Eleven percent of women in America are on antidepressants. How did a condition once thought to be rare become epidemic? Many factors contribute to the disease, yet experts agree that stress is the main cause of the psycho-physiological imbalances that give rise to depression.
Evidence suggests that women respond differently to stress than men, making them more prone to depression.
Many women are looking for natural alternatives to antidepressants. Fortunately, new research on the Transcendental Meditation technique shows promising results.
Research finds 50% reduction in depression
A recent study led by researchers at University of California Los Angeles shows that depressive symptoms decreased by almost 50% over a 12-month period among people practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, compared to controls.1
These findings are significant for anyone suffering from depression, but are especially important for women. According to experts, women can succumb to depression under lower stress levels than men, and the female physiology produces more stress hormones than men’s and recovers from stress less quickly.
TM increases happiness and contentment
The TM technique reduces stress and increases calm, inner peace and contentment. The experience of expanding happiness and increased alertness during TM practice is the opposite of depression. The TM meditative state has a unique style of physiological functioning, characterized by very deep relaxation and more integrated, harmonious brain functioning. In addition, depression is associated with low levels of serotonin, and studies show that TM practice increases serotonin in subjects whose serotonin is too low.
Natural alternative to anti-depressants
Today women make up more than half the work force, and many of those women also carry the bulk of housework and childcare. The more roles a woman is expected to play, the more vulnerable she is to strain and the subsequent stress and depression. An alarming 79% of the prescriptions for antidepressant drugs are for women. One out of three doctor’s visits by women involves an antidepressant prescription. Because antidepressants do not address the root cause of the problem, the depression may continue and may motivate the doctor to increase the dosage. The side effects include weight gain or loss, intense restlessness, insomnia, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, panic attacks, and anxiety.
Taking time out to relieve emotional and physical stress through regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique is a natural and effective approach to prevent and reduce depression.
“Severely depressed people often believe they will never feel better,” says Dr. Nancy Leibler, author of Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way, “Because the TM technique gives us a feeling of fulfillment and calmness, it also gives hope.”
- Transcendental Meditation, Reduced Symptoms of Depression Randomized Controlled Mind-Body Intervention Trials, Nidich, S., Toomey, M., Myers, H., Grandinetti, A., Rainforth, M., Salerno, J., Gaylord-King, C., Schneider, R. Maharishi University of Management, U.C.L.A., University of Hawaii 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Seattle, Washington, April 9th, 2010.
Relevant Scientific Research Findings on the Transcendental Meditation program
- 50% reduction in depression
- Improved hormonal balance
- Increased alertness and creativity
- Decreased stress
University students who learned the TM technique showed decreased depression after three months practice, in contrast to students who did not learn.Journal of Instructional Psychology 22: 308-319, 1995.
High levels of EEG coherence during TM practice are correlated with creativity, less neuroticism, efficiency in learning, moral reasoning, higher verbal intelligence (IQ), higher academic achievement, and greater neurological efficiency. International Journal of Neuroscience 13: 211-217, 1981; 15: 151-157, 1981.
The TM technique produces a state of deep rest compared to eyes-closed control conditions. American Psychologist 42: 879-881, 1987.