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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Clearing the Fog, Understanding Depression

John Bradshaw - Clearing the Fog, Understanding Depression

John Bradshaw - Clearing the Fog, Understanding Depression
John Bradshaw - Clearing the Fog, Understanding Depression
TOPICS: Clearing the Fog, Depression, Anxiety, Worry

John Bradshaw: This is "It Is Written". I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me. For decades and decades, depression and anxiety have presented the United States and other first-world countries around the world with a major health care crisis. Dr. Neil Nedley spoke with me about this subject about 10 years ago. He's the president of Nedley Health and for 25 years has been successfully treating people battling all forms of depression and anxiety. And we're catching up again today. Dr. Nedley, thanks for being here with me.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Great to be back with you, John.

John Bradshaw: You talk about depression and how to successfully treat depression through lifestyle. Why would we talk about this when there are already myriad treatments for depression? Why aren't you saying there's an array of drugs available on the market, grab one, and off you go? Why are you not saying that?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Well, because those drugs have been tested and tried, and all sorts of studies have been done on them. They can help certain patients, but their help is limited, and they actually don't decrease suicide risk, and they don't improve functioning that much. Uh, I mean, over placebo, one of the drugs improves function by about 6 percent, but most of them don't improve function. And depression is a disease that disables. It causes a lot of dysfunction, and of course, it's also one of the leading causes of death now with suicide rates being so high. And so, why would we recommend that they take something that isn't going to improve in those parameters? And so, it's not that we're against medicine. We have patients come to our program with medication. We'll take them with or without, and we'll keep them on their medicine until they're better and don't need them, but medications alone are not the answer for depression or anxiety.

John Bradshaw: Okay. Be really easy for somebody to say, "Well, Dr. Nedley has a vested interest," or, "He's got an ax to grind". I want to ask you, do you? And I want to ask you, how much of what you're sharing with me is opinion versus hard science?

Dr. Neil Nedley: It's hard science. Even the top pharmaceutical researchers in the world will tell you that drugs have their limitations and that they're not the answer. Uh, consensus mental health organizations tell us that drugs are not the answer to this problem. Once again, they can help in certain situations, but they're not the answer. We have to go beyond drugs if we're going to eradicate and produce the great results that can be obtained for depressed and anxious people.

John Bradshaw: In a moment, not right now, in a moment I'm going to ask you what the answer is. Here's my first question going down that road: Is there an answer for depression and anxiety?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Absolutely, there's an answer.

John Bradshaw: You said that unequivocally.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Unequivocally, yes. And we published on it. Our case reports are, are very well obtained, and the typical patient that we see with depression and anxiety, severe, actually, or maybe even extreme, will leave our program in 10 days with no depression and anxiety. And their emotional intelligence will go up. Now, it requires their cooperation. We have to do a number of different things to produce this dramatic change in their brain chemistry and their change in their thought pattern, but it's well worth the effort.

John Bradshaw: The reason I think it's important we speak about this from a, a faith-based point of view is that the Bible speaks again and again and again about health, and mental health is supremely important. Look, just to digress for a brief moment, I think it's important we talk about this because...too few people speak about mental health. Like it or not, there's still a stigma about mental health where someone who has a, an ingrown toenail is happy to tell his friend he had surgery, but somebody with a mental health issue will keep it to himself or herself, maybe to their detriment or even their demise.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Exactly.

John Bradshaw: And, and another reason we want to talk about this is because looking at it from a biblical point of view, we see that ultimately, ultimately this thing between good and evil is a battle for the mind.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: So, in one place the Bible says, "We have the mind of Christ". We want that as far as possible.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Okay. Let's define some things here. What's depression? I know you talk about that ad infinitum, but briefly, what's depression? And help me understand the difference between severe and, and, and extreme and these various forms.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Yes. So, a major depression is actually a constellation of symptoms. And I use the psychiatric bible; the Diagnostic Statistical Manual gives us nine hallmark symptoms of depression. You don't have to have all nine of them, but you have to have five of those nine. But two of the classic are deep sadness, which you may not even have and still have depression, and apathy. This is where you wake up in the morning and you're not excited about the day. You get up out of duty but not because you're interested in the day. And that will happen not just once in a while, but for a depressed person it'll be there for, you know, at least two weeks. In addition to that, there'll be energy issues. There'll be sleep issues, either wanting to sleep all the time or not being able to sleep, and waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep. Then there's more irritability than there used to be. And then focus and concentration issues can also be a major problem, where you're reading something that's interesting to you, you get to the bottom of the page, and you forget what was at the top of the page. And you have to go back and read it again, and it might even happen again. And that can be a sign of both anxiety and depression.

John Bradshaw: But you're not saying one of those means you have depression. You're saying there's nine points; if you have five, that qualifies you.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Correct.

John Bradshaw: So I don't want anyone to think because they can't focus on a page, that means too much, but it might.

Dr. Neil Nedley: It might.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Dr. Neil Nedley: It might, yeah.

John Bradshaw: Taken together with other things. We're going to get to the cure, if you like, the treatment for depression in a moment, but I wanna ask you this. See, we, we, we've spoken about this before. Ten years ago we talked about this.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Right.

John Bradshaw: And society has known for decades we have a great problem in this area. What's happened in the last 10 years in terms of depression and anxiety?

Dr. Neil Nedley: The rates have gone up astronomically in the last 10 years. And, you know, what has also shifted is depression used to be the older you get, the more likely you're going to get it. And now we're seeing this big peak among young people, adolescents teenagers, even pre-teenagers, and particularly those in their 20s, off the charts in regards to depression and anxiety levels. And that's changed over the last 10 years.

John Bradshaw: And why is that?

Dr. Neil Nedley: The reason is actually the smartphone usage. Uh, it wasn't till about 10 or 11 years ago that about half of Americans owned a smartphone. And now that smartphone is actually able to distract them very easily. And when we are driven to distraction, it actually decreases an area of our frontal lobe that is precisely the area that's needed for managing distressing emotions. And so, it's not the smartphone itself, per se, but the normal use of the smartphone where we're allowing ourself to get distracted by Snapchats, texts, push notifications, and even when we get on there to do something, we forget why we got on there to do something, and we immediately see a text or an email or things like that, and that division of attention actually causes biochemical consequences in the brain, and those biochemical consequences increase the rates of depression and anxiety.

John Bradshaw: So, in recent years it has become much worse. In recent years it's affecting far greater numbers of younger people. Okay. We're going to talk about what a person can do about depression and anxiety. My guest is Dr. Neil Nedley, president of Nedley Health. In just a moment we will talk about what a person can actually do. Dr. Nedley said a moment ago there is successful treatment for depression and anxiety. We'll find out what that is straight ahead.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "It Is Written". Thanks so much for joining me. I'm John Bradshaw. With me, my guest is Dr. Neil Nedley, the president of Nedley Health. Dr. Nedley, we're about to start talking about successful treatment for depression. Give us a little background here. I said for a quarter of a century now you've been successfully treating patients.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Correct.

John Bradshaw: Uh, give me a, just a very quick overview. What do you see walk in the door? What do you see walk out? Once we help people understand what the, the reality is of successful treatment, then we'll talk about the treatment.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Okay. So, what we see typically walk in the door is someone who is severely depressed and also thinking about ending their life. At least most of them now that see us think that they would be better off dead. And they're actually convinced of that when they come to the program. It's affected their family life. It's affected their work life. It's affected their feelings about themselves. Uh, and it has also caused them to even think that they're worthless or that they're of no value. And so that is more of the typical. Of course, there can be a lot of varieties concerning that. Uh, but on top of it, they'll also have anxiety. They'll have social anxiety, which is more of our typical patient now. Uh, they don't really want to interact with people, fear of embarrassment fear of being exposed in some way, shape, or form, fear of being judged. And so this is our our typical patient that comes in. And of course, they're pretty reticent because they're in a new setting, and this has been, you know, a big, big challenge for them to even come to the program. And on day three, they're not sure that they've actually made the right decision because it takes time for the therapies to actually start changing the brain. By day four, they're actually starting to feel better. By day seven, it's pretty amazing the difference. And by day 10, when they're walking out the door, they say, "I don't even really realize who that person was. I'm so different now". They are motivated. They're self-motivated. They're actually sleeping better. They're able to interact with people that they don't know and not have that anxiety and fear of judgment. They realize that they're a valuable human being, and they realize that they have much that they can give to their families and, and their work and the world around them. And so, depression scale goes from severe, on average, to no depression when they're leaving. That doesn't mean it's solved. They still have to continue to do the things that made them better in the program, and then they'll even get better yet two weeks after they're in their home environment. Some of them get fearful because they say, "I got better here. Now I'm going home, where I was really bad, and I'm getting backed into the same place". But actually, as they utilize the tools that we've given them, they'll actually feel better two weeks after being home than the day they left the program.

John Bradshaw: See, this sounds, this sounds miraculous, like, like people are being reborn. But this is what God wants for a person's life. And I, I think, as we talk about depression, it's really important to point out that depression isn't something that the average person can just get over, "Why don't you pull yourself together"?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Right.

John Bradshaw: This is, depression's a monster. And it absolutely disables people. Okay. Let's talk about the successful treatment. What works? And I want you to share with me what works scientifically and verifiably.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Okay.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so, what really helps?

