• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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The Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology is a non-profit New Jersey corporation.

Book covers in this column are Amazon-linked (off-site). The small percentage of revenues from the purchase of books from Amazon.com or any other source helps to support the not-for-profit activities of the AYCNP. Unless otherwise stated, all text links are on-site to AYCNP pages.

Books on Depression
and Depression Self-Help

Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think, by Dr. Dennis Greenberger and Dr. Christine Padesky

Mind Over Mood is a useful adjunctive self-help book for depression, in conjunction with professional cognitive behavioral therapy. It provides a useful framework to help clients learn how to beat depression, including major depressive disorder, as well as other psychological disorders or issues such as panic attacks, anxiety, and eating disorders. It can be especially useful in overcoming emotions such as anger, guilt, shame, and in improving personal relationships.

The book was written by two prominent clinical psychologists and is one of the top depression-recovery and self-help cognitive behavioral books out there at the present time. DrDen. nis Greenberger is on the Board of the Directors of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and Dr. Christine Padesky is coauthor of six books and an award winning member of the California Psychological Association. Mind Over Mood can be useful in fighting depression and in treating depression naturally.

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You, by Richard O'Connor

Overcoming depression: Richard O'Connor is a psychotherapist and author who compares depression to heart disease, stating that numerous factors can be responsible for moderate and clinical depression rather than just one cause. His book instructs the reader in overcoming depression. Some of these causes may be genetic, some biochemical, and others environmental.

O'Conner addresses another important aspect of causes and solutions for depression, our lifestyle and habits. O'Conner teaches a new set of skills than can help those with depression deal with the many interrelated factors that cause it, and in treating depression naturally. Both major depressive disorder and moderate depression can be helped with methods from Undoing Depression.

Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise, by Keith W. Johnsgard

Among natural remedies for depression and anxiety is regular exercise. That exercise is as effective as antidepressants is an understatement. Keith Johnsgard is an incorrigible 70-year-old active runner and writes this pragmatic and insightful book to passionately promote exercise as a means not only to cope with the challenges of the non-physical American lifestyle, but also to put fitness at the helm by advocating exercise as a natural treatment for depression.

Johnsgard instructs readers not only how to fight depression through exercise, but also presents qualitative studies proving its importance in elevating mood, highlighting its effectiveness when used along with talk therapy, and emphasizing that a combination of and exercise and therapy could offer a solution to those with moderate depression and and help for depression of all genres.

Potatoes Not Prozac, by Kathleen DesMaisons

In Potatoes Not Prozac, Kathleen DesMaisons advocates what is one of the best natural antidepressants today, rigorously regulated diet. Studies indicate that some mental health issues are remedied through nutrition. Kathleen DesMaisons is a firm believer of this, and based on her own experience with substance abuse, sugar addiction, and clinical depression she wrote the book Potatoes Not Prozac. She discusses how diet affects depression and alcohol addiction, and how sugar sensitivity and sugar addiction can escalate to depression as well as contribute to alcohol dependence.

Kathleen that one of the keys to overcoming moderate or clinical depression is keen attention to healthy lifestyle, and through a strict, balanced diet for depression.

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Mass Market by David D. Burns

In "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Mass Market", eminent psychiatrist David D. Burns, M.D. outlines the treatment of moderate and major depression without pharmaceutical drugs. The book was compassionately written to promote scientifically-proven coping mechanisms to deal with and circumvent thought patterns that lead to various forms of depression and anxiety, including clinical depression.

The methods proposed by Dr. Burns are designed to distance patients from self-destructive thoughts and bring them back to a positive outlook of life one day at a time, moment to moment.

"Feeling Good" is a No. 1 bestselling self-help book recommended by mental health professionals on how to address "the dark roots" of clinical depression. Burns helps the reader in this fascinating self-help guide to recognize the causes of mood swings, deal with self-destructive guilt, handle hostility and criticism, and overcome damaging over-dependence on the need for approval of others, among many other pertinent topics. The new version includes a comprehensive guide to antidepressants for depression, and an outline of available options for treatment of depression.

