Treating Depression Naturally

The Crying Boy by Bruno Amadio

One’s personal level of happiness is connected to genetics, yet some conditions during pregnancy can sabotage even the happiest genetic heritage.  The famous Dutch Famine Study, which followed people who were embryos during the famine of 1944-45, showed that the hunger and stress of their mothers during the pregnancy affected them and was the cause of many health and mental problems in their lives. Nowadays we have scientific evidence that links prenatal maternal stress to the baby’s physical and mental health.

My mother in law, Raquel Eidelstein, is a perfect example in this matter. She was unfortunate to be born to Jewish parents in Europe of 1941.  Her mother, Ester Schwartz, was a young woman, a mother of two little children when she found herself pregnant with Raquel.  She was alone in Timișoara, Romania, a foreign city where her Russian husband, Itzhak Averbuch, brought her before the war started. Ester’s family in Hungary was sent to Aushwitz, her husband was taken to a German forced labor camp. Only  when the war ended in 1945, did she find out that he was still alive. After the war, the family was refugees for three years, moving between Hungary, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and France, before sailing off to start a new life in Israel.  “By the time I was seven years old” says Raquel “I heard the curse ‘dirty Jew’ in five different languages.”

Raquel Eidelstein

For years Raquel struggled with depression and eating disorders. It wasn’t until she was thirty and living in the US that she was finally diagnosed with constitutional clinical depression and was started on a treatment of antidepressants that helped her to have a better quality of life.  About every ten years, her antidepressants lost their effectiveness and she had to look for new medicine. Closing on her fourth decade of using antidepressants, the effectiveness of the different medicines she had tried was gone, leaving her with side effects of shaking, restlessness, insomnia, and  incontinence.  That was the time she decided to look for an alternative way to treat her depression, which brought her to the naturopath Dr. Amanda Brimhall from Waterfrontl Wellness.

Dr. Brimhall started treatment by running a neurotransmitters test done by Neuroscience, then she customized a treatment plan that targeted the specific imbalances based on Raquel’s tests results; using a blend of supplements and nutrients to help the body produce and balance the neurotransmitters  naturally.  “I take a holistic approach” says Dr. Brimhall “and also look at diet, sleep, stress, toxicity, and digestion. 90% of serotonin is made in the gut!”

Raquel embarked on a new journey; gradually weaning off her antidepressants while supplementing her body with the nutrients Dr. Brimhall recommended.  It wasn’t easy, or as Raquel describes it: “It was a rough going for a while. My personality changed; I was both depressed, sometimes talkative and sometimes withdrawn, most of the time restless, irritable, and discontent.”

After a few weeks Raquel was  completely off antidepressants, for the first time in forty years, and she reached an emotional balance using only natural supplements.  Four years went by, and Raquel still manages to maintain her good health and balanced mood  with good nutrition, exercise, and personal work, without taking any antidepressant.  She also managed to loose weight and maintain it.  Antidepressants were masking major character defects and dysfunctional coping mechanism that came in to play with inter relationship” she says “Now with their removal from the system, the compulsive over eating can be effectively treated to the amazing extent of bringing about personality change, which absolutely makes life happy, joyous, and free.”

Antidepressants can be very helpful for people who suffer from debilitating depression, though there are natural alternatives that are worth trying before taking prescription medication, which has its own side effects. Daily exercising, for example, or SAMe are proven to be effective when treating depression. If you are already treated with antidepressants it is important that the weaning off should be gradual, and supervised by a health care provider. Today there is plenty of information online to help make a decision in this matter, like the lecture "Alternative treatments for depression: do they work?"

By sharing her story, Raquel wishes to inspire and help other people who are struggling with depression, no matter what the cause is. The natural treatment gave her control over her body and mind while healing her depression. "After all this help, that I can stand on my own feet without antidepressants and claim my place in society with dignity, is a wonder beyond words." she summarizes her experience. 

Dr. Amanda Brimhall (ND) can be reached at her clinic:
Waterfront Wellness
232 Market Street
Kirkland, WA 98033