How to Get “Unstuck” from Depression


HOW MANY OF YOU are stuck?

Do you feel stuck in depression, sadness, or anxiety? Or are you just a little confused, overburdened, or unhappy?

Maybe you are one of the 25 percent of Americans who experience a major depression in their lifetime.  Or maybe you are taking one of the 189 million prescriptions written for depression, at a cost of $12 billion a year, and wondering if there is another way.

Perhaps, like most people who take antidepressants, you find that they don’t work, lose their effectiveness over time, or give you only slight relief from symptoms.  Or maybe you quit your antidepressant regimen after a few months, like 60 percent of people who take them do, because of side effects such as weight gain, loss of sex drive, or worse.

Are you looking for a way to reconnect to your life’s meaning and purpose and emerge from a life that feels half lived? Are you looking for a way to overcome the depression that’s been haunting you?

If you are, I guarantee you are not suffering from a Prozac deficiency. In fact, I want to challenge you to consider that depression, as we understand it, does not really exist.

If you are suffering from depression or just feel stuck, unhappy, or that you are not living a whole life, give yourself the gift…

“Depression is not a disease…” That is how the remarkable book, by James Gordon, MD, begins. It is called Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression.  James Gordon, MD, was given an award by the Bravewell Collaborative for being one of the most pioneering medical thinkers of our time.

Ideas that can change a culture come only a few times in a generation. Unstuck is such an idea. It provides an answer to the leading cause of disability — depression — that until now has had very poor solutions.

So why does Dr. Gordon say that depression is not a disease?

Because it is actually a sign of underlying imbalances that need to be addressed if we are to be “whole and happy.”

Dr. Gordon has been working in the field of mind-body medicine for nearly 40 years. I have come to know him well, after first meeting him when I testified before the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He was appointed the head of the commission. His vision for a new medicine is strong and clear.

He has treated patients, taught healthcare professionals about mind-body medicine and nutrition, and helped so many people “heal the wounds of war” and trauma by working in conflict-ridden places like Gaza, Bosnia, and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. His work, through his Center for Mind Body Medicine, has given him remarkable insight into the causes and nature of our suffering.

Unstuck is a guide for healing your body, mind, and soul. In this book, Dr. Gordon helps us understand why we may be out of balance and guides us to the origins of depression.  But he also helps us discover how trauma, chronic stress, lack of meaning, and the stories we tell ourselves about life can all make us depressed. And he helps us uncover the hormonal imbalances, food allergies, heavy metals, yeast infections, and nutritional deficiencies that can also lead to depression.

These problems are the real causes of depression. This is why Dr. Gordon says that depression is not a disease. Even though the symptoms of depression may be the same or similar in people diagnosed with the “disease”, the causes that lead each person to become depressed may be very different.

This concept is also the core principle of Functional Medicine and UltraWellness.

Dr. Gordon not only explains this concept, but provides practical tools to help us address each of these issues that effect the health of your body, mind and soul. He gives you:

      * Simple, effective meditations to enhance the biology of your brain and body, making it easier to deal with and transform the beliefs and fears that inhibit and overwhelm you.* Clinically tested practices that use words, images, drawing, movement, yoga, and dance to help you move through depression.* Detailed, practical plans for using food and supplements as well as the ancient and powerful methods of Chinese medicine to balance your physical and mental functioning.* Ways to make the world’s spiritual wisdom and spiritual practices an ongoing part of your healing journey.

* And, most importantly, ways to tailor each of these approaches to help restore balance to your unique, individual life.

Dr. Gordon has many stories in his book of the journey people take to get unstuck and become whole and happy again. They reminded me of a recent patient I had who had been given the diagnosis of “depression” — but the last thing he needed was antidepressants. In this particular case he didn’t have trauma or stress; it was his biology that made him depressed.

J.P. was an 18-year-old young man who showed up in my office with fatigue, depression, anxiety, 27 pounds of weight gain, and acne, which had worsened over the 4 years before he saw me.  He also couldn’t tolerate the cold and was tired in the morning. He had canker sores, cracking at the corners of his mouth, acne on his face, chest, back and shoulders, and seasonal allergies. He also had trouble falling asleep. His anxiety was increasing, and his depression got worse every winter.

He had been treated with an antidepressant called Paxil for 4 years. It made him crave sweets and starchy food and caused his weight gain. He had also been taking antibiotics every day for 2 years for his acne, which led to a low-grade yeast infection. Of course, he ate the typical junk and processed food teenage diet, topped off with lots of sodas.

When we examined what was really causing his depression, we found many nutritional deficiencies that have been proven to cause depression.  These included severe vitamin D deficiency. He also had severe omega-3 fat deficiencies, vitamin B6 deficiency (which is needed to make serotonin), and vitamin B12 deficiency.

He also had hormonal imbalances, with a low-level autoimmune thyroid problem as well as very high levels of insulin from all the sugar he consumed. Both of these have been linked to depression.

He also had many food allergies, including gluten and dairy. Again, these are linked to depression in many cases.  So I did what I always do, which is the basis of treatment of all “diseases” — take away the bad stuff and add the good stuff.

We got rid of gluten and dairy from his diet. We got him to stop taking the antibiotics that caused yeast overgrowth in his gut.  We got him off his junk food and sugar diet and encouraged him to eat whole foods.

I also helped balance his thyroid with a low dose of thyroid hormone, which helped his mood, fatigue, and cold intolerance. And I gave him nutritional supplements of vitamin D, B6, and B12, as well as a multivitamin and fish oil.

After two months, his energy, depression, and cold intolerance all got better. His acne, cankers sores, and cracks at the corner of his mouth went away. He lost 15 pounds and his carbohydrate cravings were gone.

So just as Dr. Gordon shows in his book Unstuck, this young man clearly didn’t have the disease “depression” but simply a number of imbalances that, once corrected, took care of all his physical and emotional symptoms.

If you are suffering from depression or just feel stuck, unhappy, or that you are not living a whole life, give yourself the gift of Dr. Gordon’s book, Unstuck.

And if you feel wonderful, which I hope you do, give it to someone you know who will thank you for this gift of life.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Do you suffer from “depression” or other emotional symptoms?

What steps have you taken to address this imbalance?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

P.S. For more information on this and other blogs, please go to

, , , , , , , , , , ,

98 Responses to How to Get “Unstuck” from Depression

  1. Earl Driskill September 2, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    Two years ago, in a church small group, I was introduced to your book, The Ultra Mind Solution. It looked very promising and hopeful to me since I do suffer from depression. I take several medications for this depression, but they only prevent me from sliding into a deeper depression. The problem I have is since I’m on disability, and have a difficult time working, with no savings makes it impossible to afford to make a trip to your clinic in Lenox, Ma, and aquire your services, as much as I would like to, to receive treatment for this chronic depression that I have. I very much believe that if I was able to afford your treatment protocol, I would get better to a point where I could start to live my life again, but as for now, the only hope I have, is in psychiatric medication. I was given the choice to take seroquel, by a psychiatrict nurse practioner to help me, as much as I don’t like the idea, but what choice do I have with my limited resources. Perhaps someday, God willing, I’ll be able to make a visit to your clinic in Ma.


    Earl Driskill

    • Lisa December 9, 2012 at 5:35 am #

      Hi everyone

      Depression is so debilitating. My husband is currently taking cymbalta and has now tried 3 times to wean off it. The side effects are horrendous and soul destroying. The cause for his depression is now gone and he really wants to move on with his life. I would love anyones suggestions that might help him get though the withdrawal he is barely able to stand for dizziness and sensations in his head.

      • HymanStaff January 24, 2013 at 12:40 am #

        Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

        If you would like information on becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, please see “How to Become a Patient” at This site is designed to give prospective patients a comprehensive source of information about The UltraWellness Center. You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637-9991.

        Regardless of becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, it sounds like you need to consult with a doctor. Please seek medical attention for the issues that you outlined in your message.

        Wishing You the Best of Health!