Living with Depression: why Biology and Biography Matter Along the Path to Hope and Healing, by Debora Serani

Award winning psychologist and psychoanalyst Debora Serani, Psy. D, in practice for 20 years, authored the book Living with Depression: Why Biology and Biography Matter Along the Path to Hope and Healing to explain clinical depression in the context of the patient's biology and personal experience with equal attention. To downplay one over the other is to overlook the balance of nature and nurture as major factors in finding the appropriate treatment of major depression.

Living with Depression provides a holistic and comprehensive approach to a clinical depression treatment that also contributes to a discussion concerning the stigma behind mental health disorders.

The Breakthrough Depression Solution: A Personalized 9-Step Method for Beating the Physical Causes of Your Depression, by James Greenblatt, MD

While anyone who experiences depression hopes for a complete remedy of their symptoms, whether that be major depressive disorder or a more moderate form of depression, adult psychiatrist James Greenblatt, MD believes that millions of people still can't find the prescription drugs to relieve them of their troubling symptoms.

Believing that clinicians should use alternative holistic methods that include natural treatment for depression, James wrote The Breakthrough Depression Solution: A Personalized 9-Step Method for Beating the Physical Causes of Your Depression. It highlights depression treatment for overcoming depression that capitalizes on each individual's biochemistry.

Physical factors should be in deep focus in fighting major depressive disorder or any other form of depression. Natural treatment for depression should address factors including as hormonal imbalance, nutrition, controlling and handling the levels of stress in one's environment, and genetics.

Listening to Depression: How Understanding Your Pain Can Heal Your Life, by Lara Honos-Webb

Lara Honos-Webb's book Listening to Depression: How Understanding Your Pain Can Heal Your Life is a powerful tool to enable readers in fighting depression. A psychologist, speaker and a mother, Honos-Webb wrote the book to dig into the core of clinical depression, and to lead those suffering with depression to healing Rather than numb your feeling, listen and respond to them. Don't run away, dig deeper.

Webb considers the symptoms of fatigue, negative feelings, listlessness, and feelings of worthlessness that often accompany major depression.

How to beat depression? She encourages the reader to reframe depression, thus providing a positive opportunity to better yourself. Depression can provide an opportunity to make positive changes in your life, that will last a lifetime, long after the depression has healed. Honos-Webb gives the reader tools for emotional healing, one among numerous natural remedies for depression and anxiety.

Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers,
by the AYCNP

Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers is an empowering 128-page book that gives parents and educators a comprehensive guide containing practical ideas on how to help children who are suffering with ADHD symptoms improve without stimulant drugs for ADHD.

Filled with recommended readings, proven methods and peer-reviewed references for alternative remedies for ADHD symptoms, this book should make it easy for concerned parents to address their children's ADHD condition. The book also addresses childhood depression as it relates to ADHD with insightful ideas and as well as a section on childhood depression from David Rabiner, PhD, head researcher on ADHD from Duke University.

"With a lot of thought and understanding of concern, "Overcoming ADHD without Medication" is an excellent read that should very much be considered by concerned parents." ---Midwest Book Review

Natural Prozac, by Joel Robertson

An excellent reference on depression and overcoming it without drugs, Dr. Joel Robertson is a practicing psychologist from Michigan, and author of Natural Prozac--along with Tom Monte, best-selling co-author of Recalled By Life. They wrote the book with the goal of providing a way to fight major depressive disorder, and to provide a natural antidepressant by getting to the roots of depression, and through lifestyle changes.

Dr. Robertson believes provides a safe, easy-to-follow, natural way to address what some consider to be the chemical imbalance of depression without the use of antidepressant prescription drugs. The main goal of the book beyond altering negative thinking, is to give each individual a lifestyle program that sustains chemically balanced mental health--naturally.

