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As I sit down to write this book, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved another antidepressant. The name of the drug doesn't matter; it joins the ranks of about one dozen others already on the market. Presently, more than two dozen additional antidepressants are under development, according to the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. And as you sit today and read this book, another antidepressant has been, is being, or soon will be released to the market, to be followed by others currently in research-and-development or trial phases.

While the good intentions of those who work so diligently to find remedies for the millions of people who suffer with depression may be commendable, I remain largely unimpressed. Why? Because regardless of the number of antidepressants introduced to the market or when they appear, the bottom line is that psychotropic drugs are not the complete answer to the critical and growing problem of depression in this country. In fact, I believe that in some ways they contribute to it.

On the surface, these statements may seem daunting and depressing. After all, we've been told by the conventional medical community, the pharmaceutical companies, and Madison Avenue marketers that drugs will lift your spirits, improve your mood, and spark up your sex life.

If drugs are not the answer, then what is? There is no simple answer to this question, but there is an approach to helping people with depression that has largely been ignored by conventional psychiatry. I and a growing number of my colleagues have found it to be a natural, biofriendly approach called orthomolecular psychiatry -- the practice of treating psychological problems by providing the body with optimal amounts of substances that are natural to it -- including amino acids, vitamins and minerals, trace elements, and essentail fatty acids -- combined with positive lifestyle habits and mind-body therapies. Linus Pauling, PhD, originally introduced this term in 1968 in the journal Science.

In this book I explain how you or a loved one, and the tens of millions of Americans who suffer with depression and related disorders, can find relief naturally, safely, and effectively, without the use of medication. This approach has worked for tens of thousands of individuals, and it can work for you, too. I see proof of it every day at my center, the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine in Suffern, New York. You don't need to come to Suffern to win your battle against depression, but you do need to take your healing process into your own hands, and that's what I can help you do with this book.

Copyright 2006 by Michael B. Schachter, MD, and Lynn Sonberg





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