Friday, February 15, 2013

NEW! Feb. 2013! To see my first major update to this blog in years, please scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Tormented by DEPRESSION, and the medicine isn't helping?

If you or anyone you care about is tormented by clinical depression and none of the medications seem to help, you need to read this!
(March 2006 was just the beginning, and many parts of were written more recently. I'm always adding more text and new links, whenever I manage to find another piece of the puzzle.)

Widespread ignorance regarding Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome, combined with the ruthless drug prohibition laws, sent me on a trip through hell and back. This ignorance also came within an inch of ending my life. If I can save people from going through this hell by just explaining a few scientifically proven facts, I need to do it.

Tormented by depression and nothing seems to help? You're not alone. Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta... You've tried two or three of these. They were supposed to help you feel better- but you just didn't! Sound familiar? Did you happen to notice that opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone are the only substances capable of making you feel normal? You already know that every human brain contains "endorphins"... but did you know that endorphins are almost the exact same thing as morphine, only fifty times more potent? Some people have a deficiency of this endogenous (natural) morphine, resulting in miserable, intolerable depression unless this deficiency is somehow compensated for.
Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome: Do I have it?
If you’re suffering from treatment resistant depression, the following criteria should help you to determine whether an endogenous opioid deficiency is at the root of your problem:

W: Weak immune system- You don't know of anyone who catches nasty colds as often as you do. Perhaps you were even diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or two. (Amazingly enough, whenever you’re on opiates/opioids, your immune system seems to drastically strengthen)

R: No Runner's High. You've never in your life experienced the so-called 'runner's high'.
A: Allergies. Pollen allergy/Hay fever- This often comes with a chronic runny nose and possibly other allergies as well.
T: Tears. You're easy to bring to tears, or at least you were that way through your teenage years.
H: Hypersensitivity/sensory defensiveness- This could be hypersensitivity to touch, sound, light, temperature, etc. You're easily made uncomfortable by slight disturbances in your surroundings.
Did you answer ‘Yes’ to at least four of the above five criteria? Did reading this stunningly accurate description of yourself just make your heart just skip a beat? I’ve been told that happens quite often to readers of this site. The above five traits are not an authoritative diagnostic criteria for Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome, since no such criteria exist. While medical orthodoxy freely admits the fact that endorphins (naturally occurring opiate-like peptides in the human body) are responsible for both emotional well being and stimulating the body to produce disease-fighting antibodies, they’ve yet to draw the obvious conclusion that endorphin deficient individuals are therefore highly vulnerable to depression and sickness.

Here are three more common traits of EDS. These three traits aren’t quite as common as the first five, yet appear frequently enough to warrant mentioning:

* You're introverted, and annoyed by crowds. This may have something to do with the hypersensitivity trait, mentioned above.
* Your motor coordination skills developed slowly as a child. Your training wheels stayed on your bike for longer than normal. You were also lousy at sports.
* You have a 'Cluster B' personality disorder. These are Narcissistic personality disorder, Histrionic personality disorder, Borderline personality disorder, and Antisocial personality disorder.

OK, I think I have Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome. Now what?
I know the depression is paralyzing you into inaction- I've been there too. Still, you should know you can't continue on this path indefinitely. You have no choice but to either kill yourself or get better. There's no third option, so you need to muster up your last ounce of strength and make your move- NOW!
If the neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitors (Paxil, Welbutrin, Celexa,Zoloft, Prozac, etc.) haven't already worked for you, they never will. Your problem lies not in serotonin/dopamine/norepinephrine, but the endogenous opioids.

ECT can only 'reboot' your brain, without ever touching the underlying condition. Unless you find a way to compensate for your insufficient endogenous opioid levels, any perceived 'benefits' of the ECT would be very short lived. The doctors may be suggesting you undergo ECT; Not because it works, but only because they are desperate, and have absolutely nothing else. If they knew anything about endorphin deficiency syndrome, ECT would have never been presented to you as an option in the first place. (However, it should be noted that ECT does in fact occasionally benefit elderly depression patients in particular. ) .