The Anti-Depressant Fact Book: What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Luvox, by Peter R. Breggin

Medical expert Dr. Peter Breggin, popularly known as "The Ralph Nader of Psychiatry", is the author of "The Anti-Depressant Fact Book: What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Luvox". He wrote it to document a transparent registry of the dangerous side-effects of antidepressants drugs. Dr. Breggin presents us with countless legal cases involving unethical use of psychotropic medicine for patients that could have benefited from natural remedies for depression.

This book provides enlightenment on how to fight clinical depression without drugs, why doing so is of value, and how the use of antidepressants can be dangerous or overall ineffective for individuals suffering with moderate and major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and other mental health issues.

Breggin presents the "other side of the coin" of the use of antidepressants, and while not all use of antidepressants leads to serious problems and antidepressant use does help some, at least temporarily, every drug has side-effects, sometimes serious, and antidepressants are no exception. Withdrawal effects of anti-depressant use, sexual dysfunction among up to 50% of those who take antidepressants, and the tendency for antidepressants to lose their effectiveness over time, are some of the many issues that Breggin addresses. Parents will be interested in the topic of antidepressants and teenagers.

Does the book fairly address all sides of the issue, pro and con? No. Breggin's position is definitely one-sided. However, his viewpoint does have support in scientific research, and does provide a position that is not as well-publicized as that of BigPharm, the driving force behind antidepressant marketing and overuse; it is a viewpoint, then, well worth considering.

Talking Back to Prozac, by Peter Breggin

Accomplished psychiatrist Peter Breggin wrote the book "Talking Back to Prozac" to organize a collection of insightful contemporary and in-depth data on the destructive tendencies and controversies behind these prescribed antidepressant treatments for depression, highlighting Prozac, as the major antidepressant of the era.

Breggin wrote the book is to uncover the flaws and what Breggin views as shoddy science behind the approval of many pharmaceutical drugs for public use. Breggin is an outspoken opponent of BigPharma, and he gathers evidence implicating FDA personnel paid to approve the drugs to the key players in the pharmaceutical drug industry, this book details it all in the most surprising ways.
Follow up book from same author

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs,
by Stephen S. Ilardi PhD

Stephen S. Ilardi, PhD, associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas, authored the book "The Depression Cure" to provide an analysis of depression in the past decade. He demonstrates how to find natural remedies for depression and anxiety, by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Stephen Ilardi particularly highlights how sleep deprivation and the frenzy of the busy lifestyles we lead can contribute to depression.

Ilardi provides a case study of aboriginal groups in Papua New Guinea as an example of lifestyles that are relatively depression-free. His clinically proven coping program is in use and is effective as a lifestyle-based, more natural treatment for depression.

Overcoming Bipolar Disorder Using Self-Help Methods: 33 Practical Ideas for Recovery, Remission and Prevention, by the AYCNP, Gabrielle Woods PhD (Editor), Dr. Laura Pipoly (Foreword)

Overcoming Bipolar Disorder Using Self-Help Methods provides tested and practical ideas in self-help that can improve symptoms, and help most with bipolar disorder to achieve remission.

It is produced and written by the Association for Natural Psychology, and is an insightful self-help guide with a lifestyle based approach in finding natural cures for bipolar disorder, or manic depression. The book presents an array of coping skills to help the reader make small but impactful lifestyle changes leading to mood stability and holistic recovery from bipolar disorder. (eBook)

Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time: The New Behavioral Activation Approach to Getting Your Life Back

Overcoming Depression One Step at a Time: The New Behavioral Activation Approach to Getting Your Life Back is written by Michael Addis and Christopher Martell, PhD presenting a reframed understanding of how to overcome depression, along with natural remedies to treat depression today.

The authors challenge the readers by asking them whether depression is symptomatic of lifestyle, recommending a change in lifestyle as a positive step towards beating depression. The book provides a list of strategies towards the right natural treatment for depression. Behavioral Activation Therapy is proposed, helping those suffering with depression to change their way of thinking and revive pleasurable feelings as a way out of depression.