Dr. Neil Nedley: It's actually a combination of a number of simple factors we've put together.

John Bradshaw: Simple factors?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Simple factors, like drinking more water.

John Bradshaw: We're talking absolutely disabling condition where the people suffering from this believe in their hearts that the world would be a better place without them?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Right.

John Bradshaw: And you're starting with drink more water?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Drink more water.

John Bradshaw: Okay, okay. I don't want to hear too much more about the treatment. Take, take 20 or 30 seconds and tell me why does that kind of simple thing help. What, what's going on in a life that something like that could even make a difference?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Well, our brain cells work better when they're hydrated. And nothing hydrates like water. All the other water substitutes actually take away from the hydration of our neurons and our ability to have good synaptic activity.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Dr. Neil Nedley: And so, studies have shown, actually, if we just take someone from less than two glasses of water per day, which the typical person has, to greater than five glasses of water a day, their rates of depression and anxiety will actually start to improve within a week of that treatment.

John Bradshaw: So what else is effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety? Simple things.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Becoming physically fit. Physical fitness is actually better for our brain than it is our body. And cardio exercises actually improve a protein level in our brain called brain- derived neurotrophic factor. It's kind of a brain fertilizer, and it helps the brain get ready for positive changes. So, there are some people that are fit that come to our program. Their causes are different, but most people that come are not at the fitness level they should be at, and that's why we have fitness experts, and in 10 days, and they're going to actually show measurable fitness improvement in their cardio and a lot of different parameters. And that will mirror very much their success during the program.

John Bradshaw: Give me another one, and then something I want to run by you.

Dr. Neil Nedley: So, another one is actually light therapy. So we utilize light in the morning. Actually we have them wake up at the same time every morning, and then they're exposed to a bright light that actually sets their body clock, their circadian rhythm, and it also starts the production of serotonin in the brain. And those two factors are very important. It's going to improve their energy level throughout the day, and it's going to improve their ability to go to sleep at night. In fact, that's one of the best sleep aids, is a light therapy box utilized upon awakening in the morning. So, they're only exposed to it for about 30 minutes. Then we get 'em out and exercise. And those simple treatments of hydration, physical exercise, and light therapy start the process.

John Bradshaw: You said "simple treatments". They are profoundly simple. It, it seems that what you're doing is actually treating the causes of depression: not enough activity, not enough water, not enough light.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Yes.

John Bradshaw: You're, you're actually taking us down to the granular level in treating the very things that cause depression.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Exactly.

John Bradshaw: That's not how depression is typically treated. It's typically treated... well, we have a range of possible medications. "We'll try this one; come back in a, in a week or two or whatever, and maybe we'll change your medication". As a society, we're really stuck on medication, as though it's the solution for everything. How in the world do we change our thinking?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Well, we have to educate the public that it's not just a lack of medicine that's causing depression. Uh, it's actually the lack of good brain biochemistry that has to do with things like nutrition, what we're putting into our body, and what we're doing with our body.

John Bradshaw: What do some of the medications actually do to the brain?

Dr. Neil Nedley: So, how the typical antidepressant works, it's not helping the brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter, nor is it helping the receptors. When we get to the root cause, we're going to actually help the brain produce more of the neurotransmitter, and we're going to be helping at the receptor level so that the synaptic activity goes up. How the drugs work is that they actually plug the reuptake channels in the releasing neuron of the substance they're trying to treat. So, if they're wanting to have more serotonin synaptic activity, they plug the serotonin reuptake channels. And that allows more serotonin in the synapse. The problem with it is now we have to make even more serotonin because that serotonin's not being vacuumed back up into the brain. And so it produces a short-term benefit... by "short-term," maybe six months, nine months, and after that, now the brain is even shorter in serotonin than it was before you started to use the drug, and now you're needing dosage increases; you're needing additional medicines; you're needing a number of other factors to try to help the neuron of its even more severe depletion of serotonin.

John Bradshaw: Simple treatments that work, a complex, challenging diagnosis, but simple treatments given by God that make all the difference. More on depression with Dr. Neil Nedley in just a moment.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me on "It Is Written". My guest is Dr. Neil Nedley, who for a quarter of a century has been successfully treating people with depression and anxiety, in many cases extreme depression and anxiety. You've had a great deal of success with this?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Yes.

John Bradshaw: We're talking about simple treatments.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: I mean, very simple treatments. Let me ask you this. When it comes to depression, what role does nutrition play? Well, what role does nutrition play in the treatment?

