One Doctor’s drugless prescription for depression

Clinical psychologist and University of Kansas professor Dr. Steve Ilardi
was interviewed for a story appearing in the Health and wellbeing section of the UK Guardian, How to beat depression—without drugs. Dr. Ilardi says antidepressants simply don’t work. I’m thinking maybe he’s skyping this message to the Guardian because perhaps the Brits are more receptive to this sort of thing than are Americans, the latter being so much under sway of pharmaceutical company advertising.

The programme has one glaring omission: anti-depressant medication. Because according to Ilardi, the drugs simply don’t work. “Meds have only around a 50% success rate,” he says. “Moreover, of the people who do improve, half experience a relapse. This lowers the recovery rate to only 25%. To make matters worse, the side effects often include emotional numbing, sexual dysfunction and weight gain.”

Uh, did you get that!? “To make matters worse [emphasis added], the side effects often include emotional numbing, sexual dysfunction and weight gain.” Indeed! So if the drugs do anything at all, they might numb you down, take away your mojo, and make you a candidate for being a contestant on the Biggest Loser television show. Depressing consequences, don’t you think?

As a respected clinical psychologist and university professor, Ilardi’s views are hard to dismiss. A research team at his workplace, the University of Kansas, has been testing his system – known as TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Change) – in clinical trials. The preliminary results show, he says, that every patient who put the full programme into practice got better.

100% of the patients in clinical trials improved using Dr. Ilardi’s system. Not bad!

His, the TLC, prescription formula involves utilising the 6 measures bulleted below:

▶Take 1,500mg of omega-3 daily (in the form of fish oil capsules), with a multivitamin and 500mg vitamin C.
▶ Don’t dwell on negative thoughts – instead of ruminating start an activity; even conversation counts.
▶ Exercise for 90 minutes a week.
▶ Get 15-30 minutes of sunlight each morning in the summer. In the winter, consider using a lightbox.
▶ Be sociable.
▶ Get eight hours of sleep

All psychiatrists and mental health workers have to do is to pay attention to the evidense, that is, to the results of clinical trials such as those conducted by the University of Kansas. I get the impression that there is not enough of that paying attention to the evidense going on these days.