  2. Dee September 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    I sleep alot to stop the depression. that doesn’t work either but I don’t eat as much this way. I also have sleep apnea and low level oxygen which I have machines to assist with at night. if this is living, I want out.

  3. Candice September 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    I’ve been on antidepressants off and on for 25 years. I take Paxil and Welbutrin. I can stop the Welbutrin, but I cannot get off Paxil without going through the worst withdrawals. Anyone have any ideas. Even small, incremental tapering of the Paxil has resulted in my crashing like a heroin addict. It really is hell to withdraw.

    • Jennifer March 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      You really have to build up your nutritional stuff before you take away the drugs, and then do it EVER SO SLOWLY…. like a few mg at at time………your regular doctor won’t tell you this, but that’s how i did it and it worked. But FIRST, start an incredibly healthy diet and lifestlye. I used liquid herbs which were chock full of nutrition, then I started green smoothies, and changing my diet.
      I’ve been off for 5 years now, and doing well, though always working on feeling better… its a process.

  4. ray marberry October 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    I have been on some type of medicine since i was 14 yrs. old. I am now 74 and i still am fighting the baltle. I currently take cymbalta,wellbutrin,mirtizipine,klonipin and ritalin. It helps the deep depression that helps me function but it does not cure me.

  5. MARIA ALEJANDRA SANDOVAL November 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm #


  6. john polifronio December 3, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    The depression I experience seems to be a more or less precise reflection of my “physical” state. I’m 73 yrs old, and have more than my share of physical maladies: CVD, GERD, Hemorrhoids, a bad knee, bad vision, etc. Occassionally, these various problems are quieted down, and don’t torment me. When I’m not bothered by these physical difficulties, I find myself to be a naturally happy person, finding joy and satisfaction in many of life’s pleasures and better moments. I’m as depressed, as I’m able to “feel” my body’s ailments. I’m never happier than when those ailments are not bothering me.

  7. Jewels December 3, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    I have been in and out of depression since the death of my brother 17 yrs ago. I first started getting allergy problems and my internist gave me antibiotics every three months for 5 yrs which led to yeast imbalance. I got laid off and my cat died on the same day in april which led me to eat the wrong foods again and stress. They want to put me on meds but I have been resisting except for occasional ativan for really tough days. I have been changing my diet, exercising as much as possible and trying to keep moving even if I really just want to sleep or sit and do nothing. I take diflucan and probotics for the yeast problem but have not given up cheese so that is probably part of the reason I am still struggling. I know I have low grade thyroid problems but they don’t show up on tests so doctor doesn’t acknowledge it but I don’t want to have to take a pill for the rest of my life everyday and from what I understand if you start taking thyroid pills you must continue for the rest of your life. I will have to check out this book to see if there is anything else I am missing. Thank you for providing this information. The doctor that gave me all the antibiotics said she “didn’t believe in yeast imbalance and that it was all in my head”. Luckily I didn’t believe her and I found a alternative doctor but I can’t afford $300. cost of visit.

  8. Ellen December 3, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    To anyone reading this and is suffering, try 5-htp, it has made a world of difference for me.

  9. Lindsay December 3, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    It’s hard to know where to begin. I believe my sadness started when my daughter was born and given up for adoption. Moving on was important to me and I have done a pretty good job in the past 10 years of getting on with my life. We have since met but she does not bother to keep in touch. I have made numerous effects to no avail. It does hurt but I try to put it in the back of my mind and carry on. Certain things occurring in my life bring about a rush of depression that lasts for days and suicidal thoughts occur. I somehow manage to get “unstuck” on my own but end up being sad and depressed but functional. The latest round is dealing with my elderly mother who at times refuses to let me live my life or have any privacy. I now have feelings of anger and depression and find myself not knowing how to deal with it all. I have a sibling who completely understands what I going through with my mother and attempts to talk to her but it falls on deaf ears. I refuse to take medication because I seriously don’t believe I need it. I just need to talk to someone who might have some insight as to finding a solution to dealing with this situation and responding to other things happening in my life. I am a very private person and will not go to counseling. I just don’t know what to do to continue any relationship with my mother. It’s sad!!!

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      Hello Lindsay, thank you for your comment. By writing this blog you have reached out to thousands! That is a great first step. While we cannot diagnose your condition over the internet we can offer you the continued support through this website by writing articles that might help you, you can join the Facebook community to meet others who may have similar situations and stay in touch with your community. Community is very healing and we wish you all the best!

      To your good health!

  10. Lena Zullo December 3, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    I have been suffering depression since I was 14 yrs. old, right after I started menstruating. As a teenager I suffered and went through life dealing with it with no medicine, it disabled me from school, work and many other activities. I always felt there was not a reason for me to live under those circumstances, but I guess the strong love of my family kept me going. As I got married, during my both pragnancies I felt the best ever. After each of my deliveries, I started feeling the battle coming on again. I have struggled through my whole life trying to find a doctor to help me, but the only solution was antidepressant, valium etc… I have a library of books on self help and overcome/deal with depression. Until the year 2000 I was sent to one of the chief of psychiatric dept. of a local hospital, and he finally told me that the antidepressants were giving me an adverse reaction and I should try to take a mood stabilizer Depakote and maybe wellbutrin. These have been my life savings ever since, to help or disguise this terrible disease.

    But, after 10 yrs I wanted to try something the Natural way and I went to see Dr. Belanger (locally well known). Today still I am under his care and taking supplements and have changed my eating habits. I am insulin resistant, have high cholesterol, and Hypothyroid. I find him very helpful, but I am still having issues in finding a happy medium or balance, because I still have some ups and some downs…but nothing as in the past. So, Frustration continues…………..!!!!!!!

    I woul love for you to give me ANY suggestions for the above situation I am in and what you could do more for me to help with this aweful and disabling desease.


    Lena Zullo

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

      Hello Lena, thank you for your comments. We cannot advice you on the internet, you might benefit from seeing a functional practitioner to check for things that may have been overlooked in previous blood panels. Please see “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine’s website to find someone in your area. Best of luck!

      Wishing you good health!

    • Jennifer March 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      Hi Lena,
      Interesting, I’ve never met another woman who felt that way during pregnancy. I also felt the best I ever felt in my life when pregnant with my first daughter, and also my other pregnancies, though my son was a bit different. then after the births, right back into the depression.
      Turned out after my 3rd child Wellbutrin caused anxiety, so at that point I got off of medications with the help of herbs, greens , etc..still on the journey!

    • shelby September 4, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      I am 69 years old and have had terrible bouts of depression throughout my life. I believe it started around 9 or 10

      years old. There weren’t any psych medicines available except valium.

      I know at the age of 11 I would panic if I had to be alone in my house. My parents actually hired a sitter to stay with me
      which was interesting because I was also starting to babysit.

      I have a brother who is 3 1/2 years older than I am who was supposed to be my sitter if my parents would not be home for the evening. so many many many times he would go to the park (about a block away. He always promised to be back in 10 minutes. Never happened……..he would return at least an hour later than he promised. I would sit at the window and keep crying out his name. Very panicked I know that is when it started.

      My parents had me talk with a social worker a couple of times, but that did nothing. I llived on the “edge” of depression for a very long time. People just did not talk about psychological problems because it would make that person they were talking about labled as “crazy.” Depression was something that the person brought on themselves and should be able to be “self cured.”

      So, now you have my background. I was married at 19 and divorced by the time I was 21, I looked at myself as being pretty worthless. Even though I wanted the divorce. In the mid sixties lifestyles were very different than now. I was considered “easy” because after all I had been married and divorced.

      I hadl bouts of severe depression over the years. Got married again nine years later and five years after that I had a baby. I had never heard of post natal depression, but it was terrible for several months. About two years later my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yes, I felt depressed, but there was too much for me to do. My parents and my grandmother moved in with us.My liitle guy all of a sudden he would scream for a glass of water. Really unexpected since he had been getting his own water for about six months. Total chaos and of course depression.

