Today, the first day of February 2010 the mass media unanimously reports the same figures provided by the British medical establishment:
1. Incidences of measles were 56 in 1998 and up to 1370 in 2008. Vaccination rates went
down to 70% from 90% over that period.
The General Medical Council ruled that Dr Andrew Wakefield is to blame who published a study in the prestigious medical journal Lancet that linked the triple Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism and bowel disorders in children.
2. You are meant to believe that the reduced vaccination rate is responsible for the increase in measles, there is no other way of interpretation of figures and ruling.
But where is the correlation between those figures, where is the evidence?
Were all 1370 cases unvaccined toddlers?
If this were the case you can be sure that this evidence would have been stated.
The fact that it has not been stated speaks for itself. It is the most vital part of the study that is meant to prove that vaccines prevent disease. When you withhold this your science becomes junk science.
I suspect that all 1370 cases were caused by the MMR vaccine, just like competent scientists in this field have predicted.
Collaborating evidence for my suspicion is the fact that autism incidences are rising epidemically, just like competent scientists have predicted.
How many of these 1370 cases were vaccinated?
I demand those figures to be released. Hiding them insults the intelligence of the public.
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Should this conspiracy go unchallenged it will have a devastating effect on the economy, our way of life.
The carrot causes health. Can we afford a healthy population?
The simple answers is a straight NO.
Millions of jobs are at stake – in Chinese sweat shops producing over sized clothes for obese Americans – in US pharmaceutical companies that produce your daily cocktail of prescription drugs, – and last not least in the health care industry whose seven hundred thousand doctors´ spending power may be considered to be the backbone of the economy.
A successful carrot attack will send jitters through the stock market – eradicating your hard earned savings.
So how do we combat this carrot conspiracy?
Dropping bombs is one option, but some innocent rabbits may get hurt and you´ll have the animal rights activists on your back.
Ridiculing is another option. Ridiculing always works providing you address an uninformed audience.
Legislation is the safest option. We are all law abiding citizens after all, so when the law tells us "no carrot" we will obey.
This happened recently in Chincoteague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
Jay and Rose Cherrix made an informed decision and chose the carrot over chemotherapy for their 16 year old son who suffers from cancer.
This carrot, a sugar-free, organic food diet is supervised by a clinic in Mexico.
A judge ruled this to be neglectful and ordered the child to be treated with chemotherapy at a local hospital and Jay and Rose to share custody of their son with the Accomack County Department of Social Services.
This does not affect you, you may think. Well, let´s think again.
You may have a child that suffers from asthma – and many of us do have such a child.
There is no cure for asthma, you´ve been told.
Asthma is curable in other parts of the world and has been for decades.
So why not in the US?
It´s a drug-free treatment that takes a couple of weeks only. Consider the profits from a life long consumption of inhalers and you may come to the conclusion why this treatment has not been available in the past, today, and is not likely to reach the US in the future.
So what will happen when you find out?
Will you choose the carrot over the inhaler and the chance of your child becoming another asthma death statistic?
How do you legislate against your decision?
Will you get a stamp in your passport "this child leaves the US as an asthmatic and has to return as an asthmatic – or parents will be prosecuted for neglect"?
Rheumatoid Arthritis can be cured quickly and effectively in about 3 months, just by including a serving ofseafood – any kind of seafood – in one?s daily nutrition.
The reason is very simple and straightforward. Life evolved in the seas, and the seas have always contained, and still do, the 92 elements of the Earth in solution. Consequently, all but the most primitive microbial organisms need the complete natural range of the 72 nutritional trace elements (often also and incorrectly called trace ?minerals?) for their health and well being. Analyze any multicellular organism, be this plant or animal, marine or terrestrial, and you will find the 72 natural trace elements in its tissues and substance.
Today, seafood – any kind of seafood – is the only readily available food which still contains the complete natural range of the 72 trace elements. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a simple trace element deficiency, and the 72 natural trace elements in seafood cures rheumatoid arthritis – exactly just as iodine in our table salt cures and prevents goitre and prevents cretinism.
In deadly contrast, our modern chemical agriculture recognizes and maintains only 8 trace elements (yes, that?s only eight) in its soils, and hence, in all of its products, and hence again, in practically all of our daily food.
This 150 year old ignorance and equally long neglect of the complete natural range of the 72 trace elements by our biomedical sciences and modern agriculture has resulted in a severe deficiency of about 64 trace elements in our daily food. This is the cause of a great many diseases – ranging from many cancers, many so-called ?incurable? mental and physiological diseases, to most auto-immune diseases, chief among them rheumatoid arthritis.
Here is an illustration and the reason why our own immune systems attack our own tissue and substance. In this image, the ?B? and ?D? are conceptual illustrations of a normal (?B?) protein, and an abnormal (?D?) protein, and the little blue stars represent a trace element.
All proteins are made from ribbons of amino acids which are folded into the specific and precise structure and shape of a protein, according to the instructions in our genes. Many trace elements perform a crucially important function in the proper folding of a protein. In most cases, an atom of a specific trace element lies at the nexus of every fold and turn – such as zinc in the folding of the ?zinc fingers? of the transcription factor proteins (see ?Zinc Fingers?, D. Rhodes and A. Klug, Scientific American, February 1993, or a brief synopsis on this page http://www.truehealth.org/arefer.html ).
Now then, when a needed trace element is missing when the protein is being made, it cannot help but be malformed – as in this conceptual illustration where a missing trace element in the middle of the ?B? protein results in the malformed ?D? protein.
Here, the little arrow indicates the trace element which is missing in the “D” form.
Of course, and naturally, and supremely effective as our immune system (normally) is, it does notrecognize the malformed protein as our own and does what it is dedicated to do – to destroy and get ridof this ?strange? protein.
This is the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, and of most auto-immune diseases (see appended list), as well as of most allergies, since the cause of allergies is similar and the response differs.
Now that we know what causes it, we also have the cure. The daily inclusion of food which supplies us with the complete natural range of the 72 nutritional trace elements will cure rheumatoid arthritis and most auto-immune diseases. Unfortunately, and in those countries which practice the modern but overly simplistic N-P-K chemical agriculture, there is no such food – not even ?organic? food, since the organic growers also don?t know about the crucial importance of the 72 natural trace elements to our health and well being .
The only readily available food – in these countries – which still contains the complete natural range of the 72 trace elements is seafood – any kind of seafood. And a daily serving of at least 6 ounces of seafood for the average person – and more is better, since all of our food is supposed to contain the 72 trace elements – will supply us with the absolute minimum of the 72 trace elements our bodies need to stay healthy and well.
All virgin ?wild? food – food which grows wild on lands which have never been cultivated – is also an excellent source of the 72 natural trace elements. But this is not readily available day in and day out.
Growing your own food with fish fertilizers and kelp or seaweed meal is another great source of the 72 natural trace elements, but you would have to grow a year round supply of such food to be effective.
Persuading your local market grower to grow produce and fruit with fish, kelp or seaweed fertilizers is another great way to obtain the 72 natural trace elements. This should be easy as the market grower will benefit substantially from greater yields and dramatic reduction in plant diseases at every stage of growth. This means great savings in fungi and bacteria-cides, and more money in the bank.
Local suppliers of eggs, chickens, beef and pork, could be similarly persuaded to add fish meal to the fodder of their livestock – and reap the great benefits of much healthier livestock in the bargain. For one, they won?t have to worry about ?Mad Cow? disease.
Finally, there is the final option of moving to Mumbai, or Sri Lanka, or to The Gambia, or any of the other undeveloped countries where cancers and auto-immune disease are extremely rare, as their daily food still contains the 72 natural trace elements, due to their traditional agriculture which returns all life-wastes to the soil, and along with them, all the 72 trace elements.
Based upon information in my web site www.truehealth.org I had been invited by the University of Lyons th th 1 to present my discovery at the 8 International Conference on Systems Science, September 1st – 4 at the University of Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland, which I did.
This is a world class conference, in partnership with the World Health Organization, and my invited submission had been reviewed by 38 health experts in 38 countries, and upon their approval, again by a final Scientific Committee consisting of nine Professors in Health and Medicine at four European Universities.
It takes about 3 months of a faithful diet which includes a daily serving of seafood – any kind of seafood – before the 72 trace element level in the body is fully restored, and the condition is cured. In arthritis, although there is a great improvement in the deformities of fingers and hands, the healing of the cartilage is much slower.
The improvement in the condition are so subtle and all but imperceptible from day to day – just asgrowing is when we don?t see any evidence from day to day, only to realize three months later that wehave grown a centimeter or two – until we realize a month or two later that we are much better, andfinally, cured.
These results can be obtained anyplace, anytime, by any one.
The daily inclusion of a serving of seafood is absolutely necessary, since our bodies have never developed the ability to retain the trace elements – other than a bit of copper in the substantia nigra, without which we would be imbeciles. Retention of the trace elements was never necessary, as all food used to contain the complete natural range of the 72 trace elements, before the advent of our overly simplistic modern N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potash) chemical agriculture.
Unfortunately, we have to continue to include either a serving of seafood or other 72 trace element food in our daily nutrition, until our modern agriculture recognizes and maintains the full spectrum of the 72 natural trace elements in its soils, hence in all of its products, and hence again, in all of our daily food. Here then follows a list of 60 of the major auto-immune diseases, and some recognize as many as 103.
“In the end, when we don’t stand up and speak out, we hide behind our recoveries, we sustain the most harmful myth about the disease – that it is hopeless.”
William Cope Moyers, author of “Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption”
When Mr. Moyers speaks of addiction, he speaks of ‘bad habits’ that have taken control of and even jeopardized one’s life.
Addiction, whether to chemical substances, harmful behaviors or both, is alarmingly widespread- the National Institute on Drug Abuse( NIDA) estimates that there are 22.5 million drug and alcohol addicts in the U.S. alone ( roughly 10% of the adult population, former Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke once famously stated thathis city had “over 60,000 drug addicts”-again nearly 10% of the population) and the problem can be nearly impossible to understand, admit and confront.
Once widely considered to be a moral or character flaw on part of the addict; addiction is now commonly viewed as a chronic, treatable disease. Alcohol, drugs and gambling are the most well-known and studied addictions; however, a list of potential addictions is nearly as long as the list of potential human behaviors, and can range from habitual over-eating to obsessive self-mutilation. All can be deadly.
The number and variety of recovery programs and methods are almost as numerous as the number of addictions- most people have at least a passing knowledge of traditional ’12-Step’ programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, but newer approaches include such diverse treatments as: acupuncture; drug-free psychiatry; hypnosis; yoga; exercise/nutritional regimes and aromatherapy.
