Book Review, Disease and Illness, Holistic Practices, Self-Help, Yoga

Book Review: Natural Prozac: Learning to Release Your Body’s Own Anti-Depressants, By Dr. Joel Robertson With Tom Monte

Being caught up in motherhood and rereading the course material for my YogaFit Level 5 class in order to finish up my 200-RYT, I completely forgot to do a post last week! I’m terribly excited about completing this certification. My journey with yoga since 2008 has been a roller coaster. I’ve had amazing instructors who encouraged me to pursue my certification as I was able to afford it; I’ve had an instructor who chided me for teaching a yoga-Pilates mixed class while she was gone (I thought I was doing both her and the gym a favor) and it got a little personal and territorial (not the idea of yoga, by the way); my heart’s been crushed by some hard-nosed business personnel and I’ve scraped by on small paychecks; my students have uplifted and encouraged me in more ways than I can mention.

I also plan on pursuing another line of holistic practice, essential oils through doTERRA. I’m extremely interested in seeing if this is a viable option to expand not only my personal practice in well being but also that of my students, friends and family. I’m also hoping that this becomes a thriving business to help supplement my family’s income in order that we obtain the goal of being debt free.

Linked to Amazon page
Linked to Amazon page

Now, onto the review. As I said, I’ve been rereading the Level 5 course material, and Natural Prozac: Learning to Release Your Body’s Own Anti-Depressants is one of the books. Dr. Robertson’s theory revolves around the fact that the brain’s chemicals can be altered by both one’s thoughts and the things one does. Neurotransmitters increase and decrease according to our thought and action patterns, and if these patterns are sustained they can created a new brain baseline. If one consumes certain foods, reduces exercise and daily activities, and regularly has negative thoughts, the brain’s baseline chemicals alter in a way that will promote depression. In the first part of the book, Robertson discusses two types (of three, the third being genetic, which he briefly touches upon):

  • Satiation-type depression: described chemically as low levels of seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine; these people seek to avoid situations and activities that create anxiety and stress in their lives.
  • Arousal-type depression: described chemically as low levels of seratonin and high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine; these people seek to avoid dealing with their feelings by engaging in situations and activities that create anxiety and stress.

Robertson continues by saying that he believes (as I do) that by altering the foods one eats, the activities one does (including increasing exercise), and practicing cognitive restructuring can increase seratonin levels and balance out dopamine/norepinephrine levels, minimizing or even curing depression, always with doctor and/or therapist supervision of course.

The second half of his book is dedicated to a discussion of the tools he uses (diet, exercise, nature, music, journal writing, entertainment, and spiritual/religious practices), a regimen for each kind of depression, and final words of encouragement.

Overall, I think Robertson’s book is a great self-help guide that can assist those struggling with depression in learning how to identify the root causes of their malady, pinpoint their trigger situations and feelings, and slowly change their behaviors into healthier habits that will positively affect body, mind and even spirit. He gives excellent case studies of patients, with named changed of course, as well as going through the various ways depression can occur and how one avoids dealing with is in minute detail. I also like how he promotes positivity throughout the book, encouraging the reader that 1) there is hope and 2) the power lies with them.

I think that those searching for a way to alleviate the dark oppression depression brings can benefit from Robertson’s tools with doctor/therapist supervision. When one struggles with depression, it is always best to have a team of supporters to help one stay on track. In conclusion, then, I recommend this book because I find it enlightening, uplifting, and easy for the common lay reader to understand (one doesn’t have to be a doctor to translate the terminology, thank heavens).

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Author Note: I am not a doctor, psychologist, therapist or in any way linked with the medical community. This is merely a suggested reading, not a prescription to help minimize or cure depression. If you are suffering from depression, believe you may be suffering from it, or are having dark, violent or suicidal thoughts, please seek immediate medical attention. The sooner you get help, the better your odds are at coping with and/or alleviating your symptoms through an appropriate treatment plan.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Natural Prozac: Learning to Release Your Body’s Own Anti-Depressants, By Dr. Joel Robertson With Tom Monte”

  1. Does he mention PTSD and how to deal with the up and down mood swings people deal with? I find I just want everything quiet, without chaos. I need music, writing, and reading, but rarely want to engage with people.

    Being self-aware helps, too. Knowing what triggers depression/mood swings and why is always a good thing so you can stay on as even a keel as possible. And being patient with yourself when you are having trouble. People who struggle with depression and/or PTSD don’t have to be perfect all the time. It’s okay to have bad days and struggle back up the hill. Find people who will help you through and never, ever give up.

    Just my experience,

  2. He mentions military men back from combat but doesn’t directly PTSD. It’s a great read, even if it is just to get a few ideas to help brighten your day and/or make you more agreeable to going out more often.

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