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Natural Prozac: Learning to Release Your Body's Own Anti-Depressants Paperback – February 3, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Another book that seeks to help the depressed change their brain chemistry without medication, Natural Prozac divides such people into two types. "Satiation" types seek to boost their levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin to promote relaxation, calmness, and a sense of security, and often become uncomfortable in overly arousing situations. "Arousal" types, on the other hand, eat foods and participate in activities that boost norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters related to alertness, assertiveness, and aggression; such people would rather be anxious than bored. According to Robertson, one of the ways for each of these types of people to battle depression is to act against their instincts: when satiation types raise their "excitement" chemicals and arousal types raise their "calmness" chemicals, their brains come into better balance; while this may make them anxious at first, eventually they become tolerant of the higher levels. Robertson recommends a variety of methods for doing this--through diet, exercise, spiritual practices, and even music (songs by Bach raise serotonin, he says, while Springsteen's "Born to Run" boosts norepinephrine and dopamine). Although some readers may be uncomfortable with being pigeonholed into a category, those who agree that they fit one type or the other will find plenty of advice on what to do next. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

More than 21 million people worldwide use Prozac or other antidepressants. These medications alter levels of the brain chemicals that mediate mood. Brain chemistry can become imbalanced due to genetic causes, conditioned or learned patterns, or stressful or traumatic events. While medication often can change brain chemistry quickly and easily, up to two-thirds of depressed patients do not respond, experience harmful side effects, or need medication for only a short time. Perhaps more important, antidepressants do not affect the person's way of life, which often supports the imbalanced brain chemistry. Robertson, an expert in pharmacology, has treated depression for more than 20 years and here offers a drug-free approach based on altering brain chemistry with diet, behaviors, activities, and thoughts. His programs help the individual adopt certain behaviors and diets to restore harmony to brain chemistry. Only restoring the balance will ultimately cure depression. This comprehensive guide gives a new option to those suffering from depression and a wider understanding of the disorder's biochemical roots. Penny Spokes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (February 3, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062513540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062513540
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
As someone who has battled severe depression since late childhood, has a strong family history of depression/suicide, has read a lot on this subject, has seen a couple therapists, has tried several anti-depressants (60mg of Prozac right now is keeping me afloat but not improving), etc., my thoughts on this book are:
1) The theory behind this book dovetails with everything else I've read and experienced (not just about depression but about how behavior, diet, exercise, sleep, etc. impact metahormones and various aspects of health) and is argued persuasively. 2) The information is not just for people with mild depression; it applies even moreso to those of us who are severely depressed and therefore need to look deeper and work harder on the underlying issues that affect our brain chemistry and mood. 3) This book actually gave me hope, after almost 5 years of struggling against a major episode, including periods of not having the motivation to get out of bed or even to call someone to talk about it. It's the first book I have ever read that I could say that about, and I've read at least a dozen on depression. 4) The reason it gave me hope is two-fold: * I recognized myself utterly in his profile of the "satiation-depressed" personality down to the last detail, which gives me confidence he knows whereof he speaks, and * He supplies practical information on how to impact your brain chemistry over time--just as prolonged stress/trauma may have adjusted it to depressive chemistry--whether you're taking medication or not.
This is not a fad program, a money-making scheme, or bogus science. There is a test at the end of the book that you can submit for analysis for a fee, but it would only be necessary if you have a very unusual, intractable problem.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Annie O'Keefe on September 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have suffered from depression for 30 years. I have been through therapy and have been on and off antidepressants for all those years. Whenever I attempt to "go off" medication, I end up depressed again and feeling defeated. I had given up hope of ever getting off medication until I read Dr. Robertson's book.
I always thought that there must be a connection between what I ate and my depression but none of my therapists and doctors ever suggested anything other than talking and taking medication. Also, I am a Psychiatriac Nurse and work in a mental hospital. I see firsthand what drugs can and cannot do and also the serious side effects of those drugs. Drugs and talk therapy can control symptoms in most people, but they do not cure. You stop the drugs, the symptoms return. Dr. Robertson is saying is that WE CAN BE CURED OF DEPRESSION through a program of diet, exercise, behavior modification, music, and the acitvities we choose! I have never heard a doctor say that before. After reading Dr. Robertson's book, I am filled with hope. In layman's terms, he describes how what we eat does contribute to our depression and also our own behaviors. He also goes into the different types of personalities, basically Type A and Type B, Arousal Type and Satiate Type. I am definatly type B.
Please read this book if you are depressed or if someone you love is depressed. You will not regret it.
I am making a serious effort to follow his guidelines. I have stopped smoking, I do some type of exercise every day, and I am changing my diet. I feel great. I am going to follow these guidelines for 2 months and then go see my doctor and talk with him about tapering me off my medication.
I would love to talk with others who have read this book and found it as helpful as I have or who tried and were not successful.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
We're often inclined to look to medication to solve most health problems, including depression. While Robertson doesn't deny the value of the newer antidepressant drugs, he points out the side effects many experience on them, then suggests that natural mood boosters are worth considering to fight depression.
For example, he notes that complex carbohydrates naturally raise brain serotonin levels and feelings of well being. The complex carbs are superior in maintaining brain levels of serotonin more so than simple sugars (a candy bar, for example), because the complex carbs have long chains of amino acids that take longer to break down in the body, and thus provide a steadier stream of "feel good" nourishment.
He promotes exercise and sunshine as a way to feel better. I have tried many of his suggestions and feel he is on the right track. Even if you are already taking an antidepressant, you will likely find his suggestions helpful in beating depression. It's hard not to feel uplifted while on a walk on a sunny day, listening to a song that moves you, or eating food that truly nourishes you. Robertson reminds us not to ignore including these into our lives as mood boosters.
He asserts that over time, these better patterns of eating and living will change your brain chemistry as surely as a drug.
It's especially significant that he notes, in plain language, that sometimes sluggish depressed people may need dopamine (dopamine increases feelings of power), and overanxious depressed people may need more serotonin boosters. The book is basically about natural sources of each.
This book is a far cut above many "self help" books.
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