For the addict who is newly recovered, these choices can be as baffling as their addictions, perhaps more so.
The subject of addiction and recovery is often contentious and subjective and rarely simple; one treatment may work wonders for one individual, while the same treatment may lead to relapse or worse when applied to a different person.
The one thing that is almost universally recognized is that acknowledgment of a problem is the single most important element of recovery.
As yet, there does not seem to be any single ‘magic bullet’ that cures addiction- there is not even a consensus that it can be ‘cured’ as such, but there is hope. It’s an increasingly open problem and, with luck and determination, many addicts can and do find or develop effective methods to recover and lead happy, ‘normal’ lives.
The NIDA states:”No single treatment program is right for everybody. Matching the treatment program to each individual’s needs is critical to success.”
At infoholix.net, we will monitor new, alternative and traditional treatments and objectively report on case studies as they develop. As author and addict Melanie Solomon says:”It is finally time to stop living in the dark ages of recovery, [and] educate people about all of [the] choices and alternatives that are out there. ”
The American Cancer Society issued new guidelines today, 03.03.2010.
The emphasis is on “shared decision making between doctors and patients”. A study published last August in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found routine screening for prostate cancer resulted in more than 1 million U.S. men being diagnosed with tumors who might otherwise have suffered no ill effects from them.
These men were diagnosed with PSA tests which are totally unsuitable for detecting prostate cancer. This has been known in the “industry” for decades and has been documented in clinical studies last year: http://infoholix.net/category.php?mId=117
These “new” guidelines still do not abolish PSA test but recommend that patients should be better informed by their physicians about the risks.
“These risks are not inconsequential. We do want to be sure that men know all of this before they make their decision of whether or not to be screened,” said Dr. Andrew Wolf of Virginia Health System, who chaired the advisory committee that developed the guidelines published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
“We are increasingly aware of the fact that many men who do choose to be screened are diagnosed with an early prostate cancer that leads to treatment, and if they had not been screened, they never would have known about a cancer that was never destined to harm them,” Dr Andrew Wolf said.
“That is a very real risk of prostate cancer screening that has become increasingly clear since our last guideline update in 2001,” Dr Andrew Wolf said.
Unsurprisingly there is no mention that the recommended treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy always fail. This failure is cloaked with statistics that show two-year and five-year survival rates, the eight-year rate is never published.
These statistics also disguise the fact that survival is not cure. When you have survived the treatment for five years and die the next day you have made the five-year stats.
What can you do after failed treatment
Your prostate cancer is “cooked”, no further radiation is possible.
When you live in Europe you opt for “salvage treatment” with Ablatherm HIFU.
The success rate is 98%.
Most European Health Systems cover the costs. http://infoholix.net/category.php?mId=116
Why have chemo and radiation when you can have HIFU as primary treatment?
Ask Big Pharma, cancer societies, politicians and the “cancer media” and you’ll realize why you “choose” to be screened – and “opt” for chemo and radio thereafter.
What is cancer? – Cancer is a fungus.
How to kill fungi? – With sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3).
Who made this discovery? – Dr. Tullio Simoncini, a Roman oncologist.
How do you come up with such an idea, prove it, develop the applicationand go on to successfully treat cancer patients? – Let us hear the story fromthe horse’s mouth:
Cancer and fungus – a path of personal research
by Dr. Tullio Simoncini
One of the questions that I am asked most frequently when the issue of this new anti-cancer therapy come ups concerns the beginning, those first moments when I was struck by the idea that cancer could be a fungus, and the motives and events that induced me to drift away from official oncology.
The whole thing began when I was assisting introductory lessons in histology. When the professor described tumours as a terrible and mysterious monster, I felt a reaction of pride , the same you feel when you are challenged: “Everybody’s powerless against me”; that was the implicit warning of cancer; “because your minds are too small to understand me”.
That moment a war started, my personal war against cancer. I was aware that I could win it only if I could focus all my resources and mental energy, conscious and unconscious, in the right direction, which I believed could be found only with a critical attitude about official thinking, thinking which is based on many ifs, but on very few certainties.
The biggest effort, therefore, consisted in first of all acquiring the necessary knowledge for the studies, while at the same time performing a critical analysis on anything I was studying; in other words, I had to keep well in mind that everything I was learning might well be false.
So the years went by, and through them my convictions gained strength; especially when later, working in hospital wards, I realized that medicine was not only unable to resolve the cancer problem, but also the majority of diseases. And that is still true today, unfortunately, since aside from a sectoral effectiveness in the treatment of specific symptoms of these diseases, medicine is unable to offer any conclusive benefit. In this category, we can list hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy, psoriasis, asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and more.
Aside from distrust about the effectiveness of medicine, time and clinical experience had burdened my soul with a load of suffering that I was barely able to withstand and which, each time it was stimulated in the presence of desperate cases, caused me an existential crisis that at first pushed me toward running away but immediately after warned me to stay in the trenches, to fight to understand and try to find new solutions.
A little bit at a time, however, in the endless hours of the university’s paediatric oncological ambulatory ward where I was working to complete my thesis, my mind began to be free and started to abstract. Towards the end, I was almost unable to see the patients, their relatives, the professors, the colleagues, the nurses; even the people: I felt almost completely alienated from a system that I could feel and believed was totally bankrupt.
I asked myself, and my profession, the university career, my social position, where would they go?
After all, it would have been very difficult to live only with ideas, especially in a medical world where personal spaces were shrinking every day, until almost exhausting any dignified options for work.
On the other hand, I was not particularly attracted by the university environment. In fact, I perceived it as an enmeshed and repulsive mass that prevented the achievement of any scientific goal, and where the best intellectual and personal resources could only be distracted from science and channelled towards irrelevant and superficial arguments.
At that point, my road was marked. I abandoned the faculty of medicine and enrolled to achieve a degree in physics. I followed the courses for several years with the intent of acquiring a more scientific mentality and of getting into those infinitesimal dimensions of study that I felt I had to explore in detail.
At the same time, I started to get in touch with other medical realities and with that alternative medicine which, although officially ridiculed, had many followers, especially amongst those patients who could not stand excessively aggressive therapeutic methods. In experience after experience, I understood that the raison d’?tre of these alternative currents was in the inability of conventional medicine to solve the problems of patients who seemed, instead, to get greater benefits from those therapies which evaluated them and treated them in their wholeness and not only with limited symptomatological remedies.
It is when I was implementing a naturopathic set-up for my career that I had the idea that cancer could be caused by fungus. As I was treating a patient affected by psoriasis using corrosive salts, I understood that the salts worked because they were destroying something; and that something were fungi.
From that realization, my mind followed a syllogistic path that would have given me the solution I had been waiting for so long: if psoriasis, an incurable disease, is caused by a fungus, then it is possible that cancer, another incurable disease, could be caused by a fungus. That link was what started all the experiences, the experiments, the verifications and the results, through relentless and “underground” work that brought great professional satisfaction to me and that allowed me to perfect a therapy that is very efficacious against neoplastic masses, that is, against fungin colonies.
Once the causal role of fungi in neoplastic proliferation was hypothesized, the problem of how to attack them in the intimacy of the tissues arose, since in those areas it was not possible to use salts that were too strong. It then came to my mind that in the oro-pharyngeal candidosis of breastfed babies, sodium bicarbonate was a quick and powerful weapon capable of eliminating the disease in three of four days. I thought that if I could administer high concentrations orally or intravenously, I might be able to obtain the same result. So I started my tests and my experiments, which provided me immediately with tangible results.
Amongst these, one of the first patients I treated was an 11-year-old child, a case which immediately gave me the indication that I was following the right path. The child arrived in coma at the paediatric haematology ward around 11:30 in the morning, with a clinical history of leukemia. Because of the disease, the child was carried from a small town in Sicily to Rome, going through the universities of Palermo and Naples, where he underwent several chemotherapy sessions. The desperate mother told me that she had been unable to speak with the child since 15 days earlier; that is, since the child had departed on his journey through hospitals. She said she would have given the world to hear her son?s voice once again before he died. As I was of the opinion that the child was comatose both because of brain invasion by the fungin colonies and because of the toxicity of the therapies that had been performed, I concluded that if I could destroy the colonies with sodium bicarbonate salts and at the same time nourish and detoxify the brain with glucose phleboclysis, I could hope for a regression of the symptomatology.
And so it was. After a continuous infusion with phleboclysis of bicarbonate and glucose solutions, at around 19.00 hours as I was coming back to the university, I found the child speaking with his mother, who was crying.
Since then, I have continued on my path and I have been able to treat and to cure several people, especially during a period of three years during which I was a voluntary assistant at the Regina Elena Tumour Institute in Rome. In 1990, although I was almost completely occupied in a diabetes centre, because of changes in my personal life, I decided to intensify my studies and my research in the field of cancer, a disease that was always foremost in my mind, although in recent years I had been forced to neglect it.
Before resuming my war against cancer, however, I felt the need to better explore the logical contents of medicine and thus of oncology so that I could acquire those rational, critical and auto-critical instruments needed to understand where errors could be hidden.
I enrolled in a course for a philosophy degree which I completed in 1996. That was the year when, this time steadily, I started my contacts with the world of oncology again, attempting first of all to make my theories and treatment methods known, especially within the most accredited institutions.
So, the Ministry of Health, Italian and foreign oncological institutes, and oncological associations were made aware of my studies and my results, but there was no acknowledgment at all. All I could find were colleagues, more or less qualified, who tended to be condescending and who seemed only to be able to speak the magic word: genetics.
“We’ll never get to heaven like that,” I mused. In fact, I found myself in a situation with no way out. I had so many great ideas and some positive results, but no opportunity to check them with patients affected by tumour in an authoritative scientific context.
I chose to be patient and to continue to get results, treating patient after patient and at the same time trying to get known by as many people as possible, especially in the environment of those alternative medicines where at least there was openness and an opportunity to contact professionals who already had a critical attitude towards official medical thought. It was in that process that, for the lack of any alternative, I started my navigation on the internet. There, I soon found those contacts, those friends, and those consensuses that allowed me to spread my theories but; even more importantly; they gave me the psychological thrust needed to continue my personal fight against a sea of sterility and self-evidence in official medicine.
I took comfort from the knowledge that my idea, my little torch, would not go out but could take root somewhere. I started to hope again that, given the good validity of the message, sooner or later it would find a way to be shared and accepted by an ever-growing number of people. Slowly, I was able in that way to get my oncological infective theory known and to expose it to the public through conferences, interviews, conventions. All that widened my field of action and gave me the opportunity to accumulate a remarkable amount of experience and of clinical results.