      My mother passed away the folllowing year.(I(never really reacted to my mother’s death.) There was too much going on. My grandmother and my father stayed. Eventually my grandmother moved to California because her son lived there. My dad is still with us for several years (he was a very angry gentle gentle man.) He had a stroke about five years ago and was a former accountant he was unable to use his right arm…….it would just hang. My dad died about two years later.

      The end of this story is near when I was 56 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Decided to have a bi-lateral mastectomy. Had some problems with healing and being prepared for plastic surgery. Depression is starting and it is bad.

      NOW< after all these years I completely fall apart. The depression was so intense that I did not want to be left alone, didn't want to answer the phone and definitely had no interest in food. My weight was the lowest it had ever been as an adult I just wanted to stay in bed because I felt safe there. Someone actually said to me….why don't you just put it aside and pretend it's not there….my response was that if I was able to do that, don't you think that I would have done that already? I was finally in mourning for my mother…I felt so guilty…I felt that I wasn't attentive enough to either of my parents.

      Finally started on anti-depressants and they helped. However I was anxious to get off of them because they made me feel emotionally weak. Once I started to feel better I insisted to the doctor that I was feeling better, not because of the meds. I just knew I was getting stronger. I refused to take any more..

      About five years later the depression is back. I can't figure out why, but this time my doctor sent me to a specialist. It took a few weeks, but finally the proper combination was created. Now, at about six years later, I am still feeling great. The depression has been gone for six years or so. I have been on these meds every day for the last six years. The depression has put it's ugly face away. This time I am listening to my doctor.

      The whole point of this story is thhat if you are feeling emotionally rotten,don't ignore it or try to pretend that you don't need help. I am only hoping that eating this special way will rid the depression permanently. No plans to eliminate the meds now, will play it day to day and follow the advice of my wonderful doctor.

  11. Peta December 3, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I take Coenzyme Q10 amongst other supplements, plus take celepram , and am generally happier than most around me. For me the celepram has no side effects that I know of (except maybe that I’m a bit too laid back at times) and is for depression and anxiety – but also helps with my nerve pain. I’ve found that since I started taking the Co-Q10 my mood has improved immensely, and I had a friend report the same thing to me after he started taking it even though I hadn’t realised myself at the time that my improvement was directly timed with that.

    Vitiman C (1000-2000mg a day), vitamin B complex and zinc are also large factors in helping depression, as is exercise. A deficiency in these vitimans and mineral can wreak havoc with your system and cause all sorts of issues – including depression. Don’t forget to add the zinc to the mix – very important! Worth a try to see if it makes a difference for you – and even if you find it doesn’t sort the depression, your body will thank you for it anyway, and Co-Q10 is something that provides 95% of energy to your heart, major organs, BRAIN, and the rest of your body. Your body slows down on producing it at about age 25-30, so to keep your body happy, young and healthy, consider taking a supplement. :)

    Also remember that negative places, thoughts and people will wipe out your energy and leave you exhausted and angry or feeling empty even without doing anything. Work at letting go of your issues and grudges (talking it out with a neutral someone can really help!) and try to get yourself around happy people and start smiling with them. Just making yourself smile sometimes can invite a friendly word, or even just a friendly smile back. Don’t be afraid to REALLY hug your partner, mates or kids. Healthy/honest human touch is essential for a healthy mind, and a hug can release endorphins into your system, and release a huge amount of bottled emotions meaning you no longer have to carry that part of the burden around with you.

    Be nice to yourself, and STOP putting yourself down!.. List your abilities and skills, and focus on those to remind yourself you are valuable to society/your partner/kids/job/parents/neighbours/friends, etc.. If you want, it actually helps to list what you would like to improve on, and set yourself a goal to work on one or two things at a time – breaking it into smaller chunks makes it much more achievable that tackling the whole lot at once. Don’t forget to reward yourself in some way for each chunk you succeed at tackling – even if all you afford is to pat yourself on the back and spend the day feeling chuffed with yourself for your success! 😀
    Good luck.

  12. Wes December 3, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    I picked up “Unstuck” on your initial recommendation of few years ago. I was skeptical of some of the approaches at first as they were “out of my comfort zone.”
    Depression has a tendency to force just about everything out of your comfort zone.

    The premise of the book was spot on for me in that I realized I was “Stuck.” One by one I began applying the principles and exercises and with each success have tried more. Not one for being a fan of “therapists”, Dr. Gordon’s approach seems to me to be much more of a fellow human being truly having found some answers and being genuinely interested in helping people struggling with depression.

    I have not acted on a book or website recommendation made by Dr. Hyman that I have ever regretted. In fact, “Ultra-Metabolism”, “The Maker’s Diet”, “Unstuck”, and “Meditation for Beginner’s” have all played a big role in the positive changes i have made over the past few years.

  13. Linda December 3, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Depression is not a disease only if you are the one not suffering from it. Take cymbalta and it barely hold me off from further sinking.

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi Linda, thank you for your comment. There are some cases of depression that can be dealt with on one’s own and when these measures do no work then a medical professional should be utilized.

      Wishing you good health!

  14. Lisa December 3, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Dr Hyman,
    What if the depression isn’t based in imbalances but rather from a horrific childhood of neglect, abuse, childhood sexual abuse causing PTSD and DID?
    Do his theories help with those problems?
    Many people I have found on the Internet say to just change your thinking, when the memories come. That sounds a lot like, “put it behind you and don’t deal with it.”. Is this any different?

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      Hi Lisa, everyone has their own reasons for how they feel and these require individualized attention. When you understand what the root cause is that is what you address. If one needs to attend therapy to work through problems, that is their best solution. Childhood abuse is a serious matter that requires medical intervention to heal from.

      Wishing you good health!

  15. Belle December 3, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Today it seems like doctors call everything a disease so they can prescribe “a pill for every ill.” We like that because it is so much easier than making the difficult lifestyle changes that are necessary for good health, especially when it comes to food choices. Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”

  16. Wanda Bedinghaus, MD December 3, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Dr. Hyman is one of the most compassionate and knowledgable physicians I have ever come across in my own journey to understand the basic causes of all human suffering. In my homeopathy practice, I use homeopathic medicines to help people recover from any disturbance in the vital energy. Now we are adding a more functional medicine approach to really get at the root causes. It is through my reading Dr. Hyman’s books that I have been inspired to keep growing in understanding of our amazing body and its inherent capacity to heal itself.
    If you are depressed, keep searching for the doctors and health practitioners that can guide you in finding and correcting these causes. Never despair, there is always an answer.

  17. Lauren December 3, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    My husband suffered for years with major depression, and even though antidepressants helped, he disliked the side effects. One day he attended a lecture on how effective acupuncture can be in treating depression. He tried it and has not been on antidepressants now for years. If he has trouble sleeping or starts experiencing other warning signs, he goes in for an acupuncture tune-up. In addition, he takes certain Chinese herbs and some of the nutritional supplements Dr. Hyman discusses. I would also encourage people to check out neurofeedback for the remarkable help it can offer.

    Thank you Dr. Hyman for all your wonderful work!

  18. Connie December 3, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Dr Hyman, please start letting people know about balancing your PH Level to be Alkaline. I have taken antibiotics for over 40 yrs for acne and am now suffering through many conditions as I detox and start to heal – one of which is the yeast infestation. Yeast and cancer, to name a few, cannot survive in an alkaline body. We must start eating 75% vegetables/fruits, 25% proteins/carbs per meal with plenty of greens such as barley and alfalfa to alkalize. Once our body is alkaline, our body can heal itself! And once the body starts to heal, we can start to work on the mind by changing our thoughts and feeling with the many programs out there such as EFT, BEST, Emotion/Body Code, Healing Codes, etc. – all without the killer chemicals and drugs!

