[3 depression book reviews] Anatomy of an Epidemic, A Mind of Your Own, The Gaps Syndrome

April 20, 2016

All three of these books are related.
And important reads.

My interest in these books came from trying to decode depression issues.

These authors look at different pieces of the mental illness puzzle.

Robert Whitaker talks about the problems and lack of scientific proof with the prescription medication model. How we are medicating ourselves more than ever and yet mental illness keeps rising. How the brain chemical model has not been proven yet everyone believes in it.

Dr. Kelly Brogan and Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride explain how depression is an inflammatory gut disorder and can be healed using diet.

The premise is that depression is not a disease (like diabetes) but rather a symptom of other issues in the body, mainly gut. And that depression is not an issue with low serotonin, dopamine or other brain chemicals as mainstream doctors and pharmaceuticals claim.

My analogy is that if your apartment stinks, it’s not because you have a lack of febreeze problem. It’s because dirty dishes need to be washed and garbage thrown out. And maybe the moldy stinky carpet needs to be replaced.

If you’re going to buy just one book, I recommend The Gaps Syndrome. And at least listen to the youtube/podcast interviews with the other two authors. I do recommend buying all three though if you’re serious about understanding the mental illness issue.

Anatomy of an Epidemic – Robert Whitaker (2010)
Robert, a science writer, tries to figure out a puzzle.

Psychiatric drugs are supposed to cure depression and other mental illnesses. More people are medicated now than ever before. Yet, mentally disabled people have tripled over the past two decades. How could that be?

Everything I’ve researched over the years dealt with a serotonin or dopamine imbalance in the brain. Even my doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists talk about depression being a brain chemical imbalance.

He sorts thru the scientific literature and comes to the conclusion that prescription psych drugs do more harm in the long term than good. And that the biological theory of mental illness has never been proven. ie: Depression is not caused by a brain chemical imbalance.

Pretty wild.
I had no idea this book existed all these years! I’m only a couple chapters into the book but I’m sold on the idea. You can watch his youtube talks to get a gist.

A Mind of Your Own – Dr. Kelly Brogan (2016)
I heard about Robert Whitaker’s book thru this one.

Kelly Brogan has a degree in cognitive neuroscience, and is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine. Her profile says she is one of the only doctors in the nation with these qualifications. So she has the science creds to back her up.

This book is aimed primarily at women but is applicable to men as well. I bought it because it popped up on my amazon recommended list and I thought, what the hell. I’ve read every other depression book, so might as well try another one.

The main points being:
Depression is not a disease, but a symptom of something else wrong in the body.

Depression caused by low serotonin in the brain is not true.

The leading edge research says that depression is a gut issue. Bad gut bacteria, not enough good bacteria, inflammation, poor diet, etc.

She offers a clean diet, and other holistic models to help. Meditation, sleep, exercise, supplements, detoxing, staying away from toxic household chemicals, etc.

The Gaps Syndrome – Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (2010)
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Meaning, psychological problems (autism, dyslexia, depression, schizophrenia, adhd, add, dyspraxia) are caused by gut issues.

Written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist and neurosurgeon from Russia, currently practicing in the U.K. Has a degree in medicine, postgraduate degrees in neurology and human nutrition.

Her kid had autism and learning disabilities. She noticed that all other autistic kids also had digestive issues. Same goes for kids with add, adhd, etc.

She notes that she has yet to meet an autistic kid who does not have digestive issues. The all have gut issues. Bad gut bacteria. Lack of good gut bacteria. Inflammation, unhealthy immune system, leaky gut, etc.

Her child is now fully recovered thru the GAPS protocol. The cure is to fix the gut.

She then offers her GAPS diet, feeding the gut with healing foods slowly in different phases. Think of bone broths, raw egg yolks, meat soup, fermented food, low fiber food, glutamine, etc. Once the gut heals, other food are introduced.

The GAPS Diet is a derivative of the SCD (Specific Carb Diet), used to treat all kinds of bowel diseases.

Postscript:
I also wanted to tell you how I discovered these three books after suffering from terrible digestive issues, and how changing my diet & working on my gut helped my depression issues. But the post became way too long, so I’ll save it for one of the next podcasts.

Resources:
Anatomy of an Epidemic
A Mind of Your Own
The Gaps Syndrome