All of the self-help books presented here promote a natural approach for beating depression, while avoiding the dangerous side-effects associated with antidepressant treatment.

Photo credits:

Woman's Face -Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nutritious Food - Image: winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Freedom Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Exercise Beach Image: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mother and Baby Image: healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Page updated: January 31, 2016

Natural Remedies for Depression and Anxiety
---------------------Self-Help for Depression and Anxiety

Overcome depression and anxiety without drugs
All-natural, positive steps for better mental health

This page has been edited and reviewed by Nisha Cooch, PhD, a research neuroscientist with expertise in medicine, neuroscience, biology, psychology, and pharmacology.

Mental health treatment without drugs: Self-help for depression and lifestyle changes can result in positive gains for most mental health disorders.
With lifestyle changes, developing coping skills, and some help
you can overcome depression.

Symptoms of disorders including depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, can be reduced through lifestyle changes and the development of an array of self-help coping skills.

Many mental health disorders may go into complete remission with the use of steps mentioned in this article. Such results require effort, time, and patience, but they can and have been accomplished.

Mental Health Facts and Statistics - Adults and Children

About thirty to thirty-five million people, or approximately 10% of the U.S. population, suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Children are being diagnosed with these disorders at an increasing rate. Accordingly, the number of children taking psychiatric medications has increased dramatically in several countries including the U.S., Britain, Australia.

Additionally, approximately 10% of all children in the U.S. are currently take prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. The decision about whether to medicate can be an agonizing process for parents. Empathy and compassion should be extended to anyone going through mental health problems. It is important to note that there is no single correct viewpoint or choice with regard to options in mental health treatment, self-help, or natural remedies for depression and anxiety.

What is Natural Psychology and Why?

There is evidence to suggest that pharmaceutical treatments for mental health are being over-prescribed and that some forms of mental illness are being over-diagnosed. Natural psychology refers to a non-pharmaceutical method of working through mental health problems. It is safe and effective.

Many positive outcomes can be accomplished with attention to self-help and lifestyle changes. This is written out of genuine concern and empathy. In the spirit of sharing, we sincerely hope that some of the material that is found in this site can be of help.

Self-help and Natural Remedies for Depression and Anxiety

Please consider some of the many options in professional therapies for treating mental health disorders beyond prescribed drugs. In Great Britain, doctors are known to prescribe self-help books to patients as a first-line defense strategy, with medication usually given as a secondary consideration.

Professional programs such as cognitive-behavioral therapy are proven to be as effective as anti-depressants for treating depression, and are also being used successfully for many other mental health problems such as anxiety disorder, OCD, and bipolar disorder. Read self-help books for depression, or whatever mental health issue you are facing. Become an expert. There are scores of self-help books of value with reasonable approaches to overcoming many mental health disorders. Choose the ones that you feel fit best to your situation, and eclectically incorporate the best ideas into your routine.

It has been reported that the use of psychiatric medications for both adults and children has increased between four and seven times in the past decade, indicating the increasing reliance on psychiatric drugs as a first-line treatment. This is proving to be true even for children as young as four years old (Olfman, S. 2006), (Sifferlin, A. 2013), (Elliot, G. 2006). Often, it is economic considerations and interests that skew the mainstream treatment choice of physicians, insurance companies, and of course, pharmaceutical companies towards drugs.

By contrast, lifestyle changes can help a person regain and maintain mental balance without resorting to medications or an adjunctive therapy while on medications, with the possible goal of weaning off anti-depressants or other psychiatric drugs. As our decisions cannot be relegated to a doctor, a family member, or another professional, making life changes takes self-initiative and courage.

Coaching for those with ADHD or depression can help with this mission. Coaches can even work with you on the phone, supporting you or your child by providing practical suggestions and encouragement. Coaches are less costly than therapists, and are used instead of a therapist or in addition to one. One mental health organization suggests that coaching can act as a first line of defense for those who do not want to see a psychologist or take medication.

Mental Health Solutions and a Long-term Approach

Keep a positive attitude. Lifestyle changes and self-help can lead to a permanent solution for depression and other mental health issues.

