Depression and Sound Therapy
Depression is more than just feeling sad - it affects how you eat and sleep, and requires treatment. Many common medications have nasty side effects. A safer, proven, natural alternative is Sound Therapy.
In depression, the nervous system is at a low ebb: synapses are not firing well and neuro-chemicals may be out of balance.
The gentle, restorative stimulation of Sound Therapy to the entire nervous system and brain centres raises the energy and vitality so the emotional parts of the brain come into balance.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental illness that involves the body, mood and thoughts. It affects how you eat and sleep, how you feel about yourself, and how you think. People with a depressive illness can't just "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months or years.
Depression can also be viewed as a lowered energy state where neurological responses become sluggish and your life force is diminished.
If you experience 5 or more of the following symptoms for two weeks or longer, you may be depressed:
- Sadness, anxiety or "empty" feelings
- Decreased energy, fatigue or feeling "slowed down"
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
- Disturbed sleep: insomnia, oversleeping, or waking much earlier than usual
- Loss of weight or appetite, or overeating and weight gain
- Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
- Feelings of helplessness, guilt and worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or remembering
- Restlessness, irritability or excessive crying
- Chronic aches and pains or physical problems that do not respond to treatment
- Thoughts of death / suicide, or suicide attempts
Studies have indicated that depression may be associated with chemical imbalances in the brain - a lack of neurotransmitters which create a sense of upliftment and happiness, such as dopamine or serotonin.
Side effects of common medications for depression
There are numerous types of antidepressant drug, and while some can be effective in adults, all have side effects. In fact, side effects are the main reason why people stop taking their medication.
The use of antidepressants carries strong warnings, and their use by children (with the exception of Prozac) is prohibited in Britain.
- It has been found that standard antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil (Aropax) and Zoloft have serious risks, including abnormal bleeding and brain tumors, psychosis, violence and suicide.[1,2, 3]
- The FDA have issued several warnings highlighting concerns over the efficacy of antidepressants, particularly for children.[4, 5] The use of all antidepressants except Prozac for treating children has been banned in Britain. The British Medical Journal reports there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work for preschoolers (or for anyone under eighteen).
- Antidepressants may be no more effective than placebos.[8, 9]
How Sound Therapy may help depression
Several brain centres are involved in how we feel and in keeping our moods stabilized. Research on the effects of meditation has shown that prolonged practice of meditation stimulates certain centres in the left brain that stimulate feelings of happiness and peace. Specific stimulation of the left brain may play an important role in treating depression.
Sound Therapy is a therapeutic self-help listening program based on the work of ear specialist Dr Alfred Tomatis, which uses specially recorded classical music to stimulate the brain. Sound Therapy's direct stimulation of the left brain through the increased sound input to the right ear may stimulate the brain to begin producing some of the neurotransmitters that create positive emotional states.
Music affects our moods through rhythm, melody and harmony. Sound Therapy has great complexity in these three areas, leading to the engagement of various brain centres:
- Stimulation of certain centres in the left pre-frontal cortex has been shown through EEGs to lift the mood, causing feelings of peace, serenity and optimism.
- Stimulation of the medial temporal lobe system brings about adaptations of the central nervous system to induce appropriate integration with the limbic system, which is the seat of the brain's emotional responses.
Sound Therapy listeners commonly report greater states of wellbeing, happiness, and an end to depressed feelings. This portable system can be used at home, school, or work and doesn't take any time out of your day.
Which Sound Therapy International Program should I use?
For Depression, the best Sound Therapy program to start with is the Listening Foundation Program. For most, this program is all they need to successfully treat their depressed mood.
For those that need more help, Advanced programs are available to move onto after using a Level 1 program for at least 300 hours. For depression, choose the Emotional Intelligence series.
Research using Sound Therapy
In 1979, Caterina Botes undertook an in-depth study of three patients diagnosed with dysthymic disorder (neurotic depression). After Sound Therapy, all three subjects exhibited a reduction in their depression and an improvement in their self-concept and interpersonal relations. 
A long term study specifically testing Tomatis Sound Therapy showed improved mental health and self actualization for both anxious and non-anxious people as compared to a control group.
Listener's Success Stories
- Simone, I love the unit so far. Love the small size. It cuts down negative mind chatter and relaxes my mind. So far, so good.
