Newsletter – depression

Work in Progress
Published monthly by Michele Crawford
Work in Progress is an electronic newsletter intended to assist
individuals seeking optimum well-being.

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Work in Progress May 2006 Volume I Issue III
Feature Article: Part One: Questioning the Treatment of Anxiety

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In this Issue:

1) Note from Michele 2) Feature Article 3) About Michele 4) Counselling Services
1) Note from Michele

Dear Reader
Welcome to Part One of Questioning the Treatment of Anxiety and
Depression with Drugs. Part Two will follow next month.
People that know me know that I have many questions and concerns
about the efficacy of mood medications. So much of the research has
been dominated by drug companies… this is good for drug sales but
not necessarily good science.
For example, recent research has exposed antidepressant medications
to be marginally, if at all, better than placebos and can lead to a
significant increase in suicide. And what about the disturbing side
effects of mood medications?
Furthermore, exercise, EMDR, and cognitive behavioural therapy have
considerably better results in the short- and long-term alleviation of
anxiety and depression. Why? will be partially answered in this
One of the most well-known premises is that anxiety and depression
result from a chemical imbalance in the brain. The following article
considers more recent evidence that contradicts this simplistic view.
In the next issue of my newsletter, I will outline the results of a panel
of experts discussing the latest science in treating anxiety and
depression. This presentation will be free and open to the public on
May 25, 2006 at the Best Western Richmond Inn Hotel and Conference
Centre, 7551 Westminster Hwy, Richmond BC at 7:00 to 9:30 PM.
2) Part One: Questioning the Treatment of Anxiety

Currently, it is universally believed that a lack of the brain chemical
serotonin is responsible for depression and a host of other mental and
emotional problems. The idea that deficiencies of one or more brain
chemicals causes depression was first proposed in a 1965 paper by
Joseph Schildkraut, a former researcher at the National Institute of
Mental Health. Many researchers have been stuck on that path ever
Generally having been influenced by powerful financial interests,
people now accept the premise that the way to boost serotonin levels
is by taking antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, or Celexa. We
have been deluged by advertisements saying, for instance, that Celexa
“helps to restore the brain’s chemical balance by increasing the supply
of a chemical messenger in the brain called serotonin.”
Now many individuals can even describe how selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work to keep more serotonin floating
around in the brain, facilitating synaptic connections.
However, increasingly there is compelling brain and mood research
that will turn everything we have been assuming about depression and
anxiety upside down. Recent studies have found just the opposite and have moved away from understanding depression through the paradigm of serotonin deficiency. So, what do we replace this theory with? I remember the university class, Psychology 101, (many years ago) where I was taught the adult human brain could not replace dying brain cells. (What a depressing thought!) That premise has been proven completely false with a radical shift in thinking that has emerged about the ability of the adult brain to grow new neurons. First, in experiments with species ranging from rats to higher primates, it was discovered that it was possible for their brains to regenerate. This process is called neurogenesis – the growth of new neurons. Then it was revealed that the adult human brain, under certain conditions, could also grow new brain cells and do it beautifully! I heard about this new direction in research at a conference in 2001. This is one of the primary reasons EMDR is so effective; by releasing frozen trauma from the brain, optimal conditions for neurogenesis exists. It is important to understand why re-growth is so essential. Coupled with studies on both animals and human beings that reveal persistent stress slows the process of neuron growth, (and even in chronic situations, actually causes massive die-off), by triggering the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, a comprehensive picture begins to emerge. It appears that people, who are exposed to severe stress, and thus chronically high levels of cortisol, may have reduced rates of neurogenesis. This could contribute to their developing depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. The concepts of unresolved trauma and stress created by irrational beliefs are once again discovered to actively trigger cortisol concentration, creating unhealthy mood patterns. Therefore, the ability of our brain to regenerate new growth directly affects our capacity to self-soothe and feel happy. On the other hand, unresolved trauma and the inability to cope with stress create the hormones that damage brain function. Simply expressed… life experiences influences brain chemistry; brain
chemistry influences life experiences; and the two combined help
regulate the growth and survival of neurons, which, in turn, influence
both life and chemistry.
This new way of understanding means brain change, and therefore
behaviour change, is not the exclusive domain of biochemistry. To be
For more information, please contact:
Michele Crawford RCC CCC at
Phone: 604-515-9727
Web Site:
3) About Michele

Michele Crawford is a therapist who assists individuals who are
struggling with trauma, anxiety or depression. Her passion for
her work remains embedded in being able to connect with you
in your suffering, helping you find real solutions no matter how
complex the issue may be.
4) Counselling Services

Are you prepared to live with more happiness, optimism,
confidence, self-worth and hope? If your answer is “yes,” then
your next step is to contact me for a free 20-minute phone
consultation. We can then discuss how I might best help you
resolve your problems of Trauma, Depression and Anxiety.
The benefits of counselling with Michele include: significantly
reduced stress levels, an optimistic outlook in life, increased
confidence and hope.
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Please feel free to forward a copy of Work in Progress (in its entirety)
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Copyright Michele Crawford 2006 All Rights Reserved.
Michele Crawford RCC CCC
Willow House Wellness Ltd.
Web Site:
Phone: 604-515-9727
Fax: 604-515-9728


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