If you've tried opiates/opioids, and already know they can make you feel 'normal', that’s another confirmation that listening to me is a good idea.
The key concept here for you to understand, is that
by consuming opioids from an external source, you are properly compensating for your endogenous opioid deficiency by consuming a substance that is nearly identical to what your body is lacking.
Thankfully, you will not necessarily have to take the drastic step of deliberately beginning an illegal opiate habit in order to achieve depression relief.
Here are the four known ways to boost your endorphin levels without resorting to such extreme measures:

1) Acupuncture. I've seen this help, although the scientific method has revealed that untrained puncturing with acupuncture needles actually works just as well as 'real', 'professional' acupuncture.   
2) Taking D-Phenylalanine (NOT L- Phenylalanine!) as a nutritional supplement: DLPA destroys the enzyme that causes endorphins to self-destruct, and so extends their life. The recommended dose for DLPA is 1000-2000 mg, 3x/day.

3) Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers has been shown to positively affect endorphin levels. Got Tabasco sauce?

Dr. Bihari’s LDN. The best of the four, a fascinating but unproven concept, still in its infancy. I wish there was more clinical data to either prove or disprove this innovative idea. From everything I've seen and heard, I'd say this works about half the time. LDN should definitely be tried before resorting to opiates.

Effexor: Different than all the others:
If the above mentioned endorphin boosting measures fail to properly relieve your treatment resistant depression, you need to know that of all the antidepressants, effexor is special. That’s because effexor is molecularly similar to the quasi-opioid tramadol, and is therefore the closest you can get to finding a legal, medically accepted opioid script to treat your depression. It should come as no surprise to you that clinical studies have shown effexor to be by far the most effective tool medical orthodoxy has to offer in the treatment of refractory depression.

However, for many endorphin deficiency depression patients, acupuncture, D-phenylalanine & Effexor and LDN just aren't enough. For them, daily opiate/opioid use is really the only viable option.
More on Endorphin Deficiency Depression:
Depression can result from a deficiency/over reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine. Depression can also result from a deficiency /over reuptake of your endogenous opioids (endorphins/dynorphins/enkephalins).
Watch TV for a couple hours and you'll probably see quite a few antidepressant commercials. Effexor aside, the cruel joke is that every single one of those commercials is just pitching yet another serotonin/dopamine/norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor product. If your depression results from an endogenous opioid deficiency, none of those products can help you.

While common medical orthodoxy remains for some reason fixated on seratonin/norepinephrine/dopamine over-reuptake as the standard cause of nearly all depression, reality says otherwise. Every person has naturally occurring chemicals in their brain called endogenous opioids. They are endorphins, dynorphins and enkephalins. These endogenous opioids are very properly named, as they are (molecularly) nearly identical to real opioids like oxycodone or hydrocodone.

Some people have a natural deficiency of these vital chemicals, and have no choice but to consume opioids from an external source in order to feel 'normal'.
This is from the website of an American clinic with branches in three cities:

"Underproduction or over-removal (severe re-uptake) of these endogenous opioids can be the cause of many psychiatric disorders ranging from Bipolar Personality disorders to major depressive disorders that often times manifest themselves in severe drug abuse. Unbeknownst to them, these patients use opioid medications either illicit or pharmaceutical because they are compelled to attempt to replace the endorphins, dynorphins, and enkephalins (endogenous opioids) that naturally occur in their systems at insufficient levels."

A clinical trial conducted at Harvard Medical School in 1995 demonstrated that a majority of treatment-refractory, unipolar, nonpsychotic, major depression patients could be successfully treated with an opioid called Buprenorphine, even after dozens of other (non-opioid) medications had failed to provide these patients with any measure of relief. Some of these patients even endured electroshock therapy, which didn't help either.

If you suffer from this condition, your physician isn't going to tell you to urgently seek out opiates- let alone prescribe any. While many doctors are aware of the fact that numerous refractory depression patients can only be helped by opioids, the vast majority of physicians would be unwilling to prescribe accordingly out of fear of DEA persecution. The FDA has approved buprenorphine for the sole purpose of assisting patients detox off other opiates and opioids. (Bupe is rapidly replacing methadone as the preferred medication for this purpose.) Since uneducated DEA agents currently have the power to dictate to physicians how to practice medicine (and eagerly persecute those M.D.’s who are too ‘generous’ with their narcotic scripts- see 1 , 2, and 3), the typical doctor is likely to err on the side of caution by prescribing one worthless non-narcotic antidepressant after another, instead of just giving you the opioid medication you really need. (However, it should be noted that there is no law explicitly prohibiting off-label opioid scripts for anti-depressant purposes). If you lack the knowledge that opioids can help you- or simply lack a contact to score opioids illegally, you'll likely suffer a miserable, suicidal existence. Notch up another brilliant success in the government's 'War On Drugs'.

