Life Makes Us Crazy

. Sunday, August 16


According to Stephen Ilardi, a psychologist at the University of Kansas and author of "The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs" (DeCapo Press, 2009), our lifestyle is overflowing with risk factors for mental illness. Compared to cavemen, he suggests that our ‘modern life’ continually stress responses, which causes inflammation in certain parts of our brain.

“Like heart disease and insulin resistance, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, autism, anxiety and bipolar disorder have all been linked to inflammation. And the prevalence of many of these illnesses has increased in lockstep with modernization,” Ilardi said.

In order to treat depression without drugs, Ilardi says to:

  1. Balance Omegas – our current diet plots Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids at 16:1 when they should be 1:1, a prime cause of a depressive response.
  2. Get more sleep – With the level of stress in our daily lives, it takes 8-10 hours at the least to rejuvenate.
  3. Seek social support – our self-esteem suffers, Ilardi says, because it is impossible to be the best at anything with 6.5 million people on the planet. So, narrow that down by finding a niche community.
  4. Say “no” to ruminating – focus is good, but fixation is not, and it becomes more common when we are alone, the usual state of being in developed countries.
  5. Take a walk – 90 minutes of exercise a week is equal to a steady dose of Zoloft.
  6. Get out in the sun – Vitamin D produced by being in the sun is an anti-inflamatory.
  7. Develop a world view – take the time to understand the world through religion, philosophy or science. The global point of view will ward of mental illness.

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