The good news is that the few clinical trials done so far have found that adding anti-inflammatory medicines to antidepressants not only improves symptoms, it also increases the proportion of people who respond to treatment, although more trials will be needed to confirm this. There is also some evidence that omega 3 and curcumin, an extract of the spice turmeric, might have similar effects. Both are available over the counter and might be worth a try, although as an add-on to any prescribed treatment – there’s definitely not enough evidence to use them as a replacement.
People in my life have struggled with depression. Let me put that out there. But that’s not really my story. I’m respecting their stories more than minimizing them to move on to my own experience. In retrospect, there have been times in my life, for example, of career change, even welcome change, when I have been laid up on the couch being inexplicably weepy. I even had a bout with traumatic stress after a car accident. Again, inexplicably weepy, and almost to fisticuffs with a fellow sporting a Bluetooth headset who cut me off in a line at Whole Foods. That’s not at all me.
I’ve written a little bit, and not enough yet, about my experience last year of my shoulder injury and rotator cuff repair. One of the things I did to prepare for that was six weeks of an anti–inflammatory diet, under the direction of Charlotte Clews, an Ayurvedic practitioner with whom I have done the past few seasonal cleanses. I also have experienced the healing properties of turmeric root, which is a household cure–all in India.
Therefore it completely invigorates my imagination to have heard about this while working and listening to Carolyn Morell on 92.5 the River this afternoon. (I not only like the songs she played, but I attended to the news items as well.)
Diet and exercise are important. Add some consciousness to both, and I think you have a potent mix. Rather than continue the knee–jerk response to prescribe and take powerful and costly drugs that have undesirable side effects, is there any harm in counseling lifestyle changes?
I’m a science guy. August Comte, who coined the term “sociology,” thought it should be the “queen of the sciences.” But allopathic medicine is only one way of being science, as is psychopharmacology. David Karp’s book Is It Me Or My Meds? suggests that this approach is at least “complex.” Let’s commit to add some simplicity.