Depression has been called the most common ailment of the 21st century.
It's so serious it affects sufferers’ family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, general health and in worst case scenarios it can see a person taking their own life.
And while many medicos quickly write a prescription for drugs and anti-depressants there are those in the know who say there's another way.
“Yes there are other ways of treating emotional illness which is depression, anxiety, lack of self esteem, panic attacks," says Dr Cabot.
Dr Sandra Cabot started out as a GP Obstetrician and gynaecologist but became better known as an author when her book "The liver cleansing diet" became a world wide best seller and there has been many more after that but now her latest book "Help for depression and anxiety" promises hope for sufferers everywhere.
"Depression I would describe as being worse than any physical illness. I'm amazed that people know so little about depression either in somebody else or themselves they don't recognize it because it can present as chronic fatigue syndrome, muscle pain, incredible fatigue and sleeplessness," says Dr Cabot.
The modern thinking medico can already see the books pages coming to life with three of her patients.
Helen Hayes crashed into depression two years ago after a full hysterectomy and major surgery to remove a uterine tumour.
"I had this very nasty sensation running all through my body, I just didn't know what it was, so I went home and I just never picked up, I never got better, I just felt lousy and despite what supplements I took and whatever I tried to do I just couldn’t pick myself up," says Helen.
Wendy Perkins was a long time depression sufferer.
"You’re swimming in a sea of treacle, it's just an impossible way to live. It’s very hard for people to understand what depression is because the advice I've been given over the years.... well pull your socks up… you've got through this..... you can do it again... you'll be right... you'll be ok... but your not," says Wendy.
Bev Murray is a nurse but also another great pretender when it came to being happy
"You put on a mask. You can pretend to other people that you’re happy but on the inside it's different. On the inside you’re breaking. I was on anti depressants and I stopped taking those because I didn’t like feeling dull. I just felt like a wet blanket was over me," says Bev.
All three women were on one anti depressant or another but it wasn't until they made an appointment with Dr Cabot that they saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
"Within about 5 minutes she said you have two of your brain chemicals which aren't at a high enough level. You’ve got a dopamine deficiency, you’ve got an adrenalin deficiency, you have a depressive illness and I was stunned and shocked and hugely offended and I considered walking out," says Helen.
"You’ve got to have the chemistry right. If the chemistry in your brain is out, your brain will be like a flat battery. We make the happy chemicals in our brain from amino acids… so protein," explains Dr Cabot.
By taking a holistic approach, Dr Cabot has had amazing results.
"It only took 4 days to make me feel so much better," says Bev.
So what's an alternative to those anti depressants with their possible side effects?
"Tyrosine is an amino acid that’s a precursor to dopamine," explains Dr Cabot and it can be bought across the counter at health food stores. There’s also another amino acid called Tryptophan but to get an effective dose of that you do need a Doctors prescription.”
(Please note: anti depressants and Tyrosine should not be taken together, please consult your doctor first.)
Fish oil is also a big help and the humble egg is a real depression fighter.
"Eggs are fantastic! As a happy food they are full of all the things the brain needs," says Dr Cabot.
It was a humble cream called progesterone that transformed Bev’s life.
"Just a simple little cream you get made up at the compounding chemist. You rub it on your arm every day and that's it…you feel great. It makes a huge difference. The mood swings are gone, the PMS is gone. I look forward to life, it is just miraculous," says Bev.
And with all her natural tendencies Dr Cabot is not against anti depressant drugs.
“Anti depressants are good drugs. They help a lot of people but if we can minimise the dose, well that's good because we can minimise the side effects," says Dr Cabot.
In Wendy’s case it was a combination of treatments.
“Now I'm on Tyrosine which is an amino acid and a protein with no side effects," says Wendy.
For Helen, Wendy and Bev Dr Cabot's ability to think outside the square has literally been a life saver.
"She's my God, she really is. She has saved my life. That's a big statement, she has saved my life," says Bev.
"For the first time in my life, and I'm 65 and I haven't felt so well ever since I was a young girl," says Wendy.
“Never give up. Never give up because it could be a very simple thing that you’re missing. Life’s like a jigsaw puzzle particularly when it comes to your health and there might be one or two pieces missing that we can put back and it becomes so much easier," says Dr Cabot.
"Help for depression and anxiety" by Dr Sandra Cabot
Published by Women's Health Advisory Service Pty Ltd
Costs about $19.99
Available at Sandra’s website or good bookstores
Dr Cabot will be in Adelaide in August for a seminar.
Venue: Italian Centre, 262 Carrington Street, Adelaide, SA
Date: 26th of August, 2009
For Enquires & Bookings phone: (08) 8267 0206