Editor's note: This piece was written by Dr. Margaret Paul, a therapist with more than 40 years of experience. It's not a diagnostic tool but is hopefully a resource. Please consult a trusted health care provider before making any decisions about your treatment plan.
I recently spoke at "The Real Truth About Health" conference in Orlando, Florida. In one of the talks, I spoke on a panel with Dr. Irving Kirsch, author of the best-selling book, The Emperor's New Drugs.
According to research that Dr. Kirsch explores in this book, a lot of what we know about depression is wrong. Not only did Big Pharma invent the idea of a brain imbalance that causes depression and is fixed with a drug, but antidepressants only have a placebo effect. Also, says Dr. Kirsch, the relapse rate for people on meds is much higher than for people who undergo psychotherapy.
It's a fascinating book and one that resonated with me because, in my decades as a relationship counselor, I've seen people heal from depression naturally, without drugs.
If it's not a brain imbalance that causes depression, then what is it?
In my many years of experience in working with depressed individuals, and according to literature (see Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter), there are three major causes of depression.
1. Painful life situations
When life is very painful, of course we will be depressed. Situational depression is normal. Life events can cause great heartbreak, grief and feelings of helplessness. These feelings need to be felt with much compassion, and then released out of the body, rather than being numbed with meds.
Rather than suppressing extremely painful feelings, you need to learn to lovingly manage and release the feelings from life situations such as the following: