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Ashwagandha can Help Anxiety, Stress and Thyroid Health

For anyone dealing with irregular stress or anxiety, you’re not alone. Stress can change the projection of the day and impact how we are feeling internally. Whenever I am dealing with a significant amount of change or learning something completely different from what I’ve done in the past, my stress level increases which leads to unwanted anxiety. The intensity of the anxiety can leave me feeling very uncomfortable and also affect my digestion. The result of stress and anxiety has a number of complex outcomes that are more negative than positive.

I am not a doctor or medical professional, but one thing I have recently tried that has helped with my anxiety and stress levels is using the ancient herbal supplement, ashwagandha. I purchased Physician’s Choice Ashwagandha and have seen gradual improvements. Of course, you’ll want to do your own research to make sure it’s the right fit for you but I wanted to share the many benefits of ashwagandha and how it’s helped with my stress and anxiety.

First off, ashwagandha has been around for over 4,000 years and traces its roots from the Indian subcontinent region including Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Ashwagandha also has roots in various regions of Africa. Because of its many health benefits, ashwagandha has become a positive and healthy choice for a variety of health issues.

I am a firm believer that most forms of pain and inflammation are rooted in the mind and how we deal with a situation can take a toll on our body for better or for worst. I’m also a huge advocate for trying natural remedies over pharmaceutical drugs that can have other side effects to offset the initial pain or issue.

Improved Thyroid Health

Several months ago I was doing research on how to improve overall thyroid health; whether a person is dealing with a hyperthyroid, which is an overactive thyroid or hypothyroid, an underactive thyroid gland, studies supported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information show that there are potential health benefits in taking this herbal root. Because there is limited research on the longterm effects, I would encourage everyone to do their own research and take in moderation.

After one of my close family members had gone for a health checkup after having dealt with high blood pressure, irritability, hair loss, dry skin and coughing issues, a blood test and ultrasound check-up resulted in identifying an irregular thyroid. As soon as I had found out about my family’s health issue, I was motivated to learn about the imbalances of an irregular thyroid (hypothyroid in this case) and natural ways to improve overall thyroid health. I had purchased ashwagandha herbal supplements from Amazon through this link: and over time their health progressed. There were other changes to their diet that had also helped get them to a positive state and back to a regular and healthy thyroid, but I am a strong believer that the ashwagandha supplements were a key supporting ingredient.

Relieves Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

This ancient herbal root helps activate the endocrine system which is made up of glands that produce hormones that help regulate a variety of areas within that body that include your overall mood, sleep patterns, metabolism, reproduction, growth and so much more. One of these hormones, cortisol, is a stress hormone that under stressful situations, gets imbalanced. Ashwagandha has been shown to help regulate cortisol and as a result in these times of imbalance, it has proven to help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

I recently started taking ashwagandha pills after learning about its many health benefits, not remembering at the time that it also helps with reducing stress and anxiety. After relocating to a completely different environment, my stress levels were not balanced and was often feeling a sense of overwhelm. Meditation has helped and I will continue to practice breathing techniques but I have also noticed that ashwagandha has helped me feel much calmer in times that I would have otherwise felt a sense of anxiety.

Strengthens the Immune System

Ashwagandha also has anti-inflammatory properties that help strengthen the immune system. I’m all for adding natural foods, herbs, and supplements into my diet that can boost my immune system. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also suggested that ashwagandha can help relieve joint pain

My personal outlook on health is the more I invest in my health today by taking in natural and nourishing foods, the less time spent at the doctor, the more energy I’ll have which can then be released in a variety of ways emotionally and productively.

Can help Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels

Studies have shown that it’s possible for ashwagandha to help stabilize blood sugar levels when dealing with high blood pressure or low blood pressure due to its rich iron properties. There are several other recommendations to stabilize blood sugar levels and would recommend ashwagandha to help in supplement of other healthy habits.

Helps regulate Healthy Sleep Patterns

Ashwagandha may help improve overall quality of sleep and those dealing with insomnia. However, on the flip side, it could leave you feeling tired when you aren’t ready for bed quite yet.

I usually take ashwagandha in the morning or early afternoon. Although it can cause drowsiness, I typically don’t feel any added state of tiredness than I normally do and was able to focus on whatever tasks I was working on without the added stress of outside noise or distraction.

This might be different from person to person but my experience hasn’t made me any less tired during the day.

Those that are pregant, breastfeeding or taking other medications should not take this supplement. As I am a huge advocate for taking this supplement, it’s important to do further research based on what’s best for your specific needs.

Because there hasn’t been a ton of long-term studies on the effects of using ashwagandha, I have been taking it in moderation as with any dietary supplements and foods I have incorporated into my diet to be at my peak performance on a daily basis. I chose and currently take the supplements from Physician’s Choice brand.

Because I’ve had such a great experience with ashwagandha and the overall health benefits it has provided to my family, I hope this article can also help others in their healing journey.

Any information taken outside my personal experiences can be found below:



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Bayesian Depression, Affective Forecasting, and Psychedelics – First Principles

I’ve previously written about how to be a “high-functioning depressive,” one who faces recurrent periods of depression/blueness but manages these periods effectively. However, at times depressed individuals might claim that life is not worth living in the first place, that struggling to just stay afloat is not worth all the suffering it entails. Many of these people end up killing themselves.

Although morbid, suicide is an interesting social phenomenon that produces some important questions:

  1. What are the proximal causes of suicide? That is, what are the short-term risk factors that trigger someone to kill themselves as opposed to choosing to live another day?
  2. What are the distal causes of suicide? Are there certain risk factors—genetic predisposition, childhood trauma, lack of a tight social circle—that make someone more likely to kill themselves?
  3. Are more people truly suffering than we think? Do these people not kill themselves for fear of how it will affect their friends and family, some sort of social Nash equilibrium/Schelling point? If this social accountability mechanism were not in place, would more people kill themselves?
  4. Setting aside how family and friends are affected, given the evidence these suicidal individuals have, is killing themselves a “logical” decision from a Bayesian perspective? That is, are they accurately forecasting what their future will be like—rife with suffering and therefore not worth living—or are they being myopic and making a decision that, if they had omniscience, they’d regret (i.e. things will get better, but they just have to wait)?
  5. Related to the previous question, on average, how does subjective well-being vary throughout one’s lifespan? Do many people kill themselves young, before quality of life tends to improve (myopia), or does quality of life slowly decline over time, at which point people decide to just end it all (prescient)?

Why ought we care about these questions? Well, to understand how to maximize the quality of human experience, we first need to understand what causes humans to suffer. What is it like in the bowels of hell? What gets us stuck there? What is the neurobiological signature of these states? And, most importantly, if we’re stuck, how do we get out?

A Bayesian Approach to Depression and Suicide

To begin addressing these questions, in this post I’ll focus numbers 4 and 5: when people decide to kill themselves, are they making a logical decision?

I’ll be approaching this question with cognitive biases in mind. Humans are products of evolution, and the software it produced has lots of bugs. One such bug is that humans are poor at affective forecasting—predicting how some action or decision will make them feel in the future (for a good examination of this topic, read Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert or this chapter he co-authored on the subject). This is critical when it comes to depression and suicide, as many people kill themselves when they think their future is misery and there’s no possibility of things improving.

I’d like to point out it’s quite possible that, given certain pieces of evidence about your quality of life, you arrive at the conclusion that life is on the whole a negative, and therefore choose to out yourself. This action is not illogical per se, though it is extremely selfish and may emotionally destroy your loved ones.

What’s the Difference Between a Good and Bad Day?

To make sense of this, consider the best days of your life. Perhaps you saw a friend you hadn’t seen for a while and enjoyed some great conversation; or maybe your application to medical or graduate school was accepted; or maybe you experienced some of the most profound, tranquil moments of your life while under the influence of certain psychedelic compounds. When you have these sorts of days, life seems worth living.

