Depression. Effective strategies for getting off the meds

Getting off your meds - it certainly can be done and I hope this is in the forefront of the mind of the medicated - being that you don't have to resign yourself to being on medication forever. This is not a one size fits all proposition and with depression there are many forms from mild to severe. Each person is an individual and how you change is an individual process.

I am in no way advocating that anyone reading this hub takes me as a doctor and stops taking their meds. Just so we're clear! If you are on medication consult your physician for a guide to change your life so you have the possibility of no longer depending on your medication.

Simple suggestions and possible solutions to improve your mind and your life -

Good Diet

You are what you eat, but to understand what's not working you have to do a bit of reading. Knowledge is power and with depressed people power is often lacking. Processed foods laden with sugar and sodium (sugar particularly) are a recipe for disaster on your body chemistry. Your liver does not like it and when your liver is unhappy usually your brain is pissed also.

Mood swings are a dominant experience with sugar highs and lows. You have a sugar fix, you feel good for a short period of time and then drop back into a slump of feeling heavy. So stop drinking sodas and junk foods - they are full of toxic crap your body doesn't like. Find strategies to detox from the habit. Sugar cravings are a sign of dehydration. To curb this replace your soda with a non-sugared beverage. Water for some may be too difficult. Try a mint tea if you need flavor. Having a hydrated body will make a huge difference to your body chemistry.

Fruit juices - hmmmm! Sugar sugar sugar. The commercially packaged variety are usually laden with sugar. Rarely will you get a packaged fruit juice that is actually good for you. Either juice your own from fresh fruit and vegies you physically see, or don't drink the stuff.

Be careful with the caffeine. If you are drinking too much coffee try to reduce it. Caffeine can have the same effect as sugar - you get the high, then you drop. Three coffees a day is heaps. If you drink less than three give yourself a tick.

There does seem to be a chasm of misunderstanding about the food you put inside you and your state of mind. I have on many occasions noticed how very easy it is to get meds and on questioning the medicated, they say their doctor never questioned their diet. And there are also people who when asked by their doctor if their diet is good the patient says yes. But there is no delving into what a good diet is. This is as much an avoidance tactic by the patient who is ignorant of the perils of the supermarket, as it is with the doctor who is going to put the onus of responsibility onto the patient by at least saying they asked the question.

There IS a direct link to your state of mind and your food intake.

Exercise.

Is a big necessity to keep everything pumping inside you. When you stagnate the flow on effect is dire, or should I say lack of flow-on. A stuck digestive system equals a stuck mind and in the end it's gunked with all sorts of crap - including those dark and sinister thoughts. So move ones butt - every day. Get everything flowing as it is supposed to.

Dance doing the housework - whatever works. You don't have to join the gym - that's often depressing. Walk, dance, garden. Just move.

The body likes routine, it really does. Just ask it how much it likes to stay in bed, it will tell you it loves it. But it also likes to move. It takes a bit of a push from inside but once you get a routine of walking everyday you will find your body wants it. I'm not kidding. If it makes you feel good your body says more please.

Social Networking

Talk. Verbally. Use your voice. Social networking needs to be more than typing on Facebook. Use skype if you are isolated. Best not be isolated as it helps fester the dreariness of the depressive state. This can be an act of will, as is the diet and exercise. But try to be around people who care. Be aware if you are bringing down heavy spaces all the time. This takes a toll on people who care about you. But to share what's troubling you is expressing what you are holding onto. And reciprocate. Start a walking group or join one.

In a social situation not everything is about you. Listening is a great skill and you just may find out that many people have the same problems as you. This realization can be a huge release buster. Try to balance your social time between sharing your inner thoughts and feelings, and talking about other topics of interest. Always talking about your sad feelings can make for a dull space. Mix it up. Make a resolve that every now and then you step outside of the dreary cloak and turn your attention to outside affairs.

The internet is now an addiction. If you don't believe that you're in denial. As with all addictions they need to be addressed. Understand that social networking does not mean you socialize on your computer only. Turn it off every now and then. Go outside. There is a world out your front door waiting for you. One to one contact with other human beings is essential to good mental health. As much as people can be irritating, not all of them are on this earth to be your enemy. There are still some cool people who don't eat sugar!

Tiny acts of will.