Fortunately, there's a way out. It's even technically legal. Buprenorphine (marketed under the brand names Subutex & Suboxone), has been proven to be highly effective in treating refractory depression resulting from an endogenous opioid deficiency. In order to prescribe it, an M.D. must first obtain special permission from the prohibition enforcement goons. But once he/she undergoes an 8-hour training course and files the necessary paperwork with the ruling regime, a doctor can prescribe buprenorphine pills to 'treat an opiate addiction problem'... Even if you don't really have one.For many, an oxycontin dependency isn't a problem they need to overcome, but rather a solution to the nightmare of major refractory depression which plagues them every waking hour. However, buprenorphine is safer, cheaper, and far more easily obtained than other opioids- and it works (sometimes). Buprenorphine partially binds to your µ- opioid receptor, which could just be all you really need to eliminate those feelings of crippling depression.
In order to find scientific papers and other evidence of the endogenous opioids-depression-opioids connection, you can visit the only web site I know of, which is solely devoted to this cause:

Every year, over 30,000 depressed Americans commit suicide. The fate of millions of additional depression patients is far worse - they live. Many tried seeking medical treatment, but were given the same old irrelevant serotonin/dopamine/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor products. No opioids. LDN or opioid medication could have saved most of them, but ignorance killed them.

 And what about all those 'violent gun-wielding maniacs' you hear about in the news who do all those horrible mass shootings? I'll give you one guess at what nearly every single one of them has in common.... Yup, you guessed it- extreme refractory depression. Now, what if all those wretched souls had been given the anti-depressant medication of last resort? Everything could have played out SO DIFFERENTLY, and those children in Sandy Hook, those people at the Batman movie premiere in Colorado and many others could and would still be alive today, as Non-Islamaniac mass-shootings could immediately become an extreme rarity in our world. Ignorance kills, you see.
A Final Warning:
I am able to explain the phenomenon of EDS, far better than I can solve it.
Keep in mind that the science in this area is still in it's infancy. The terms 'endogenous opioid' & 'endorphin' didn't even exist until 1975. Before the mid-70's, there wasn't a scientist in the world who knew that the human brain contained natural, opiate like chemicals. Any opioid you can ingest is still only an approximate substitute and a crude replacement for what the EDS brain is lacking. Your brain's natural endorphins never cause tolerance build-up problems, which is unfortunately not the case with any opioid you can ingest. Ideally, an endogenous opioid deficient brain could be treated by putting exactly what is lacking, exactly where it belongs... but science hasn't yet figured out how to do that.

Let’s say you could rate clinical depression on a scale from one to ten; One being mild, barely noticeable discomfort, and ten being the worst depression imaginable: “Just shoot me now’ internal torment, complete with constant crying and panic attacks. OK, so here’s the problem: Let’s say you start off with mid-range depression, 5 to 6 on the above scale, and no opiate habit. You start using one or two hydrocodone pills per day and all symptoms of depression immediately disappear for a while. Pretty common scenario thus far. Now, as your opiate tolerance builds, a few months later you find that your depression is slowly returning. At that point you’re forced to either up your dose or face clinical depression symptoms that are even worse than they were before you started using hydrocodone- perhaps even an 8 or 9 on the above mentioned depression scale. If you try quitting all opioids cold turkey after using them for a while, you’ll almost certainly find your depression has become worse than it ever was.
(Fortunately, this problem is rarely irreversible. People quitting an opioid/opiate habit tend to go through about 6-12 months of ‘PAWS’- Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, after which the brain usually reverts to its previous pre-addiction state). Getting on the opiate train is easy- Getting off can be torturous.