Dr. Neil Nedley: It plays a major role. In fact, it is well documented now that nutritional medicine is one of the best therapies for depression and anxiety, and directed nutritional supplements to actually help the individual with the genetic challenges that they might have as well.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so what would that look like?

Dr. Neil Nedley: For instance taking a S-adenosylmethionine to help the person methylate and be able to make more serotonin and dopamine in their brain.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Dr. Neil Nedley: If they have a genetic defect, they're going to have certain personality traits that go along with that defect, like a calm exterior and a tense interior, tendencies for obsessions, tendencies for addictions, and actually being highly competitive. Often it's the attorneys or even the sports heroes that suffer from mental health issues, and they just need more methionine or S-adenosylmethionine to help them methylate better. That's a nutritional therapy. That is something that's natural; it's not something you can get in a pharmaceutical agent because the trademark organization won't allow something natural to be trademarked. It has to be unnatural in order to get it trademarked. And so, natural therapies often are superior.

John Bradshaw: Diet, you mentioned nutrition, what about diet? What, what am I eating that's helping me or mitigating against good mental health?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Yeah, exactly. So, we need to get tryptophan in your diet in order to make serotonin. And we need to get the tryptophan into the brain. So, we don't just give IV serotonin because serotonin won't even be picked up by the brain. The blood-brain barrier prevents it from going across. So we need to get the tryptophan, even that's too large to get into the brain, so we have to have it with specific carriers. And it turns out the best carriers are foods that have tryptophan and natural carbohydrates in them. And those are going to be more of your plant-based foods. One of the reasons why a plant-based diet has been shown to be superior to other diets, improving depression and anxiety in as little as two weeks, once we shift over to a, a highly antioxidant diet that has adequate tryptophan and tyrosine to make the neurotransmitters we need.

John Bradshaw: So, you can eat certain foods that are going to help you.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Exactly.

John Bradshaw: Generally speaking, they're more plant-based.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Correct.

John Bradshaw: Okay, okay. You mentioned genetics a moment ago. I want to ask you about this. Are some people genetically predisposed to depression? Is that the case? And...

Dr. Neil Nedley: Oh, absolutely.

John Bradshaw: Well, if so, what do you do about that if it's your genes?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Well, fortunately, we can shut down those bad genes. And so, when people come to our program, we measure their genetics, and we also measure their epigenetics, to see if that gene is active or not. And fortunately, it's not medication, but it's natural therapies that can actually deactivate that gene. And then we can actually measure the before-and-after results. We can see that the gene was very active to start out with, and within a few weeks, we remeasure. One of the reason why we do follow-up on our patients after they get back is we're actually doing follow-up blood work to show that that gene has been deactivated. Or if it hasn't, there might be some other therapies that we can put into the equation that are simple, side effect free, that'll actually shut down that mutated gene.

John Bradshaw: Thank God there are simple solutions.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Appreciate what you are doing. What I'm hearing as I listen between the lines is, is you're following a very, a simple, I don't mean in a derogatory way, very biblical plan because God wants us to have a sound mind.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Can anyone have that sound mind that God is offering?

Dr. Neil Nedley: Absolutely, absolutely, we, the design of our brain is tremendous because of its ability to change itself. It can dramatically improve under the right conditions. And that brain can not only learn new things; it can start making better neurotransmitters. It can have better receptors. It can have much more fulfillment and success. Our brains are capable of amazing things if we just foster 'em in the right way.

John Bradshaw: There's one thing I would like you to remember. That's this; the Bible says, "Thou wilt", speaking about God, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee". You read that in Isaiah 26:3. "Perfect peace". The Bible says, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," speaking certainly of an attitude, an approach, a humility, but definitely speaking about a mind. When we look, Dr. Nedley, at earth's last great crisis, it's a battle for the mind.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: Mark of the beast, the seal of God, affixed to the minds of those who receive them. I think there are good days ahead. There's reason for every last person to be hopeful.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: I appreciate you sharing that hope. Thanks so much.

Dr. Neil Nedley: Thank you.

John Bradshaw: Let's pray together now.

Our Father in heaven, we thank You that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Anxiety and depression are not Your plan for our lives. We find no fault with people who find themselves there; instead, our hearts beat in harmony and in sympathy with them, asking that You, Lord, the Great Physician, would deliver everyone looking for deliverance, would strengthen everyone looking for strength, that You would encourage and uphold every last person and deliver to each one a sound mind, a transformed life, a new experience. We thank You for salvation in Jesus, and we thank You that through Jesus we might have joy on this earth. We thank You, and our hope is strong in the return of Jesus. We pray with John, who wrote Revelation, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus". This is our prayer. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thank you so much for joining me. I'm looking forward to seeing you again next time. Until then, remember: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
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