Listed are a number self-help principles and tools for good mental health, depression and other mental health issues:

Why a Non-Pharmaceutical Approach?

Lifestyle changes, mental hygiene, and physical exercise may provide insight into how to overcome mood disorders permanently. Additionally, consideration of past experiences that may still be effecting one's emotions can improve chances of overcoming mood disorders.

Self-help for depression and other mental health disorders is side-effects free.
Numerous side effects of antidepressants and psychotropic drugs, including new drugs and classes of drugs, can range from mild to severe.

Non-pharmaceutical approaches may be more effective and result in less adverse (or no) side effects. However, such approaches do initially take more time and effort for both patients and their physicians. These techniques also require patience and commitment on the part of family members, whose involvement in the treatment plan or counseling can be valuable. One psychiatrist stated that diagnosing the illness and prescribing what he felt was appropriate medication was easy. Helping people with family issues, employment issues, emotional issues, and lifestyle issues, however, was much more difficult.

Lifestyles Changes and Self-Help for Depression and Good Mental Health

It has been demonstrated that addressing lifestyle issues can improve coping abilities, and help individuals overcome many symptoms of mental health disorders, ranging from mild to more severe. Strict mental hygiene is something to which many patients need to give attention.

Mental Hygiene - An Important Aspect of Curing Depression
and Mental Health Self-Help

When we floss our teeth, we are surprised by how much food is stuck in between. Though our teeth may appear clean without flossing, daily flossing helps preserve the life of one's teeth. Similarly, the minds of adults and children need frequent "mental flossing." Mental flossing involves attention to what we are allowing into our minds.

The Mind Needs Rest

Our minds require rest. If you were to use a hair dryer for 24 hours each day, the hair dryer would burn out relatively quickly. The same is true with our minds. A person who is on the go constantly needs to find time to recharge his or her batteries. We need to get adequate natural sleep, not facilitated by pills or alcohol, for our minds to recharge.

By giving attention to lifestyle issues, one may also find his/her mental health gradually restored, and that one can learn to both cope with these problems and even see them go into remission over time. This isn't a miraculous overnight transition. It is one that takes perseverance and effort, and it might take some time to see significant differences in one's mood. But the end result may be a significant improvement or even a full and permanent recovery.

Exercise for good mental and physical health

When we think of lifestyle changes, we may imagine quitting drinking, smoking, or drug use. Such changes would benefit anyone's mental health. However, there are also many small changes that can make a big difference in an adult or child's mental health. For example, some have found relief from depression by maintaining an exercise regimen.

Exercise is better for depression than antidepressants.
Exercise for effective depression self-help. Its positive effects are good for both the short-term and the long-term.

A Duke University study concluded that brisk walking for exercise is more effective in treating mild to moderate depression than taking antidepressants, in both the short and long-term. The study demonstrated that not only was exercise more effective than antidepressants, it was even more effective than the combination of medicine and exercise. This proved to be true in both the short and long-term.

Regular exercise increases levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain and thus contributes to improved moods. These findings demonstrate that mood can be improved without manufactured pharmaceuticals.

Brisk walking or exercise is known to be a better and more long-lasting treatment for depression than that of medication (Duke University). Even if you seek professional treatment for depression, you should still work hard at self-help measures and lifestyle changes. Brisk walking and other forms of physical exercise are great self-help strategies for depression.

Physical exercise is good for you because:

  • It helps you to focus
  • It stimulates positive emotions
  • It contributes to positive self-worth
  • It helps stimulate endorphins and opiates in the brain, giving a natural sense of well-being
  • Its positive effects are long-lasting when continued
  • It improves physical fitness and stimulates the heart
  • It contributes to weight loss
  • It can give the mind time to rest (try to walk or engage in exercise without listening to music to give your mind a rest)

Other forms of exercise also help. Henry, a man in his 60s who has experienced moderate depression for a number of years and overcame it, takes no medication. Instead he swims three or four times a week. He says it is the only thing that keeps him out of depression and away from antidepressant treatment.