  19. Lolita, FNP December 3, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    You don’t have to go to Massachusetts to see Dr Hyman. Don’t let distance or limited funds keep you stuck. Get his book from the library and follow the diet. Gettig rid of gluten and dairy will help as well as sugar. Adding B complex wi doseth 100mg and high fish oil. Avoid alcohol and maintain regular bowel movements.
    You can also search for an integrative or functional medicine practitioner online as a google search or at

  20. Beth December 3, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    After reading one of your books I eliminated gluten from my diet, added a few supplements, and was able to resolve a depression problem that had been dogging me for years.

    Now, four years later, symptoms are returning. I have tightened up in areas where I have become lax (attending to eating at regular mealtimes, going to bed early, moderating stress levels, keeping up with supplements, especially Vitamin D, and being sure all trace gluten is eliminated from my diet), but I still have problems with forgetfulness, foggy thinking, low energy, and lack of enthusiasm for life, and libido issues that even the gluten elimination never seemed to address.

    Along with this, I have never been able to supplement with any B vitamins. Even the smallest amount of B contained in a multi-vitamin hops me up like caffeine all day, and at night I cannot sleep. The same thing happens with more than extremely small amounts of Progesterone, which I take for peri-menopausal symptoms and the libido issues (doesn’t help with this last thing).

    I have always had loud borborygmi, but never considered it a digestive disorder. Recently a practitioner suggested I might have a candida overgrowth that is creating nutrient absorption problems, and thereby causing the sensitivity to the B vitamins and Progesterone. I have never seen you address issues of sensitivity to supplements, and would be interested to hear your thoughts. (or of anyone here). Thanks.

  21. Claudia Licht December 3, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    I am 56 and battled with depression from the time I was a teenager and am happy to say that I am finally medication free! It has been a long road, but the steps and information in Dr. Hyman’s book “Ultra Mind” is how I have been transformed. Working with a Naturopatic Doctor we fixed my digestion, healed my adrenals and addressed my thyroid issues. Using food sensitivity testing we identified what was causing the inflammation in my body. I now eat organically, low on the food chain, whole foods and I feel better than I have in 20 years. I am happy to have been able to prove the medical community wrong when they said I would need to be on medication the rest of my life. NOT!

    • Gracie June 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

      Claudia, Sounds like we have been thru similar things in life. I have also struggled with depression since my teens and am now 60. I have tried various antidepressants over the years with little success and many with serious side effects. I don’t seem to metabolize them like most. I always felt there were some imbalances–hormonal, nutritional, endocrine, etc that were contributing to this, and could read all the books on self help and get counseling, but none could correct this chemical/hormonal etc. imbalance. I did find out several years ago that I have gluten, dairy, soy and egg allergies or sensitivities, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis among other things. Taking armour thyroid and avoiding allergens does help some, at least with inflammation, but I still struggle with the depression and cognitive/foggy thinking issues regularly. A couple of practitioners believe I have Lyme disease and that this is responsible for many of my symptoms, along with it’s coinfections. I have tested positive on a number of the bands on the Western Blot, and have tested positive for many viruses as well—pos antibodies to Herpes 1,2 and 6, cytomegalovirus, and EBV etc. So these could well be contributing factors. I’m still trying to figure out the best , and affordable treatment approach to all this, as it is a very difficult disease to treat, along with the coinfections, if indeed I do have it. That and heavy metal toxicity and candida (something I’ve also had for some time)should be something, I think all should consider, if they have made dietary changes, eliminating allergens, toxins as much as possible, addressed the yeast/candida and are still struggling. Glad to hear , Claudia you are doing well and off meds. I would love to share more and hear more from you about your journey. Recently, in desperation, at the endocrinologist’s urging, yet against my general principles, I agreed to try Zoloft again, to see if I get any relief. So far after 2 wks, although working up slowly to full dose, not noticing any improvement—in fact just maybe makes me not care more about things, when that is already one of my depression symptoms–general apathy, no joy, no motivation or interest.

  22. Judith December 3, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    I am taking myself all my meds right now because I was basically being drugged into a zombie. I can already feel my head getting clearer. I wish I could afford to go to MA to visit Dr Hyman in person too but like Earl, I can’t afford it. However, I refuse to be a victim.

    Earl I urge you to find somwhere in your community, the public library, the internet, or even do without something for a couple weeks to afford to watch Forks over Knives. You don’t have to be a victim to big Pharma.

    There are simple things you can do right where you are. Begin small pledge to eat one more serving of fruits and veggies each day a week and then add more and more. Read America’s Cheapest Family which can also be had from your public Library. Find ways to trim your budget and yes it can be done on anyone’s budget and make it a priority for your income to be used for healthy foods. Get rid of processed food and animal protein. Before you know it you will feel better and might have the money to get to see Dr Hyman. I wager though once you get to that point you will see that you have found ways to do it by yourself.

    I refuse to play the victim to our current way of treating disease. I am going to rise above. I hope you too Earl will take that challenge with me. Eat one apple today and walk around your block or to the end of your driveway if that is all you can manage. Another good documentary is Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Most of the documentaries can be easily accessed free if you search hard enough. Who is with me. Shout. I WILL NOT BE A Victim any more.

    And yes I know this is hard. I have difficulty getting myself up in the morning and two hours later I am ready to sleep again. I am overweight and just tired. But I am also tired of being tired and sick. So I will push through. One day at a time one apple, orange, brussel sprout, etc at a time. I will stock up on $1 bags of frozen veggies instead of getting an item off the $1 menu at fast food. I will walk around my block one lap at a time until I can walk a 5K and I did this fall. Now I have to get back to my goal of walking a marathon by Next Dec. One bite/One step at a time I WILL overcome.

  23. Karen December 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    This was a really timely post for me. I’ve suffered with depression since I was 12 years old when I started puberty. With the hormonal shift, something just changed for me neurologically. Unfortunately, I began having an eating disorder as a result of my depression and have struggled with that for the past 30+ years. Prozac helped me get out of my depression but it did not address my anxiety and the side effects are very dibilitating. I’ve also found that it does loose its efficacy after awhile for me.
    I have studied alternative medicine and nutrition for the past 10 years and am convinced that my depression is related to my gut dysbiosis and nutritional deficiencies related to that. However, I have not been able to overcome it naturally as of yet. I recently suffered another horrible bought with depression and it was absolutely awful. I was unable to work, be a mother, and wife and function so I’ve had to resort to medication (as much as I hate to do that) in order to get back on my feet again. The medication has helped me overcome this dip but I am desperately trying to find a natural approach that will help me so that I can get off medication. I’m very excited to read Dr. Gordon’s book since it seems to address many of the issues I’m struggling with.
    I’d like to ask Dr. Hyman (and this may be covered in the book) about the genetic predispositon for depression/anxiety? Since my grandfather, my mother, my brother, many of my cousins and their offspring as well as my 9-year old daughter all have and do suffer from depression/anxiety, I’ve always believed that I’m just predisposed to this condition. But perhaps these nutritional deficiencies and other issues are passed down genetically as well? I’d love to hear your take on that.

    Thanks again for this post. I really felt like it was written for me. I look forward to investigating this further and reading Dr. Gordon’s book.

    Karen :)

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

      Hi Karen, thank you for your post and kind words. We do not have data on whether or not there is a genetic component that we can share at this time, but keep working on your own individual symptoms and perhaps you can be the person in your family that breaks the pattern. Knowledge is power, keep reading our blogs and everything you can to help yourself feel the best you can.

      Wishing you good health!

  24. Elle Haight December 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    I am in menopause and have had trouble sleeping so I started taking Melatonin 3 mg. every night. I believe the melatonin has caused me to have depression. Is this a possible side effect? In additin to being groggy in the mornings.
    Thank you..

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      Hi Elle,
      Yes you are not wrong. In some cases research has shown that melatonin might increase depression unless it is seasonal depression. For now hold off on it. You can try valerian root to help you sleep instead. Of course, check with your healthcare provider before stoping or starting any new regimen!

