April 03, 2013 at 05:30 AM EDT
Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen Exposes Risks and Alternatives to Taking Medication for Depression on The Dr. Oz Show, April 3

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., April 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Depression can result from a myriad of causes and that's just one reason why taking antidepressants in large scale studies have been found to work no better than placebos, says Daniel G. Amen, M.D., bestselling author, board certified psychiatrist and founder of Amen Clinics, Inc. Dr. Amen appears on The Dr. Oz Show, April 3, to discuss the risks and alternatives available for depression, what he calls a "serious and individual condition."

Dr. Amen suggests the medical and psychiatric industry may be over-prescribing antidepressants and possibly doing more harm than good for many patients.

"I'm not anti-medicine, but I am opposed to the indiscriminate use of antidepressants. Many people go to their family doc and after a five minute office visit leave with a prescription for an antidepressant, a sleeping pill, and anti-anxiety medicine. No one has ever told them the alternatives, and that's just wrong. Plus in large scale studies, antidepressants were no more effective than taking placebos," said Dr. Amen whose clinics have logged more than 80,000 brain SPECT scans to understand depression and other brain-related conditions. SPECT stands for single photon emission computed tomography.

Dr. Amen says his first goal with treating depression is to "do no harm" to the patient's brain and obtain an accurate diagnosis that identifies what is causing the symptoms.

Risks to Taking Antidepressant Medication

  • High relapse rate within six months. Symptoms often return, creating a chronic, long-term path. Van Scheyen, J. Psychiatry, Neurologia, Neurochirugia 76 (1973):93-112.
  • Taking antidepressants can actually make the symptoms worse. Fava, G. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 64 (2003):123-33.
  • Taking antidepressants make it harder to qualify for insurance such as life, term, long-term care, disability and health insurance.

Alternatives to Taking Antidepressant Medication

Dr. Amen cautions that depression can have serious consequences, and treatment should be under the guidance of a board certified psychiatrist.

  • Get your blood work done, including thyroid checked. Many times depression is the result from another medical condition.
  • Establish "brain envy," a strong desire to improve the health of your brain.
  • Eat 70 percent plant-based foods, and 30 percent from lean protein.
  • Take fish oil that high in EPA, and other brain-directed supplements.
  • Get moving daily. Science has shown that physical exercise relieves depression symptoms.
  • Know your type. Dr. Amen has described seven types of depression, based on his brain imaging work.  

For more information about depression and treatment options, go to www.amenclinics.com

Amen Clinics, Inc. (ACI) has offices in Newport Beach, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York City. ACI specializes in the accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment of a variety of conditions. Dr. Amen is a physician, child and adult psychiatrist, and brain-imaging specialist. Dr. Amen has also authored more than 30 books, including his latest "Unleash the Power of the Female Brain."

CONTACT: David Jahr, 949-874-2667, djahr@amenclinics.com
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