Give attention to diet and engage in mind-strengthening activities for the prevention of mental health disorders and to improve symptoms of depression.

A healthful and balanced diet can make a difference in depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and many other mental health disorders. Attention to nutrition is positive mental health and depression self-help!
Utilize a healthful and balanced diet for a positive improvement in depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and many other mental health disorders. Attention to nutrition is positive mental health and depression self-help!

Regular, healthful meals with low sugar and balanced nutrition, as well as regular healthful breakfasts improve mental health and relieve some symptoms of depression. Foods to avoid are: sugar, sodas, cakes, candies, ice cream, deep-fried foods, white bread, white rice, butter (or ghee). Replace such foods with: fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, whole wheat bread, and whole grain rice.

Mind-Strengthening Activities

Additionally, engaging in mind-strengthening activities can do much for positive long-term gains in one's mental health. "Mental hygiene" is a term that has been coined by psychiatrists, and is something many need to give attention to in order to restore mental balance.

A definition of mental hygiene in modern medicine refers to the "branch of psychiatry that deals with the science and practice of maintaining and restoring mental health, and of preventing mental disorder through education, early treatment, and public health measures" (American Heritage Medical Dictionary. 2007). In the context of this discussion, it refers to preventive and restorative measures initiated through self-help or recommended by mental health professionals.

Just a little bit of sand in the engine of a car can render it inoperable. Ship owners regularly spend large sums of money to clean barnacles from their ships to keep the ships running smoothly. Like cars and ships, the mind is sensitive. It doesn't take much "mental sand" for some to experience mental health problems. By keeping our minds clean, we can prevent mental disorders. For example, avoiding violence in the media (movies, TV, video games) and pornography can improve the mental health of individuals of all ages.

Talk Things Out, Write in a Daily Journal, Create Poetry, Develop Spiritually

Talk things out with a good listener or a trained professional, which can be of value for relief from emotional or psychological burdens. Such burdens may arise from childhood trauma, spousal abuse, or other emotional turmoil. Whether talking to a therapist or psychologist, a friend, spouse, minister, or teacher, discussing emotional wounds can provide a path to repair. Specifically, by encouraging the organization of one's thoughts, such discussions can promote mental and emotional balance, and contribute to self-insight.

Another mode for organizing one's thoughts is writing in a journal. Like discussing issues, writing about them provides good self-help for depression and other mental health disorders. Journaling can clear one's mind of "clutter."

  • Keep a journal. It can be cathartic and help organize the mind.
  • Write poetry It can also be something of a creative catharsis as well as a tool for building self-esteem
  • Pray regularly. It can help to build inner strength, contribute to inner peace, and raise personal esteem-leading to balance
  • Similarly, attend to spiritual needs in a balanced way, which can contribute to better mental health
  • In addition to mental, emotional, and physical considerations, humans are also spiritual beings. Our mental health is tied up in our spirituality, and spiritual hygiene is vital in maintaining mental balance. It takes much effort to be aware of our spiritual needs and to fulfill those needs. Some have found daily Bible reading to be a strengthening aid.

    Randy, a young adult who suffered recurring panic attacks, stated that prayer was helpful in overcoming his anxiety disorder. Prayer can also be helpful for depression and bipolar disorder because it can be a valuable source of strength, guidance, and comfort. Prayer in this context refers to speaking openly or communicating with God about one's problems and asking for help. (See page: Spirituality, a Vital Key to Good Mental Health - on-site). While this page approaches the subject of prayer from the perspective of a personal deity, it recognizes that there are many other ways that individuals approach spirituality.

    Preventive Medicine, Depression Self-help and Natural Psychology Solutions

    Dr. George Albee was former president of the American Psychological Association and professor emeritus at Vermont University until his death in 2006. He advanced the idea that the roots of mental illness lay in the social structures and pressures, stresses, and traumas that people have experienced. At a time when psychiatric medications were becoming widespread, he taught and wrote extensively about how medications were not the answer to mental illness. He especially felt that children should never be prescribed psychiatric medications.

