://arizonasvision.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. socal upholstery

    http://sherlock.scribblelive.com/r?u=fleetservicesocrv.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Kids Eye Doctor Near Me

    https://go.onelink.me/v1xd?pid=Patch&c=Mobile Footer&af_web_dp=http://arizonasvision.com

    May 15, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Maserati Ghibli Horsepower

    https://lavery.sednove.com/extenso/module/sed/directmail/fr/tracking.snc?u=W5PV665070YU0B&url=http://club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. 2017 Maserati Quattroporte S Gransport

    https://www.kite-rider.com/0link/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=178&url=https://club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Maserati Pregnant

    http://go.xscript.ir/index.php?url=https://club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. dc seo services

    Keep this going please, great job!

    https://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/faizan-schenectady-ny/2021/5/How-to-Choose-Efficient-and-Affordable-SEO-Services/2006172

    May 15, 2021 at 06:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Honest AC Repair Fayetteville NC

    Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?

    https://www.techsite.io/p/2161495

    May 15, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Karate Crofton MD

    This blog is great check it out

    https://www.gatesofantares.com/players/sloan84morrison/activity/741103/

    May 15, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. DML Locksmith Services

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    https://www.dmllocksmith.com

    May 15, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Fence company Baton Rouge LA

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up

    https://fencecompanyinbatonrouge.blogspot.com/2021/05/things-to-consider-when-choosing.html

    May 15, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Carpet Cleaning Spokane

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

    https://www.scoop.it/topic/why-you-need-professional-carpet-cleaning-versus-doing-it-yourself/p/4124779266/2021/05/13/google-maps

    May 15, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. cyclomune

    cyclosporine emulsion drops cyclosporine emulsion drops

    May 15, 2021 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rekey Palo Alto

    carry on, dont stop

    https://www.scoop.it/topic/residential-locksmith-services

    May 15, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.