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Depression/The Blues by Joana Roja Creative Commons

7 Secret Cures for Anxiety, Depression,

and Stress: No Drugs, No Talk!
Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a health-care professional for the last 45 years.
He is the author of 9 books, including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places,
Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and Mr. Mean: Saving Your
Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome . He offers counseling to men,
women, and couples in his office in California or by phone with people throughout
the U.S. and around the world. To receive a Free E-book on Men’s Health and a
free subscription to Jed’s e-newsletter go to

Most everyone I counsel is dealing with some degree of anxiety, depression,

and stress in their lives. When I talk to my doctor friends, they tell me that 80%
of all the medical problems they treat are rooted in emotional highs and lows and
psychic stress. One in 5 adults suffers a diagnosable mental illness in any six
month period. If we live long enough, we’ll all suffer from one illness or another.
But do we need drugs? Must we see a therapist to talk about her family dramas?

Here’s a quick set of questions to assess your level of depression, anxiety,

and stress (I’ll include the full questionnaire at the end of the article). The higher
your score, the more likely you are to be having problems. You can rate yourself
as follows:

0 Did not apply to me at all

1 Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time
2 Applied to me to a considerable degree, or a good part of time
3 Applied to me very much, or most of the time

Depression scale

• self-disparaging
• dispirited, gloomy, blue
• convinced that life has no meaning or value
• pessimistic about the future
• unable to experience enjoyment or satisfaction
• unable to become interested or involved
• slow, lacking in initiative

Anxiety scale

• apprehensive
• panicky
• trembly
• aware of dryness of the mouth, breathing difficulties,
• pounding of the heart
• sweatiness of the palms
• worried about performance and possible loss of control

Stress scale

• over-aroused, tense
• unable to relax
• touchy, easily upset
• irritable
• easily startled
• nervy, jumpy, fidgety
• intolerant of interruption or delay

According to Ronald Kessler, M.D. of Harvard Medical Center, we’ll all get
sick sometime in our lives. “It’s not surprising that 99.9 percent of the population
has some sort of physical illness at some time in their lives or that the majority of
people meet criteria for a mental illness at some time in their lives.”

But do we need to pay big bucks to get treated? The pharmaceutical

companies believe we do. The industry employs 100,000 drug representatives
or 2.5 for every practicing doctor in the country. Marketing directed toward
doctors amounted to $7.2 billion and often includes meals and gifts. This does
not include the retail value of samples left at doctors’ offices, which totaled $16

Dr. Ken Gillman, an internationally acknowledged authority on psychiatric

medications says, “Most of the new antidepressant drugs introduced in the last
twenty years do not work effectively. The evidence about them presented to
doctors, even in the most respected leading medical journals, is closer to
advertising copy than it is to science. There is clear and incontrovertible evidence
that scientific data and publications are controlled, manipulated and subverted by
international pharmaceutical companies to an extent that would astonish most
ordinary people, including doctors.”

Before his death, Loren R. Mosher, M.D. was a Harvard University-trained

physician, and a professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Diego
Medical School. In an article, How Drug Company Money Has Corrupted
Psychiatry, he concluded:

“In my view American psychiatry has become drug dependent (that is, devoted
to pill pushing) at all levels--private practitioners, public system psychiatrists,
university faculty and organizationally. What should be the most humanistic
medical specialty has become mechanistic, reductionistic, tunnel-visioned and
dehumanizing. Modern psychiatry has forgotten the Hippocratic principle: Above
all, do no harm.”

Psychotherapy, where a client talks to a therapist about their problems and

seeks relief from symptoms, is also becoming more prevalent. Studies show
that, compared to drugs, talk therapy is more effective in the long-run and has
fewer side-effects.

The great increase in the use of therapists and counselors stems mainly from
a couple of changes in our society. One is the change in attitudes toward
therapy. The thinking used to be that only "fruitcakes" or "nut cases" needed to
be in therapy. People with normal everyday stresses and anxieties were
expected to "deal with it." If you had problems in the home, you certainly weren't
going to talk to anyone about it. It was important for individuals and families to
put on a good face and not let anyone suspect that everything wasn't just fine.

The other big change today is the greater availability of therapy and
counseling services. Therapy used to be prohibitive for any but the wealthy. With
insurance and low-cost programs provided by businesses (Employee Assistance
Programs), as well as new forms of therapy such as group therapy, counseling
and therapy are much more available to the general public. Yet counseling can
be expensive for many people, costing $100 or more a session.

Are there simple, yet effective, ways of treating problems such as anxiety,
depression, and stress? Are there approaches that don’t rely on drugs or talk
therapy? There are and you may find an approach that works for you.

Depression is one of the most destructive diseases of modern life. According

to Dr. Stephen S. Ilardi, author of The Depression Cure, “Depression is a
devastating illness. It robs people of their energy, their sleep, their memory, their
concentration, their vitality, their joy, their ability to love and work and play, and—
sometimes—even their will to live.”
Not only does depression take away our spiritual and emotional health, it also
undermines our physical health. Recent research reported by Johns Hopkins
Medical Center indicates depression increases the risk of heart disease and it
also aggravates chronic illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, back problems, and
asthma, leading to more work absences, disability, and doctor visits.