    The widespread use of of medicinal treatment in psychiatry is a relatively new practice. The first true psychiatric medications that were extensively used were developed in the 1950s, and it wasn't until theThe widespread use of medicinal treatment in psychiatry is a relatively new practice. The first true psychiatric medications that were extensively used were developed in the 1950s, and it wasn't until the mid to late 1950s that thorazine, a psychotropic or typical antipsychotic, was used in psychiatric hospitals.

    Since that time, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different psychiatric medications have been developed. Medicines such as barbiturates and amphetamines, developed in the 1930s, started to be used more frequently in the late 1950s and 1960s.

    Children, Mental Health Disorders, Child Abuse, and Prevention

    Children are being bombarded today with overwhelming family, social, and media issues. Family life has deteriorated for many. Because children thrive on love and attention, they need the support and love of a father and mother. Up to 50% of children in the U.S. will be without one or the other parent at some time in their lives.

    Additionally, some children are abused by a parent. An estimated one million U.S. children experience some form of child abuse or neglect each year, which is described as only "the tip of the iceberg" (Gillespie, C., Nemeroff, 2005). One news report puts the percentage of children who experience some form of child abuse in Brazil, as one example, at 25%, with 5.6% of Brazilian girls experiencing sexual abuse (Bassani D., et al. 2009).

    Other countries show similar trends. In some Asian countries (India is one), the percentage of child abuse soars to 53% according to a 2007 report, Study on Child Abuse - India 2007, conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development - Government of India. Current statistics indicate that about 4% of men in high-income countries to more than 40% of women in parts of Africa have been victims of child abuse throughout the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) (WHO. 2009).

    Child abuse can lead to emotional wounds and mental health disorders not only for the children, but for adults who have been abused as children (Gillespie, C., Nemeroff, 2005). Love, support, and gentleness are keys to healing the mind and emotional wounds of children who have been abused.

    Self-help and the Importance of Self Esteem

    Self-esteem is a vital component of a healthy mind. When we see tangible results of our own work, it helps build healthy self-esteem. Mind-strengthening activities can help. Doing good things for others helps us build positive feelings about ourselves. Creative endeavors also are of help in building self-esteem. Avoiding self-destructive behavior and having a regular job also build a positive sense of self-worth. Choosing associates who are a source of strength rather than those who might be engaging in actions that are self-destructive (such as drinking excessively or taking drugs) is also of value.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy, which can also be considered from a self-help perspective, helps individuals get away from an all-or-nothing mode of thinking. We all make mistakes. Many people are wounded from the past and present. We need to accept our failures, mistakes, and shortcomings and work to overcome them. We should not self-flagellate for past or present problems. We need to accept God's mercy and look to Him for help. We need to learn to be merciful both to others and ourselves, and realize that that is how God looks at things; God is there to help, not to condemn.

    One high school teacher in a New Jersey public school talks openly to students about God, and when she counsels them in a professional setting, she encourages them to look to God or to someone higher than themselves: "You need someone bigger than yourself," she says, "to get out of the problems that you are in and to cope with them." Those that follow this advice, she says, are twice as likely to succeed. We need to accept love and mercy, and try to do the best we can; if we do our personal best, then we are doing well. And this goes for those suffering with mental health problems, as well as the parents and family of those who suffer.

    "Don't think of doctors as God," was one suggestion on the National Resource Website for CHADD (for ADD and ADHD). In other words, we have to take charge of our own lives and make informed decisions. Parents need to do this if their children have mental health problems. Much can be accomplished on the home front. Attention to spiritual needs, learning to have a balanced view of yourself, accepting and forgiving yourself, working towards improvement, and learning to be happy with every small positive step forward are big steps in self-help for depression and for good mental health in general.