Friends made me understand, however, that my therapies with sodium bicarbonate solution, although they were effective, needed a methodological evolution, as some types of cancer could either not be reached in any way or reached in an insufficient manner.
Sodium bicarbonate administered orally, via aerosol or intravenously can achieve positive results only in some neoplasias, while others; such as the serious ones of the brain or the bones — remain unaffected by the treatment. For these reasons, I got in touch with several colleagues, especially interventionist radiologists, and I was finally able to reach those areas of the body that had previously been inaccessible. This was achieved through positioning appropriate catheters either in cavities for peritoneum and pleura, or in arteries to reach other organs.
The basic concept of my therapy is the administration of a solution with a high content of sodium bicarbonate directly onto tumours. These are susceptible to regression only if one destroys the fungal colonies.
It was the ongoing search for ever more effective techniques to allow me to get as close as possible to the inner tissues that led me to the idea of selective arteriography (visualization using instruments on specific arteries) and positioning an arterial port-a-cath (devices joining the catheter). These methods make it possible to place a small catheter directly into the artery that nourishes the tumour, and administer high doses of sodium bicarbonate to the deepest recesses of the tumour.
In the past, for example, when I had the opportunity to treat a brain tumour, although I was able to improve the condition of the patient, I could not treat the tumorous mass at a deep enough level. I have countless times wasted my breath begging neurologists and neurosurgeons to perform the operation of inserting the catheter so that I could use it to do a further local treatment.
Today, with selective arteriography of carotids, it is possible to reach any cerebral mass without surgical intervention and in a completely painless manner. By the same token, almost all organs can be treated and can benefit from bicarbonate salts therapy, which is harmless, fast and effective; with only the exception of some bone areas such as vertebrae and ribs, where the scarce arterial irrigation does not allow sufficient dosage to reach the targets.
Selective arteriography therefore represents a very powerful weapon against fungus that can always be used against tumours, firstly because it is painless and provokes no side effects, and secondly because the risks are very low.
Technically, it is performed as follows: after sterilizing and anesthetizing the surface levels, a needle is introduced into the artery that is to be used as an inlet port (usually the sub-clavian); then a metal guide that is visible to the angiologist is inserted and can be used to locate the selected artery. The last step consists of getting the small catheter to administer the solution where necessary. Then the catheter is fitted to a subcutaneous port-a-cath that stays in the selected location as long as necessary.
This very low-risk intervention creates no more pain than an intravenous injection and allows patients to be treated at home, although under constant medical supervision.
My first article about depression, ‘Is There A Cure For Depression’, demonstrated that prescribed chemical antidepressants do not cure depression, have dangerous and sometimes fatal side effects, and have more commercial than health benefits. Subsequent updates have focused on the success of complementary and alternative (CAM) therapists in curing depression using non-invasive, drug-free methods.
The first case study of a CAM cure for depression was provided by Dr Frank Lea, a creative hypnotherapist. The second case study of successful treatment for depression was provided by Steve B. Reed, the innovative psychotherapist who developed the REMAP process.
This, the third, update features the work of Craig Hitchens, a multi-talented Naturopath and Thought Field Therapy practitioner. The case study concerns a person who suffered from depression and anxiety for several years. He was prescribed with Zoloft (Sertraline), which did not alleviate his depression. After only two sessions of TFT therapy the client’s depression lifted and he was able to begin weaning off the drug. Weaning or ‘tapering off’ antidepressants is necessary to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms.
Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride)
Sertraline is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is approved to treat depression, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in adults over 18. It is also approved for OCD in children and adolescents age 6-17 years. Sertraline HCl is sold under numerous brand names: Zoloft, Sertralin, Lustral, Apo-Sertral, Asentra, Gladem, Serlift, Stimuloton, Xydep, Serlain, Zosert and Concorz.
Side Effects of Zoloft
Sertraline can have adverse side effects including: diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, dry mouth, gas or bloating, loss of appetite, weight changes, drowsiness, dizziness, excessive tiredness, headache, pain, burning or tingling in the hands or feet, excitement, nervousness, tremors, insomnia, sore throat, excessive sweating, blurred vision, seizure, abnormal bleeding or bruising, hallucinations, pruritus, alopecia, extrapyramidal symptoms, hyponatremia, galactorrhoea, stuttering, self-harm, hyperglycemia, hepatitis, akathisia, dystonia, urinary incontinence, Parkinsonism, Parkinson’s disease, liver injury, psychosis, asthenia, confusion, sexual dysfunction, bruxism, decreased libido, increased anxiety and depression, mania and hypermania, suicidal thoughts, suicide, and serious birth defects if taken in pregnancy.
The FDA warning
In 2004 the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the dangers of SSRIs, and requested manufacturers to label antidepressants with a warning of possible suicide, worsening depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. The FDA warning applies to all antidepressants including: Effexor (venlafaxine), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), Celexa (citalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Wellbutrin or Zyban (bupropion), Zoloft (sertraline) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), atypical antidepressants, Pfizer’s Sinequan (doxepin), Nardil (phenelzine), Luvox, Serzone, and Remeron.
The question of SSRI addiction
Pharmaceutical companies deny that SSRIs are addictive or habit-forming, and have created a distinction between addiction to recreational or illegal drugs and dependence on antidepressants. Withdrawal symptoms are referred to as ‘SSRI discontinuation syndrome,’ ‘SSRI withdrawal syndrome’ or ‘SSRI cessation syndrome’. Withdrawal occurs during or after interruption or discontinuation of SSRI or SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) usage. 
Symptoms of SSRI withdrawal include: dizziness, ataxia, paraesthesia (shock-like symptoms), gastrointestinal disorders, flu-like symptoms, sensory disturbances, anxiety, agitation, hypersexuality, crying spells, vertigo, light-headedness, nausea, fatigue, headache, insomnia, abdominal cramps, chills, depression, compulsions, migraine, neck and back pain, hallucinations, restlessness, sensations of electrical shocks, hypersensitivity to light, sound, colour and stressors, tinnitus, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, extreme irritability, severe agitation, extreme anger, aggressive behaviour, emotional swings, severe malaise, dysphoria, derealization and panic attacks.
The drug dependency related to SSRIs is comparable to that of benzodiazepines such as Valium, which is now prescribed only with great caution because of withdrawal problems. Withdrawal reactions to SSRIs occur because the drug creates adaptive receptor changes in the brain leading to an imbalance between cholinergic and dopaminergic activity. These findings run counter to the manufacturers’ claims that SSRIs correct chemical imbalances. In fact, instead of correcting, they cause systemic chemical imbalances and serious adverse side effects, and those who profit from SSRIs avoid admitting that SSRIs cause harmful changes and dependency.
Antidepressants do not cure depression
Zoloft, like other SSRIs, is advertised to consumers as ‘correcting a chemical imbalance’, a claim proven to be false and part of an aggressive promotion campaign. Despite the lack of scientific evidence to substantiate the claims, the FDA permitted misleading advertising about the action of SSRIs. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent promoting Zoloft this way, to mislead people to believe that they must take Zoloft to recover, when all available evidence shows that antidepressant medications do not cure depression, and in fact other non-medical treatments may be more beneficial.
The following case study shows how Craig Hitchens brought relief to a client after years of suffering, in two sessions, using TFT techniques and his knowledge of naturopathy.
Craig Hitchens has always had an interest in helping and empowering people to understand that they are in control of their healing. He has studied and used Natural Healing Methods for several years. As a practising Buddhist Craig has taken refuge in several Tibetan Buddhist lineages under the guidance of Geshe Gnawan Gendun, Lama Choedak Rinpoche and Karma Luhndrup Rinpoche, and received weekly teachings for 3 years from Yana Dolma at the Serling Arya Tara Goldcoast Buddhist Centre. Craig is currently studying for a Diploma of oriental remedial studies.
Summary of Craig’s qualifications:
BSc. Degree In Naturopathy.
Diploma of Vibrational (Spiritual) Healing – Subtle anatomy, energy and application, meditation, psychological and emotional cause of disease, healing methods, and sacred geometry.
Diploma of Advanced Counselling – Treatment methods and approaches, clinical practice, psychology of illnesses, counselling and psychotherapy, dynamics of relationship and interaction, and empathetic communication.
Diploma of Reflexology – Structure and functions of the human body, advanced techniques, meridians & the five element chart, location of reflexes and mapping of the feet, anatomy and physiology.
Diploma of Medicinal Herbalism – Botany, clinical medicine, herbs to use for diseases, biochemistry and chemistry, phytonutrients and pharmacokinetics, first aid, nutrition, Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic methods of diagnosis, pharmacology, aromatherapy, Bach remedies and tissue salts.
Diploma of Health Science – Life Science, naturopathy, dangers of drugs, nutrition, dangers of animal products, importance of exercise, detoxification symptoms, human digestive physiology, rest and sleep, fasting, clinical procedures, supplementation, and treatment protocols.
Diploma of Oriental Remedial Therapies – Anatomy of the subtle body, Yin and Yang, theory of energy, oriental acupuncture/acupressure, foot reflexology, oriental massage/shiatsu, oriental diagnosis, meridian therapy & cycles, environmental medicine, qi gong, and Chinese herbalism.
Thought Field Therapy – Additional meridian healing modality for emotional problems.
Reiki- Level 2. Energy healing modality.
Huna Massage – Additional massage modality to enhance relaxation massages.
My name is Craig Hitchens and I am a Naturopath and Thought Field Therapy practitioner based in Dunsborough, Western Australia. The following case presented whilst I was based in Banora Point, New South Wales during the year 2003.
What follows is a condensed version of concluded findings and observations of a treatment for depression and accompanying anxiety/trauma for a patient I will call “Client 1”.
A short run down on Thought Field Therapy TFT
TFT uses tapping techniques on the end points of the energy meridians whilst focusing on the troubling thought, incident, emotion, etc. to unlock trapped energy in the system. These are called perturbations. TFT works on the principal that the subtle energy system is influenced by our experiences and these create imprints that can become or create imbalance. These imbalances or perturbations when left create emotional problems, eventually physical problems. The tapping sequences act like a “key” that unlocks the trapped, imbalanced energy and releases it thus creating harmony and correcting these problems very quickly. This technique is the work of Dr Roger Callaghan Ph.D and has been his life’s work for over 35 years.
Case Study 1
Client 1 approached me initially with his wife after suffering repeated bouts of depression accompanied with anxiety. Client 1 had been to several doctors regarding this depression and had been given antidepressant drugs (Zoloft) to try to alleviate the problem. Nothing in the way of counselling was prescribed by these doctors at the time and little was asked of his background as to what he felt was the cause of this depression and anxiety. The drugs were not in client 1’s opinion helping him at all.
