In any given year, a little under 7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older experiences depression. Not fleeting depression. Pretty much everyone experiences that on occasion. This percentage of the population – around 15 million adults – has persistent depression, the kind that usually lasts about two years. That’s an astonishing number of people. The reality may be higher because many people, probably especially men, don’t seek help.
If you have persistent depression and aren’t comfortable with taking medication, medications haven’t helped, or you are taking medication and side effects are difficult, you may be looking for an alternative.
A few years ago, Sharon Begley, one of my favorite science writers, wrote a very interesting article for Newsweek, The Depressing News about Anti-Depressants. Psychiatrist Robert Klitzman’s wrote a thoughtful response to Begley’s article: A Doctor Disagrees.
Research about anti-depressants since then has continued to cloud the issue, at least for me. It’s become clear that we aren’t at all sure how anti-depressants work, when they do work.
If you’ve tried medications and they haven’t made a difference with your depression, or the side effects are a problem, there are options. Exercise, time in nature, mindfulness practice, nutritional changes, all can make a difference. And I have seen NeurOptimal® make a real difference.
Neurofeedback for depression
Neurofeedback, which is possibly best known for alleviating anxiety, can also play a part in lightening mood and alleviating the often painful physical aspects of depression.
Most of my clients who have come for help with depression have found that they are either not depressed any more, or they feel less depression and less often, or they need less medication to feel well.
One person tickled me by describing it as being able to shake off depression the way a dog shakes off water.
Not sure if you’re depressed? Of course, get a professional consultation. You can also take a depression-screening test.
You’re welcome to post comments or questions on this blog. If you’d like more privacy, you can email me through my website (no one reads the emails but me).
Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
New York Neurofeedback