Prozac Nation No More

Prozac Nation No More? An interview about alternative treatment for depression, trauma and PTSD.

Do we really need Prozac? James Gordon, founder of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., says there’s a better way to treat depression—through diet, exercise and meditation. Roll your eyes all you like. He’s used the approach for 35 years with a wide range of patients, from runaway children and middle-class adults in Washington, D.C., to victims of war in Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Wow…diet, exercise and nutrition…what I’ve been saying ever since I started this blog…and in Newsweek….how refreshing. And that he’s using it with trauma victims too is quite exciting.

The interview in Newsweek profile’s the author of “Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression,” James Gordon. His program sounds interesting and promising. He doesn’t trash antidepressants but I get the feeling he’s being diplomatic. The interview ends with a caution about withdrawal which is wise:

So are you saying that people should throw out their Prozac?
No, the bottom line is that there is another way. Don’t quit cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms can be very serious, including anxiety and agitation. Some people get more depressed. They may have headaches, difficulty sleeping, muscle cramps. You can begin the “Unstuck” approach while taking the medications. When and if you feel ready to stop taking the drugs, work with a physician who can help you gradually taper off.

That suggests to me he’s being pragmatic…dont’ throw the Prozac away…withdraw from it safely and slowly. Then deal with your life.

16 thoughts on “Prozac Nation No More

  1. I used to be skinny and gained 50 lbs on Lexapro. I lost about 30 of it since but am now beginning to deal with the way my body is. Although I’d like to change it.

    Btw – I’ve always hated the word “fat.” But I’m getting used to it now because my husband is tall and just under 350 lbs. He will occasionally refer to himself as fat. I call him “large.” I guess I’m being PC.


  2. I remember you Kelli!!

    Congratulations on all your thrilling news!! I’m so happy for you!

    Yes, keeping blood sugar stable is very important for me too. I eat every couple of hours…little meals.

    You seem to have found the right combination of wellness activities for you…

    I’m so pleased for you! Another success story!

    If you ever feel inclined to share your story in writing I post success stories.

    Congratulations again!

    and gaining weight to have a baby is indeed fabulous…


  3. Oh! And as far as the weight issue, I gained 40 pounds when I was on Lexapro. Was able to lose most of it after coming off Lexapro and going on Lamictal. Being pregnant now, I am sure I will gain that all back! And that’s fabulous!


  4. I left a comment months and months ago about coming off of Lamictal. I was on some sort of psych med for 15 years. I am currently 6 months medication free and 3 months pregnant! I FIRMLY believe there is truth to the benefits of diet, exercise, and meditation. Meditation for me is my relationship with God. I also have found it very necessary to pay attention to my blood sugar level and to the amount of sleep. I check in on your blog often! Thanks!!


  5. “Depression is not the end stage of a disease process but a wakeup call to examine our lives.”

    Isn’t that beautfiul Jim. I love it!! It’s what I practice every day now…though in general I’m not depressed, I certainly have a lot of reason to examine my life, though…

    As Thoreau said…the unexamined life is not worth living!!


  6. I have decided if I am going to be overweight, it is going to be good, healthy, organic food that makes me fat.

    I’m with you there and that is all I put in my body…


  7. Yeah, the fat issue is a hard one. There are definitely more overweight people today than there were 30 years ago. The ringer-bear tuxedos have had to be made larger in the last five to ten years. (These are little boys!) Teenage girls used to be embarrassed to let their fat bellies (muffin-tops) show. Now everyone does.

    I have mixed feeling about it. I am happy people are NOT embarrassed about their bodies, but on the other hand it doesn’t take too much detective work to see what people are eating is no good.

    Treats at movie theaters used to be 8 ounces of pop with a small bag of popcorn. Now it is a bucket of oil soiled popcorn with a quart of pop.

    Also the additives in our foods are making people crave more food.

    I have decided if I am going to be overweight, it is going to be good, healthy, organic food that makes me fat.


  8. Thanks for showing us this excellent article. I like where the article says, “Depression is not the end stage of a disease process but a wakeup call to examine our lives.” That summarizes my belief. A young person at an NA meeting once said, “depression is confusion.” That idea fits me. Often I get depressed when I need to make a decision or change my life and/or my dreams. Sometimes, we have to change or just drop our dreams. I think one job of a professional is to help us sort things out and help us identify our options. Sometimes, it is hard to see that we have any options.

    As for the weight gain, count me as another person who was turned into a fat slob after gaining 100 pounds with meds. By the numbers, I’m supposed to be overweight, but I easily out perform kids 1/3 my age on aerobic machines. The other day, I burned up 400 Calories in 20 minutes on an elliptical machine. A few weeks ago, I walked to and from the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in 1.5 hours when 2-4 hours were recommended. Actually, as I think about it, I’m supposed to weigh less than 180 pounds, but I finished many marathons above that weight with decent times–about in the middle of the pack.