- I have noticed that I am more relaxed and have had less depression.
- Roy K
4 January 2012
- I have realized too that I have improved mentally - I seem to be more positive, brighter, and much less prone to feelings of despair, unworthiness etc. My friends have noticed quite a difference in me - more than I have, as the changes have been gradual.
- Patricia Proenza
- I have had an elusive speech problem since childhood. This had a devastating effect on my personality, creating mood swings which were violent and unexpected. Resultingly, depression became an old, old friend. Now this is all changed. I can talk! Mood swings are very mild and no longer a problem. I truly feel that I am being myself for the first time in my life. I know who I am.
- James Bragg
- I have Parkinson's Disease. I lie down every day and put on my headphones and go into a very peaceful and restful sleep. I think Sound Therapy is beneficial to the stress that this malady brings on. Depression seems to be one of the worst side effects, and this is where Sound Therapy works wonders, making me feel re-enforced to carry on my daily tasks.
- Marjorie Noyes
- I have begun an experiment with a man who has been in and out of psychiatric wards for the past twenty-five years. He is presently home but goes to a day care centre. I loaned him my music tapes and my Gregorian Chant tape. He has been listening for two weeks now, and says his depression is lifting, and also says, 'I feel alive between my ears for the first time in twenty-five years.'
- Reba Adams
Other tips for overcoming depression
- Don't bottle things up. It helps to have a good cry and talk things through with someone. Free phone counselling is available 24 hours a day through Lifeline on 13 11 14.
- Don't set unrealistic or difficult goals. Depression tends to make you think in terms of "all or nothing". Resist and just do what you can.
- Keep yourself occupied as much as possible. Do some light activities or get out of the house for some fresh air - it helps to take your mind off your troubles.
- Try to get some exercise. Physical exertion will lift your depression at least temporarily.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet, even if you don't feel like eating.
- Keep to a regular sleep pattern, aiming for at least 7 hours per night. Do not sleep in, even if you feel exhausted in the morning. Set a time to get up every morning and get out of bed.
- Don't drown your sorrows in alcohol. It may give some immediate relief, but alcohol ultimately depresses your mood. It is also bad for your health.
- S. Vedantam. "FDA Links Antidepressants, Youth Suicide Risk." Washington Post, 23 February, 2004, page A01. Available online
- Meijer, M. et al. (2004) "Association of Risk of Abnormal Bleeding with Degree of Serotonin Reuptake Inhibition by Antidepressants," Archives of Internal Medicine 2004 Nov 22; 164(21):2367-70. Available online
- Lenzer, J. (2005) "FDA to review 'missing' drug company documents" British Medical Journal 2005;330:7 (1 January), doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7481.7. Available online
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Public Health Advisory: Antidepressant Use in Children, Adolescents and Adults updated 22 March 2004 states, "Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric."
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: New Warnings Proposed for Antidepressants updated 3 May 2007
- Garland, E.J. (2004) "Facing the evidence: antidepressant treatment in children and adolescents". Canadian Medical Association Journal February 17, 2004; 170(4). Available online
- Jureidini, J. et al. (2004) "Efficacy and Safety of Antidepressants for Children and Adolescents." British Medical Journal 2004, 328:879-883. Available online
- Walsh, B.T. et al., (2002) "Placebo Response in Studies of Major Depression: Variable, Substantial, and Growing". Journal of the American Medical Association Apr 2002, 287:1840-1847. Available online
- Kirsch, I. & Antonuccio, D. (2002) "Antidepressants Versus Placebos: Meaningful Advantages Are Lacking". Psychiatric Times Vol 19 No 9 Available online
- Davidson, R.J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J. et al. (2002) Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine [online] 65 (4), pp. 564-570.
- Botes, C.E. (1979). Die gebruik van Oudiopsigofonologie Se opleiding by drie neurotiesdepressiewe kliinte - n dieptestudie. Ongepubliseerde M.-graad-skripsie, Potchefstroom Universiteit vir CHO: Potchefstroom.
- Du Plessis, W.F. (1982). Beangste en nie-beangste eerstejaardamestudente: n psigologiese verkenning. Paper presented to the annual conference of the Psychological Institute of the Republic of South Africa, Sept