Now consider the darkest moments of your life. Perhaps a loved one died; or maybe you broke up with a long-term partner; or perhaps you experienced a string of bad days—a week, a month, or multiple months—that led you to believe that your life will always be like this, that you’ll never get out of this darkness. Painted into a corner, it may seem like life will never be worth living again.

Everyone deals with dark days and setbacks, and though these moments seem insurmountable when you’re experiencing them, most resilient people eventually overcome them and bounce back.

But, suppose you didn’t get over these bad days. Suppose that your life became a string of horrible days with no good days in sight. Triggered at first by some small failure or setback, things start to spiral out of control. If your life became a string of horrible days with no good days in sight, how would you react?

Into the Darkness

Everything you previously enjoyed–food, exercise, sex–slowly ceases to be enjoyable to you.

This anhedonia causes you to isolate yourself. You spend more time at home and less time interacting with other human beings. You find it harder to get out of bed every morning; why should you? What’s the point of getting up in the first place? Just to go through the motions, performing the same quotidian routine? What for? There’s no future you’re working towards, no light at the end of the tunnel. You’re stuck in some perverse version of Groundhog Day. Your life is monochrome.

You think of how other people don’t have the luxury of staying in bed. Other people less fortunate than yourself have real jobs and real families to provide for. They have real responsibility. You, on the other hand, are just a lazy sack of shit that can’t even manage to get out of bed and get work done. You’re privileged, so caught up in your first-world problems, and you hate yourself for this.

You may begin eating less (a common symptom of depression), or depending on your personality, you may begin eating more (the symptoms of depression vary widely).

You begin listening to “dark” music like metal (Metallica and Iron Maiden are some of your favorites) or folksy, sad music (e.g. Nick Drake) because you sympathize with it more than upbeat, happy music. Music used to have a profound effect on your mood, but now it just acts as noise to drone out the self-loathing.

You think that there’s something wrong with you, some quirk of how your brain works that predestines you to feel this way. You’ve tried talk therapy, you consistently exercise, eat and sleep well, but something is always a bit off.

Maybe it’s your lack of friends and truly intimate, vulnerable relationships? Maybe it’s your lack of purpose? But, you think, these lacks are your fault. Why can’t you just be normal like other people? Why are you so different? Surely no one else feels this way?

This is Normal and You’re Not Alone

Lots of people feel this way. Even many stereotypically “successful” people, despite the trappings of their success, feel this way.

A Review of Bayes Theorem

Bayes Theorem is a tool used to change belief in the face of new evidence. For example, consider the following example from the Data Skeptic podcast: you’re at the farmer’s market and someone, let’s call him Doug, is selling boxes of fruit. Doug says he is selling unmarked boxes of fruit for a reduced price. He tells you some of these boxes have all apples, some have all oranges, and others are half apple and half orange, with a ⅓ probability for each type of box. Doug chooses a box at random and pulls out an apple. What is the probability that the box he pulled from is filled with 100% apples?

Your hypothesis is that the box pulled from contains 100% apples. The evidence you’ve acquired is that 1 pick from the box resulted in 1 apple.

To get the updated probability (called the posterior), you need to take your prior (the probability of your hypothesis before any evidence) and multiply it by the likelihood of the evidence you got (an apple) given your hypothesis that the box is 100% apples. Finally, divide by the probability of getting an apple in any situation.

So, the prior probability of your hypothesis is ⅓, as each type of box is equally likely to be picked from all the unmarked boxes. The likelihood of seeing an apple given that the box is filled with only apples (i.e. assuming your hypothesis is true) is 100% .

Now, the probability of getting an apple in general is the probability of getting an apple from a certain type of box, P(A|half and half), times the probability of getting that type of box, P(half and half). This is called a conditional probability.

So for the 100% apples box, your probability is 100% * ⅓, giving you ⅓. For the half and half box, it’s 50% * ⅓, giving you ⅙. And for the 100% oranges box, you know that you will never get an apple, so ⅓ * 0 = 0.

Add up ⅓ and ⅙ to get ½. This is the denominator. The numerator is ⅓. Divide to get 66%, your confidence level in the hypothesis that the the box chosen from contains 100% apples. We have just updated our priors from 0.333 to 0.666, a substantial change.

Now suppose he pulls out another fruit from this box and it’s an apple. What’s the probability of your hypothesis now? To make a long story short, it now becomes 80%. As more evidence is in favor of your hypothesis, your confidence–that is, your level of belief–in that hypothesis increases.

Predictive Processing and the Bayesian Brain

Per Friston and Seth, the brain is a statistical organ.

My basic argument is that when people commit suicide, they are deciding that life is not worth living. They come to this conclusion because of the evidence they are presented with: internal physiological states (e.g. “feeling blue”), social feedback (e.g. a lack of human contact), etc.

We can define a belief not as some airy-fairy psychological construct, but as a high-level neurobiological state that an organism instantiates. These beliefs influences our top-down predictions about the world.

For example, if I’m hungry (I am interoceptively aware of a prediction error related to the homeostasis of the organism that is me) and I believe there is food in the fridge, then I will try to reduce the prediction error by looking in the fridge, getting the food, and eating it. This is a form of active inference.

Suicide as active inference

When people are depressed, they can get stuck in a positive feedback loop in which they’re unable to summon new evidence. Consider someone who has been feeling blue and deals with social anxiety. They have certain hypotheses/beliefs about the world (no one likes me, I have no friends, etc.) that reduce the amount of active inference they can do; that is, if you’re too afraid to go out into the world and try to meet new people–i.e. Find evidence that contradicts your priors–then you’ll never revise those priors. Thus, these people get “stuck in a rut”. Their priors are too strong and they’re unable to perform the exploratory behavior necessary revise them.

We are information-processing machines. We predict the world around us through a generative model. Put in certain parameters and you’ll get certain outputs.

The action one takes–killing themselves–is a form of active inference. It is a prediction of sorts.

Psychedelics and Affective Forecasting

Psychedelics are a way of resetting your priors. They allow you to bypass the typical action needed to revise your priors, allowing you a shortcut to see the world with a new set of eyes.

When someone is stuck in a depressive state, they only experience an extremely circumscribed set of psychological states. Their brain is stuck on repeat, stuck in the same ruminative loops.

Psychedelics help your brain get out of these loops (see Michael Pollan’s forthcoming book How to Change Your Mind).

Related Research Questions: Hedonic Setpoints, Wireheading, and Psychedelics

All the questions about suicide prompt some of the following questions about depression and anhedonia more generally:

  • Why are some people’s hedonic setpoints—that is, their happiness or reward setpoints—lower than others’?
  • Why are some people’s hedonic state more variable than others’?
  • Why are some people more resilient in the face of stress and tragedy than others?
  • Clinically speaking, depression is an extremely heterogeneous disorder, with symptoms ranging from anhedonia to lack of appetite. How ought we revise our nosology—that is, our classification of diseases—to better treat diseases like depression?

I find the optimist in me asking some of the following questions too:

  • How great is the range of human experience? How high are the peaks of tranquility, meaningfulness and pleasure, and how low are the valleys of madness, pain and suffering?[1]
  • What role do alterations of consciousness, whether via meditation or psychedelics, play in experiencing these range of psychological states?
  • What are the neurobiological substrates of these positive states, and can we “hack” them (i.e. take a shortcut to achieve them) or is there truly no free lunch when it comes to biology? Some have termed this hacking of our psychology wireheading; it ranges from electrically stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain (probably not a viable long-term solution) to engineering your brain and body to maximize positive and states and minimize negative states, perhaps through the use of psychedelics, or simple practices like exercise, fasting and meditation.

[1] I should add that through all of this, the skeptical philosopher in me asks if there exists such a thing as a positive or negative mental state, or if it’s all just physical information-processing. But, as I’ve stated before, unless you want to venture off into the more esoteric parts of Buddhism or become a bat-shit-crazy eliminativist, quining qualia (as Dan Dennett termed it) is probably not the way to go. So, I’ll just assume that there do exist positive and negative mental states.

