In the Science Times

In the Science Times

By James S. Gordon MD

This letter of mine appeared in The New York Times yesterday (in somewhat shortened form), under the title, “Alternatives to New Drugs.”

To the Editor of The Science Times:

Richard Friedman (“New Drugs Have Allure, Not Track Record,” May 19, 2009) is appropriately troubled by the loss of a “larger context” by physicians who prescribe newer, aggressively marketed drugs preferentially to older, less expensive but more reliable ones. His own therapeutic context is, however, far too narrow.

In evaluating treatments for mood disorders, psychiatrists (and the comparative effectiveness studies proposed by the Obama Administration) must enlarge their perspective well beyond drug therapies. My own work over the last forty years, and my reading of the “evidence-based” scientific literature, strongly suggest that an integrative, non-pharmacological approach based on self-awareness and self-care is in many cases significantly superior to drug treatment.

This kind of integrative approach, which may include meditation, physical exercise, dietary modification and supplements, and psychotherapy has been shown to enhance biological as well as psychological functioning—decreasing stress hormones, shifting electrical patterns to portions of the brain associated with optimism, and improving neurotransmitter levels along with mood—without the negative side effects that often accompany drugs. Moreover, such an approach, carefully individualized to meet the needs of each anxious, depressed, and troubled person, significantly enhances the damaged self-esteem of patients who, using it, experience the satisfaction of helping themselves.

-James S. Gordon, M.D.

Dr. Gordon, a psychiatrist, is the author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression.

About the Author(s)

James S. Gordon, MD

James S. Gordon, MD is Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine; Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Family Medicine; Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is also the author of "The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma", "Manifesto for a New Medicine", "Comprehensive Cancer Care", and "Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey out of Depression".

One Reply to “In the Science Times”

  1. Dr. Gordon, I really appreciate your writing Unstuck. It has helped me tremendously in overcoming depression without medication. Its good to know that I always have this book to refer to whenever needed. Thanks again, VS

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