My initial line of questioning centred around asking him: a) how long he had suffered this for, and b) where he felt it stemmed from. Upon asking him this second question he became visibly anxious and very reluctant to talk. Now the basis of a TFT treatment is to get the client to mentally tune into the problem or to recall the experience or feeling that causes the upset. Obviously he was doing that very well.
Reluctantly he told me of being held at gunpoint during an armed hold up of the news agency he still worked in. Here we have the initial trauma. Then we focused on this and rated the SUD (Subjective Units of Distress – This gets the patient to rate how bad they feel on a scale of 1-10. We refer to this to show them progress during the treatment.) At 10, the worst it can get, I administered the algorithm (tapping sequence) for complex trauma and after around two minutes of tapping with one procedure for psychological reversal, we had him down to around SUD 2-3. He was then able to talk about what had happened with relative comfort. We see here a very fast and complete turn around in his discomfort level without drugs, or conventional counselling. We simply tapped the meridian points in the sequence for trauma and we arrived at this point. This is typical for this treatment.
We then shifted to his depression, which at this point after doing the treatment for the trauma initially, was less than normal according to client 1. No coincidence as untreated trauma will often manifest depression and anxiety and more to the point the depression was a secondary symptom of an untreated initial trauma. Collapse the main trauma and the rest follows. We focused on the feelings of depression and rated them a SUD of 8. We began the tapping sequence for depression and after one treatment for psychological reversal (This is where the energy system literally reverses and creates opposite polarity. This causes problems but is easily fixed), arrived at a SUD of 4. I then administered the 9-gamut sequence and the SUD went down to 1. Client 1’s session ended here for this day with him feeling in his own words “amazing”. I suggested a follow up visit in one week’s time to address anything further that may surface. In a single one hour session I was able to bring this man relief from what turned out to be years of suffering with a simple technique. No drugs.
The following session revealed that client 1 had slipped back slightly but to nowhere near the degree to which he first presented. I suspected an energy toxin at play. Upon talking and going over his diet in the past week I was able to identify possible toxins. I muscle tested him for them and he was positive for several substances. We agreed to withdraw them from his diet and I proceeded with a toxin reversal sequence and re-administered the depression algorithm with good success and a resultant SUD of 1. He also expressed his intention to see his doctor and wean off his medication.
On his next follow up visit 1 week or so later client 1 reported feeling very well indeed and no further depression or anxiety had returned. He had eliminated the toxins (refined sugars, corn starch, wheat) from his diet and increased his intake of water. He had begun weaning himself from his medications for depression and was doing well. A final follow up visit a fortnight later found client 1 still feeling well and he had in fact lost weight, was motivated to exercise more and could easily talk about the hold up incident with little or no upset at all. He was freeing himself of his medications and was only taking an antioxidant complex to help cleanse his system. No further visits were scheduled by him from here. Client 1 felt he was no longer in need of them. I asked him if he would call me by telephone and give me a progress report for a few more weeks to which he agreed. At no time during the resulting call did he report feeling in any way the same and he stated in fact that his life was looking very positive. He felt his whole attitude was more positive. He was tapping when he felt he needed it and doing reversals each day. TFT is very empowering as it gives the patient a real tool to use when they need to for themselves.
In conclusion we see here a patient who tried repeatedly with conventional therapies only to have them fail him. The simplicity and sheer effectiveness of TFT overcame his aversion to discuss the problem and thus re-live the pain all over again. TFT’s ability to free the subtle energy system of resulting perturbations from emotional trauma, etc. shows us a very real correlation between the subtle energy system and our mental well being and ultimately our physical well being as client 1 was motivated to exercise, eat well and in fact lost weight as a result of freeing himself of this perturbation causing him depression and anxiety. TFT’s ability to diagnose which meridians need to be corrected through the casual diagnosis procedure and the toxin sensitivity test resulted in an approach far more holistic than drugs and talking about it. It goes to the very source of all disease, the subtle energy system. Imbalance and perturbations here left unchecked will manifest mental and physical disease and problems.
This is not an isolated case, there are literally thousands and thousands of cases the world over from thousands of TFT practitioners that are similar or more profound than this. This therapy is in my professional opinion a very real treatment for depression of this kind. Severe clinical depression is still being worked upon but even still, there are some very resounding result there as well. Depression is also exacerbated by poor dietary choices and lifestyle. Client 1 showed psychological reversal as a result of toxins. Once these were eliminated he showed no further signs and his health improved. There is a very real link between what we eat and our emotional state. Toxins will reverse our energies and create problems at the subtle level. It is also no coincidence that when one is suffering a perturbation, one makes less than intelligent choices about diet, etc. thus compounding the problem. TFT helps the patient overcome this as well.
I am yet to see a conventional treatment that can make the claims that TFT can and back them up with results like TFT does. I have no hesitation in recommending this therapy to anyone trying to beat depression.
Craig Hitchen’s case study, like the case studies in previous updates, shows that depression can be cured quickly and cost effectively, using non-invasive, drug-free methods. Yet pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars on misleading promotion of unsubstantiated benefits of chemical drugs, ensuring that depressed people are not cured, and remain drug addicts with a low quality of life.
People with depression and those who care for them would benefit from studying the case histories in this series, because there are a number of serious problems associated with using anti-depressants: they cause dangerous side effects, and instead of curing depression, they create dependency that leads to serious withdrawal symptoms when discontinued or reduced. In contrast, instead of creating dependency, CAM therapies empower patients by giving them tools and knowledge to keep themselves well.
In a world where health has become a massive consumer industry that is controlled by drug companies, conventional, clinical practice is dictated by profits, instead of the well being of patients. Hence, conventional doctors have no incentive to look for less expensive treatments, and no interest in finding genuine cures. A survey in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 87% of 200 authors of clinical guidelines had financial links with at least one drug company, including those whose products they endorsed. Over half of the authors had been paid by companies to conduct research. The training of psychiatrists is confined to the medical model, with no knowledge of alternatives to drug treatments.
More needs to be done to inform people that there is a wide range of effective treatments for depression amongst CAM therapies. This update will be followed by further case studies from therapists who have successfully cured depression for clients whom conventional medicine could not help. If you are a CAM therapist with experience of curing depression and would like to be included in this research, please send in your case studies for publication in subsequent issues. We are particularly interested in patients who have been unsuccessfully treated by conventional methods but successfully treated by a CAM therapy. Please mail to: email@example.com
In my last article about depression: ‘Is There A Cure For Depression? First Results‘ I presented the first evidence of an holistic cure for depression, provided by hypnotherapist Dr Frank Lea. Dr Lea demonstrated how he cures depression using non-invasive, drug-free therapy, a combination of hypnotherapy and NLP techniques.
This update is a presentation of the work of Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT, the innovative psychotherapist who developed the REMAP process. Frustration with conventional psychotherapy and medical model treatments led Steve to incorporate alternative approaches into his practice, some of the best elements of cognitive and behavioural psychology with acupressure (a psycho-sensory component), to alleviate emotional suffering.
Posttraumatic stress disorder and depression
Many therapists, and people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would benefit from learning about Steve Reed’s work, because many people are affected by PTSD and the depression that often accompanies it. A study in the USA found that 61% of men and 51% of women experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives, and that PTSD is a highly prevalent lifetime disorder that often persists for years. Only a minority of people with PTSD obtain treatment. The most severely affected are unable to work, have trouble with relationships, and have great difficulty parenting their children.
Severe, or ‘major’ depression can result from a single traumatic event. The Toronto outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) led to many cases of PTSD and depression–both in patients and in the health care professionals providing care for them. War veterans and survivors of natural disasters often suffer PTSD and severe depression. Among the worst affected by PTSD and severe depression are survivors of terrorist attacks. Two months after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, researchers found that the prevalence of PTSD and depression in Manhattan was nearly twice the national average for adults in the United States.
Perhaps those most frequently exposed to the risk of PTSD are emergency service personnel such as firefighters, police, and paramedics. Steve Reed’s case study concerns a traumatized firefighter, Robert, who came to his office with severe depression (after being on antidepressants for nearly a year) and PTSD. The therapeutic results obtained after 94 minutes of REMAP treatment demonstrate interesting and positive changes in: 1.Symptoms; 2.Psychological testing; 3.Physical measures of heart activity, and 4.Behavioural changes as a result of treatment.
The REMAP process
The REMAP process is a ‘leading-edge’ method for treating trauma, anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. It shares some similarities with meridian-based treatments such as Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), EmoTrance, etc. Last year, Steve Reed did a pilot research study on the effectiveness of the REMAP process with trauma survivors. The results were more favourable than those obtained in similar studies of TFT and EFT.Steve Reed explains that PTSD reacts with the fight-or-flight response so that any reminder of the trauma triggers the fight-or-flight reaction even if there is no present danger. PTSD affects a part of the brain that is only marginally accessible by language, i.e. the mid-brain or limbic system. This explains why the conventional treatment that Robert had received had not helped: Talking therapies cannot access the affected part of the brain, and medicine simply numbs reactions without dealing with the problem. By means of the REMAP process, which has a direct influence on the limbic system, Steve obtained positive results. To find out more about how the REMAP process works, read on…
Profile: Introducing Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT
Steve B. Reed, M.S. is a psychotherapist and social worker with over 30 years experience.
His undergraduate degree in psychology is from the University of Texas at Dallas. He holds a master of science degree in counseling from East Texas State University.
Steve holds three mental health licenses in the state of Texas. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW).
His contribution to the field includes the development of the REMAP process, the leading edge in the meridian-based psychotherapy paradigm.
Steve has twice presented the REMAP process training at the Ohio State University Medical School.
He has also presented REMAP training seminars and lectures in Canada, Central America and several locations throughout the United States.
Steve has served on the board of directors of the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology and has presented at eight international and regional Energy Psychology conferences. He has also presented on acupressure enhances psychotherapy methods at two Texas Marriage and Family Therapy State Conferences, at the North Texas Clinical Hypnosis Society annual conference and at Harris Methodist Hospital.
He has been recognized as one of 16 leaders in the field of energy psychology by the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology and has been awarded the title Diplomate, Comprehensive Energy Psychology (D.CEP).
Steve has developed 3 training seminars and 5 demonstration videos on the REMAP process. He is currently working on a book on the process and has completed the first REMAP pilot research study.
The first REMAP professional training seminar to be presented in Europe is scheduled for Germany in 2008.