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MDMA – The New Method To Deal with PTSD

The world can be a scary place for people with PTSD. Modern medicine has tried many ways to treat the disorder, from drugs to therapeutic tactics, but they don’t always work. Evidence build-up shows alternative remedies like the psychedelic MDMA might be a better long-term response to PTSD treatment.

Are you a THC lover? The best part about being on Team THC is that diversity opens up. In addition to the standard Delta-9-THC, there is now Delta-8-THC, which has the same general medical benefits but is less anxious and less psychoactive. We found great Delta-8 THC offerings here, so go ahead and try it out.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder, meaning that it is diagnosed subjectively. It affects people who have had a traumatic experience, whether they were actually part of it or are just witnessing it. This can be things like physical assault, witnessing war atrocities, living through natural disasters, or being the target of bullying or psychological abuse. PTSD is diagnosed separately from other anxiety-based mental illnesses that result from experiencing a traumatic event.

PTSD was known as “Grenade Shock” during World War I and “Battle Fatigue” after World War II. It is associated with disturbing and often very intense thoughts about past traumas. This may include reliving the event in flashbacks or nightmares, fear, sadness, anger, and feelings of distancing and alienation from other people. People with PTSD often react very negatively to situations that others find non-triggering and may avoid situations or people that remind them fully of their previous trauma.

Subjective diagnoses make it difficult to summarize statistics. However, according to, approximately 3.5% of adults in the US suffer from PTSD each year, and it is estimated that about one in 11 people will have PTSD in their lifetime. Women are the predominant afflicted, 2: 1 more than men, and the three ethnic groups that most commonly experience PTSD symptoms in the United States are Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans – all minorities who have experienced high levels of violence and intolerance overall and general contempt that has been directed against them throughout history.

What is MDMA?

3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, colloquially known as ecstasy or molly (slang for “molecular”), is a man-made psychoactive drug made from safrole oil, which is mainly found in sassafras plants. MDMA has properties of both hallucinogens and stimulants, which work primarily through its interaction with serotonin receptors. It forces the brain to release large amounts of the neurotransmitter while blocking its reuptake to aid in the extra absorption. MDMA is available either as a pressed pill or as a powder, which can range from brown to white.

MDMA is known to promote a sense of connectedness between people, reduce anxiety and fear, and increase feelings of empathy. It was developed by Merck Pharmaceutical in 1912, but its effects were not understood until the 1970s when chemist Alexander Shulgin developed a new method of synthesizing the drug and tried it with some of his friends as a psychotherapist. This is the time at which it was used in psychotherapeutic practices as a treatment method in connection with therapy sessions, the so-called psychedelically supported therapy.

Although MDMA was useful in dealing with mental disorders, it was made illegal in 1985. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan’s administration enacted the Comprehensive Crime Act, which allowed the government to ban drugs in an emergency. When the subject of MDMA came up in 1985, after other psychedelics had already been illegalized, that law was used to immediately illegalize the association by adding it to Appendix I of the Treaty on Psychotropic Substances and ending its therapeutic use.

The illegalization of psychedelics began with smear campaigns during the Vietnam War, which culminated in 1968 with the passage of the Staggers-Dodd Act, which specifically illegalized LSD and psilocybin. This was followed by the creation of the Psychotropic Substances Convention in 1971, which banned most of the rest, with the exception of MDMA, which was later banned.

While the subject is obviously controversial, statements by John Ehrlichman, former Assistant to the President for Internal Affairs under President Nixon in 1994, have made it clear that the war on drugs was not necessarily about drugs. Raise further concerns about why drugs like MDMA have become illegal. In his statement he claimed:

“The Nixon campaign of 1968 and the Nixon White House afterwards had two enemies: the anti-war left and the blacks … We knew that we couldn’t make it illegal to either be against the war or against blacks, but by us Bringing the Public into It If we associate the hippies with marijuana and the blacks with heroin and then grossly criminalize both of them, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and slander them on the evening news night after night. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did. “

MDMA used to treat PTSD

What do we really know about MDMA’s ability to treat PTSD symptoms? A systematic review was published in 2020 examining articles published by the end of March 2019 using key terms such as “treatments for PTSD” and “MDMA pathway”. All articles came through PubMed and ScienceDirect.

In identifying and reviewing these articles (and their sources), it was found that there have been many small researches that show that MDMA helps reduce psychological trauma. However, the authors of the review made a very important point. They stressed that none of the research showed MDMA as a cure for PTSD because it had not been specifically researched. What the review identified, and what had been investigated, was the usefulness of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy and its ability to help people who were unable to resolve their trauma problems through other avenues.

The big story with MDMA today revolves around ongoing studies. By last summer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) had started phase 3 clinical trials on MDMA. MAPS conducts double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies at multiple locations to test the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The participants are 200-300 PTSD patients, all over the age of 18 but with a different history to produce their traumatic experiences.

These studies follow the Phase II studies with promising results and are the final hurdle required by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to assess legalization in the treatment of PTSD. Should it get the passport, MDMA could be prescribed along with therapy in residential outpatient facilities so users can gain their experience in a safe and controlled environment.

How likely is the FDA to approve MDMA for the treatment of PTSD? It’s an Appendix I psychedelic, after all, which defines it as highly dangerous with no therapeutic value. Apparently, the FDA identified MDMA as a “breakthrough therapy” for PTSD as early as 2017.

The FDA defines “breakthrough therapy” as a “drug that treats a serious or life-threatening condition, and preliminary clinical evidence suggests that the drug may have a substantial improvement in a clinically significant endpoint over available therapies.” This definition is intended to help to accelerate research progress to bring products to market. In 2019, the same name was given to psilocybin in magic mushrooms by the FDA.

More information on MAPS phase 3 studies

Phase 3 studies were designed according to an evaluation of the special protocol agreed between MAPS and the FDA to ensure that the studies and results are compliant. The trials are taking place at 15 different locations in three countries: the USA, Canada and Israel. The participants receive three therapy sessions with MDMA or placebo over a 12-week therapy period as well as three preparation sessions and three integration sessions without medication. The MDMA / placebo sessions take place every 3-5 weeks.

The (CAPS-5) – physician-administered PTSD scale – is the primary measurement tool for the success of the study. This is a loosely structured interview used in most PTSD studies and requires evaluation by evaluators who are “blind” or do not know where the study participant is falling on the actual drug or placebo. Study investigators will also use other measurement tools including, but not limited to: Beck Depression Inventory and Inventory of Psychosocial Functioning.

“Phase 3” naturally implies that this is not the start of the study. The results of the Phase 2 study show the following about MDMA and its ability to treat PTSD: It may reduce anxiety and defenses. Increasing introspection and communication as well as empathy and compassion; and generally improves the therapeutic experience of people suffering from PTSD. Phase 2 consisted of 107 patients.

Two months after MDMA-assisted treatment in phase 2, 61% of patients were no longer diagnosed with PTSD. One year after treatment, 68% no longer qualified as PTSD. All participants had chronic PTSD that was resistant to treatment and that they had suffered from for an average of almost 18 years.


It is getting hot in the race to see which psychedelic will receive first medical legalization in the US (as the US so often sets the standard for other parts of the world). Magic mushroom psilocybin is sure to make waves, but it looks like MDMA is going to take the win. With the FDA drooling ahead of approval and the pharmaceutical world getting its ducks in a row, it looks like MDMA will be officially approved for the treatment of PTSD soon, with a change in global legalization policies likely to follow.


