More than 15 million Americans suffer from serious depression, and it is estimated that globally some 350 million people are struggling with the challenging mental disorder. While the causes of depression are varied and largely unidentifiable, since the 1950s the pharmaceutical industry has been developing a broad range of antidepressants, and it now estimated that 8-10% of the American population is taking some type of antidepressants.
The problems with antidepressants are wide-ranging including addiction, costs, and a host of unfavorable side-effects including emotional numbness and even an increased risk of suicide. While antidepressants may very well help some people cope with the overwhelming effects of depression in the short term, pharmaceutical treatments do not cure depression.
Pondering the reasons for such a major increase in depression in our society over the last couple of decades, many have speculated that a combination of lifestyle, social disconnectedness in a technologically advanced society, lack of exercise, environmental pollutants, and increased consumption of nutritionless and heavily processed foods are to blame. Yet, medical science has been slow to fully acknowledge and recommend lifestyle changes to patients, often preferring the recommendation of pharmaceuticals.