His full-time private practice is located in Richardson, Texas (Dallas area). He treats people world wide through phone consultations.
Overcoming A Firefighter’s Trauma — (a REMAP Case Study)
by Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT Copyright 2007
Flames were rapidly engulfing the house. Yet a last minute, gut instinct by the lead firefighter (who we shall call Robert) led him to make one final sweep for any remaining occupants. As he and one of his rookie firefighters reentered the home, things began to collapse. He is still not sure what fell on him but he thinks it was a bookcase. Trapped, pinned under the weight and nearly surrounded by flames, this courageous man remained calm. Robert was able to think clearly. He could clearly see that his rookie firefighter was beginning to panic, so he ordered him to go get help from some of the more seasoned firefighters.
For most people, being trapped in a burning house would be a horrifying experience. However, for this brave soul that was just part of a day’s work. His training had prepared him to deal with such things. What had traumatized him was something far worse. It was something to which no compassionate person could be indifferent. It was something that he could not get out of his mind. He relived it everyday.
His real-life nightmare started with the sound of somebody screaming. As he looked up through the visor of his breathing apparatus, he could barely make out the image of a small, frightened child–perhaps four years old. He motioned for her to come toward him but she seemed paralyzed with fear. What he remembered most was the look in her eyes as she caught fire. Helpless to prevent it, he could do nothing but watch as she burned to death.
When he arrived for his first appointment with me, it did not take long to see that his life had been devastated by this event. His difficulty in coping with the traumatic stress had led to a divorce some months earlier. He was unable to work and had gone out on short-term disability. His quality of life had totally disappeared.
Psychological testing revealed that he was severely depressed (even after being on antidepressants for many months). He was also experiencing both Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and a high degree of current anxiety about his trauma, known as “state anxiety”. (“State anxiety” measures a person’s current anxiety level and is separate from “trait anxiety”, a measure of their natural tendency toward anxiety.) In fact, his current state anxiety ranked in the 100th percentile (the highest) for men his age. He scored very high on the Impact of Event Scale (a measure of the impact of traumatic events). He also met the clinical criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Seeing little girls in public–about the age of the victim–triggered nightmares, sleep disturbance, intrusive memories of the trauma and flashbacks. He lost his ability to enjoy playing with his own children, who were relatively the same age as the victim. He was not able to tell the story of the tragedy without starting to cry and he reported that, in general, his attitude and mood were far worse than usual. When asked how badly the experience bothered him on a scale of 0 to 10 (where 10 is the worst), he said it was definitely a 10. In brief, his life had truly become a nightmare.
After discussing treatment options, he decided that the REMAP process (a treatment method that utilizes cognitive, behavioral and psycho-sensory interventions to desensitize trauma) was right for him. He was also willing to participate in my on-going research regarding the effectiveness of REMAP treatment on trauma sufferers. Part of that research, in addition to psychological testing, is to measure the physiological effect of thinking about a traumatic event on the electrical activity of the heart both before and after treatment. Through measuring the variability in time between heartbeats, we are able to reveal important information about the nervous system, especially whether the body is in a fight-or-flight reflex. This information can then be compared to assess change.
As I would have expected, his heart activity showed a greater stress response when thinking about the trauma than when thinking about neutral thoughts. His heart rate increased and measurements of the balance between his sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems worsened. Every time he thought about the little girl’s tragic death, his body was reacting as if he was there.
Robert could not understand why he continued to be so disturbed by this event. He was being treated by a psychiatrist in his community and he had been taking antidepressants for nearly a year. However, nothing was helping.
I explained to Robert that when people experience traumatic events that it affects a part of the brain that is only marginally accessible by language. That part of the brain is known as the mid-brain or limbic system. The limbic system developed prior to the thinking brain (or cortex). Since it is a more primitive structure, it is not able to think in the same way as the cortex. However, it can be conditioned by painful experiences to react with an alarm reflex known as the fight-or-flight response. After a traumatic event, a small almond-shaped part of the mid-brain called the amygdala (Greek for almond) encodes all of the information about the trauma. Then, any reminder of the painful experiences triggers an instant response from the amygdala that sets off the body’s fight-or-flight reaction. The heart rate increases, blood vessels constrict and adrenalin is released into the body. There is dilation of bronchi, muscles tighten and the sweat glands become more active. We become ready to run for our life or fight for our life even if there is no clear or present danger. As I said, the limbic system cannot think in the same way as the cortex. It cannot make a distinction between a real threat and a reminder of a previous threat. Therefore, it fires up the alarm. If this reaction is intense enough, then even the thinking brain begins to shutdown.
Medicine alone does not resolve the problem. At best, it only numbs our reactions. Traditional talk therapy can be ineffective as well. Talk therapy targets the cortex (thinking brain). The problem resides in the mid-brain where language only has a minimal reach. I explained to Robert that this is why he had continued to suffer from the effects of his trauma. I also explained that by combining some of the best behavioral and cognitive interventions with psycho-sensory interventions (that researchers at Harvard found has a direct influence on the limbic system) that we could calm that part of his brain.
The REMAP process works by combining a behavioral method known as Systematic Desensitization (Wolpe, 1958), cognitive interventions and psycho-sensory interventions drawn from acupressure that lead to a profound relaxation response. It seems that we are unable to be profoundly relaxed and intensely stressed at the same moment in time. These experiences are mutually exclusive. When we create a profound relaxation response (at a deep brain level) during thoughts about a traumatic event, then a dramatic shift occurs. The brain learns a new response to the painful thoughts—relaxation. When relaxation and comfort become linked with the traumatic memories, then the emotional pain melts away and it is replaced by a natural objectivity. The amygdala has then learned that everything is all right and that it no longer needs to fire up the alarm. With this part of the brain recalibrated to a neutral set point, previous reminders of the trauma no longer evoke a reaction. I explained to Robert that the REMAP process is a method that could help in this way.
Research at prestigious institutions such as Harvard Medical School , Yale School of Medicine, UC Irvine, Medical University of Graz, in Austria and St. Saves Hospital, Athens are showing the effectiveness of acupressure/acupuncture for relieving anxiety and stress. A study using fMRI brain scans at Harvard showed that key acupuncture points caused a calming of the limbic system within seconds. This direct link to the amygdala is what enables the REMAP process to produce such a rapid and profound calming effect.
The REMAP pilot study showed that the treatment was effective in calming the sympathetic nervous system (think anxiety response) and enhancing the functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system (think relaxation response). The REMAP process combines psychological methods for easing emotional pain with the physiological calming effects of precise acupressure protocols. The combination enhances the overall treatment effect.
Robert asked about how long the treatment might take. I said that although everyone can respond differently, the REMAP pilot study with trauma victims showed that we could successfully treat a single traumatic incident in one to three sessions. I advised Robert that the number of sessions required per trauma could be more for people who could not easily access their feelings and memories. Fortunately, Robert could connect with his experience of the traumatic event easily and his treatment only required three REMAP sessions (totaling 94 minutes of treatment). This was slightly longer than the average number of sessions and treatment time for a single traumatic event in the REMAP pilot study (two sessions totaling 87 minutes of treatment).
In all, I met with Robert six times. The first time we met, I did a thorough assessment so that we could focus his treatment in the best way. In our second appointment, we measured his physiological response to the traumatic memory and had our first REMAP session. Our third meeting was devoted to a completely unrelated issue regarding a dating relationship in which I provided some counseling and guidance. In our third and fourth meetings, we had our final two REMAP sessions. Our last meeting was a reassessment of his current response to the trauma event. That assessment showed that his trauma had been successfully resolved.
The results of treatment were significant for Robert. Below I have itemized the details of his condition prior to treatment verses after treatment.
1. Subjective Report of Symptoms:
Before REMAP Treatment
After REMAP Treatment
Flashbacks—Triggered by seeing 4 year old girls
No Flashbacks—Seeing 4 year old girls felt comfortable and normal—no reaction
No more nightmares
His sleep quality was much better–normal
Intrusive thoughts of the incident
No intrusive thoughts about it
Unable to tell the story of the event without crying
Now able to tell the story to others without crying and feels calm and more objective
Loss of joy playing with his children
Enjoys playing with his children again
His attitude and mood were worse than usual
His general attitude and mood seem normal when thinking about this event
Shoulders and arms—tense when thinking of the trauma
Warm or hot feeling
Experiencing an adrenalin rush
b) Subjective Units of Distress Scale
On this scale, 10 is equal to the worst possible distress and zero equals none at all. His scale dropped from 10 to two. That is an 80% improvement in his subjective distress level.
2. Psychological Assessments:
a) Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology— self-report30 (IDS-sr)
Because of REMAP treatment, Robert’s level of depression dropped by 24%. Before treatment, he scored severely depressed. After treatment, his level of depression dropped to moderate.
b) Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Questions (GAD-7)
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) scores dropped by 37% after treatment. The score after REMAP treatment was below the threshold for GAD. Thus, Robert was free of generalized anxiety.
c) State-Trait Anxiety Inventor—state scale (STAI-s)
The STAI is the most widely used measure of anxiety in research. After treatment with the REMAP process, Robert’s raw score dropped by 52%. His score prior to treatment put him in the 100th percentile (highest category) for men his age. After treatment, his score was in the 39th percentile. This is below the average score for his age group.
d) Impact of Event Scale—Revised (IES-r)
Robert’s score on the Impact of Event Scale–revised ( IES -r) improved by 88% after REMAP treatment. This is a strong indication of trauma resolution.
3. Physical Measures:
Assessing Changes in Heart Activity through Spectral Analysis of the Electro-cardiogram:
We analyzed Robert’s heart activity for physical signs of stress utilizing the Medicore SA 3000 Heart Rate Variability Analysis System. Three measures revealed noteworthy change. The first measure is heart rate. When under stress the heart rate increases. Before treatment Robert’s resting heart rate, while thinking about neutral thoughts, was 98 beats per minute (bpm). This is unusually high. However, when he thought about his trauma his heart rate increased to 104 (bpm)—more stress. After treatment, his resting heart rate was 98 (bpm) while thinking about neutral thoughts. Then, when he thought of his traumatic event, his heart rate slowed to 95.5 beats per minute—more relaxed thinking about the previous trauma than thinking about neutral thoughts.