      In good health,

  25. Toni Forsyth December 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    For people who are seeking a Functional Medicine practitioner, go to and search for a FM provider in your area…keep in mind, there are a lot of Chiropractors who are FM providers and many times not as expensive.

  26. Gigi December 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    There are 2 other avenues being overlooked in this article and its neurotransmitter imbalances and heavy metal burden. While fixing your health up it would be wiser to actually fix the brain imbalances thru neurotransmitter testing by saliva testing and replacement with supplements and herbs like those formulations found at It is a great site to find a dr that does this. My friends, myself and my husband were able to rebalance our brain chemistry slowly over time and get off psyche meds completely. Also the saliva takes into acct cortisol levels which show if you have adrenal fatigue, that too can be corrected and causes mood swings. Also heavy metal testing is great too, I had severe anxiety for yrs and did a Detoxamin chelation metal cleanse this summer and hair levels are now normal with no toxic levels of metals and my anxiety is reduced by 80%. Copper was the big issue for me and lead which both make people anxious and depressed. Perhaps some more articles on this practice would be helpful to your readers.

  27. Marilyn December 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    I have corrected my hormones, cleaned up my diet, have added all suggested supplements, exercise but still face crippling depression from traumatic brain injury and you have not include that possibility. Millions of people suffer as I do from head tram

  28. Gracie Best December 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    For a lifetime, I’ve practiced alternative medicine/nutrition healing. For every ailment, there is a wholesome and natural fix. That’s how the Earth was created – to offer sustenance and health. Research, reading, perseverance, dedication and the willingness to seek daily a better life will absolutely give you answers – sometimes very quickly. A good contributing website is: where you will find people from around the world sharing experiences and easy, inexpensive, WORKABLE cures for all manner of discomforts.

  29. Madeleine Kitaj, MD December 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,
    I went to your workshop at Kripalu and it has helped me to have a much better understanding of why patients in my headache and pain practice in NY and CT report that the neurology medications I prescribe are only temporarily helpful. Often patients do well on medicines for some months, and then the medicines become almost useless for many patients. I have started many patients on gluten, dairy, and sugar-free diets, and I’m anazed at how many patients report long-lasting improvement. Thank you so much for your excellent workshop and the information from this email newsletter.
    Madeleine Kitaj, MD

  30. Linda West December 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    As I have read the responses here my heart goes out to all who are suffering. Most here are on medications. or have taken medications, and still suffering.
    I can tell you from experience that Dr Hyman’s plan of nutrition and supplements will work. If you don’t have the resources to purchase all the supplements at once, at least follow the nutrition guidelines and don’t wait until you can afford more. Changing your diet, as Dr Hyman suggests, will make a really big difference in your health. I don’t consider it a ‘diet’ but a life-style change that will do more for any individual than any medication can. It just works, try it and see.
    It may be difficult at first to adapt to eating new things and giving up traditional foods. I had to change my way of thinking about food. Now I think of food as though it is medication. If I eat these things I will be healthy. If I want the foods I used to crave, I will be sick. I have reversed my diabetes II and high blood pressure. I know it will work!
    Oh, and one other thing. If you can’t afford to travel to Dr. Hyman’s clinic, find a practitioner of functional medicine in your area. You can find one by searching the internet. I found one through a link here on Dr Hyman’s website.
    Good luck to all of you.

  31. Sue December 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    I have anxiety and some depression. I am trying to take a natural approach to treating things. When I am anxious, I try to be active, get some sun, and breathe through it. I cry when I need to (or yell) and try to find some time to laugh. I take many supplements as well as having regular chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture sessions. The acupuncture and my awesome acupuncturist have really helped me learn to deal with this–it has been the best thing yet. I am not comfortable with taking pharmaceuticals to mask an issue. I want to find the root of the problem and work toward correcting it..

  32. Toni M Dukeman December 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Hi Dr. Hyman,
    This article could not have come at a better time. I feel very “stuck”, depressed, sad, worn out, burned out, helpless, hopeless and just downright miserable. I don’t want to get up in the morning, I don’t want to do anything around the house, I don’t feel excited about things that interest me and I don’t know how to get out of this “hole” I’m in. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep well and there is no ladder for me to climb up and out of it. My animals (dog & 2 horses) are the only things that keep me going because they need me. Yes, I have friends – some worse off than me, some better off, but I can’t seem to shake this. Sometimes I think it’s hereditary (my older sister is depressed & my mother was very depressed), but there must be a way to “heal” myself. I am currently on Effexor XR but it’s more for a different reason – to help with “electric shocks” I get throughout my body. I don’t think it does anything for my depression. I live in West Chester, PA. Do you know of a doctor who practices functional medicine or holistic medicine in my area that you could recommend?
    I do want to take a look at Dr Gordon’s book “Unstuck” and see if there is anything in there that could be helpful. Thank you so much for this article. Happy Holidays!

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Hi Toni, thank you for your comments. It’s great that you have animals to care for and that you are seeking ways to help yourself. Please see “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine’s website for a functional practitioner in your area. If you want to come to MA you could contact Dr. Hyman at “How to Become a Patient” at You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637 9991. Happy Holidays to you as well!

      Wishing your the best of health!

  33. Rose December 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    I have gadolinium toxicity / poisoning from MRI dye 3-1/2 years ago. I had a severe allergic reaction following the MRI and was given benadryl with no followup. It took 3 years to correctly diagnose. I don’t have impaired kidney function, never did, and have no medical explanation as of yet why this toxic metal never left my body. Most MD’s are not even educated about this. (which is why I am posting this). I am currently undergoing heavy metal chelation therapy with EDTA in an IV. The lab readings for the gadolinium are 400+ outside of the allowable reference range. The heavy metal toxicity causes moderate to severe anxiety, depression and gave me a chronic condition of ITP or low platelets which I’ve never had before in my life. I am taking every nutrient known to man along with a healthy organic diet and I will beat this in hopes of avoiding NSF. Enduring this is worse than hell and there are no words suitable. They can put this dye in you in 5 minutes and take no responsibility for its adverse effects, or that it takes months / years to remove. I would NEVER consider taking an antidepressant. There is always a root cause. Be tenacious and find it. Nutrition, supplements, and education are the only answer. Thanks Dr. Hyman for your informative books and website to increase our education and awareness. You are a fabulous and needed inspiration to us all who seek a life style without the band-aid fix of drugs.

  34. Hilda December 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I ve used The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, MA, and Depression Free Naturally by
    Dr. Joan Mathews Larson, with excellent results. They are step by step nutrition programms to address emotional conditions.

  35. Ruth December 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    I read Dr. Hyman’s entire book about depression. I take the amino acids. I take the 5htp and Tyrosine only. I buy the best amino acids that I can afford. I have tremendous luck. I am no longer on cymbalta which was causing really bad hot flashes that kept me awake all night. In addition, the cymbalta was causing me muscle pain instead of decreasing pain. I can sleep at night now and the Egoscue method is helping me learn to reposition my body for less or no pain. My PTSD is getting really good relief from classical homeopathy from a licensed naturopath. There is hope.

  36. LN December 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    I’ve had depression since about 1999. Since that time, I’ve gained 70 lbs, have had my gall bladder removed, breast cancer (surgery, chemo, radiation). I have joint pain, trouble with my memory, my moods and I crave just about everything that is not good for me (starches, sweets, etc). I’ve been on several anti depressants, tried talk therapy and sometimes I just wonder why I’m still here. I take anti inflammatory meds, bone density meds, and an aromotase inhibitor-AI (I call it the anti cancer pill), in truth it lowers my estrogen levels and generally makes me even more miserable. I’m on year 3 of 5 and I’m really not sure I can continue this regimen. I hurt all over, I’m depressed and have few happy days… I’d love to stop all of the 8 meds I take every day. I do think they keep me craving foods, too fatigued to move around much and too sad to get out and experience life. Sometimes, I do take an AI break… it helps, but I have to go back on it and then I go right back down the already slippery slope. My MD says my thyroid is fine – I’m not do sure; she only gives the normal thyroid test, my vitamin D level was found to be low – I learned this during cancer treatment; I was given a high dose 4 day treatment of prescription D and then told to take calcium with D… which I do. Is there any help for me? I’m 56 and feel like I’m 86! I’m a good person, treat others well, but now I need help for me. The general medical community doesn’t seem to be able to help. Any advice?