    I have to admit though that I’m heavy because I do eat too much. I especially love the bad foods with high fat and sugar content. We can all probably be a little heavy if we do some regular exercise. My website has a lot of information about the value of exercise in fighting depression–I summarized a number of studies.

    Jim S


  9. Oh Dear Jazz,
    I knew you meant nothing by what you said, that you are not at all prejudiced in that way…I’m sensitive to the issue because I follow the politics of fat…that’s all…there is a whole world of fat politics out there and I’m sensitive to the issues

    The response was not targeted at you but for potentially ignorant people when it comes to the issues of fat, for which there are many…

    I would never expect prejudicial statements from you and I didn’t think of it that way at all—I just took the opportunity to talk about another issue near and dear to my heart…


  10. Oh, gosh, Gianna, I didn’t mean that the way it came out! I sure know we’re not all to blame…I put on 60 lbs on meds, and I’m still struggling to get it off…and I didn’t eat that badly while on meds, either.

    It’s a touchy subject, because while there are plenty of people who really should heed their doctors’ advice, there are plenty more who are doing everything they can and the weight still doesn’t come off. I guess that wasn’t a good example…sorry if it pushed anyone’s buttons. I was just trying to point out that a lot of people would rather take a pill than do the hard work of getting to the bottom of their issues…


  11. Gianna- Thanks for sharing the article it is great that it is in Newsweek. It is always good to hear support for healthy ways of healing. I hope it gives light to mainstream folks with it being in Newsweek. It opens the doors to active debate about meds and wellness? Annie


  12. Lots of people never had weight problems before psych meds and I’m one of them…

    I was an avid athlete. I resumed my athletic activities after gaining 90 lbs on psych meds…I was a fitness freak working out 3 hours a day and could only lose 40 lbs of that 90 while eating as healthy as humanly possible…

    Since I’ve been withdrawing I’ve not been able to maintain that sort of fitness regime so I gained most of the weight back…not all…

    I feel better when I’m thinner myself (physically) so I do hope to lose a good part of this weight once the withdrawals are over, but I’ve been heavy for so long I don’t know that my body will know how to be thin…bodies do have a sort of programming about them…but again since mine is drug induced I do hope to lose it.

    What I keep in mind though, is that when I was working out 3 hours a day…I was in damn good shape but still fat by societies standards…we just shouldn’t assume people are horrible eaters or lazy when they are fat…

    And I’ll be happy to be in good shape regardless what my weight is…it’s part of my self-acceptance pledge…I’m not gonna get hung up on weight…I’m gonna get hung up on having a good healthy heart that can take me on all day hikes in the mountain again!!

    For now I walk and do light yoga..

    Healthy at Every Size is a philosophy that is wise…(HAES) Not everyone can be a size 6.


  13. Gianna,
    Thanks for the heads-up on this article. It’s a truly important contribution and might make some psychiatrists rethink their position, and some consumers rethink theirs.

    Personally, I never had a weight problem before taking psychiatric medication, and then it became difficult to take it all off. But…I’m on a Reunion Diet (just kidding, but I’m losing weight in anticipation of my 40th high school reunion), and it’s been a huge motivator.

    Although, since I’m a lapsed athlete, it’s great to be getting in shape again. I walk around the neighborhood park, and swim laps in a local community college pool. Can’t wait to get in better shape so I can play tennis without needing oxygen (just kidding) and table tennis.

    Oh…and I did take my first surfing lesson on my 55th birthday.



  14. Hey,
    I’m obese and I eat damn well and not too much either…in fact I eat less than a lot of thin people I know and better too.

    I know Americans eat like crap but it should also be known that not all obesity is caused by eating like a pig and being slovenly and lazy…even among those who are obese who have not been on psych meds…

    Some people eat well, are healthy and are also fat….

    I’m a bit of a fat acceptance activist too!! I run around the “fatosphere” as well as the mental health blogosphere.

    Not all fatties are to blame for their fat…and many fat people are healthy.

    I’m sure you aren’t a bigot, but I want to make that clear to people who are fat-phobic…

    Again, people can be healthy and fat—something that is scientically supported but not publicized in the media…

    of course there are limits to just how fat someone can be, but run of the mill fatties like me can be and often are very healthy—


  15. Interesting article, Gianna! It just reinforces what I’ve come to believe, too. It’s going to be a hard sell to the public, though, when taking a pill is so much easier. Look how long doctors have been telling us to eat right and exercise…and we still have an “obesity epidemic”.


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