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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Larrry Berkelhammer, PhD., is the author of "In Your Own Hands," a book that talks about mind training to improve health in instances of chronic illness. Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 in San Rafael, Calif. (Robert Tong/Marin Independent Journal)

Larrry Berkelhammer, PhD., is the author of “In Your Own Hands,”

The purpose of this blog and the entire website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live a vibrant, meaningful life while living with chronic health challenges.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are mindfulness research articles, especially as they relate to health. Wednesday posts are videos of my presentations or interviews. Friday posts consist of Q&A related to living a meaningful, values-based life, regardless of the nature of your particular life challenges.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: At times in class, you seem to seem to take a dim view of antidepressants, but don’t some people need to be on them?

ANSWER: People diagnosed with major depressive disorder absolutely should be under the care of a good psychiatrist, who is willing to work with them to find a treatment that is effective, which could be pharmacological or some other treatment.

Unfortunately, far too many people with dysthymic disorder—a chronic, milder form of depression, are prescribed antidepressants by their primary care doctors. Treatment for depression is often far more complex than most primary care doctors are able to effectively treat. That’s why we have psychiatrists.

But most of these patients with the milder forms of depression can benefit enormously from various mind training practices and other behaviors that commonly obviate the need for antidepressants in those with dysthymic disorder.

Mindfulness meditation, mantra meditations, mental imagery meditations, and biofeedback all have proven efficacy in treating mild depression.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges or issues related to wellbeing. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.
What questions do you have about living a life of mastery or about the relationship between the mind and health or wellbeing?
Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. Your specific question may not appear in this column. The reason for that is I wait until I get a certain number of related questions, then I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. People in my classes and presentations asked most of the questions appearing in this column

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