Can you beat depression through dietary supplements and lifestyle changes? These are fine resolves, but it is essential all the same to get the help of a knowledgeable practitioner who can help to set up an individual plan. Psychiatrist Cousens (founder of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona) offers a five-step program combining conventional and holistic techniques to treat depression. Cousens’s basic points are well-taken: first, we just don’t know enough about the physiological causes of mental illness; and second, part of the reason for his program’s efficacy is that it involves self-responsibility—rather than simply the blind adherence to a drug regimen. Cousens first describes what is known of the role of neurotransmitters in the brain, and then he sorts out how various deficiencies are related to different types of depression (for instance, depression accompanied by anxiety and insomnia indicates a lack of serotonin; depression with fatigue and lack of pleasure points to low levels of dopamine or noradrenaline). He explains which supplementary amino acids to try, discusses the role and supplementation of fatty acids, and describes other lifestyle adjustments that can help (such as exercise, interpersonal connections, artistic outlets, and a sense of humor).
Intriguing, useful suggestions for help—but readers seeking to follow the program will need a professional guide.