The next measure is the Low Frequency/High Frequency Ratio (LF/HF ratio). Low frequency electrical activity of the heart corresponds to sympathetic nervous system activity (again, think fight-or-flight reflex). High frequency activity corresponds to para-sympathetic nervous system activity (think calming and relaxing influence). The higher the ratio, the more stress is present. The lower the ratio, the more the nervous system is calm. In the above example, prior to treatment Robert was very calm when thinking about neutral thoughts. He may have been having a generally calm day to start with. However, when he thought of his trauma his sympathetic nervous system took control and increased over 14 times. After treatment, the LF/HF ratio was nearly identical. This shows that there was no change in physical stress between thinking about neutral thoughts and thinking about his traumatic event after treatment. If a person feels no more distress when thinking about a trauma than when thinking about neutral thoughts, then it is a good sign that they are no longer bothered by it.
The final measure that we will look at is the RMS-SD. It indicates the degree that the para-sympathetic nervous system (calming influence) is functioning at a given time. Although this measure will vary from day-to-day depending on current stress, higher scores indicate less stress. In Robert’s case, his RMS-SD score dropped from 17.48 (thinking about neutral thoughts) to 14.19 (thinking about his trauma) before treatment. This means that the ability of his para-sympathetic nervous system to calm him was not working as well and that his stress level increased. However, after treatment his neutral thought score was 9.06 (on this day he was a little more stressed in general than in the previous test) but his score improved to 10.77 when thinking about his trauma. This is another indication that he was calmer and less stressed thinking about his trauma than even neutral thoughts. This is good physical evidence that he is no longer troubled by his traumatic experience.
Changes in Heart Rate Variability Measures:
Neutral Thoughts vs. Traumatic memory
Neutral Thoughts vs. Trauma
Heart Rate (beats per minute)
98 vs. 104
98 vs. 95.5
Low Frequency/High Frequency Ratio—normalized units (LF/HF ratio)
0.73 vs. 10.38
2.16 vs. 2.22
Root Means Squared of the Standard Deviation (RMS-SD) in milliseconds
17.48 vs. 14.19
9.06 vs. 10.77
4. Behavioral Change:
Before REMAP Treatment
After REMAP Treatment
On short-term disability—unable to work due to PTSD
He successfully returned to work after our last session.
I met with Robert weekly for six weeks. Three of those sessions involved treatment with the REMAP process totaling 94 minutes of actual REMAP therapy. The other three sessions involved assessments and consultation regarding an issue unrelated to his trauma. Because of his treatment, all of his subjective reports, psychological assessments and physical measures changed in positive ways. His behavior also changed for the better. He was able to feel dramatic relief and resume a normal life.
A follow-up telephone call took place seven weeks after our last meeting. Robert was still doing well. He was feeling fine regarding the traumatic event that we had treated and he continued to be able to work.
Steve B Reed
This update will be followed up with further case studies from therapists who have successfully cured depression for clients whom conventional medicine could not help, using non-invasive methods, and without the use of drugs.
If you are a CAM therapist with experience of curing any kind of depression and would like to be included in this research, please send in your case histories for publication in subsequent issues. We are particularly interested in patients who have been unsuccessfully treated by conventional methods but successfully treated by a CAM therapy. Please mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
16 Steve B. Reed, Mary Ross, Frances Mcmanemin, 2006, ‘Soothing the Sympathetic Nervous System with the REMAP process: Results from Treating 8 Trauma Survivors And Measuring Treatment Effect with Heart Rate Variability Analysis.’ Dallas Counseling & Psychotherapy: http://www.psychotherapy-center.com/remap-HRV_research1.html
In my first article about depression, ‘Is There A Cure For Depression’, I showed that conventional medicine labels symptoms of depression as a ‘syndrome’ or ‘disorder’ for the convenience of prescribing chemical medications. I demonstrated that prescribed chemical antidepressants do not cure depression, have dangerous and sometimes fatal side effects, and have more commercial than health benefits. I concluded that therapies most likely to be successful in curing depression are holistic therapies. Research updates will focus on evidence of the efficacy of complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies in depression.
This article reviews the encouraging results so far and compares them with recent developments of allopathic medicine in its attempts to find a cure for depression. The main feature of this article is an interview with the hypnotherapist Dr Frank Lea, which includes an example of his success in curing depression, using non-invasive, drug-free therapy, which respects the whole person.
Encouraging research results
Although our research is still in the early stages, it already shows that there is a variety of successful treatment options that can replace the $20 billion-dollar-a-year antidepressant industry.1 Some examples of therapies successful in curing depression are hypnotherapy, spiritual healing, traditional Chinese medicine and thought field therapy, to name a few. What drugs cannot accomplish in years, CAM therapies can achieve in hours. We warmly thank all those who have contributed so far and welcome more to contribute to the ongoing research.
Developments in allopathic medical science
While CAM has been effective for centuries in curing depression, allopathic medical science has recently invested its resources in experimental brain surgery as a solution to depression. In a Sixty Minutes video ‘Battling Depression’, Lesley Stahl interviewed patients with long-term depression that conventional methods failed to cure, who agreed to participate in the experiment as a last resort. The operation involves the insertion of a pacemaker in the patients’ chest. The pacemaker provides shock stimulus to ‘area 25’ of the brain via wires through blood vessels to electrodes implanted in the brain.2
After six months of shock stimulus, the two participants interviewed showed improvements in symptoms. However, the procedure did not constitute a cure, as none of the patients could turn off the stimulator without the depression returning. If the same mildly ‘positive results’ are reproduced in a large-scale clinical trial this year, the implantation of electrodes will create a multi billion dollar a year industry. The risks associated with the surgery are stroke, infection and unknown long-term effects. There is a clear conflict of interests since there is no evidence that the results were not due to placebo effect, yet any positive results will be used to justify profits before cure.
Interview with Dr Frank Lea
Profile – Introducing Dr Lea:
Dr. Frank W. Lea, DD, Dip. NLP (Master Prac.), RPHH, DCMT, APHP, POSH, DASH. Developer of ‘Creative Mindpower Techniques’,Professional trainer in Advanced Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Stage hypnotism, Business Consultant and trainer in Conflict Management, Mediating, Stress Management, Personal and Performance Development and Life Coach. Registered Practitioner of Clinical and Holistic Hypnotherapy. A Founder Member of the Hypnotherapy Practitioners Association, Patron and Chief Advisor to the Institute of Hypnotherapy and Energy Sciences (India) and the Indian Hypnosis Association, Advanced Practitioner of Freeway-CER, Registered with the NHS and BUPA, holds Diplomas in Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy and Advanced Stage Hypnotism, Certificates in Counselling Skills and Advanced Psycho-Sexual Therapy, Appointed Therapist for National Phobics Society and Smokebusters.3
Martha: Have you heard about brain surgery as a treatment for depression and what do you think of it?
Dr. Lea: Yes, I know even nowadays occasional surgery is carried out whereby they destroy part of the brain with electrical shock. My opinion is that this is utterly stupid, almost pre-historic. To destroy part of the brain has to cause further problems and is obviously stupid and dangerous. Even though using my techniques it is possible to completely remove a memory (some therapists try making a client forget they smoked, for instance), I believe that everything is interconnected and it is unwise to interfere with any part of the memory or brain.
Martha: Do you agree with the medical classification of three types of depression: ‘Major’, ‘Dysthymia’, and ‘Bi-polar Disorder’, and can you identify other types of depression?
Dr. Lea: The medical profession have to label everything, if they can’t label it or put it in a bottle they deny its existence or cannot treat it. Personally I ignore any labels. Clients come to me stating they have been diagnosed with ‘acute’ or ‘manic’ depression. I listen but ignore it because whatever level or depth the so-called depression is it can be helped and the client can be lifted out of it, often in less than one hour.
Martha: My research has discovered that definitions of depression as ‘disorder’ or ‘chemical imbalance’ are constructed by pharmaceuticals for the purpose of selling their products. How would you define depression?
Dr. Lea: I would agree that ‘labels’ are created by pharmaceuticals and doctors for their convenience, much in the same way as there are hundreds of different phobias listed, yet to me it matters not what the phobia is of, the treatment is pretty much the same. I define depression almost as a self-inflicted habit, the habit of thinking in negative ways, the person’s perception of the world being negative or ‘bad’, even a deep lack of self-esteem or self-worth: “everything is bad”, “there is no hope”, “nothing will ever go right”. When a person thinks like this they actually make these things come true, thus strengthening their negative belief. My approach is to turn all this around and completely change their perception of life and create a truly positive frame of mind. In short, depression is a state of mind and a state of mind can easily be altered.
Martha: Evidence shows that medications do not cure depression and cause horrendous side effects. Do you have experience of drug free cure of depression?
Dr. Lea: I believe my previous answers show that my techniques make drugs of any kind completely unnecessary, this goes for 99.9% of all human maladies.
Martha: Can you briefly explain what hypnotherapy is, and how it works?
Dr. Lea: Briefly, hypnotherapy is the use of the natural state of hypnosis, sometimes called trance, which has been known about for at least four hundred years. Hypnosis, named after the Greek god, Hypnos, meaning sleep, occurs naturally in everyone, sometimes as a result of shock, stress, or during a long time of repetitive activity such as reading, driving, etc. It is like being on autopilot. In the state of hypnosis the conscious mind goes to sleep causing the subconscious mind to take over. This allows a person to access the subconscious, which is responsible for all our actions, feelings and emotions. It is the subconscious that causes us to do things we may not really want to do such as smoking, overeating, and developing fears and phobias. It affects our behaviour and so on.
When a hypnotist helps a person enter the state of hypnosis and then uses that state to access the subconscious and resolve whatever issues that have been causing the problem, this is known as hypnotherapy. The miraculous effect is that once the causal issue has been dealt with, the habit or problem changes instantly just like changing a program in a computer. The power and ability of the subconscious is awesome and virtually unlimited. Using that power through the state of trance can help people achieve almost anything they want.
Martha: I understand it has taken some time to develop your techniques. Can you describe how you combine hypnosis with other techniques such as NLP?
Dr Lea: NLP is the art of using words and utilising the natural response to “triggers” that the subconscious uses all the time (a certain smell, sound or tune will trigger a memory for instance, an example being Pavlov’s dog salivating at the sound of a bell). This technique is powerful by itself but when used in conjunction with the state of trance where the imagination and all senses are greatly enhanced it becomes ten times more powerful, thus enabling a good hypnotist to resolve life-long problems in a few minutes. It seems like magic, almost unbelievable, but is very true. I have helped agoraphobics who have not been out in twenty years to be able to go out happily in less than fifteen minutes.
Martha: Thank you so much for this information. I find your explanation of hypnotherapy very interesting – it has taught me much that I didn’t know, and also explained some things that have happened in my personal experience.
Can you give detailed case histories of clients who were diagnosed and unsuccessfully treated by allopathic medicine?
