In light of the recent death of the fabulous actor and hard-core heroin addict, Philip Seymour Hoffman, pundits everywhere are weighing in on the all pervasive U.S. drug culture.

One of my favorite recent article estimates that more than 70 million Americans are taking some form of mind-altering drug, legal and illegal:

  1. Over 22 million Americans use illegal drugs, comprising marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and prescription-type psychiatric and opioid drugs used without a prescription.
  2. Another 50 million Americans use at least one psychiatric drug, or about 1 in 5 Americans. About 25 percent of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental illness every year.
  3. This figure of over 70 million Americans on some form of illegal or legal prescription drug does not include the estimated 60 million who have a  serious alcohol problem.
  4. That would put the total number who have a drug and/or alcohol problem around 130 million Americans.
  5. Not withstanding the personal side effects of  illegal and legal drugs, there’s the social consequences when people high on drugs or alcohol hit the road.  In some states, the percentage of people high or drunk while driving exceeds 20 percent.
  6. Drug overdose was the leading cause of death by injuries in 2010. About 60 percent of those drug overdoses were from pharmaceuticals. Drug overdoses cause more deaths than traffic accidents.
  7. Of the deaths from prescription drug overdoses, 75 percent, or 16,651 people, died from opioid pain relievers or prescription painkillers.

In light of these statistics, we have to ask ourselves an important question. Would natural healing remedies work better than drugs, legal or illegal?

Meanwhile, these are the following statistics about deaths from natural healing remedies:

  1. Deaths from nutritional supplements in the U.S. in 2010: Zero.
  2. Deaths from yoga in the U.S. in 2012: I could just find one weird case at a mysterious retreat.
  3. Deaths from meditation in the U.S. in 2012: One, see above.
  4. Deaths from tai chi: Apparently the rocker Lou Reed was practicing tai chi when he died, but liver disease was listed as his official cause of death.
  5. Deaths from flower essences: Although flower essences are used to aid pain and suffering in hospice care, I could find no known deaths caused by flower essences.

As science advances our understanding of the brain chemistry imbalances behind depression, anxiety, alcoholism and a host of other mental disorders, we can move towards a more holistic approach to mental health.

In my first book, Healing Depression: A Holistic Guide (New York: Marlowe and Co., 1997), I discussed a wide range of holistic approaches. My top recommendations of natural healing remedies for mental imbalances:

  1. Regular daily exercise, which has been found to be equally effective as psychiatric medication short-term and long-term even more effective than exercise AND drugs. Side effect: Greater ability to handle stress.
  2. Counseling, coaching, kinesiology balances, group therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups. Side effect: Feeling supported and a greater sense of belonging.
  3. Gluten-free diet and a well-balanced whole foods diet that includes enough protein to build your neurotransmitters, healthy fats (omega 3 fatty acids, coconut oil, olive oil and butter) and adequate healthy carbohydrates (minimum of 150 grams per day for anyone with depression). Side effect: Ability to think more clearly, better mood and energy.
  4. Meditation. Side effect: Inner peace.
  5. An individualized nutritional supplement regime to balance brain chemistry and correct nutritional and brain chemistry deficiencies. Side effect: Greater health, vitality and longevity.
  6. Plenty of rest. Side effect: No more exhaustion.
  7. Reduce stress. Side effect: Increased happiness.
  8. Reduction or elimination of toxic chemicals, both in the diet and home. Side effect: Fewer adverse reactions affecting brain and body.
  9. Brain integration therapies. Side effect: Increased ability to handle all life’s challenges.
  10. Development of  a spiritual approach to life. Side effect: Wisdom and ability to cope.

One of the most important questions you may be asking yourself right now is, “Do natural healing remedies actually work?”

Unequivocally, my answer is yes.

If a client wants to change their prescription medication, I always advise that they do so under the supervision and permission of their medical doctor.

Ironically, this legal requirement is not a necessity for those wanting to get off illegal drugs.

Often my clients have not admitted to their medical doctors what kinds of illegal drugs they are currently using and asking questions about illegal drug use is not necessarily part of a typical medical exam, although in my opinion it should be as illegal drugs have a wide range of adverse symptoms.

I have worked with clients who have gotten off these mind-altering drugs:

  1. Oxycontin and all kind of pain killers.
  2. Marijuana use daily after 16 years.
  3. All kinds of antidepressants and anti anxiety medications.
  4. Alcohol.

At the end of the day, it’s all about becoming healthier.

When you are healthier in mind and body, then you will not need to turn to drugs to cope. Life in and of itself is not always easy, but then you at your soul level may be stronger and more able to handle your challenges than you currently recognize.

I have spent the past 20 years studying natural healing remedies for the brain.

It is my experience that if you want to get off any drug – legal OR illegal – you have to love yourself enough to find a better way.

Give yourself permission to discover natural healing remedies and find out how you can be happier and healthier without drugs.