With ever-growing numbers of people suffering from chronic depression and anxiety, The Instinct to Heal is a welcome new addition to the body of writing available. But what makes this book really stand out is that it focuses on ways to heal that do not involve the usual talk therapy or pharmaceuticals. In fact, some of the things suggested in The Instinct to Heal can be undertaken by anyone right away, and others involve exciting and cutting-edge research that will no doubt change the face of how we deal with depression.
Author David Servan-Schreiber, a psychiatrist/neurologist and the co-founder of the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, presents solid research with sympathetic insight into the causes of depression and anxiety, and how medicine and talk therapy do not always succeed with many patients he has seen.
The methods Dr. Servan-Schreiber explains in this book and employs in his practice center on natural methods of treatment, such as Heart Coherence, which involves aligning our breath and heart rate; EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which has shown phenomenal success with victims of trauma and extreme stress; acupuncture; using natural light to cure seasonal depression; nutrition – especially the importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids; exercise; love; and connection with a spiritual power or sense of something greater than oneself.
These treatments are all within reach, with the exception of EMDR, which is being heavily tested and presented to the scientific community and the results are worth reading the book for alone! Eating better, taking fish oil supplements, getting out into bright morning light, sleeping better, exercising, loving others more, getting connected spiritually – these are such simple suggestions, but as the author shows, powerful ways of healing the mind and the body. And he should know: he’s the expert, and he offers many anecdotes and experiences with his own clients to back up his ideas and his solid research. Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a fluffy diet-and-vitamin book, but rather a strongly researched and detailed book filled with documentation of just how successful these breakthrough treatments have been in helping people who were not helped by the usual drugs and couch therapy.
With plenty of evidence to back up his claims, Dr. Servan-Schreiber may just well be at the forefront of a whole new battle against mental diseases, and what is so thrilling is the knowledge that paying for expensive drugs and weekly therapy sessions will not be the first order of treatment. More than ever, science is discovering our own inherent power and instinct to heal, and this book leads the way in presenting those discoveries.
As someone who has struggled with a lifelong battle with both depression and anxiety, I found this book so exciting and so filled with potential. In fact, I went out for a walk, bought some fish oil, and I plan to do as much as this book suggests as possible, although I am not sure I can get up at the crack of dawn to face the first morning sun!
I highly recommend this book for anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or chronic stress, or anyone who knows and loves someone who is suffering. The tools in this book are usable, even as early as RIGHT NOW, and the promise of more wonderful natural treatments to come will give hope to anyone for whom all hope seems lost.