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi LN,
      yes we have some advice. We hope you seek local attention from a practitoner of functional medicine, like Dr. Hyman. Go and scroll down to where it says locate a pracitioner. Enter your zip code and then see who is the best fit for your needs. We truly hope you get the care and attention you need and start to feel well again soon!

      In good health

  37. Patrick December 4, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    Having read some of the comments, I want you all to know that there is hope. 3 years ago I was at a point in which I wanted out. Now I can’t even fathom that, so hang in there. I was crippled by depression, panic attacks and OCD that seemingly developed overnight.

    Please hang in there. I was able to overcome this and you can too (I consider myself to be 99% recovered). Get your nutrition right, enough exercise, meditate and find a good doctor! Dr. Human has some great resources on healing. In addition to following many of Dr Hymans recommendations, I found meditation, glutamine, juiced veggies and fermented foods to be of benefit. I’m convinced that
    much of my problem was in my gut and healing it really helped me get me back to living! LIVE!

  38. Grace December 4, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    ever since I have been having to use a nebulizer for asthma, I have had the jitters,they tried me on antidpressants for that and it was totally a disaster. I went to an alternative practitioner, and she prescribed something that was probably a plant dirivative, and it didnt work for me . another one tried something too, and that didnt solve anything either. I have been taking ativan mainly for sleep , as it doesnt take away anxiety any more. I just dont know what to do for this, I also have developed a thrush from having to take eye drops with cortisone in after cataract surgery. I would like to have my life back like before they had to change the formula for inhalers, which didnt give me problems. My regular dr doesnt know what to give me outside of prescribing anti dipessants, and she knows they dont work for most people. I want to have some advice as to what I can do about this. It is totally comsuming my life as it is with me all the time and it is getting to be too frustrating . thank you

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Grace, thank you for your comment. You would need a physical in order to diagnose the best treatment plan for you, that is something we cannot do over the internet. You are welcome to visit Dr. Hyman or another functional practitioner, please see “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine’s website.

      Wishing you good health!

  39. Rinat December 4, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    Dear Dr. Hyman,

    I suffer from OCD and took Paxil for one year. Last month I stopped taking paxil and replaced it with Gaba, B compex and Fish Oil. Is there anything else I can take to increase serotonin levels in the brain? These obssessive thoughs I have really prevent me from being happy. I live in Israel and Triptofan is not legal here. Thank you!

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

      Hi Rinat, thank you for your comment. We can’t offer medical advice over the internet regarding your condition. You might consider finding a functional physician in your area, see “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine’s website.

      Wishing you good health!

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

      Hi Rinat,

      Thank you for writing in with your OCD concerns. Read about some ideas to help you here:

      In good health

  40. Cedar Wilde December 4, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    To Earl Driskill,
    There is a very helpful website with the following address:
    What it says, works if you do it. If it can work for me I believe it can work for
    anyone. I’d recommend you give it a go.

  41. Fernando García-Oldini December 4, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Dear Dr Hyman

    I am a chilean citizen, live in Santiago (Chile, South America). I am 81 years old, I think I eat reasonably well and practice a lot of sports (life long). I do not think I have depression, or have big health problems. I look forward to living many more healthy, happy and productive years.
    However, reading your letter, I thought I most probably have some nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances. What should I do (in Chile) to estimate these and address them correctly ?
    I am starting to work again, and hope realtively soon to pick up enough money to be able to travel to the USA, and visit your wellness center, so that you can give me a full treatment. However, in the meantime, I feel it would be important to be able to addresss correctly the nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances i most probably have. That would help put me improve my wellness state, and make it possible to reach my goals in a more eficient way.

    Thanking you in advance

    Yours sincerely

    Fernando García-Oldini

  42. Soni Weiss, RRT, CH December 4, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Fabulous book. I discoverd it several years ago and have referred it to my clients ever since.
    He covers all of the aspects of relieving depression, mind, body, soul. How to get off drugs and use more naturla supplements. My experience with clients has been you don’t just pop out a chronic depression, even a specific even driven one like a death…you work your way out and he gives you the information, the tools how to do it, and how to apply them. Step by step workbook, not just theory.and advice…a plan you can work..

    the man is a wonderful writer and teacher. He speaks English, not doctor speak. There is a clear plan…an action plan..and that is one of the keys to relieveing depression is taking some kind of action and he has it right there.

    When a person is at the bottom of the ocean trying to swim to the surface and can see no light, no life line, it is pretty hard to know which way to go….this book is the light, the life line a person can hang onto, pull themselves up with.

    I have three copies of this book on my bookshelf now and I hand them out to clients. You can buy a used copy on for $6 and new for $10 I just checked…best investment a person can make….if you are dealing with depression or malaise or sadness, what ever name you want to use.

  43. Laura December 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Three books that were very helpful to me initially:
    The Ultra Mind Solution
    Cleanse Your Body, Clear your Mind- Jeffrey Morrison, MD
    Clean- Alejandro Junger, MD
    I’ve had some horrific traumas over the past 4 years, and have always been susceptible to depression. The information in these books, plus a week long vacation at Harbin Hot Springs with no TV, cell phone, etc, and only organic veggies and spring water really improved my depression. However, I had jaw surgery 2 1/2 months ago. The pain, lack of exercise, after-effects of the anesthesia, and difficulty eating threw me into the worst depression I ever had. My thinking got all distorted, I became suicidal, and was just utterly hopeless, despondent, miserable. I kept my diet pretty pure and took Hyman’s recommended supplements from his book, but nothing helped. Out of desperation, I went to a psychiatrist,. She put me on Wellbutrin, Celexa, and Trazadone. I do not want to be on medication, but I actually feel happy for the first time in ages, and I am afraid to stop. Not sure what to do.

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

      Hello Laura, thank you for your post. Your condition warrants management by a physician so you should share with them your feelings. We cannot offer advice to you over the internet regarding your condition. As you heal, you might try the things that helped you to feel better again and get you to a place where you are most comfortable.

      Wishing you good health!

  44. Laura December 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    For Candice and getting off Paxil. I had the same problem with Lexapro. What I did: A sauna twice a day and a ton of water. Elimination Diet. Thirty minutes of exercise and sunshine without sunscreen everyday. Tyrosine and L-Phenylalinine (some say DLP works better but this is what I did) 500mg 3x/day. I also took 100mg of 5 HTP (or 500mg of L-Tryptophan). DO NOT TAKE THE 5-HTP or Tryptophan UNTIL YOU ARE OFF THE PAXIL as you can cause Serotonin Syndrome which can be fatal. I quit the Lexapro cold turkey and had absolutely no withdrawal symptoms following this method. I did the twice daily saunas and sunshine for one week, the elimination diet for three, and continued to take the supplements. I stayed depression-free until my surgery, which just totally screwed everything up. So . . .don’t have surgery.

  45. Randy December 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Hi Ellen,

    You wrote: “To anyone reading this and is suffering, try 5-htp, it has made a world of difference for me.”

    Have you experienced any side effects of using 5-htp or do you know of any?


  46. Sue Westwind MA AADP December 5, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Dr. Hyman’s book covers everything to address depression; I use it as a text in a class on the non-drug approach I facilitate, called Natural Mind. To me, he seems to be the doc with the most wide-angle vision, seeing how all disorders from depression to autism are connected. Yet I know how folks in the depths can feel too overwhelmed to read a book, and not everyone has access to nor can afford a practitioner in the know. Despite all the horrors of medication, with 1 in 5 of us on some form of it for psyche, reaching for Pharma’s false promisers is still on the rise. What is the answer? I wrack my brain. Is it insurance reform? “Occupy the Drug Companies?” All I feel I can do is embrace education, which is why I gather the best practitioners in my community to teach in my course, backed up by THE ULTRAMIND SOLUTION. But imagine: even starting a free study group with Dr. Hyman’s book would help, if you can do nothing else. Reach out: word of mouth is free. Support is everything. We can do this–somehow, I still have faith.

