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Up without Meds: Five lifestyle decisions correct your chemical imbalance so you recover from depression naturally, even when antidepressants have failed

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0980041903
ISBN-10: 0980041902
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Up without Meds began with the author's own recovery from forty-five
years of depression. Curious to learn whether science could explain
how he got over it, he reviewed studies for two years, and was surprised
to find that recent research didn't just explain it. The research predicted it.

The book cites more than five hundred studies pointing to lifestyle
changes as the most effective treatment for depression. Unlike
drug-company studies that pay researchers to come up with positive
results and often bury the research that goes against them, the results
cited here are from independent studies at top research centers, including
the Mayo Clinic, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Stanford, Johns Hopkins,
the University of California, and the University of Texas.

The research falls into several broad categories:

Statistical studies

Research that correlates the dramatic growth of depression in the U.S.
and elsewhere during the last sixty years with concurrent lifestyle
trends provides epidemiological evidence that lifestyle is the deciding
factor in depression as well as other diseases, including Type II
diabetes. If lifestyle problems are the cause, lifestyle changes are the
cure.

Treatment studies

Clinical studies have repeatedly demonstrated that even relatively
minor changes in daily habits consistently outperform drugs in
preventing depression.

Population studies

Groups of people who haven't adopted the American lifestyle suffer
far less depression than average Americans. Using the same
diagnostic tools psychiatrists use to spot mental disorders, researcher
Janice Egeland found that the Amish experience normal rates of most
mental illnesses but almost never suffer from clinical depression.
Mexicans below the border enjoy half our depression rate, but
become depressed precisely as often as native-born Americans do
after they move here and begin living like normal Americans.

Conduct your own study

When you make your first lifestyle change, you'll see evidence right
away that things are headed in the right direction for you. This in
turn will motivate you to take the next step, and the one after that
until your recovery is complete. Then you'll look in the mirror every
morning and see all the evidence you'll ever need that the lifestyle
approach is the one sure way to end depression.

About the Author

Myers works in oils, acrylics, water colours, pastels and inks. He is a charter member and Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Hugo Press (November 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980041902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980041903
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Reviewer Dr. Beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
In this book, author and depression sufferer Mark Myers argues for an alternate approach to treating depression. He suggests making lifestyle changes in five areas--increasing physical exercise, increasing sleep, improving diet, increasing social interaction, and decreasing harmful addictions--can naturally eliminate depression without the use of antidepressant medications, and he presents a compelling case describing how this approach worked for him.

Myers also attempts to present a scientific argument in support of his method; given this, he cites a plethora of research of studies. Unfortunately, these citations are not actually included in the book. At the end of the book, Myers notes that in the interest in keeping costs down, citations for the book are instead located on his web site. However, when I went to the web site, I was unable to locate the reference notes. Without the notes, it is difficult to evaluate the value of the research presented in the book and whether in fact there is truly evidence to back up the author's claims.

As a psychologist, I certainly have no argument with the basic premise of this book: most people who are depressed would in fact benefit from getting more exercise, sleeping more, eating better, increasing their social interactions, and decreasing their addictive behavior, and I think that Myers provides some practical strategies for how the reader can go about improving in these areas. However, I might have rated this book more highly if the citations were included and thus I could've evaluated for myself the research evidence referenced.
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Format: Paperback
UP Without Meds from Hugo Press in beautiful Taos, New Mexico where the author lives, is one of the most upbeat books about depression I've ever read. A Harvard graduate and former ad man with a flare for the positive approach, Mark Meyers introduces the novel idea that your natural state is buoyant and entirely within your control.

Meyers has done a thorough job of researching his subject and offers many fascinating insights and statistics. "This year about seventeen million Americans will experience at least one episode of major depression," he says. Concisely written in a conversational style, the book discusses the down-side of relying on medications, but doesn't recommend that you drop them if you're already on antidepressants. Instead, he says to stay on your meds while you gradually improve your lifestyle until you don't need meds anymore because you've solved the problem yourself.

Meyers identifies the basic causes of depression: sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, loneliness, unhealthy diet and some form of addiction whether it's caffeine, chocolate, alcohol or late night TV. He makes a case against high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and "the loan shark"--sugar. "Depression isn't a brain-chemical imbalance," he states. He admits genes probably have something to do with it, but insists that "...above all, unbalanced chemistry is your body's response to an unbalanced life."

Meyers shows you how to get an active, healthy life by following his five-point program. His arguments are convincing because he's his own guinea pig. Trapped in depression for 45 years, he finally found a way out by changing his lifestyle. UP WITHOUT MEDS makes you believe you can do it, too. Meyers is on a mission to make your life better--and his own. He offers personal one-on-one telephone coaching and support, and connections to live workshops and teleseminars to speed you on the road to recovery. [...]. Buy the book and pass it on to a friend!
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Format: Paperback
This is a powerful book for anyone dealing with depression arising out of breakdowns in lifestyle habits. If you follow Mark Myers' recommendations, you might be able to stay out of the therapist's office (although those are valuable places, too!) and away from medication (although there's a time for meds, as well).

In my own life I know the value of following Mark's recommendations. I know that when I get slack with one of the five lifestyle changes Mark talks about, the forces that keep a healthy life together start to weaken.

In my work with mentally challenged people, I tell my clients that if they become disciplined in the five lifestyle demands set forth in this book, their lives will go a lot more smoothly, their stress levels will be reduced, and they'll be happier and feel more in control of their lives.

They do make efforts to succeed where they can, and once they see the benefits of a lifestyle change, they stay with it. Sometimes they fall back, but that only teaches them the power of the change they had implemented. They do their best to retain the beneficial lifestyle change.

If the recommendations in this book help people with serious disorders of the brain chemistry (of course they remain under medical care and continue to take medications), how do you think the advice in this book might help you?

One awesome quality of this book is the index. I'm an index freak, somewhat, and this is one of the best indexes I've seen in all the books I've reviewed.
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