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Isolation and Loneliness can Cause Depression – Relationships and Social Support Depression Recovery

Interacting and connecting with others is a lot more than a fun way to kill time. It’s essential for one’s well-being. After all, humans are social animals. Thus, a lack of social interaction can have a negative impact on health. [1]

On 25th March 2009, New York Times quoted, “loneliness leads to poorer physical and mental health”

Research shows that isolation/loneliness is a chronic illness that ultimately leads to depression. The epidemiology, etiology, phenomenology, diagnostic criteria, management, and adverse effects of loneliness make it a disease. [2]

Signs of Loneliness/Self Isolation

Being bad at socializing and staying within yourself can cause emotional isolation. Emotional isolation is not wanting to or not opening up and talking about your feelings with other people. 

Some common signs of loneliness include: 

  • Avoiding social gatherings and interactions (even those that gave you joy before)
  • Constantly canceling plans and feeling relieved when plans get canceled
  • Experiencing social anxiety 
  • Feeling upset and depressed during solitude 
  • Feeling dread and uncomfortable in social events or activities
  • Having very little interaction with others or spending a lot of time alone

What Are The Effects Of Chronic Loneliness?  

Loneliness is now recognized as a significant public health issue. Pain, injury/loss, sadness, fear, tiredness, and exhaustion are all symptoms of loneliness. 

Loneliness increases levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. Prolonged exposure to cortisol secretion puts the body in a state of ‘fear,’ leading to a myriad of mental and physical health concerns. 

Long-term loneliness and isolation can cause the following health complications: 

  • Diseases

Chronic loneliness can cause an increase in the risk of getting different diseases such as diabetesheart disease, and high cholesterol. Besides physical problems, it can also cause mental health problems, like emotional distress, depressionanxietyfatigue, and addictions. Chronic loneliness can also lead to suicide. 

  • Sleep Disruption

Chronic loneliness can make it hard for one to fall asleep or get a long good night’s sleep, causing insomnia. Sleep deprivation can impair performance during the day, resulting in daytime sleepiness and exhaustion. 

  • Depression and Psychiatric Disorders

Lack of social interaction and loneliness can increase the chances of getting depression, or in a case, if one already has depression, loneliness makes it worse. Prolonged loneliness can also lead to many other psychiatric disorders. [3]

Besides an array of health complications, it also interferes with your day-to-day performance.  

The Link Between Loneliness And Depression? 

According to a 2013 research published in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, lonely people suffer from more depressive symptoms because they are less satisfied, less happy, and more pessimistic. 

Individuals who are socially isolated and lack emotional engagement become emotionally unavailable. They start feeling numb, making it hard for them to cheer up and feel joyful. Thus, sooner or later, lonely/socially distant people start experiencing depressive symptoms such as: 

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Crankiness or irritability
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
  • Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Digestive problems 
  • Persistently feeling ‘low,’ sad, anxious, or ’empty’ 
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

On the other hand, loneliness could also be a symptom of an underlying psychological disorder. 

According to a study, loneliness is a symptom of a psychological disorder such as depression. Research published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry also suggests that loneliness contributes to the symptoms of depression and makes them worse. [4]

Scientific Evidence: 

  • Study 

A 2017 study investigated the link between social isolation indicators of loneliness and depressive symptoms in adults (aged 21 and above). The study concluded that young adults expiring loneliness exhibited signs of depression. [5

  • Analysis

An analysis of socially isolated young adults revealed that lonely people are often depressed due to the overlapping symptoms and gene influence of depression and loneliness. The treatment should aim at increasing social interactions. [6]

Coping With Loneliness And Depression

Here are a few expert tips on how to deal with loneliness and depression: 

  • Relationships And Social Support 

Building meaningful relationships and finding social support through friends, family, social support groups, or therapists can reduce the symptoms of loneliness and depression. 

meta-analysis of young adults with depression found that depressed people feel immensely lonely and distant from others. They don’t disclose their isolated feeling and the debilitating nature of depressive symptomatology. The study further suggested that young people should be encouraged to communicate about their depression with trusted friends. Moreover, their social networks should be educated on how to support them. [7]

  • Social Media Detox 

Statistics show that loneliness is increasing, particularly in younger generations. According to a survey, 25% of millennials don’t have close friends, while 22% have no friends at all (Source: Inc.). [8]

Today’s over-scheduled, social media-driven, and machine-dominated lifestyles is mostly to blame. [9] People need to have authentic experiences and interactions out in the open world. 

Research suggests that going on a social media cleanse encourages social interactions and can reduce signs of depression. [10]

  • Find The Cause 

To combat loneliness effectively, you have to find the underlying causes. Some of the most common causes include toxic relationships, an unhealthy family environment, overexposure to social media, and feelings of insecurity. 

Pew Research Centre survey found that most people link loneliness to dissatisfaction in family life – 28% of those dissatisfied with their family life feel lonely all or most of the time.

  • Avoid Lonely People

According to research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, lonesomeness is contagious. You are 52% more likely to feel lonely if you surround yourself with lonely people. 

  • Seek Therapy 

The most effective way to prevent and treat loneliness and chronic depression is by seeking professional help. If you experience symptoms of depression and can’t stop feeling lonely and isolated, talk to a mental health professional. 

When to Seek Professional Help?

  • Overthinking and feeling confused all the time
  • Having delusions or hallucinations
  • Feeling agitated, angry, and frustrated
  • Being anxious and fearful 
  • Extreme mood swings and frequent emotional meltdowns
  • Unable to cope day to day problems
  • Significant changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
  • Prolonged depressive symptoms
  • Social withdrawal
  • Substance abuse

 Consult a therapist if you have been experiencing one or more of these symptoms.


  1. Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions:
  2. Loneliness: A disease?:
  3. Relationship Between Loneliness, Psychiatric Disorders and Physical Health? A Review on the Psychological Aspects of Loneliness by Raheel Mushtaq, Sheikh Shoib, Tabindah Shah and Sahil Mushtaq. 2014. Retrieved from:
  4. The effect of loneliness on depression: A meta-analysis by Erzen E, Çikrikci Ö. 2018. Retrieved from:
  5. Social isolation, loneliness and their relationships with depressive symptoms: A population-based study by Lixia Ge. 2017. Retrieved from:
  6. Social isolation, loneliness and depression in young adulthood: a behavioural genetic analysis byTimothy Matthews, Andrea Danese, Jasmin Wertz, Candice L. Odgers, Antony Ambler, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Louise Arseneault. 2016. Retrieved from:
  7. The experience of loneliness among young people with depression: a qualitative meta-synthesis of the literature by Louis Achterbergh, Alexandra Pitman, Mary Birken, Eiluned Pearce, Herman Sno & Sonia Johnson. Retrieved from:
  8. Millennials are the loneliest generation by Ballard J. 2019. Retrieved from:
  9. Using Social Media Leads To Depression:
  10. Fear of Missing Out, Mental Wellbeing, and Social Connectedness: A Seven-Day Social Media Abstinence Trial by Lorna Brown and Daria J. Kuss. 2020. Retrieved from:
  11. Dealing With Depression and Loneliness:
  12. Loneliness and Depression: What’s the Connection?
  13. Loneliness: Causes and Health Consequences:
  14. The risks of social isolation:
  15. Understanding The Effects of Isolation and Loneliness on Health:



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Meditation for Depression and General Health

The latest research suggests that something as simple as meditation can help treat depression. (Source: WebMD)

Research shows mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is as effective as antidepressants in treating and preventing depression.

Studies show that meditation changes the neurological response to stress, anxiety, and depressive feelings. If you have been exhibiting mood disorder symptoms like depression, anger, stress, or anxiety, daily meditation is an effective remedy. It can elevate the symptoms of depression and has a life-altering impact on your overall well being. [2]

How Meditation Helps Depression?

Meditation will not cure your depression, but it can reduce your symptoms and make it more manageable. (Healthline)

A study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that meditation leads to positive changes such as strengthening memory and increasing happiness levels.

Here is how meditation can help improve depression:

  • Promotes Positive Thinking

Depression leads to a lot of negativity and dark thoughts. People suffering from depression feel frustrated, hopeless, worthless, and angry at life.