Yes - try to achieve something, even if it's cleaning the garage. Clutter clearing is really good - get rid of stuff that you are holding onto. Clear the decks - it gets rid of what you are dragging behind you.

Often depressed people live in a world of hopes and wishes underneath the mire of "I can't." If you make your act of will difficult to achieve, the failure could sit you right back in the pot of mud. Start small and gradually increase your achievements.

Do a good deed for someone - once a month (I say that cause once a week may be a bit of a task). If someone is behind you at the checkout and has only a few items of groceries - let them go before you. Compliment someones garden as you walk past it. Do you ever stop and smell roses? Do any of your friends need help redecorating their lounge room? Doing something good for someone else makes you feel really good. I mean really really good. Don't expect anything back - that's not the point. People are usually shocked that you wanted to do something for them, it has become normal not to expect good deeds. I personally love that shock effect. The feel good you get from how you feel in giving is amazing. That's why you do it, cause it feels good. Better than the meds!

Do something just for you. Can you create something? Draw a picture. Pretend you are back in kindergarten and make something totally for the sake of it. Use colored paper, magazine cutouts, cut and paste the old fashioned way. Or plant flowers and watch them grow. Make a space that you like; change your bedroom around. Once a month (at least) have a bubble bath and play your favorite music.

Even if it seems ridiculous and unworthy to begin with, doing something is better than being seated in your dreadful thoughts and achieving nothing.

Going against popular beliefs here........You are THE most important person in your universe. Don't forget to give yourself random acts of kindness.

Meditation

Not for everyone but geez it should be. A meditation routine can be the most rewarding and valuable indulgence you will ever undertake. Our world appears wired for chaos. The depressed are fairly annoyed at this chaotic whirlwind and have chosen to step off the roundabout. Their reasons are many and varied but in general it's because everything outside of their own space feels corrupt, disempowering, heavy, uncaring and just plain woeful.

Learning to feel centered while the chaos is going on is a powerful tool. Make a space that is just for you, clean and clear and learn to go inside yourself - beyond the incessant damning thoughts.


Counselling

Therapy is becoming a mainstream commodity. Once it was frowned upon but now it is becoming more and more accepted. The world is a mindfield and to navigate through we need help. A man is not an island, we are social creatures and as such we would do well to accept that seeking help is part of being human. It seems that somewhere in our human experience we stopped listening to people. We stopped taking the time to take notice of how we were feeling. To be neurotic is now a normal part of being human. It probably always was but it seems we don't have the time or the inclination to stop and care and help those who need our support. Or the caring we do receive is quite shallow. Many would dispute this but on a global level - you don't have to look too hard to see how messed up the world has become. Gosh it's even depressing when you take a look!

Counselling is a must to getting off your meds. Whether that counselling is undertaken through a professional or good friends, it needs to happen.

I'm going to say it again.........YOU are THE most important person in your universe. Start with that belief, above all others, and you may find the strength required to want to change your life and get off those meds.

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Comments 13 comments

etna5678 profile image

etna5678 4 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan

Nice hub.. I beg to disagree on the premise of "getting off medication"...its suicide for depressed individuals! depression is a disease, not a state of mind... I think what you mean is that for people who "think" they are "depressed", these modalities would work fine alone, without medication.

A diagnosed patient of Major Depressive Disorder can also reap the benefits of the healthy and elevating exercises here, but they will need their medication too. And WITH their prescription they can find the energy to get up and improve on their condition, with the hope that eventually they might not need medical intervention any longer!!


Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for dropping in Etna. I think if you read the hub again you would understand that I am not advocating people get off their meds. I stated that in the first section. I do however see in a large group of depressed people, a formed mindset that they will be on medication for the rest of their lives. This is not a good mindset to have and I am of the learned opinion that the ability to get medication as simply as you would buy candy is not in the best interests of people in general.

People who have a major depressive disorder will definitely benefit from the above suggestions as you say. I am not and I never did advocate they get off their meds. This hub is more an holistic approach to mind health. The diseases of the mind are growing at a very fast rate. Dis-ease is created by several factors including bad diet, lack of exercise, toxicity in the environment, and the unfortunate fact we live in a society that has lost the ability to engender a depth of caring that is required or at least preferable to be human. The word disease means dis ease and this in itself can create a state of mind that is depressed; They go together.

Interestingly 50% of depressed patients are living on a diet of processed foods.