    Art has value in mental health therapy

    Art is a form of recreation and, much like a tranquilizer, can help calm the mind. Particularly if engaged in regularly, art can help stabilize the mood of those with bipolar disorder and those with ADHD because it helps one establish new thought patterns. It can thus be thought of as a natural mood stabilizer.

    Art can be of value in strengthening the mind, and provides both children and adults with a healthy form of recreation. It can be a positive force especially when replacing less healthy forms of recreation like watching TV, movies, pornography, or playing video games. It can also be a tool for building self-esteem, and can be a peaceful healing tool for those who may have suffered from abuse.

    Love is an essential element of good mental health

    Love is an essential element of good mental health.
    The giving and receiving of love, is an important aspect of good mental health and recovery from depression.

    Both the giving and receiving love are essential components of human emotional needs. Any time that we spend in giving of ourselves to help other people can help us have fulfilling and happier lives and can contribute to healthful thought patterns.

    Earnest effort is need to recover from mental health disorders and difficulties.

    It takes much effort for educators, parents, and doctors to work together to protect children and teenagers from potentially destructive influences, and to provide home and school atmospheres that give a child the love and peace required for good mental health. It also takes work for adults to learn new lifestyles or habits that can contribute to better mental health. Breaking free from lifestyles and habits that contribute to mental health problems, including depression, can be difficult and take a great deal of determination, and at times professional help. But it is well worth the effort.

    Whether or not a person with depression or any other mental health disorder decides to take psychiatric drugs or not, self-help is a very important part of successful recovery. Educate yourself on self-help methods for whatever mental health issue you are dealing with, and your chances for successful recovery will be more certain.

    We sincerely hope that this information will help achieve a better success ratio with the treatment of mental health disorders for both adults and children in this rapidly changing world.

    References for Natural Psychology page

    1. Bassani, D., Palazzo L., Beria J., Gigante, L., Figueiredo, A., Aerts, D., Raymann, B. (2009 May 11). Child sexual abuse in southern Brazil and associated factors: a population-based study. Public Health.
    Statistics based on a survey of 1040 households indicate that 5.6% of girls and 1.6% of girls are sexually abused in Brasil. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19432975

    2. Elliot, G. R. (2006). Medicating Young Minds: How to Know If Psychiatric Drugs Will Help or Hurt Your Child. New York: Stewart, Tabori and Chang.
    "Treating a child with drugs before it's clear what is going on is worse than not treating a child at all. Let's face it: We are experimenting on these kids without tracking the results." -Glen Elliott, M.D., Ph.D. (it added)

    3. Gillespie, C. F., MD, PhD, Nemeroff, C. B., MD, PhD. (2005, October). EARLY LIFE STRESS AND DEPRESSION - Childhood trauma may lead to neurobiologically unique mood disorders. Adults with a history of child abuse or neglect may respond differently than other depressed patients to the usual treatments. Current Psychiatry. Vol. 4, No. 10.

    4. Global Health Risks. 2009. World Health Organization (WHO).
    https://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_part2.pdf https://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/global_health_risks/en/

    5. Olfman, S. (2006). No Child Left Different. Westport, CT: Praeger.

    6. Sifferlin, A. (2013). Fewer Drugs Being Prescribed to Treat Mental Illness Among Kids. Time.
    "From the early 1990s to the early 2000s, the number of young children on psychotropic drugs, which include anti-depressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety agents, increased by two- to three-fold." This includes "preschoolers" [generally ages 4 and 5], according to the article. The headline of this article is misleading in that it reports on a study that indicates that the number of children being prescribed psychiatric drugs is now stable (not decreasing), but that it is not increasing dramatically as it had been until around the year 2009.

    "more than one in five specialists who diagnose and recommend treatment for preschoolers with ADHD turn to drug therapy first, either alone or in tandem with behavior therapy." (Monetary considerations are noted as the primary reason why doctors rely heavily on drug treatment rather than other therapies).

    7. Study on Child Abuse - India 2007. (2007). Ministry of Women and Child Development - Government of India. https://wcd.nic.in/childabuse.pdf

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