Dr. Lea: Here’s the first one:
Depression Case Studies
By Dr. Frank Lea, hypnosis, (NLP) and personal development trainer
In these studies, which I shall post from time to time, I will name males as Jack and females as Jill, regardless of their real names.
Jack came to see me after five years of psychiatric treatment for “manic depression”. He stated that he had attempted suicide three times in that period and that if this session with me did not help he would definitely “do himself in”.
The first thing I did was to use hypnosis to completely eliminate any idea of suicide, getting his subconscious to agree that there was plenty to live for and too many people would be saddened if he were to die.
Following that I used NLP techniques to discover the origins of the depression, what started the thoughts that he was useless, that life was too complicated and not worth living, etc. Then with a combination of NLP techniques, whilst utilising the immense power of hypnosis allowing Jack to enter the deep recesses of his subconscious, we dealt with those causal factors, eliminating the negative effects and building on the positive things until the causal factors were no longer important and had no negative effects on his mind.
After this session Jack reported feeling exceptionally good and was motivated to get up in the mornings and begin to do things such as repairs to his home, cleaning, the garden etc., things which he had previously no interest in whatsoever – in other words he now had goals and an interest in life, which were for the last 5 years non-existent.
Because of the seriousness of the original depression I arranged a second session during which we built on his newfound confidence, trust and respect for himself. He remarked that his girlfriend was amazed at the change in him and he could not understand why only an hour or so with me could achieve so much when five years with a psychiatrist only made the problems worse.
I explained that this was because psychiatrists need to put a label on things, then followed tried, tested and proven not to work treatments and drugs, whereas I understand that all such problems are created by the mind for various reasons and only the mind knows why and only the mind can change things. Therefore it is only necessary to ask the mind (subconscious) why etc. then get it to agree to make the desired changes, which, provided they are for the benefit of the client, it will do instantly.
A few months after this last session Jack contacted me to say he was getting married and they were moving to a new home in Cornwall where he now had a job as a woodcarver and was really looking forward to their new life.4
Depression is curable without drugs, shock or surgery
Dr Lea points out on his website that the health service does not realise the many millions of pounds it could save by using skilled professionals such as himself. Evidently more needs to be done to inform the health service and the public that depression is curable without recourse to drugs, ECT or surgery.
This update will be followed up with further case studies from Dr Lea and other therapists who have successfully cured depression, using non-invasive methods, without the use of drugs, for clients whom conventional medicine could not help.
If you are a CAM therapist with experience of curing any kind of depression and would like to be included in this research, please send in your case histories for publication in subsequent issues. We are particularly interested in patients who have been unsuccessfully treated by primary care but successfully by a CAM therapy. Please mail to: email@example.com
This article is the introduction to a research project on CAM therapies that have proved successful in curing any types of depression. This article asks whether conventional treatments make people well, what problems arise with current treatments for depression, and is there a case for increasing availability of alternative treatments for depression? Subsequent research will focus on evidence of the efficacy of CAM therapies in depression.
Some official ‘facts’ about depression?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability. Depression occurs in people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds, and affects about 121 million people worldwide. About 850,000 depressed people commit suicide every year.[i]
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) claims that the suicide rate for men is four times that of women, although more women attempt it, and women experience depression twice as often as men. During the last twenty years it has been recognised that children also experience depression. Older people are particularly susceptible to depression, but it is often dismissed as ‘normal’ for the age group. [ii]
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), more than 13 million Americans will suffer from depression in any given year – more than 30 million Americans over their lifetimes.[iii] If official figures are correct, then people diagnosed with ‘depressive illness’ in America constitute more than one sixth of people with depression in the world.
Research indicates that ten times as many people are becoming depressed now as compared to fifty years ago. Our genetic make-up does not change this rapidly, so it would seem that depression and its increase are more to do with the way society and lifestyles are changing, rather than biology or genetic factors.[iv]
Is depression an illness?
NIMH distinguishes three medical types of depression: ‘Major depression’ which can be severe and recurrent; ‘Dysthymia,’ a chronic state of unhappiness; and ‘Bipolar Disorder’, also known as ‘manic-depressive illness’ which is characterized by swings between depressed states and elated manic states.[v]
Official information describes all types of depression in terms of a combination of symptoms that include: depressed mood, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt, sadness, anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, pessimism, low self-esteem, disturbed sleep, insomnia, excess sleeping, weight gain, weight loss, over-eating, poor appetite, low energy, fatigue, poor concentration and memory, inability to work, difficulty making decisions, thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts, and persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain.[vi][vii]
Psychiatrist Paul Chodoff objects to the medicalisation of common feelings, behaviours and personality traits, because it leads to mild depression and nervousness being labelled ‘mental disorder’ and ‘anxiety disorder.’ He quotes A. Solomon, ‘The Noonday Demon’: “If depression is an illness thataffects as much as 25 percent of the people in the world, canit, in fact, be an illness?”[viii]
The term ‘mental disorder’ is not clearly defined by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Chodoff refers to Thomas Szasz who claims that ‘mental illness’exists only as a social construct and points out that the fact that one fifth of the American population is seen as in need of mental health treatments calls into doubt the validity of the concept of mental illness. He argues that there is no biological marker, such as tissue alterationsor a serologic or imaging abnormality that can distinguish a clinical depression from a state of unhappiness.[ix]
Causes of depression
A list of symptoms does not tell us what depression is or what causes it. Public information confuses causes with symptoms and triggers. For example, ‘chemical imbalance’ would seem to be a symptom but it is usually referred to as a ’cause’ of depression.[x] Moreover, it has come to light that the existence of a ‘chemical imbalance’ in depression is an invention on the part of drug companies as part of a marketing strategy.[xi]
NIMH claims that causes of depression include: low self-esteem, major physical illness, hormonal disorders, loss, financial problems, stress, change in life patterns, a combination of genetic, psychological and environmental factors.[xii] That is the same as saying that life causes depression. It is clear from the information we are given, that the ‘experts’ pretend to know but in fact do not know what depression is or what causes it.
Can depression be cured by conventional treatments?
The standard advice given by Western psychiatry is that in developed countries, the majority of people with depression can be treated effectively with drugs. Just what is meant by ‘treated’ is not clearly defined. The word ‘treated’ is used instead of ‘cured.’[xiii][xiv][xv]
John Greden of the University of Michigan Depression Center claims that it is not possible to cure depressive illness, but patients can be maintained in a state of continuous remission with ongoing, continuous drug treatment.[xvi] The American Psychiatric Association (APA) claims although there is no cure for bipolar depression drug treatment can significantly improve symptoms and risk of suicide.[xvii]
Lithium is the most common treatment to control the mood swings of bipolar disorder. Other medications used to control mood swings and mania are anticonvulsants, carbamazepine (Tegretol) and valproate (Depakote). Most people who have bipolar disorder take medications for agitation, anxiety, depression, or insomnia in addition to lithium and/or an anticonvulsant.[xviii]
Antidepressant medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Anti anxiety drugs, sedatives, or stimulants, such as amphetamines are sometimes prescribed along with antidepressants. SSRI manufacturers admit they do not know how the drugs work, but claim that the drugs may help to correct a ‘chemical imbalance’ of the brain. The treatment is based on an assumption thatall depressed patients have a low level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in their brains. But it is likely that instead of correcting, SSRIs create severe imbalances in the brain. The idea that human psychological suffering is a biochemical imbalance has been revealed as a promotional campaign created by the drug companies.[xix]
The FDA has permitted false and unscientific information to be disseminated about the action of antidepressants when there is no scientific evidence of the existence of a ‘chemical imbalance’ or that the drugs ‘balance’ or normalize this fictional ‘chemical imbalance’ [xx]
Dr Allen Roses, worldwide vice-president of genetics at GlaxoSmithKline, has admitted that most prescription drugs do not work at all on most people who take them. He revealed that the vast majority of drugs – more than 90 per cent – only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people. For example SSRIs have an efficacy rate of 62% in treating depression.[xxi]All the evidence indicates that that antidepressant medication does not cure depression – it only controls certain symptoms.[xxii]
Side effects of antidepressant drugs
Not only is the efficacy of antidepressants questionable, but so is their safety. The following is quoted from the Alliance for Human Research Protection:
“Patients’ lives—including developing babies in the womb—have been put at increased risk of health hazards and death because FDA dragged its feet for years as drug manufacturers falsely advertised these drugs as ‘wonder drugs’ inventing an imaginary ‘chemical imbalance’ in the brain of depressed patients…
“Unscrupulous psychiatrists at premier academic institutions have embarked on a disinformation campaign urging pregnant women to continue using antidepressants despite knowledge about the multiple risks of harm that these drugs pose. If these “experts” did not know about the drugs’ lethal risks, what then, is the basis for their expertise and ‘authority?’
“Last week, following an investigative report by David Armstrong, in The Wall Street Journal, which revealed that psychiatrists from Harvard, UCLA and Emory, whose report published in the American Medical Association (JAMA) urged pregnant women to continue taking antidepressants, had financial interests in making those recommendations.” [xxiii][xxiv]
According to Dr Jay Cohen, author of “Over Dose: The Case Against The Drug Companies,” the pharmaceuticals have continued to market SSRI antidepressants aggressively to psychiatrists, family practitioners, pediatricians, gynecologists, despite FDA warnings that SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Sarafem, taken during pregnancy are associated with serious birth defects. [xxv]
Studies have shown that infants who are exposed to SSRIs after the 20th week of gestation are more likely to develop defects such as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) than infants who were not exposed to an SSRI. A study found that babies exposed to Prozac, during the third trimester of pregnancy, had significantly higher rates of premature delivery, respiratory difficulties, admissions to special care nurseries, jitteriness, and poor neonatal adaptation including cyanosis on feeding.[xxvi][xxvii][xxviii][xxix][xxx]
Patients who take a combination of SSRIs, or the newer SNRIs such as Effexor and Cymbalta, and drugs for migraine headache are at a high risk of drug poisoning (serotonin syndrome). Symptoms include hallucinations, loss of coordination, rapid heart beat, unstable blood pressure, increased body temperature, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.[xxxi]
Other common side effects of SSRI antidepressants include: headache, nervousness, insomnia, agitation, sexual dysfunction and suicide attempts. Other serious adverse effects associated with SSRIs include: bradycardia, bleeding, liver failure, convulsions, anxiety, psychosis, cardiac birth defects, granulocytopenia, seizures, hyponatremia, hepatotoxicity, extrapyramidal effects and mania in unipolar depression.[xxxii][xxxiii]
SSRIs sold in the US include Paxil by Glaxo, Prozac by Eli Lilly; Zoloft, from Pfizer; Celexa and Lexapro, from Forest Laboratories; and Luvox, from Solvay. Wyeth markets Effexor, a serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitor. GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of the antidepressant Paxil, has amended its labeling for Paxil to include a warning that children, adolescents and adults are at a higher risk of suicide when taking Paxil.[xxxiv]
The drug Lamictal (lamotrigine), recommended by APA and GlaxoSmithKline, for bipolar depression commonly causes potentially fatal itchy rash and fever,[xxxv][xxxvi] and other side effects such as blurred vision, clumsiness and unsteadiness.[xxxvii]
Lithium, commonly prescribed to control the mood swings of bipolar disorder, is highly toxic, particularly for patients with thyroid, kidney, heart disorders or epilepsy.[xxxviii]
Common side effects of tricyclic antidepressants are: dry mouth, constipation, bladder problems, blurred vision, tremors, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness and dizziness. Other serious adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants are orthostatic hypotension, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, decreased seizure threshold, suicide attempts and cardiac arrhythmias.
