Obesity and Depression
Last time we talked about the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) loosening its vice-like grip on psychedelic compounds for research. It’s a simple matter of Demand and Supply. Studies have shown that these compounds have the breakthrough potential for the treatment of depression, anxiety, addictions, and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Hence the call for increased production of psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, and MDMA (Ecstasy). These compounds are needed for this vital research.
Most people still think of psychedelics as recreational drugs for hippies and dropouts to use to get high. That thinking led to a 50-year freeze on legitimate research. The truth of the matter is a lot of psychedelics have roots in traditional medicine. Cultures all over the world have used them for thousands of years in religious ceremonies and healing.
What with one in five Americans suffering a mental disorder I’d say the Demand for new treatments is critical and the DEA recognizes this with their call for increased production for research. Most of the FDA-approved drugs were developed in the 1970s and 80s and there haven’t been a lot of breakthroughs since. Most of these drugs have some very serious side effects; common among them is weight gain.
I know from personal experience because when my wife Gwen was first diagnosed with Bipolar disease the doctor prescribed her first cocktail. I call them a cocktail because after a while they are no longer effective in treating either depression or mania and they must be changed to the next cocktail. These concoctions kept her alive for several years and finally contributed to her untimely death.
Gwen was a beautiful woman, inside and out. She had a lovely figure, weighed about 115 pounds until her first prescription (cocktail). Like she needed any more depression in her life she began to gain weight. She got up to 175 pounds and was so large it was causing severe back problems. We tried everything even liposuction but eventually, she required reduction surgery. Her surgeon was great; he asked her what size she wanted, and she replied, just make me my normal 36B. And he did.
When I began to research weight loss, I became deluged with advertisements; you know how Google works. They all start with something like; Bizarre Indian Herb—-Tiny African Seed—-Sleep Off Flab with one Tablespoon—-10 Second Island Ritual—-Old Russian Ritual lose 2 lbs. before Dinner—Mysterious Island Fruit—even “This Chocolate-Healthier Than Kale”. But I recently read this in an ad to lose weight and borrow it here because I think it’s a pretty accurate depiction of the anguish suffered by a young girl who suffered being “overweight/obese. I quote her story here:
WHAT DID HE SEE IN A FAT SLOB LIKE ME? (She did ultimately marry but after 25 years lost him to obesity). “At 29 I weighed 220 pounds and had battled my weight since my pre-teen years. I heard every snicker, cringed at every taunt as I rushed past them, books clutched to my chest. Head down. Face burning. Sobbing in the restroom. I longed to be one of the popular girls—-thin and beautiful. And it didn’t get any better with adulthood. I kept gaining weight. Rolls of tummy fat make sitting in a booth in a restaurant a tight fit. Upper arm fat jiggled when I walked. I’d never wear sleeveless shirts. My jeans cut into my waist and my bulging stomach sat in my lap. My huge thighs rubbed together. Did I refuse to wear shorts in the summer and wear a bathing suit? Forget It!
Few guys asked me out but to be fair I seldom went anywhere to meet men. If you don’t put yourself out there you can’t be rejected. Right?”
I will aim to recommend the most effective weight loss protocols available as we tackle this overweight/obesity connection to depression.
The FDA: The United States Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. It has responsibility for control and supervision of prescription and OTC (over the counter) pharmaceutical drugs (medication), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, and medical devices.
Like I said before there are some very fine companies working feverishly to bring therapies that pass the FDA’s rigorous controls and barriers to approval. That means phase 1, 2, 3, and eventually, phase 4 as well before they are approved for use. It takes time and it’s not cheap. Costs upwards of 50 million dollars but it’s happening. There is Hope for Mental Illness.
In the meantime, we have Nutraceuticals—-definition. A food containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefits. In other words, supplements from nature are provided by the Creator.
My older brother and I were both 10 lbs. at birth; my dad’s nickname for me was Pudge. My Mom and the family doctor put me on a diet when I was 10 years old and weighed 130 pounds. Being a big boy wasn’t all bad; as a high school freshman “Lineman of the Year” than Captain of defense of the varsity football team. All well and good but you wouldn’t catch me at the beach or around a swimming pool with girls around; embarrassing. I might have been a larger size than some of them.
Years later when I left police work to go into business with the 3-martini business lunches I ballooned to 215 pounds. In the 1970s we dressed nice for work, and I started to outgrow my suits and slacks. My first wife “J” was growing (in size) right along with me, and we had a decision to make. I decided that I wouldn’t make a very happy “Jolly Fat Man” so I struggled and lost 30 pounds so I could keep all my size 36 trousers and 40 regular jackets. At my age now, 78 I strive to maintain my weight around 160 because there are more health risks associated with overweight/obesity than mental health. It puts us at greater risk of 13 types of cancer (according to the CDC), high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and much more.
Now I’m not personally overweight so I guess one could say it’s “not my problem” but with 2/3 of our fellow Americans suffering overweight/obesity I think we could say it’s “all our problem”. If you aren’t I’ll bet you know someone who is, a family member or friend. There are about 15 people where I work. Ten of them are overweight and 3 of them are obese. At the height of the pandemic several of them were working from home; when they returned—-you guessed it.
A note: I was just listening to the radio and heard an ad for “Mercy Ships” so I looked it up on the web. They’re hospital ships. They have five of them; Global Mercy, Africa Mercy, Anastasis, Caribbean Mercy, and Good Samaritan. Check them out, you might want to volunteer. Their mission and Motto is TRANSCENDING BORDERS. CHANGING LIVES. It reminded me there are a lot of good people in the world trying their best to do good work. That’s what we’ll strive for here at Hope for Mental Illness.