Some EDS sufferers find buprenorphine to be their ‘perfect solution’ for years and years, but some find that after a while the bupe no longer works anywhere near as well as it did at first.
One or two little vicodin pills a day may be enough to completely banish your depression for a while, but I can almost guarantee you that within a year you’ll have no choice but to either step up your opioid use, or suffer from depression far worse than it was before you started. Buprenorphine on the other hand, carries the significant advantage of little to no tolerance build-up over time. I
had to mention this, because you need to be fully informed of all the risks involved with attempting to ingest opioids to compensate for an endogenous opioid deficiency, before you can make your own decision._________
Need more proof?
Hundreds of personal testimonials from people who have struggled with depression resulting from an endogenous opioid deficiency can be found here, here, and here.
All of these depression patients tell a version of the exact same story, which is:
A) I was tormented with clinical depression for years. B) I sought medical help, tried one medication after another (sometimes even ECT), and nothing helped. Suicide became a compelling option. C) Finally, I happened to try opioids, and was amazed to find that oxycodone or buprenorphine is my long awaited solution. This really works, and nothing else even comes close!
A few more message board threads about Endorphin Deficiency Depression:
Need more proof?
While the vital role of the human body's endogenous opioid system is currently tragically under researched, a few relevant scientific papers have indeed been published. While some of this work is less than ideal (such as studies of rodents, instead of human subjects), these reference materials do help validate the concepts I've explained here:
Oxycodone/Oxymorphone found to help 5 out of 6 'incurable' refractory depression patients:
Here's a fantastic new article that agrees with everything I've been saying all along about endorphin deficiency syndrome. The article even agrees with a theory I've held for years, that different individuals gravitate to different types of drugs according to their personal chemical deficiencies:
More on Dr. Bihari's LDN, as research into this fascinating concept has finally begun to gain momentum. Since this is an expired-patent medication, the big drug companies have every incentive to ignore (if not outright suppress) LDN research:
The best one of all- The Bodkin Experiment:

 There's also been a more recent follow-up to the Bodkin experiment. This new study not only re-enforces the original Bodkin findings (proving buprenorphine to effectively neutralize treatment resistant depression, in more cases than not), but even goes as far as admitting:
"Possibly, the response to opiates describes a special subtype of depressive disorders e.g corresponding to a dysregulation of the endogenous opioid system and not of the monaminergic system."
(Gee... ya think? What have I been saying here all along? Won't you people in medical orthodoxy please catch up to me already, so that this website and all my efforts to spread knowledge of a syndrome that supposedly doesn't exist, will finally be no longer required? )

Update- Feb. 2013:

Taking it to the next level:

So now you have at least a basic idea of what is wrong in our society and what needs to be fixed. But that’s not nearly good enough, because the vast majority of people (including the vast majority of E.D.S. sufferers) don’t have the first clue about any of this. With the aim of putting an end to the wide scale needless suffering currently endured by countless E.D.S. sufferers and their loved ones, what we really need here is a new civil rights group dedicated to fixing what is currently broken. Oppressed minority groups usually aren’t just granted relief by their tormentors- they need to fight for it! However, ours is not a case of Good vs. Evil- it is merely a case of Truth vs. Ignorance. Our foes need not be battled or beaten- They merely need to be educated. I envision the creation of a new civil rights organization, made up of E.D.S. sufferers and our loved ones, dedicated to bringing about certain specific important changes with regards to the treatment of people suffering from E.D.S. depression.

Our Goals:

1)      We need to get E.D.S. depression to be recognized for what it is by the public- or at least by the medical professionals we come to for help. Doctors, psychologists, drug rehab industry workers, and suicide hotline operators all need to know how to distinguish between endorphin deficiency syndrome depression and depression that is rooted in other causes.

2)      Standardizing Low Dose Naltrexone as the first option prescription of choice, every time E.D.S. depression is diagnosed. L.D.N. works about half the time in relieving the internal torment of E.D.S. depression, even after all the other medications and supplements have failed. A 50/50 shot would already be a vast improvement over what E.D.S. patients who seek help are currently given. 
     What about buprenorphine (suboxone/subutex), as mentioned above? That works sometimes too, but even less often than L.D.N. does. Bupe tends to work great for the first few months it is tried. Afterwards? Not so much...