Meditation encourages us to focus on thoughts and think about things that bring peace, calm, and joy. Thus, it trains the brain to shift to positive thinking instead of negative thoughts. (Source: NCBI)

  • Stimulates Happy Hormones

Moreover, positive thinking influences a positive response in the body by stimulating happy hormones: Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. [3]

  • Changes in Brain Mechanism

Meditation changes two key brain regions linked explicitly to depression.

Region 1: mPFC Overdrive

Research shows that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) – aka ‘me center’ – becomes hyperactive in depressed people. It makes depressed people constantly overthink, worry, and stress about things.

Region 2: Amygdala

Another brain region responsible for depression is the amygdala – aka ‘fear center’ – which triggers the adrenal glands to release cortisol (stress hormone) in response to fear and perceived threat. [4]

Both the regions work simultaneously to cause and worsen depression. Research shows that meditation breaks the connection between these two regions. (Source: Boston University)

In an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Rebecca Gladding states that regular meditation “loosens” the neural pathways between the brain’s fear center. Meditation loosens these neural pathways, decreasing the feelings of fear and anxiety. While the new neural pathways create a more positive and empathetic response. (Source: Online Psychology)

Scientific Evidence

A vast volume of research evidence exists to support the benefits of meditation for mental and emotional wellbeing.

  • Studies 

The following popular studies reveal how meditation and mindfulness impact the brain to cure mood disorders like depression:

A study revealed that yoga and meditation have groundbreaking benefits on mental and physical wellbeing. For eight weeks, the subjects were given 2.5-hour weekly sessions of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR). The subjects reported a significant reduction in chronic pain and depression. (Source: Forbes)

A study at Johns Hopkins investigated the link between meditation and pain, depression, and anxiety. The research concluded that meditation reduced depressive symptoms as effectively as an antidepressant – the effect size of meditation was 0.3 while that of antidepressants is also 0.3. Thus, meditation is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.

One study concluded that people with high-stress jobs found transcendental meditation effective for stress, depression, and burnout. (Source: Health)

  • Research

According to research, MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy), psychotherapy with mindfulness meditation, lowers the risk of depression relapse.

A study examined two groups of adult subjects with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The group using mindfulness-based treatment reported low-stress levels than the other group that did not receive mindfulness training.

  • Meta Analyses

A meta-analysis was published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2014. It examined 47 randomized controlled trials of 3515 participants practicing meditation. The research concluded that meditation moderately reduces anxiety and depression. (Source: Mindful)

Another review of 18 studies also found that people practicing meditation experienced reduced symptoms of depression than those in a control group. (Source: Healthline)


If you are suffering from mental health disorders, start meditating. There is conclusive evidence that proves meditation can be a powerful and effective tool for stress management and mood regulation. It boosts cognitive performance and keeps mental health in check by preventing depression symptoms.


  1. Mindfulness Meditation Improves Mood, Quality of Life, and Attention in Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by Viviane Freire Bueno and colleagues. 2015. Retrieved from:
  2. Biologic effects of mindfulness meditation: growing insights into neurobiologic aspects of the prevention of depression by Simon N. Young. 2011. Retrieved from:
  3. Amygdala volume in Major Depressive Disorder: A meta-analysis of magnetic resonance imaging studies by J. Paul Hamilton, Ph.D., Matthias Siemer, Ph.D., and Ian H. Gotlib. 2019. Retrieved from:
  4. How meditation helps with depression:
  5. Meditation Won’t Cure Your Depression, but It Can Be a Big Help:
  6. 11 Types of Meditation That Can Help Treat Depression:
  7. What to Know About Meditation and Depression:
  8. What it’s like to meditate with depression:
  9. Can Meditation Help You with Depression:
  10. Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress:


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Alcohol, Depression, Mental Illness and Sobriety

According to a global survey in 2018, more than 107 million people struggle with alcohol abuse; 1/3 of these also suffer from a psychiatric disorder. (Source: Alcohol Rehab Guide), like depression or bipolar disorder, alcohol dependence also induces a chemical imbalance in the brain – leading to a risk of mental illness. [1]

The overlapping connection between alcoholism and mental health makes it hard to quit alcohol as many cannot tolerate withdrawal and relapse. Studies have shown that long-term alcohol abuse can cause brain impairment, emotional instability, and worsen depression. [2]

Getting professional help to achieve sobriety may help you win the battle against alcohol abuse and depression.

Alcohol Abuse And Mental Health 

People usually drink alcohol to indulge, release stress and overcome negative emotions. For many, drinking serves as an escape from day to day problems – eventually leading to addiction, becoming alcoholics. 

Some triggering factors for alcohol dependence are:

  • Emotional breakdown 
  • Emotional distress
  • Financial struggle
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Mental relapse
  • Mental health disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety

Symptoms And Side Effects 

Apart from the adverse effects on personal life, people with a drinking problem are at risk of serious health concerns – weight gain, pancreatitis, heart and liver disease, to name a few. 

Besides affecting the chemical imbalance, over-drinking changes the brain itself. Thus, alcohol abuse also affects cognitive performance

Here are the side effects of long-term drinking on the human brain:

  • Slows Central Nervous System Alcohol slows down messages between the brain and the body, eventually slowing down your central nervous system.[3]
  • Ventral striatum – This part of the brain gets damaged and reduces the feel-good chemical (dopamine), causing mood swings and depression. [5]

Relationship Between Alcohol And Depression

Alcohol abuse can often result in other conditions like substance abuse, drug addiction, and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. 

On the other hand, mental health problems can also encourage alcohol abuse. Studies show that 47% of people with mental health issues also abuse alcohol and drugs. (Source: Boardwalk Recovery Centre)

Co-occurring Disorders

Alcohol and depression are often co-occurring, meaning the two disorders coincide and intertwine towards a bigger issue. 

Common symptoms of depression in early sobriety include:

  • Overthinking and cycling negative thoughts 
  • Insomnia and restlessness
  • Difficulty getting out of bed
  • Feeling anxious and fearful 
  • Chronic pains, lethargy, and immense fatigue
  • Poor eating habits (loss of appetite or overeating)
  • Inability to focus and pay attention 

Types of Depression in Sobriety 

For a dual diagnosis, it’s essential to know what type of depression it is. Here are the types of depression in early sobriety:

Impact of Sobriety/Quitting Alcohol on Depression

Depression in early recovery may occur in rare cases, but some also experience Day drunk syndrome – reflecting impulsive and dysfunctional alcoholic behaviors even after quitting alcohol. 

Bill W, the founder of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step program, says it is not uncommon to experience intense depression during early sobriety. 

According to research, the first two months of sobriety are the hardest. The body detoxes while the brain tries to regain homeostasis. (Source: ES Detox)

How Sobriety Helps Depression

  • Regulates Excitatory Neurotransmitters 

Alcohol affects neurotransmitters – particularly gamma and glutamate. Drinking weakens glutamate and over-excites the GABA receptors, making the body feel more relaxed and happier. 

Quitting alcohol dependence reverses these changes and regulates the neurotransmitters, putting the body in its natural state. 

  • Normalizes Dopamine Levels 

Alcohol abuse imbalances dopamine (feel-good hormone) secretions in the brain. Alcohol over-stimulates dopamine and reduces the brain’s dopamine receptors – leading to a false state of ‘high.’ 

Thus, when you quit drinking, you start feeling sad and depressed due to the reduction in dopamine. Over time the brain begins to normalize dopamine levels. 

  • Serotonin Production Increases

Alcohol boosts serotonin, but the long-term heavy consumption of alcohol decreases serotonin, leading to depression symptoms. Quitting alcohol normalizes serotonin production, leading to better emotional health. 

How To Quit Alcohol and Treat Depression?

Want to develop an alcohol-free lifestyle and achieve long-term sobriety? Quit. 