  47. Dawn December 5, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Dear Fernando,

    You seem 81 years young!

    Good for you for taking care of yourself, staying active and desiring to improve yourself still. When we stop caring is when we begin to end.

    Keep smiling!


  48. mshazel December 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    A wise MD helped me get off antidepressants and anxiety meds 4 years ago. I exercise and take vitamin D and I’m better than I ever was on antidepressants. Unfortunately, I am under considerable stress due to life circumstances, the MD who helped me has left our small town, and the replacement is trying to get me to go back on drugs because I’m “anxious”–partly because every time I go in, my doctor pushes drugs I don’t want!

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      Hi There,

      Perhaps you might enjoy working with a functional medicine practitioner, like Dr. Hyman? If you go to and scroll down to locate a practitioner and enter your zip code, you can find someone who suits your needs and who can support you working with your anxiety without mediciations if possible.

      In good health!

  49. Liz Lautrup December 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I so appreciate your newsletter Dr. Hyman. I use your books, ideas, etc. along with other practices to help my clients, friends and MYSELF. I just bought your UltraThyroid and it is the BEST thing I have found on Thyroid… which so many people I know have. Thank you for your integrative look at health issues. You are my hero!
    This Depression article is so timely for me and incorporates the complicated, integrative reasons for “symptoms” and that there is a gift in everything… our bodies and minds are telling us something when we are sick or depressed and we must get at the root cause instead of covering up symptoms with medication.
    THANK YOU!!!

  50. Angela December 5, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    I read your book, The Ultramind Solution. It changed my life and the life of my teenage daughter. Thank you.

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      So glad to hear Angela! Best to you and your daughter!

  51. gary December 6, 2011 at 12:09 am #

    This is great information we have found great help in fatigue, lack of energy and general well being with the help of HIGH QUALITY SUPPLEMENTS vitamin B6 and B12 as well as a lot of research showing that a great number of people are
    vitamin D deficient. Check our website under nutrition for more info on great supplements.

  52. Lucy Petersen December 6, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Hi, your phrase ‘a life half lived’ resonates with me and made me read the article. I have believed in food as the key to health all my life, but have never had the will power to do the necessary. I feel alone, unsupported, and that I need someone to help me stick to a plan.
    I’m 44, got out of a violent 15 year marriage in 2005, and then was diagnosed almost immediately with rheumatoid arthritis. I have had a skin condition for 15 years which a skin specialist earlier this year has linked to aenaemia, and taking iron subsequently did seem to help alot with metabolism, tiredness, and the skin problem. The arthritis is only noticeable if i have to be on my feet for a long time- like clothes shopping etc. I have 5 lovely children from the marriage, who are teenagers and young adults, but they also have their own issues, like depression and lack of confidence, which I try to combat, so I feel like I’m holding up the world, and secretly I just feel like crying all the time. Very often, when no one is around, I do. I just need that initial support to recalibrate, then when I’m heakthier I will have the strength to maintain the discipline myself. Is there a centre I can go to or something?


    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      Hi Lucy,

      Thank you for sharing your story. We are so glad you are interested in taking care of yourself and finding solutions to your conditions. They can surely be remediated with healthy food and lifestyle modifications! Have you read Dr. Hyman’s UltraMindSolution? Check it out:

      Also you can definetly look up some practitioners who can work with your goals to support yourself naturally. Go, scroll down to locate a practitioner and enter your zip code. Find one who best suits your needs. We wish you the best Lucy!

  53. Paul December 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    A thought provoking article I have to say, but when is depression not depression and the answer to that is when you can figure out what the driving force behind your depression is.

    I went to the doc last week wanting to speak about depression and bipolar in particular, the doc told me I wasnt saying anything manic enough or showing anything manic enough to suffer from that, my concern was my response to recent life events and how my behaviour was affected and how I thought I should be further forward in life (40 in feb).

    After telling him about the recent events in life and because I have been through a lot in the last 10 years,we spoke about worrying, and then he mentioned one thing and that was being traumatised by all that had happened, my life later changed upon realising this that I was suffering a form of PTSD and that I wasnt seriously ill mentally and once my focus shifted from depression to that of dealing with trauma, my whole outlook changed, sometimes just a shift in direction from focusing on one word with a particular meaning to that of a different word with a different meaning can be enough of an impetus to focus in a different direction, I beleive I am going to beat my depression finally because I managed to flick a different switch, I dont even know if the doc realises what he did but I think I will enlighten him next time I update on my progress.

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

      Great Paul! I love how this shift in mind has had a shift in your attitude!

  54. jay December 7, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    if you are on antidepressants what is a good way to get off of them without the withdrawl afects?

  55. Kathleen December 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    In the past, on and off, and for long periods of time I suffered from depression. Since I used EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique aka Meridian Tapping) I have been cured of depression. Since I first used EFT for depression more than a couple of years ago, it has not returned. As a matter of fact, I vaguely remember how it feels. I trained myself how to do EFT using Gary Craig’s (EFT Founder) video library, which by the way is not available anymore. Other than spending a relatively nominal fee for the library to learn technique, EFT is free. Everyone should know about this technique. I’ve used it on every physical and emotional issue with great success. Dr. Mercola references EFT in most of his articles. My doctor told me about EFT over 10 years ago and said that I should try it for my back pain. I didn’t act on his advice. But after seeing EFT mentioned so many times in Dr. Mercola’s newsletters on various subjects and providing links to Gary Craig’s website (no longer available, as he retired), I finally clicked on the links, downloaded the free EFT manual and signed up for the free EFT Newsletters, which by the way are amazing, I ordered the video library and have been ‘curing’ myself of virtually all physical pain as well as emotional stuff. I had issues with stress and while watching Dr. Oz, he described what happens in the brain during a response related to stress that malfunctions – that for some people (like me) the amigdula (sp?) does not communicate properly with the brain. So, I used his terminology during meridian tapping and I have not been bothered with that usual disturbing stress response that I always suffered. I am elated by all that EFT has done for me. I had pain from a uterine fibroid. I was convinced that EFT would not take care of that pain problem, but I tried anyway. It worked! Within minutes I was pain free. I was also convinced that the pain would return. It did after about a month. I did EFT again and the pain has not returned and that was about 3 years ago. I think the fibroid even sloughed off my uterine wall. This is something everyone can do for themselves and its FREE! One does really need to know technique, though. In that regard, there may be some expense associated with learning technique but I don’t know where to find a source. Just research – there’s lots of info on line in the EFT community that will be helpful. I hope this helps many people. You can buy Gary Craig’s book on EFT at amazon. If you think that nothing will help you, please refer to the section in his book – Psychological Reversal. Chances are you are suffering from this. The bad news is – is that if you are, then sadly you will not try this technique. I am grateful that I am open-minded and that I gave this technique a try – it works!

  56. Jacklynn Bourgeix December 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    I am finding great benefits from going off of gluten, and adding supplements of Vit. D, B, fish oil, omegas, but my Reynauds in my hands is getting worse. Now, I feel the fingers getting cold in doors. Anything I can do? I do not have this problem when I am doing yoga, so it seems related to the breath! Just curious if there is anything food wise or supplements wise I can take?

  57. Jenna December 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    I live in the east and I swear that between the cold weather and dreary days I am more depressed than when I lived in sunny California. I am cold all the time too, can’t get out of bed until 2 in the pm. Visits to the doctor make me feel worse because they just define a litany of things that are wrong (things I’ve told them) and then print out a list of medications I should take. It has only made me feel worse.