Now results from a large Norwegian study suggests that depression increases
the risk of death from most other major diseases, including stroke, respiratory
illnesses, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease. It is also
associated with accidental deaths. This is an important study because the
number of subjects is large and the research protocol is first rate.
Researchers gathered baseline information on physical and mental health for
61,349 Norwegian men and women, average age 48, and then noted the number
of deaths and their causes during an average follow-up of nearly 4.5 years.
Participants who had significant depression (2,866) had a higher risk of dying of
most major causes of death, even after adjusting for age, medical conditions, and
physical complaints at the study's outset.

As reported in the respected journal Psychosomatic Medicine the research

team concluded, “Depression may increase the risk of death by directly affecting
the cardiovascular and nervous systems. In addition, depression may lead to
poor health habits, such as smoking, alcohol abuse, and a sedentary lifestyle,
and may affect people's ability to follow treatment regimens.”

With our modern pharmacological treatments, we would think that depression

would be cured by now. But in fact it is on the rise. According to Dr. Ilardi,
“About one in four Americans—over seventy million people—will meet the criteria
for major depression sometime in their lives.” And the rates of depression and
suicide are going up and up. “It’s roughly ten times higher today than it was just
two generations ago,” says Ilardi.

Yet, we continue to take anti-depressant drugs in record numbers. More

than 170 million prescriptions for these drugs were written in the last few years.
In fact, antidepressants have become the most prescribed drugs in the United
States. They’re prescribed more than drugs to treat high blood pressure, high
cholesterol, asthma, and even headaches. Drugs are big business.
Antidepressant drug sales alone have become a $21 billion dollar a year

But are they really the best treatment available for the millions of people
throughout the world who suffer from depression? Based on my own clinical
experience working with depressed men and women over the last 44 years, I
have found there is a better way. It involves simple, safe, and inexpensive life-
style changes.

Dr. Ilardi calls them TLC, or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. He describes six
lifestyle elements that are based on the practices that were part of human life
before we became so urbanized, anxious, stressed, and depressed. These
include the following:

1. Exercise

Three times a week get 35 minutes of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is

anything like running, walking fast, biking, or playing basketball, that gets your
heart rate elevated to about 120-160 beats per minute. Anaerobic exercise (like
yoga or weightlifting) is better than nothing, but the strongest antidepressant
effects have been observed from aerobic exercise. Lots of people report that
finding a regular exercise partner and routine helps them stay motivated.

2. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements

You can buy these at a drugstore or health food store. Look for a brand that will
give you 1000 mg of EPA and 500 mg of DHA per day. This is the amount that
has been shown in studies to be beneficial to people with depression.
You can take these even if you are on antidepressant medication; there are no
known interactions with drugs. The only side effects patients reported are that
they sometimes burp up a fishy taste after taking them. Solutions to this problem
are to freeze the pills and take them right before a meal. If all else fails, there is a
liquid form available that some people prefer.

3. Light Exposure

This element of the protocol is most helpful to people who notice that there is a
seasonal component to their depression. We recommend that people get at least
30 minutes of bright light exposure per day. You can actually go outside in the
sun (take off the sunglasses, but leave on the sunscreen!) or get light exposure
from a special light box that emits the same amount of light (10,000 lux).
You should try to get light exposure at the same time every day. Some people
like to sit by the light box while they eat breakfast and read the paper. Some like
to sit by it while they read or study in the evening. Experiment to see what works
best for you. And don’t miss a day of light exposure if you can help it. This is
something that will only work for you cumulatively if you are consistent!

4. Anti-rumination Strategies

Rumination is the habit that many depressed people get into of dwelling on their
negative thoughts. Rather than coming up with a solution to a problem and acting
on it, people with depression often let their negative thoughts spiral out of control.
It is important to recognize rumination for what it is and put a stop to it
immediately. Rumination only makes peoples’ moods worse. When you find
yourself doing it, do one of these things: call a friend, exercise, write down the
negative thoughts in a journal, or do some other pleasant activity (like walking,
reading, or talking to a friend).

5. Social Support

This is good for men and women, but men often need it the most. You have
probably noticed that as we get more depressed, we are less motivated to seek
out others for socializing. This is the time to reach out to others even if you don’t
feel like it. It may save your life.
Exercising together can be a great way to combine elements. Also being with
others keeps us from sitting alone and worrying and ruminating. There’s a
saying I use with my clients. “Never worry alone.” A lot of the destructiveness of
our negative mind-set when we are depressed is that we go around and around
in our own heads and don’t get the benefits of input from others.
Another thing I tell my clients is to help someone else when they are feeling
down. One of the best pick-me-ups I’ve found is the satisfaction we get when we
do something for another person, even if its just a small thing like a kind word or
a small favor.

6. Sleep Hygiene

Most of us need to get 8 hours of sleep per night and most of us are sleep
deprived. Men generally get less sleep than women and for depressed men, lack
of sleep can be debilitating. One of the biggest risk factors for depression is
sleep deprivation.