Motown2Chitown 4 years ago

Hola, Ms. Jewels!

I thought this hub was very well put together and thought out. I constantly ignore my body's need for exercise - and my food habits are deplorable. I will be medicated for the rest of my life because I suffer from something more severe than depression alone, but ALL of the things you touched on in this article are things that would MAKE MY MEDICINE MORE EFFECTIVE and make me feel better. Knowing I will be medicated for life is okay with me, but I want the smallest dosage possible that works - and every tip in this hub can help me achieve that goal.

Well done! :)


Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you for your comments Motown2Chitown. I appreciate the illness is very difficult and anything that makes our lives less heavy is worth trying in my book(s). People have made miraculous changes to their lives just by the simplest things. It takes will, though will can be a difficult trait during bouts of depression. I wish you all the motivation to have a better life experience.


etna5678 profile image

etna5678 4 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan

Dear Jewels, thank you so much for replying... What I am saying isn't much different from what you say. And I did notice the disclaimer :-) My point is that although many factors DO contribute to illnesses (all of them) and it would help the depressed individual tremendously to incorporate in their life a healthy set of habits, it is the title (premise) of "Tactics to get off medication" that I disagreed with. These methods will help a lot and may reduce the need for high doses of medication as Motown2Chitown says...it's a very useful hub. I only wish to stress on the NEED of medication for biochemical disturbances that have the main role in Depression. I actually wrote a hub on kicking off depression myself.. And I received many mails from people who thought they wouldn't need medication as soon as they started doing stuff I suggested.. (although i had mentioned the need of CONTINUATION of medication and the supportive role of my suggestions). That was scary.. !!! So now I make it a point to keep reminding everyone that medication IS the first line of action.


neeleshkulkarni profile image

neeleshkulkarni 4 years ago from new delhi

i think medication may be necessary in some extreme cases because there are biochemical disturbances but let us not forget that those were caused by thought processes and life styles and if this basic negativism can be reversed so can the bio chemical disturbances.

the tips given by you are excellent Jewels and they all hinge on one basic premise -TAKE CHARGE.The earlier we realize that WE are the key element in our lives and decide how we want to live it , we have taken a step to do away with depression all together.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia Author

Take charge - absolutely. Studies reveal there is now a link between disempowerment and obesity. And this same disempowerment is a major cause of depression. It's amazing the life and times we live in. So much control on many levels, loss of freedom. Chemistry aside (even though you can't take it out of the equation), an inability to DO and ACHIEVE for oneself which gives a level of pleasure is at the core of the malaise. Adding those tiny acts of will is part of pumping ourselves up to see our own worth, and feel what that feels like. And the meditation helps control those incessant negative thought processes. Thanks for your input neeleshkulkarni.


etna5678 profile image

etna5678 4 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan

I agree with everyone BUT a person who has fallen into depression will not be able to "take charge" without the push of medication. And THAT is the purpose of treatment. What everyone is saying is true but the truth will NOT help in illness. Once the biochemistry has changed the reversal will not be easy. Its a sad fact that falling into a pit is simpler than climbing out of it. As a supportive measure and as preventive care you guys are spot on!!


meloncauli profile image

meloncauli 4 years ago from UK

Good, interesting hub. Communication is vital to both preventing and halting depression. There is a tendency in most depressed people to clam up, go inside their shell and vegetate somewhat. Forcing yourself to 'do' even when you don't feel like it is a positive way forward.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia Author

I agree meloncauli, and it's very difficult to get any form of motivation to do, and so that forcing can feel counter to a sense of what the person is wanting - to be cared about, or at worst left alone. But sometimes tough love is required. Move regardless is helpful. Talking - yes yes yes.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I agree with you about exercise especially, my brother is a really bad depressive, and its only when I get him out walking, or down the gym that he starts to feel better, along with the other ideas it is possible to help yourself or others, cheers nell


Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for dropping in Nell. I think we also need to dance more. Maybe your brother would like to learn waltz. I say waltz because it's a dance where you have to actually touch someone else and the interaction is good for the soul.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I agree with all of this.. I was on all kinds of medication and I was like a zombie and I started eating right and working out and was around positive people.. and the next thing I knew I was off the medicine,,, and feeling great.. great hub here sharing on Facebook

Debbie

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