3)      Standardizing hard opiates- oxycodone or better, as the accepted anti-depressant medication of last resort. These would be used only in the most extreme of situations; Severe refractory depression patients who have already tried dozens of other things (including L.D.N. and buprenorphine) without success in finding relief (=making their lives remotely tolerable). Note that the goal of our organization is NOT to replace the ‘war on drugs’ with a system that actually makes sense. Our goal is NOT to legalize freedom. Those types of organizations already exist, and to them I tip my hat (and write the occasional check). However, our third goal is far more narrow than that- it is only to legitimize hard opiates as the standard, medically accepted anti-depressant medication of last resort, despite all of the baggage and side-effects that go hand in hand with opiate dependency. Those who have experienced extreme long-term depression first hand already know that opiate dependency (call it ‘addiction’ if you must) is a walk in the park next to the hopeless all-consuming internal torment of severe depression.
       Providing people with medications that actually achieve their desired goal for a change is far more important than maximizing corporate profits with new expensive depression treatments that don’t do a thing to bring any measure of relief to E.D.S. depression sufferers. Corporate net profits of the major drug companies may have to decline by a percentage point or two, but some things are simply more important than money.

4)      Our final goal is to begin the process of serious, well-funded research into endogenous opioids, endorphin deficiency syndrome, and the connection to depression. Want to see something that will really piss you off? 
     On this page you will find the list of all recent, current, and upcoming clinical trials dealing with depression. Over five thousand in total. While I haven’t recently taken the time to sort through the entire list, the last time I did so I couldn’t find one single freaking clinical trial with any relevance whatsoever for E.D.S. depression sufferers. Not one. This really needs to change! With enough scientific research, the possibility is strong that new and better solutions can be found to the serious problem of E.D.S. depression and all the needless suffering it brings to so many people.

What it feels like:

       E.D.S. often leads to depression so intolerable that all you want to do is either get well or die, and nothing else in the world really matters. Extreme depression is difficult to describe. If you’ve never experienced it, you’ll probably never really comprehend it. It’s absolutely nothing like the sadness other people go through when they lose a loved one or suffer other extreme misfortunes. The torment comes from INSIDE. Nothing is wrong, but EVERYTHING IS WRONG. You can’t care. You can’t love. You can’t function. The only two options are to get better or kill yourself. Continuing to live with the sickness of constant, extreme internal torment just for one's family’s sake is what many E.D.S. sufferers end up doing. If you haven’t gone through this yourself, you won’t find it easy to understand… but if I want the way E.D.S. depression patients are treated to change, making non-afflicted people somehow understand this sickness is exactly what I need to do.   

E.D.S. Better Defined:
 As if this whole deal wasn't complicated enough, I must mention that 'Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome' is a term of unknown origin that doesn't exactly mean a simple deficiency of endorphins. Rather, 'E.D.S.' is just a slightly more convenient way of saying; 'A disorder of insufficient endogenous opioid levels (not necessarily endorphins) and/or oxytocin and/or an over-re-uptake of these necessary peptides, and/or something else I don’t really understand yet.' Did that help? Didn't think so. That's why the goal of well-funded serious research into what this thing really is and how it can be defeated is so important. If anyone out there is already working on this at the laboratory level, please let me know, because I am not currently aware of your existence. I can be reached at ...and if you have anything else you think I'd want to know, please feel free... unless you have more estranged (former) friends than current friends. In that case, please leave me alone. (Some E.D.S. sufferers also have some serious personality disorders. Getting sucked into the 'drama pit' of a toxic person's life is the last thing I need right now... or ever.)

Irony Defined:
Ok, so here's something to think about: Do you realize that those sick pervs who want to legalize child sexual abuse actually have better publicity and more success at getting their creepy ideological views out into the public eye than we do? For real! How many people have heard of NAMBLA (and have a basic idea of what they want and why they think they should get it), and how many people have ever heard of E.D.S. depression? How many people have heard about why hard opiates need to become the accepted anti-depressant medication of last resort? How about Low Dose Naltrexone as an anti-depressant... see any commercials on TV for that lately? If this is unacceptable to you, please feel free to do something- anything- towards moving this deserving cause in the right direction. Thanks!    

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