  58. Elyse December 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    I am a 28 year old female. I am almost debilitated by depression and being stuck right now. I literally cannot get up and mentally am stuck. I have been battling this for over 15 years. I recently in August came off of Lexapro after 5 years. I felt better the first few weeks like a new person and now this is one of the worst times of my life. Usually i will go thru a few days and be able to bounce back for a few weeks before the next time. But this year each time its happened its gotten worse and worse. I have lost my job my will everything. I have almost just been in the house now for 2 months. I dont have insurance to see a doctor. But it doesnt matter because i cant even make myself leave the house. I have goals and dreams but every few months i lose every thought of happiness and to keep going and i lose everything in a blink of an eye. I am deseparate for something that can help me live and stop these cycles. Please if anyone knows anything . Thanks :(

    • Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD December 13, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Elyse,
      Thank you for expressing your concerns about depression. The good thing is, you have some hope and care left or else we wouldnt have heard from you! This is a great sign and we are glad to share some information with you. It is so hard to feel “stuck.” Dr. Hyman sympathizes with this and also can inspire you to create a little space in your mind and heart to invite freedom and happiness in to your life again. And no, you dont necessarily have to be on Lexapro! By working with your body and providing her the nutrients and activities she is craving you can alter your biochemistry so much so that you inspire a different version of yourself- and one you will like and enjoy a lot more than your current state… Have you heard of UltraMind? Check it out here: We truly hope you get the care you need. If you have even the tiniest bit of will, get yourself to a functional med practitioner who can assist you through this difficult time and help you work with your body naturally. Go to and scroll down to locate a practitioner, enter your zip code and choose someone who feels the most compatible with you.

      In good health,

  59. Elyse December 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Thank you for responding and i will take a look at the info you provided

  60. cal sturdeant January 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Have you been diagnosed with depression?
    I was diagnosed with ADD, PTSD, and major unipolar clinical depression
    As a result of ADD, difficulty in focusing and multitasking, and lack of organization:
    family members took it in their own hand to take most of my belongings to the dump, and some to storage ( i having to pay $100 a month). The night this
    happend i was traumatized, and fell into a major clinical depression, which i have not overcome since it happened 5 years ago.
    I was diagnosed as Add by a psychotherapist, but psychotherapy ( i spoke to several) did not help much. I could not focus on assignments, and felt worse becoming more fixated on what happened as i attempted assignments.

    How have antidepressants worked for you?
    I participated in an investigational study. The antidepressant ‘savella’ did wonders and i was able to feel better moodwise, focus and better put into practice the assifnments given by a psychotherapist. However, i also suffered side-effects: high blood pressure, high pressure in the eyes, itching/ burning in the feet, pain when urinating . I was weaned off the medicine, and instructed to find a psychiatrist and an antidepressant known to have fewer side-effects.
    However, no psychiatrist in my location/ insurance is currently taking patients.

    Do you plan to try any of the approaches mentioned here?
    I attempted on several occassions alternative treatments, without much success. Each of my attempts , treatment worked for a while, but then required greater and greater amounts to again work. Also, they also had side-effects. John’s Wort caused a rash, and Sam-e produced stomach cramps. I don’t know if 5-htp did anything. good or bad.
    I would like to attempt the approaches i have not yet tried.

    Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
    I have a thought/ question: What research is there on the approaches you recommend, and which approaches would best help me with my problems, and help me to stop thinking about the past, and start to live again?

  61. nick name May 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    I believe in your theory, that depression can be cured without medicating by finding the root causes. However, though i am able to find the root causes in my particular situation, i am not be able to over come it. Over the period it has gone worse .

    I am a victim of street attack in my adolescence, I was abused by a doctor during routine check ups in asia during my teen, also was molested and raped in between the ages of 6 to 8 i the age of 13 as well. And i was cheated by the person i trusted most at the age of 20.

    all these unfortunate life events, dwells me into the past and hurts me so much. It affects my relationship and trust issues. Always creates some kind of fear on the back of my mind. Doctor prescribed me anti depressants, which i refused to take, and took once, for 4 days and it made me so worse. Since than i try to read self help books and find whatever i can on net to help recover myself. I am hopeful that i may be able to feel happiness once again in my life time.I am turning 31….

    Would appreciate if you could provide details of your service fees…

    • HymanStaff May 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Hi Nick,

      So sorry to hear about your experiences, and thank you for reaching out for help. To contact Dr. Hyman you can either see “How to Become a Patient” at or call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637 9991.


      Dr. Hyman Staff

  62. James July 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    My life is in shambles. I suffer from anxiety/depression. All of a sudden it is getting unbarable again. I dread every day and always feel as though my life has no meaning. I developed a pretty severe marajuana addiction and started smoking more cigarettes daily. Sometimes I feel like I am punishing my body. My confidence is shattered and I can’t seem to remember ever being satisfied. Everything seems to difficult to achieve. I tried zoloft a few times but I have been off medication for about 3 months now. I can’t help but feel like I am slowly falling apart. I feel as though I need to be set free from all of the pain inside me. For some naive reason, I have this foolish idea that a relationship will help me so I constantly go from one fly by night relationship to another. I wish I was stronger because I don’t know how much longer I can stand living in this nightmare of never-ending trauma. I feel like I am being punished for something. It’s devistating!

    • Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff July 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Hi James,
      We hear you and agree, it is time to get some assistance. And we can help!

      In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can get started today by working with Dr Hyman’s nutritionists to help you put the right foods in your body that it is craving… Start working in private, one on one with someone now.

  63. Lisa September 30, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety (off and on) since my early 30s (I am now 48). It generally begins with severe anxiety and progresses to depression, so now once I feel the anxiety coming on, I have been medicated. This year, I became very short of breath (despite being in very good physical condition, amateur triathlete), and after they decided there were no heart or lung issues, it was chalked up to anxiety. I was put on Lexapro, which alleviated the anxiety, but caused weight gain, despite an aggressive workout schedule. Getting off of it was hell, and I didn’t recognize myself for about week. Now I’m on Wellbutrin, and am feeling less anxious, but still have the shortness of breath. I have also been taking Prilosec, though I don’t think it helps that much. I have better results regulating my diet. I’d like to get off all the drugs, be fit, happy and not suffer from shortness of breath. I’d like to quit the Prilosec, address the stress through yoga and meditation, and also address potential gut issues as recommended on this site through diet and supplements. Then attempt to get off of Wellbutrin. Does this sound like a reasonable approach? I went through a bunch of food elimination diets (including gluten) about 10 years ago (at that time was suffering from hives for the first time in my life – don’t have them now, except minor ones before my period), but that didn’t help. Any other suggestions are welcome. I am very organized and capable of making multiple changes at once and sticking to them. I generally will be willing to try a new avenue for a month before deciding if it’s of value. Thanks for anything else you can suggest for me. Peace.

  64. MARY CRATE January 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm #


    • HymanStaff January 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. To locate a practitioner of functional medicine in your area see the “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine website:

      Here you will find a place to enter your zip code and look for practitioner’s in your area that have completed the institute’s five-day training course in functional medicine. Understand that not all of the doctors listed here will fit your particular needs. Many different medical professionals complete this training, and you will have to do additional research on your own regarding a particular practitioner’s approach and whether or not it fits your specific medical requirements. This may include calling the practioner’s office, visiting his or her website, and/or scheduling a consultation.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

  65. mare January 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Do you suffer from “depression” or other emotional symptoms? Yes I do. I have depression and bipolar. I have been treated for depression for 10 years with zoloft and I have been treated for bipolar with lithium. I want to say they work but if I can get off of these medications that would be great. I am just sceptical of taking the risk of getting off these prescriptions since I have been without zoloft and it was not a pretty time. I plan on buying the book: Do you suffer from “depression” or other emotional symptoms?

  66. Pio April 28, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Hey Rose,

    Did you ever fix your gadolinium issue? I am very concerned about this for me as well and am seeking chelation.

    Thanks and hope you are better now!

Leave a Reply