My son, Noah suffered from severe depression for ten years before his untimely death at the age of 29. He was a fashion photographer, a brother and an uncle. His death five years ago this month left a hole in many of our lives. Depression is the number one cause of disability in the world. It affects 20 million people in the US. And yet, despite many new drugs on the market in the last two decades, almost half of those treated do not respond completely to medications. A recent European study aims at predicting the risk for depression in much the same way that we estimate risk for heart disease or stroke. See their website for a depression risk test:
When my son was so sick, I tried many many different ways to help him get well. I now am convinced that the missing piece has to do with the biochemistry of nutrition and its effect on brain chemistry. I just recently read “A Promise of Hope” a remarkable story about a family that was afflicted with generational bipolar disorder that resulted in two suicides and many family members being hospitalized in psychiatric facilities. What this made me realize is that the same thread of mental illness runs in my own family. When viewed from the vantage point of handling one crisis after another, it’s easy to forget that my mother’s sister, my mother, my first cousin, my nephew, my son, my niece, my brother have had serious mental illnesses from depression to bipolar affective disorder to psychotic breaks.
The book also details the heroic efforts of the family patriarch who developed a product (EmPower Plus – now being used by thousands, many of whom have been able to get off prescription medications and go on to live completely normal lives. Scientific studies are underway and seem very promising but this information is largely ignored by the medical profession. Other studies have documented the effectiveness of omega 3 fatty acids in reducing symptoms of depression and reducing suicide risk. B- vitamins have been shown to augment the effect of prescription antidepressants. I doubt that I will live to see the day when medicine will embrace these findings but I have vowed for five years to continue to support those suffering with mental illness in finding other options that don’t leave them overweight, drugged out or unable to live their normal lives. In memory and in honor of my beloved son, Noah Allan Ross: 6/14/74-2/10/2004