Quitting is the only way to treat and get rid of alcohol addiction. Joining AA meetings and reaching a professional for help. Since alcohol affects the mind, get help from a professional Psychiatrist

An alcohol addiction psychiatrist will diagnose and treat the causes of alcohol abuse and alcoholism by:

  • evaluating your mental health
  • finding the triggering factor
  • recommending effective treatment options 
  • assisting with the treatment 

When it comes to dual diagnosis, i.e., suffering from both depression and alcoholism. Such issues have to be treated separately but under interconnected conditions. 

Here are proven-effective treatments for alcohol-induced depression. 

  • Metacognitive Therapy
  • Holistic Therapies
  • Antidepressant Medication 
  • Support Groups e.g. Annie Grace this Naked Mind community



  1. Alcoholism and Psychiatric Disorders by Ramesh Shivani, M.D., R. Jeffrey Goldsmith, M.D., and Robert M. Anthenelli, M.D. 2002. Retrieved from:
  2. Cognitive and emotional consequences of binge drinking: role of amygdala and prefrontal cortex by David N Stephens and Theodora Duka. 2008. Retrieved from:
  3. Alcoholism and its effects on the central nervous system by Sukhes Mukherjee. 2013. Retrieved from:
  4. Prefrontal Limbic-Striatal Circuits and Alcohol Addiction in Humans by Dongju Seo and Rajita Sinha. 2014. Retrieved from:
  5. Striatal Involvement In Human Alcoholism And Alcohol Consumption, And Withdrawal In Animal Models by Gang Chen, Verginia C. Cuzon Carlson, Jun Wang, Anne Beck, Andreas Heinz, Dorit Ron, David M. Lovinger, and Kari J. Buck. 2011. Retrieved from:
  6. Alcohol And The Prefrontal Cortex by Kenneth Abernathy, L. Judson Chandler, and John J. Woodward. 2013. Retrieved from:
  7. The role of the orbitofrontal cortex in alcohol use, abuse, and dependence by David E. Moorman. 2019. Retrieved from:
  8. Dealing With Depression in Early Recover:
  9. Why You’re Depressed in Early Sobriety:
  10. Sober But Miserable? You Could Have Dry Drunk Syndrome:
  11. How To Manage Sobriety If You Are Suffering from Depression?
  12. Depression and Sobriety:
  13. 5 Ways Quitting Drinking Affects Your Brain:
  14. Alcohol Recovery and Depression: Why You (May) Feel Depressed After Quitting Drinking:


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Exercise For Depression and Health 

For the 280 million people in the world who have major depression (Source: WHO). this prescription is probably the one that they need more than any other. At least that’s the case with me.

The latest research shows that exercise and physical movement are just as effective. [1]

According to the Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Michael Craig Miller

“For some people exercise works as well as antidepressants.” (Source: Harvard)

What Kind of Exercise Helps?

Physical activity – any movement-based activity that requires energy to work the muscles. For example, household activities, walking to the grocery store, playing in the garden, etc.

Research shows that any physical activity — not just formal exercise programs —help improve mood. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that jogging for 15 minutes a day or walking or gardening can all help prevent depression. [Source: NYTimes]

Exercise – Planned and structured body movements to improve or maintain physical fitness. For example, yoga, HIIT workout, functional training, weight training, etc. 

According to a study of 65 women with depression, 34 women who took a yoga class twice a week (for two months) showed a significant decrease in depression symptoms than the 31 women who did not attend any classes.

Types of Physical Exercise

Here are the best types of exercises to improve health and reduce symptoms of depression and other mental disorders

Effect of Exercise on Health 

Exercising influences a cascade of biological events that results in many health benefits. 

Overwhelming evidence shows that exercise: [8]

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Results in fat loss and weight reduction
  • Regulates blood sugar levels 
  • Strengthens and tones muscles 
  • Increases endurance, stamina, and balance 

Exercise for Depression and Anxiety

Health benefits of exercise for mental health include the following: [9]

  • Stress relief
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased mental sharpness
  • Mood enhancement 
  • Increased interest in sex
  • Better endurance
  • Increased energy and stamina

Regular exercise helps prevent and ease depression[10] by:

  • Feel-good endorphins

Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins (the feel-good hormone) and natural cannabis-like brain chemicals known as endogenous cannabinoids [11]. These hormones enhance your mood and sense of well-being. (Source: Health Europa)

  • De-stressor

Exercises de-stresses the mind and body by reducing the level of stress hormone (cortisol). [12]

The Evidence

  • Meta-Analysis 

There have been several meta-analyses to understand the link between exercise and depression and how exercise can improve mental health. 

A meta-analysis of 80 studies reported that exercise reduces depression and improves mental health by reducing anxiety and negative mood patterns. 

Another meta-analysis in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in 2016 found that regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercises can prove beneficial for treating depression. 

  • Clinical Trial

A study of 32 trials of 1858 participants found that exercise improves depressive symptoms in people diagnosed with depression compared to no treatment or control intervention. [13]

  • Study 

A study in Frontiers in Psychiatry revealed that exercise reduces depression symptoms by improving sleep quality and cognitive function. 75% of the participants showed a therapeutic response than the 25% who did not exercise.

Another study published in BMC Medicine in 2020 concluded that people with low aerobic and muscular fitness levels are twice as likely to experience depression. 

  • Book

A science-based book on why we should exercise to improve our health and lifestyle: 

The Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonigal (Research Psychologist at Stanford, Award winning Neuroscience Writer, Speaker and Consultant)


The data worldwide shows physically active people are healthier and have a lower risk of mental disorders like depression and loneliness. Beyond epidemiology, the neurochemistry of how movement reprograms the brain and affects mental health is evidence enough that exercise makes the mind and body thrive. (Source: Kerger)

Thus, anyone suffering from emotional distress, depression, or mental disorder should start an exercise regime. 


    1. Can high-intensity interval training improve physical and mental health outcomes? A meta-review of 33 systematic reviews across the lifespan by Rebecca Martland, Valeria Mondelli, Fiona Gaughran, Brendon Stubbs. 2019. Retrieved from:
    2. Strengthen your mood with weight training:
    3. Exercise for depression:
  • Training responses of plasma beta-endorphin, adrenocorticotropin, and cortisol by Kraemer WJ, Fleck SJ, Callister R, Shealy M, Dudley GA, Maresh CM, Marchitelli L, Cruthirds C, Murray T, Falkel JE. 1989. Retrieved from:
  1. Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression:
  2. Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms
  3. 7 Great Exercises to Ease Depression:
  4. Exercise and Depression:
  5. What Is the Link Between Exercise and Depression?



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Whole Foods Diet / Paleo Diet for Health And Depression

What we eat has a direct impact on our well-being (both mental and physical). [1] The modern dietary changes that include junk food, processed food and fast food have led to many serious health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and an array of mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety (Source: The Guardian). 

Whole Foods Diet / Paleo Diet

There is no fixed definition of a whole foods/plant-based diet (WFPB diet) – also known as a Paleo diet. But the Paleo/WFPB diet is a dietary routine based on the foods humans probably ate in the Paleothilic era. It comprises vegetables, lean meats, seeds, nuts, and other whole foods, including legumes, grains, and dairy products.

Basics of a Whole Food Diet

The basic principles of a Paleo or whole foods diet are:

  1. Avoiding processed foods
  2. Avoiding animal products except for lean meat
  3. Focusing on plant-based including fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts
  4. Removing refined foods such as white flower process sugar and oils
  5. Paying attention to food quality, i.e., eating fresh, locally sourced organic food

Health Benefits of Paleo/WFPB Diet

  • Weight Loss

Making dietary changes and eating clean has the most significant impact on weight management. Those struggling with weight loss see dramatic improvement after adopting a Paleo diet.

meta-analysis of 12 studies showed that subjects assigned to Paleo lost more weight than those assigned to non-plant-based diets.