It may take awhile to re-establish healthy sleeping habits. We often get used to
sleeping less and come to believe that we don’t really need that much sleep.
Here’s what can help. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every night.
Prepare yourself for bed by having a “bedtime ritual”. Dim the lights, turn off the
TV and computer, put on your PJs, and do a quiet activity like read. Avoid
caffeine and alcohol for several hours before you plan to go to bed. A soothing
back or foot rub before going to sleep can be a welcome relaxant.

7. Energy Psychology

I have used all the methods listed above to good effect. I’ll add another one that
is becoming increasingly well known. I first heard about energy medicine or
energy psychology a number of years ago from a colleague, Candace Pert,
Ph.D. Pert is presently Research Professor at Georgetown University School of

In her 1997 book, Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, she
said, “Recent technological innovations have allowed us to examine the
molecular basis of the emotions, and to begin to understand how the molecules
of our emotions share intimae connections with, and are indeed inseparable
from, our physiology. It is the emotions, I have come to see, that link mind and

Now Pert has written an introduction to an exciting new book that builds on her
work and allows all of us to use the techniques of energy psychology for our own
healing. In The Promise of Energy Psychology: Revolutionary Tools for
Dramatic Personal Change by David Feinstein, Donna Eden, and Gary Craig,
Pert says, “the promise of energy psychology offers a synthesis of practices
designed to deliberately shift the molecules of emotion. These practices have
three distinct advantages over psychiatric medications.”

• “They are noninvasive, highly specific, and have no side effects.”

Here’s what the book’s authors, each of them a pioneer in the field of energy
psychology, have to say about this emerging new field:

“Energy is the blueprint, the infrastructure, the invisible foundation for the
health of your body. Your body is composed of energy pathways and energy
centers that are in a dynamic interplay with your cells, organs, moods, and

I’ve found you can use the simple techniques which they describe to:

• Help overcome unwanted emotions such as fear, guilt, shame, jealousy,

or anger.
• Help change unwanted habits and behavior.
• Decrease your level of anxiety, stress, and depression.
• Enhance your abilities to love, succeed, and enjoy life.

You can learn more about these techniques as follows:

David Feinstein, Ph.D.:

Donna Eden:
Gary Craig:

Of course you’re not going to hear big multinational corporations touting the
benefits of sleep, friends, healthy thinking rather than “stinkin’ thinking,’”
sunshine, fish oil, exercise, or energy medicine. How can big profits be made
from these simple things. They may not make pharmaceutical companies a lot of
money, but you’d be surprised what good they will do for the average human
being trying to deal with the stresses of modern life.

Try it, you may be surprised.

If you’d like to learn more about my work, come visit my website at

The DASS and diagnosis

The DASS is based on a dimensional rather than a categorical conception of

psychological disorder. The assumption on which the DASS development was
based (and which was confirmed by the research data) is that the differences
between the depression, the anxiety, and the stress experienced by normal
subjects and the clinically disturbed, are essentially differences of degree. The
DASS therefore has no direct implications for the allocation of patients to discrete
diagnostic categories postulated in classificatory systems such as the DSM and
ICD. However, recommended cutoffs for conventional severity labels (normal,
moderate, severe) are given in the DASS Manual.

DAS S 21 Name: Date:

Please read each statement and circle a number 0, 1, 2 or 3 that indicates how much the statement
applied to you over the past week. There are no right or wrong answers. Do not spend too much time
on any statement.

The rating scale is as follows:

0 Did not apply to me at all
1 Applied to me to some degree, or some of the time
2 Applied to me to a considerable degree, or a good part of time
3 Applied to me very much, or most of the time

1 I found it hard to wind down 0 1 2 3

2 I was aware of dryness of my mouth 0 1 2 3
3 I couldn't seem to experience any positive feeling at all 0 1 2 3
4 I experienced breathing difficulty (eg, excessively rapid breathing, 0 1 2 3
breathlessness in the absence of physical exertion)
5 I found it difficult to work up the initiative to do things 0 1 2 3
6 I tended to over-react to situations 0 1 2 3
7 I experienced trembling (eg, in the hands) 0 1 2 3
8 I felt that I was using a lot of nervous energy 0 1 2 3
9 I was worried about situations in which I might panic and make 0 1 2 3
a fool of myself
10 I felt that I had nothing to look forward to 0 1 2 3
11 I found myself getting agitated 0 1 2 3
12 I found it difficult to relax 0 1 2 3
13 I felt down-hearted and blue 0 1 2 3
14 I was intolerant of anything that kept me from getting on with 0 1 2 3
what I was doing
15 I felt I was close to panic 0 1 2 3
16 I was unable to become enthusiastic about anything 0 1 2 3
17 I felt I wasn't worth much as a person 0 1 2 3
18 I felt that I was rather touchy 0 1 2 3
19 I was aware of the action of my heart in the absence of physical 0 1 2 3
exertion (eg, sense of heart rate increase, heart missing a beat)
20 I felt scared without any good reason 0 1 2 3
21 I felt that life was meaningless 0 1 2 3