Depression is real, however, the treatment approach offered by the medical/pharmaceutical establishment is most often a prescription for a lifetime of dependence on expensive, mind-altering pills which make life bearable but numb the joy of living as well as the pain. Still, people are suffering, and an understanding of the root causes of depression and anxiety can go a long way in helping people to truly overcome them.
According to the research we have available to us today, the three most important contributors to depression and anxiety are poor diet, lack of sunlight, and spiritual anemia, a triad of factors that are not addressed with the consumption of antidepressants.
Mental health is greatly affected by the quality of foods we eat, and more research is leading us to understand that the digestive system in the human body functions as a type of the second brain, where emotional information is stored and processed. If the digestive system is constantly bombarded by inflammatory foods and the myriad chemicals in our environment, the system is incapable of performing properly and efficiently.
Under the umbrella of diet, a major factor in mental health is gut health, specifically the health of the microbiome of healthy bacteria that exists inside each of us, functioning as both a system of detoxification or a system of toxification, depending on its health.
Consumption of probiotic foods and supplements greatly enhance the health of the microbiota, while consumption of chemical-laden processed foods, GMO foods, exposure to chemicals such as glyphosate, and especially sugary foods serves to feed and increase the production of negative bacteria within the body, leading to poor mental health. A healthy is critical to a healthy mind.
Lack of Sunlight
Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly understood to be highly detrimental to mental health, as is highlighted in areas of the world with lower exposure to sunlight, such as the Pacific Northwest of the United States, where millions of people can expect to suffer from what is now known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a fact of life in many areas and is effectively treated medically with high dose supplementation of vitamin D.
“Research has shown having a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) can raise your risk for depression by as much as 85 percent, compared to having a vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/mL. A number of studies have also confirmed that adequate levels of vitamin D can help alleviate symptoms of depression. One of the mechanisms is thought to be vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties, which again hints at inflammation being a root cause of depression.” [Source]
Exposure to sunlight is crucial to sound mental health, for the body naturally produces vitamin D when it receives ample sunlight, however, there are many other benefits to receiving abundant natural light.
“According to a paper published in the journal Dermato Endocrinology, a large number of light-absorbing molecules (chromophores) found in the different layers of your skin absorb and interact with ultraviolet rays, producing a number of complex and synergistic effects.”[Source]
Perhaps the most important, yet most misunderstood factor in mental health arises from a sort of spiritual anemia, which is in part, a cultural malaise arising from a lack of interpersonal and cosmic connection in our technologically advanced modern world.
Evidence is mounting that profound spiritual experiences can turn depression and anxiety around in no time at all, and many forward-thinking researchers are exploring the effectiveness of psychedelic experiences which can be a surefire way to experience a direct connection to the infinite and cosmic nature of being alive and human.
Psilocybin mushrooms, or magic mushrooms, are the most talked-about psychedelic for quickly achieving stable mental health, although many other natural and synthetic substances are known to trigger the kind of spiritual experiences which can directly and positively impact one’s worldview, leading to a healthier sense of self and purpose in this world.
Ayahuasca, the Amazonian shamanic medicine, is revered for its ability to release past trauma and achieve a deeper understanding of the self. Iboga, a natural entheogen from Western Africa, is incredibly effective at treating depression and anxiety through a journey that allows one to meet and make peace with their own soul and their past. Additionally, chemicals like ketamine and ecstasy (MDMA) are also known to create an experience of connection and spiritual peace. All of these medicines are illegal in the United States.
It is estimated that some 15 million American adults are affected by depression and that some 40 million Americans are affected by anxiety. These outstanding statistics are shadowed by the disturbing fact that one in six Americans are on antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, and when drugs are prescribed to a patient, doctors commonly ignore contributing factors and causes of poor mental health, advising their patients to take pills as the main way to cope with poor mental health.
If doctors focused instead on the causes of poor mental health, offering sound advice on diet, advising people to get more sunlight, and most importantly, steered patients in the direction of spiritual wellness, our society as a whole would greatly benefit.