Another study of 65 obese adults revealed that participants assigned to the WFPB diet lost significantly more weight than the control group. They were also able to sustain the weight loss of 4.2 kgs after a one-year follow-up.

Weight gain and obesity are directly linked to a myriad of health risks (Source: NCBI). Thus, by maintaining a healthy weight Paleo/WFPB also benefit the body in many other ways, such as:

  • Improves Cardiac Health

A mega study of over 200,000 people found that participants following a healthy plant-based diet have a significantly lower risk of heart disease than the group following a non-plant-based diet (Source: Healthline).

  • Prevents Cognitive Decline

Various studies show the impact of a healthy diet on the brain. A plant-based diet is rich in nutrients, leading to a healthy brain function. Studies also show that people who eat healthily have a lower risk of cognitive decline. (Source: NCBI)

According to a review of nine studies, people that consumed more fruits and vegetables had a 20% lower risk of developing cognitive impairment such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc.

  • Low Risk of Diabetes

People with poor dietary choices have a high risk of developing diabetes. 

A study found that a plant-based diet is associated with failure 50% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to a regular diet.

  • Reduces Mental Health Disorders

Recently many studies have been conducted to explore the gut and mind connection. These studies investigate how what we eat has an impact on our moods and cognitive performance. (Source: Harvard Health)

Research shows that people with an unhealthy diet and lifestyle have a much higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Paleo/WFPB Diet and Depression

There is a large amount of scientific evidence about the positive effects of a healthy diet on mental health. 


  • Meta-Analysis 

The results of a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine revealed that dietary interventions could reduce symptoms of depression. [2]

  • Clinical Trial 

A randomized controlled trial showed strong evidence that poor diet is linked to depression. This study examined that brief diet intervention improves depression and significantly reduces depressive symptoms. [3]

A randomized controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression published in BMC Medicine found that dietary improvement can treat depression The results showed that dietary improvement is an efficacious and accessible treatment for highly prevalent mental disorders. 

  • Book

The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity by John MackeyAlona Pulde MDMatthew Lederman MD [4]

By default, Paleo is a diet rich in plant-based foods – thus, nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory, and blood sugar regulation [5]. So, it affects all the brain health units in our body. 

Here are the key ways through which Paleo/WFPB diet leads to better mental health: 

The Gut-Brain Connection 

The brain is an energy-hungry organ, and what we eat has a massive impact on how it functions. Diet indirectly affects brain health through gut health information and blood sugar control.

Thus, a diet rich in processed and fast foods leads to severe consequences due to the high content of processed sugar and gluten – both when consumed in high amounts disturb the blood sugar and cause inflammation in the gut. [6] Moreover, this also leads to gut disorders that cause mental health disorders. 

According to research, half of all patients with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) suffer from mood disorders such as depression. (Source: WebMD)

Gut Microbiome

A recent discovery of the gut microbiome has shaken the medical world.[7] The gut microbiome is a community of healthy gut bacteria that has a direct numerological impact. The gut biome regulates mood and cognitive function (Source: NCBI). 

Study shows that eating a diet rich in plants creates a healthy microbiome – leading to better mental health. Moreover, a disturbed microbiome is also directly linked to psychiatric disorders and the risk of major depression. [8,9]


To conclude, eating a clean diet rich in plant-based foods will result in a healthy and happy lifestyle. All those suffering from serious health concerns or experiencing depression symptoms are recommended to adopt a whole foods plant-based/Paleo diet.


  • The Effects of Dietary Improvement on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials by Joseph Firth, Wolfgang Marx, Sarah Dash, Rebekah Carney, Scott B. Teasdale, Marco Solmi, Brendon Stubbs, Felipe B. Schuch, André F. Carvalho, Felice Jacka, and Jerome Sarris. 2019. Retrieved from:
  1. Whole foods diet
  2. The Whole Foods Diet:
  3. Six Reasons to Go Paleo for Mental Health:
  4. Can the Paleo Diet Improve Your Mental Health?:
  5. Food for Thought: Can the Paleo Diet Heal Mental Disorders?:
  6. Paleo and grain free diets: anxiety and depression success stories:
  8. The Best Diet for Depression and Anxiety:


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tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation) for Depression and Cognitive Performance

The rising trend of depression and its adverse effects have mobilized clinicians and researchers to investigate and explore various treatments. The first-line treatment for this psychiatric disability is therapy and antidepressant medication. However, nearly 50% of depression patients don’t see improvements following these interventions. [1]

A recent study conducted by McClintock also revealed the need for new treatment i.e.: exposure to tDCS for unipolar and bipolar depression. [2] (Source: National elf service)

What Is Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation?

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation is a stimulation technique that delivers low electric current to the brain. It has shown promising results for modulating cognitive skills and improving psychiatric disorders. [3]

How Does tDCS Work?

tDCS sends a tiny electric current into the brain – typically 1-2 mA only. The safe maximum strength of 0.002 amperes is a tiny fraction of household electric current, but it is enough to change neural interactions. (Source: Frontiers)

The human brain has billions of neurons that communicate through electrochemical pulses. The interruption by tDCS affects these electrochemical pulses in the brain, changing brain function. [4] This makes tDCS an effective neuroscientific tool for psychiatric disorders.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) For Mental Health

tDCS may offer many benefits, including the following: 

  • Non-Invasive 

TDCS is a non-invasive procedure that heals without any cognitive damage as compared to brain surgeries. 

  • Improves Learning Ability and Skills Acquisition 

Research suggests that Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation can improve learning ability and skills training.

A study found that applying tDCS helped participants memorize symbols and improved number processing and numerical abilities. The effects lasted up to six months post initial treatment. [5]

Another study of 104 subjects reported that tDCS improved learning when applied to the right inferior frontal and right parietal cortex.

  • Can Reduce Pain 

tDCS can be used to treat chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia

A study reported that 10 daily sessions of anodal tDCS over the motor cortex in fibromyalgia patients improved pain sores and overall quality of life with long-lasting post-treatment results.

  • Reduces Depression Symptoms

Many studies show that tDCS can be a valuable tool to treat neuropsychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, etc. 

One study of 22 patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) found that applying anodal stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for two weeks enhanced positive emotions compared to the control placebo group.

  • Improves ADHD Symptoms

Research shows that tDCS can potentially alleviate the symptoms of core ADHD.

A study reported that applying tDCS on the prefrontal cortex of 9 ADHD patients improved the speed of processing information and the ability to differentiate between the activities.

  • Improves Cognitive Function 

Research has demonstrated cognitive improvements in people undergoing tDCS. 

Many studies reported that stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex could improve working memory. [6, 7, 8]

Other studies also report that tDCS on the medial-frontal cortex can improve visual attention and overall movement awareness. [9, 10]

Moreover, tDCS can also help in preventing cognitive decline

For example, a study of eight patients with Parkinson’s showed that tDCS on the primary motor and premotor cortex improved their overall walking speed and balance (two motor behaviors often severely disrupted by Parkinson’s disease). 

How does tDCS Help In Depression?

Nearly 80% of depression patients have a recurrence of depressive symptoms post-treatment with antidepressant drugs. 33% do not even get fully cured after 2 or 3 medication trials. (Source: NCBI)

Thus, the complexity, heterogeneity, and neurobiology of MDD – with etiology, symptoms, course, and response to the treatment – suggest the use of experimental techniques to influence the brain circuits and areas connected with this pathology

Therefore, many psychologists are now showing interest in tDCS. Moreover, there is significant evidence showing the efficacy of tDCS for the treatment of depression.


  • Study

The first studies of tDCS in depression (conducted more than ten years ago) reported promising results. 

