LIFE DOCTOR

ONE IN 10 people suffers from depression and the numbers are rising. No wonder it's big business. Two new books have been published on the subject and they're both worth a look.

Lewis Wolpert is a scientist and sufferer. In Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy Of Depression, he likens depression to cancer - a normal function that spirals out of control. It is useful to realise that life is a pile of dung but unhelpful to believe you are at the bottom of it.

But Wolpert's exploration is strictly chemical and genetic. For a far more beardy view, turn to The Wisdom of Depression by Dr Jonathan Zeuss, published last week. His take is that instead of suppressing the symptoms, we should discover what our body is saying to us.

I wrote last year about a Newcastle psychologist who held the controversial view that anti-depressant dispensers should be placed next to the condom machines in pub toilets (well that's practically what he said) - that dung, in other words, is natural, but in our stress-filled E-numbered 20th century we need chemicals to restore the balance. Dr Zeuss agrees that modern life is unnatural but says there are many holistic options before you have to turn to drugs, especially since depression covers everything from despair to feeling a bit blue.

Dr Zeuss's advice is highly practical. Psychiatry may refute it but studies have shown that depression can be linked to vitamin B deficiency. One study, says Dr Zeuss, found that 53 per cent of psychiatric patients were deficient in vitamins B1, B2 and B6. So try a supplement and eat wholemeal grain and cereals. Or are you a vegetarian female on a diet? And depressed? Check out your iron levels before you reach for the Prozac. If the base of your fingernails or eyelids are pale, you may be anaemic. Eat offal. Vegetarians, take vitamin C with your watercress to aid absorption. Avoid sugar but not chocolate which is "thought to have anti-depressant effects".

Zeuss also covers light, sleep and self-healing. Even wearing sunglasses might lead to depression. (Now we know why celebrities are so moody.) And for those who favour complementary medicine, there's St John's Wort, components of which "cause a change in the number of serotonin receptors in the brain cells, much as does Prozac".

Dr Zeuss does, however, overlook that oft-forgotten victim of depression - the people forced to listen to their depressed mates. If you feel yourself being sucked under, here's my own suggestion: the "misunderstanding approach". A friend was despairing to a work colleague. "Oh, what's the point?" he said. To which the deliciously uncomprehending colleague replied: "A multiplex cinema in Reading". And walked off. My depressed friend laughed so much he felt better.

What to do if you're depressed:

1. Go to your GP first to establish if misery is endogenous (either biological, hormonal, etc) or reactive to circumstance.

2. Is it habitual, a learned reaction that you can unlearn with the help of a counsellor?

3. Do you have good reason to be depressed - unemployment, loneliness, etc? Small practical steps may help. Seek out positive activities - friends, a career counsellor, exercise.

4. Look at how and when you get into a bad mood. Being aware of your cycles will help to prevent them. One group of therapists banished Sunday blues by spending every Monday morning playing golf. It worked.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

    SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant - Global Leader - FTSE 250

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative

    £22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run school photogra...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - OTE £42,000

    £28000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a leading s...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map