The interaction of MAO inhibitors, when combined with foods that contain high levels of tyramine, such as cheese, wine, and pickle, and medications such as decongestants, can cause a hypertensive crisis, a sharp increase in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke.[xxxix][xl]
The case in favour of alternative treatments for depression
In order to create more customers for the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry, the U.S. government is launching a campaign to increase the acceptance of among psychiatrists of chemical imbalance theories, and plans to introduce a national psychiatric screening program that will push more Americans into taking psychiatric drugs. The campaign is backed by drug company funding and aims to make the newest and most expensive drugs the only treatment for mental illness.[xli]
It is well established that: depression is not a chemical imbalance that can be balanced by chemical drugs; that current drug treatments do not work; and that drug treatments cause poisoning, death, multiple illness and deformities in newborns – these facts constitute a strong case for alternative treatments for depression.
Are there any effective complementary or alternative remedies for depression?
The thought patterns associated with depression could become habitual, so a cure for depression might involve bringing about a change in these patterns. Taking drugs does not do this.[xlii] Studies of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy designed to train patients with major depression to change their thought patterns, have shown that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) reduces rates of relapse.[xliii] NIMH refers to studies that show that brief psychotherapy is effective in reducing symptoms in short-term depression in older people. Psychotherapy is also considered useful in older patients who cannot or will not take medication. [xliv]
However, talking therapies might not work for everyone. Current research indicates that the source of anxiety or depression may be unrecognised trauma in a person’s life that results in fragments of thought or sensations, rather than cognitions. For this reason, traditional psychotherapy approaches based on memory and cognitive reasoning may be ineffective in healing depression as a symptom of trauma.[xlv] Furthermore, used on its own, counseling or psychotherapy may continue indefinitely with little improvement, unless they are used as part of a treatment plan.[xlvi]
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) claims that St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), has been used for centuries for treating depression and there is evidence that it is effective in treating mild to moderate depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. NICAM warns that St. John’s wort can produce side effects that include: dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and fatigue.[xlvii][xlviii] But this is most likely due to the use of concentrated or contaminated extracts rather than genuine herbal tinctures.[xlix]
In 2000 the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory stating that, “St. John’s wort appears to affect an important metabolic pathway that is used by many drugs prescribed to treat conditions such as AIDS, heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and rejection of transplants.” It claims that use of St. John’s wort limits these drugs’ effectiveness.[l][li] It is interesting that the FDA should be so ready to warn against an herb and tardy in taking action to protect the public against the dangers of antidepressants.
Recent case reportssuggest that combining St. John’s wort with SSRIs can induce a mild serotonin syndrome (drug poisoning).[lii][liii] Surely, what causes drug poisoning is drugs, not herbs. Paul Chodoff suspects that the uncertainty about St. John’s wort as a treatmentfor depression is due to significant design flaws in the studies.[liv] Treating and testing herbs as if they were drugs in this way is aimed at paving the way for new legislation will mean that pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical industries will be in control of the training and certification of herbalists.[lv]
Other herbs used as an alternative to antidepressants include: ginkgo biloba, valerian root, passion flower, evening primrose, blue-green algae, grape seed extract,[lvi] green tea,[lvii] and Kava Kava.[lviii] Kava Kava was banned by the British government, due to reports that some patients suffered liver failure and required transplants. According to NIMH, these cases involved self-prescribed concentrated extracts rather than the safe traditional use of Kava Kava.[lix] Certainly there is much evidence that herbal extracts are unsafe and do not work in the same way as natural herbs and tinctures.[lx][lxi]
Other possible alternative cures for depression
Other alternative treatments commonly used for depression include: homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, hypnosis, vitamin supplements, melayonin, massage, shiatsu, yoga, Reiki, relaxation techniques,[lxii] Yajna, [lxiii] traditional Chinese medicine, ayurveda, native American medicine, naturopathic medicine, chelation therapy, aromatherapy, Bach flower remedies, creative arts therapies, therapeutic touch, qi gong, meditation, prayer, spiritual healing, distant healing, biofeedback, osteopathy, cranial-sacral therapy, nutrition,[lxiv] marine phytoplankton,[lxv] outdoor activities,[lxvi] the Buteyko breathing technique,[lxvii] homeopathic Lithium Orotate,[lxviii] and synthetic hormones and extracts such as S-adenosylmethionine,[lxix] and 5-HTP.[lxx][lxxi]
The application of alternative therapies in depression would seem to require a revision and a widening of the definition and diagnosis of depression. For example it is difficult to determine the efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) such as acupuncture in terms of the Western medical model. TCM is a holistic approach based on concepts such as qi (energy) and yin-yang balance, which are alien to Western medicine. The Western medical model tries to apply one diagnostic label and one standard treatment to a whole array of symptoms, which would seem to be inappropriate in most cases of depression. These differences make the measurement of outcomes of CAM difficult.[lxxii]
Nicolas van der Leek gives an alternative definition of depression and a clue to a cure: “Depression is the inability to function (or be aware of) the present moment. Depression arises by being constantly burdened by the burdens of the past, or the perceived pressures of the future. It’s in the reality of the Now (and also the only reality) that the key lies to salvation. It’s in the Now that we need to be in order to not be depressed. Now is all we have, and all we will ever have. But being in the Now also requires us to face those things we’ve being trying to escape from…”[lxxiii]
Case Studies: depression after trauma cured through Spiritual Healing
I would like to present a case study within a case study of the cure of post-trauma depression through spiritual healing.
Early in 2003 I was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo major surgery. I regularly attended a spiritual healing group that helped me to get through the trauma. Just as I thought I was recovering well, I was suddenly struck by a deep feeling of grief, out of nowhere.
I did not think at the time that I was depressed. I felt tired, emotionally exhausted, and isolated from the rest of the world. I had flashbacks, a sleep disorder, and troublesome dreams. I became withdrawn and unable to have meaningful conversation with others. Worst of all, I was filled with an intensely painful sense of grief that felt as if my heart had been torn to pieces. At first I reasoned that I would get over it in time. But after about eight weeks of agony and despair I decided to try and get some help.
My physician at that time was a homeopath and a wise medicine man. I pleaded with him to ease my suffering, saying: “Why can’t I feel normal, when will this pain go away!” He replied: “You are normal. This is a normal reaction to what you have been through. You are doing all the right things. Just carry on doing what you are doing. This is your medicine!”
I went away and meditated. I had a sense of something being unfinished, as if I was in the middle of something. I came across the book: ‘In the House of the Moon’ by Jason Elias and Katherine Ketcham, in a second hand bookstore. Chapter one begins with the moving case history of a 24 year-old man who became severely depressed after having a leg amputated from the hip, due to bone cancer.
The young man’s physician was a wise woman healer who used the healing power of metaphor, imagery and soul-talk. In art therapy he represented the way he felt as a cracked and useless vase. But in time, through his brokenness he began to develop compassion for the suffering of others – he became other centred instead of self-centred. Others who were also wounded and needed his help helped his journey to wholeness. Now a brilliant light radiated through the crack – the light of compassion that restored his sense of wholeness once again.[lxxiv]
I knew then that I needed to return to the healing group. Within weeks I also encountered that brilliant light, and learned to become other centred. I also learned to live a lot more in the present instead of lamenting the losses of the past. Since then I have helped to run a healing group and found my cure for depression through helping other people in pain. The depression has not returned.
I will always be grateful that I was not labelled ‘disordered’ or offered antidepressants – such was my pain at the time I would have been tempted to take them. Then I would have missed the whole purpose of a life changing experience that has left me feeling more whole than I ever did before. Perhaps my pain would have been dampened, but smouldering, and erupting from time to time, as seems to be the experience of many who take medications to mask their symptoms.
Depression due to trauma can result from any trauma such as child abuse, bereavement, accidents, and domestic violence. It is possible that the same causes underlie other forms of depression. In my experience healing is about restoring wholeness to that which has been broken. Therefore it would seem that antidepressants could prevent the recovery of people who take them.
In conclusion, evidence shows that conventional treatments do not cure depression, and that antidepressants have many dangerous and fatal side effects. Medicalisation and biological concepts of depression do not provide a cure. The FDA and the pharmaceuticals have lied to the public about the existence of a ‘chemical imbalance of the brain’ that antidepressants are meant to ‘balance’, as part of an aggressive promotion campaign.
Counseling and psychotherapy can help depressed people, but it is limited by the medical model. Herbal treatments that have proved successful in the treatment of depression are banned or discredited by Western governments and drug companies on grounds of safety. The double standards shown by these agencies with respect to dangerous and fatal effects of prescribed drugs suggests that the efficacy of herbs threatens the multi-billion dollar consumer industry that cares about profits at the expense of the lives of the people they are meant to serve.
The efficacy of CAM therapies is difficult to demonstrate in terms of the Western medical model, which squeezes a spectrum of symptoms into a ‘syndrome’ or ‘disorder’ for the convenience of prescribing chemical medications. Therapies that are likely to be successful in curing depression are holistic therapies that address the whole person.
There is a case for changing the way we think about depression, as the Western medical model seems too limited to understand or cure it. Ancient forms of medicine saw life as a cycle – the Native Americans call it the sacred hoop; the Chinese call it tao. This is healing of the whole person that too few people receive.
More needs to be done to inform people and make available CAM therapies that can cure depression. If you are a CAM therapist with experience of curing any kind of depression and would like to be included in this research, please send in your case histories for publication in subsequent issues. We are particularly interested in patients who have been unsuccessfully treated by primary care but successfully by a CAM therapy. Please mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org