Another study of 2 placebo-controlled groups of hundreds of depression patients published in JAMA Psychiatry explored the role of tDCS for pharmacological therapies. The study found that tDCS combined with sertraline is more effective for the treatment of depression. [11]

  • Meta-Analysis

Most meta-analyses have found that tDCS is a superior treatment for MDD than repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and antidepressant medication. (Source: NCBI)

tDCS can alleviate symptoms of depression indirectly in the following ways: 

  • Affects Food and Drug Cravings

Research shows that overconsumption of junk and processed food results in multiple health problems, including depression. (Source: The Guardian)

tDCS can reduce food cravings, thus improving depressive symptoms caused by eating disorders. (Source: Science Direct)

A study reported that tDCS on the prefrontal cortex reduced sugar and carb cravings.

  • By Changing Neurochemical Interactions 

Many mental disorders are caused due to chemical imbalance in the brain [12, 13]. Applying tDCS to specific brain regions can help change neurochemical interactions in the brain, alleviating depression and other psychiatric disorders. [14]

Is tDCS FDA Approved? 

tDCS is not yet FDA-approved, but it is approved for treating depression across much of the world, including Europe. (Source: FDA News)

The latest CANMAT (Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments) edition and a European consensus of experts graded tDCS a popular treatment of depression.

Many neurologists and psychologists now use tCDS to treat psychiatric disabilities. For example, doctors at Johns Hopkins Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation use brain stimulation for traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, and several other conditions. It is also used for addressing symptoms related to depression, language disorders, movement disorders, impaired cognition, and chronic pain. (Source: John Hopkins Medicine)


  1. Treatment-resistant depression: therapeutic trends, challenges, and future directions by Khalid Saad Al-Harbi. 2012. Retrieved from:
  2. The sertraline versus electrical current therapy for treating depression clinical study: results from a factorial, randomized, controlled trial by Brunoni AR, Valiengo L, Baccaro A. 2013. Retrieved from:
  3. Neurocognitive effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in unipolar and bipolar depression: Findings from an international randomized controlled trial by Shawn M McClintock. 2020. Retrieved from:
  4. Excitability changes induced in the human motor cortex by weak Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation by M A Nitsche and W Paulus. 2000. Retrieved by
  5. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: a roadmap for research, from mechanism of action to clinical implementation by Henry W Chase, Megan A. Boudewyn, Cameron S. Carter, Mary L. Phillips. 2020. Retrieved from:
  6. Modulating neuronal activity produces specific and long-lasting changes in numerical competence by Roi Cohen Kadosh, Sonja Soskic, Teresa Iuculano, Ryota Kanai, Vincent Walsh. 2010. Retrieved from:
  7. Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation of the prefrontal cortex enhances working memory by Felipe Fregni. 2005. Retrieved from:
  8. Improving working memory: exploring the effect of transcranial random noise stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation on the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex by Paul G Mulquiney, Kate E Hoy, Zafiris J Daskalakis, Paul B Fitzgerald. 2011. Retrieved from:
  9. Improving working memory: the effect of combining cognitive activity and anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex by Sophie C Andrews, Kate E Hoy, Peter G Enticott, Zafiris J Daskalakis, Paul B Fitzgerald. 2011. Retrieved from:
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  16. Can Zapping Your Brain Really Make You Smarter?
  17. Excitability changes induced in the human motor cortex by weak Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation by M A Nitsche and W Paulus. 2000. Retrieved from:
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  19. What is Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation?:
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Lithium Orotate for Depression and Brain Health

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, one of the leading causes of disability is mental disorders. OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression are among the most common.

The rising trend of mental disorders – plaguing numerous countries worldwide – has pushed experts to further investigate the etiology of psychiatric disorders and find treatments to cure them. [1]

Lithium (an alkali metal) has had roots in psychiatry since the mid-1800s. According to research, lithium treats and prevents manic episodes in psychotic patients by improving brain activity. Thus, many practicing psychiatrists and psychologists have started micro-dosing patients with lithium supplements, especially those suffering from bipolar disorder (Source: WebMD). [2]

Benefits of Lithium Orotate 

Lithium orotate is a substance made of lithium and orotic acid. It is available as a dietary supplement to naturally treat many health problems – particularly mental health issues. Many consider it a superior option for lithium therapy. [3]

Lithium orotate benefits both the mind and the body. Lithium orotate is used to treat and prevent the following:

  • To promote brain cell regeneration and mental abnormalities
  • To support healthy mood regulation
  • To improve blood sugar metabolism
  • To strengthen immunity
  • To improve bone health
  • To improve cognitive functions 
  • To reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety 
  • To alleviate migraines and insomnia 

Lithium Orotate For Mental Health 

How lithium actually works is unknown. However, many studies suggest that it helps mental disorders by influencing the activity of chemical messengers in the brain (Source: Sagepub). It is also neuroprotective and prevents cognitive decline like Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s.

Therefore, many mental health professionals now use lithium orotate and other lithium supplements to treat:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cluster headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine

Treating Depression With Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate is used as a mood stabilizer as it can be highly effective in treating and managing anger, aggression, mood swings, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and depression.  (Source: Mind)

Dr. Suruchi Chandra, MD, and an Integrative Psychiatrist, supports the use of lithium to treat depression and other mental health concerns. She says: 

“Low-dose lithium supplementation is a much safer treatment option with few side effects. In fact, patients start feeling less anxious, irritable, and depressed just days after taking low-dose lithium.

Dr. Melissa Quinn, a triple board-certified physician and integrative psychiatrist, also microdoses her patients with lithium orotate to prevent and treat depressive symptoms. (Source: BrainMD)

Here is some scientific evidence about the positive impact of lithium orotate for the treatment of depression:

The Evidence

  • Research 

There is conclusive evidence supporting the use of lithium orotate for depression. Research shows that lithium can be effective against episodes of depression and suicide ideation. 

Moreover, 40 years worth of research shows that lithium has anti-suicidal effects, proving highly effective in preventing severe symptoms and side effects of depression such as:  

  • Clinical Data

An open study of 42 alcoholic patients was conducted to evaluate the impact of lithium orotate on mental health. The subjects were dosed with 150 mg/day for six months. Lithium orotate supplementation not only proved beneficial in treating alcoholism but also reduced migraines and depression. (Source: Drugs)

Other studies also show that lithium orotate can prevent and treat migraine attacks and depression associated with bipolar disorder.

Lithium Orotate Supplements For Health and Depression

Over-the-counter lithium orotate is a health supplement. It is a low-dose source of lithium. Non-controlled studies around the use of low-dose lithium orotate in treating alcoholism, migraines, and depression have shown positive results. 

Lithium supplements have the same amount we regularly consume from our food and water, i.e., around 0.64 – 3mg (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). While lithium orotate typically comes in 5mg capsules – a low dose compared to lithium medications. 

Lithium medication generally comes as lithium carbonate with 112 – 225mg of lithium – 100 times the amount found in food, water, and low-dose supplements.

Thus, lithium orotate is an excellent option for those who need more lithium than ionic and plant-based lithium, without the risk of severe side effects of high-dose lithium medication for depression, anxiety, and brain fog.

Lithium Orotate Dose For Depression 

The recommended daily dietary/nutritional dose of lithium is 1 mg/day, and that of lithium orotate is around 20 mg/day. [Source: JPands

Case studies of higher dosage consumptions (240 mg of lithium orotate/day) also exist, showing no apparent signs of toxicity. Still, more adequate clinical studies are required to support dosage recommendations. [4]

Note: Self-treating a chronic mental condition (such as depression) with lithium orotate, is not recommended. Do not avoid or delay professional care as it may result in severe consequences. If you want to use lithium orotate to treat a chronic mental health condition, consult your physician before changing your supplement regimen.


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  3. Lithium orotate: A superior option for lithium therapy? by Anthony G. Pacholko, Lane K. Bekar. 2021. Retrieved from:
  4. Possible dangers of a “nutritional supplement” lithium orotate by Richard Bolan. 2013. Retrieved from:
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