Millions of stressed out Americans swallow pills daily in hopes that they will work some kind of magic and make their life a little easier, a little less stressed. They think that maybe this pill, that white powder, or these capsules will make them feel better once they dissolve in their stomach, enter the blood stream, travel to the brain that it will do something, do anything to relieve their present state of dis-ease.

Upper Cervical Care

While science has not determined the exact cause of depression, research has pointed towards a likely involvement of the brain stem and upper cervical spine in many mood disorders. In fact, the brain stem (whose lower portion is located in the uppermost part of the spine) is involved in the regulation and control of brain chemistry as well many other vital functions.

Even a mild concussion to the head, neck or upper back can increase the risk of depression. Studies show that depression is a common diagnosis in patients with whiplash, an injury that can directly affect the upper neck and lower brain stem. Following the trauma, mood disorders can be triggered immediately, or they can take months or even years to develop. Exciting new studies show “significant improvement” in depression test scores after specific upper cervical corrections. This noninvasive and safe alternative should be the beginning point for all who believe that they are suffering from depression.

Can anyone miss the heavy advertising on television of the various antidepressants? As you watch these commercials, note the careful language they use in suggesting that depression “may” be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Then they go on to tell you how the medication “can correct” this biochemical imbalance. Antidepressant pharmaceuticals is a multi-billion dollar industry, and what many Americans don’t know is that there has never been definitive research that proves that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The problem with the theory that depression is a consequence of a “chemical imbalance in the brain” is that depression can be both triggered by and resolved by life events. In fact, the relationship between brain chemistry and life experience is a two-directional phenomenon: Life experience affects brain chemistry at least as much as brain chemistry affects life experience.

A true diagnosis of major depression involves some combination of most of the following: inability to feel pleasure of any kind, loss of interest in everything, self-hatred or guilt, inability to concentrate or to do the simplest things, sleeping all the time or not being able to sleep at all, dramatic weight gain or loss, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Truly depressed people do not smile or laugh; they may not talk; they are not fun to be with; they do not wish to be visited. They may not eat and sometimes have to be fed with feeding tubes to keep then alive, and they exude a palpable sense of pain. Depression is a thing unto itself, an undeniably physical and medical affliction.

A Growing Trend

More that 17 million children worldwide have been prescribed psychiatric drugs; more than 10 million of these are in the United States. These drugs include addictive stimulants, antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs for educational and behavioral problems.

In 2003, the FDA approved Prozac® for treating depression in people 18 years and younger. However, reports of young people committing or attempting suicide while using the drug became too numerous to ignore. The following year, the FDA reviewed 24 studies and concluded that the drugs in question doubled the risk for suicidal behavior.

By 2004, the FDA ordered that the most serious alerts, called “black-box warnings,” be added to all antidepressant drug labels. This warning clearly states that antidepressants raise the risk of suicidal thoughts and hostile behavior in children and adolescents. In spite of the evidence and clear warnings, preschoolers are now the fastest growing age group taking antidepressants.

Health or Money?

David Healy, in Let Them Eat Prozac (NYU Press, 2004), calls it “a creation of depression on so extraordinary and unwarranted a scale as to raise questions about whether pharmaceutical and other health care companies are more wedded to making profits from health than contributing to it”.

Dr. Irving Kirsh, a University of Connecticut psychology professor had to use the Freedom of Information Act to extract startling information from the Food and Drug Administration. In over 50% of the trials used by the FDA to approve the six leading antidepressants, the drugs failed to outperform the placebo sugar pill.