Success: Depression and
Other Psychological Disorders
Patient #1 - Dramatic Response to TAAT (Targeted Amino Acid Therapy) for
Depression and Anxiety
Sarah is a 61 year old married woman who first came to
this office in December 2006. After receiving medication for hepatitis C
four years ago, she developed a major depression. She had tried up to 30
medications for symptoms of depression, sleep difficulties and anxiety
with modest to no response (she did better briefly on two medications for
the depression and did have some sleep improvement with a combination of
several prescriptions). She had even tried ECT (shock therapy) on several
occasions, but with no benefit.
Prior to the onset of this depression she had been an
outgoing woman, active in her community, and the "life of the
party". When we first met, she said she was sad, had no energy,
reported no joy, lacked a sense of purpose, was anxious and
"unsettled" and was sleeping modestly well with the use of
medication. Her husband and friends were very aware and concerned with the
dramatic change in her.
Along with recommendations regarding lifestyle, a program
of targeted amino acid therapy was begun after she did a urine test for
neurotransmitters. This test showed low levels of serotonin and
norepinephrine and elevated levels of GABA, glutamate, and dopamine.
Specific amino acid formulas were begun to address these imbalances.
Within 5 weeks she was like a new person by her report and that of her
husband and friends. She said on a scale of 0-100 with 0 being the worst
and 100 the best (as far as mood), she was now 75-80 (had been barely 50 a
year before). Her memory was better and she was actively involved in her
community again. She will be monitored closely with evaluation of symptoms
and appropriate repeat testing (the latter will be done every 3-5 months
or so). (10/3/07)
Patient #2 - Angry 10 Year Old on the Mend
Robert is a 10 year old who had been diagnosed with
anxiety, allergies and migraines. He would often exhibit
uncontrollable anger and had trouble concentrating.
He was placed on a program of oral nutritional supplements
to normalize his adrenal function. Food sensitivities were noted and his
diet was adjusted accordingly.
After 3 months, his mother reported back that she now sees
a "smiling and happy child in the morning". Keeping a food diary
has enabled her to note the difference in Robert's behavior when he eats
foods that he should avoid. Robert says he is doing well in school and
finds it easier to focus. He feels more awake.
When he argues with his brother, it no longer escalates
into uncontrolled anger, but remains at the level of normal sibling
rivalry. He says he is now feeling great about 90% of the time. His sleep
is better, he sleeps longer and wakes well rested.
Robert's parents are ecstatic over the changes that they
have seen in him. There are still some periods of sadness and anger, but
they are often related to the foods he has eaten, and when he has
forgotten to take his medication. Headaches have also lessened in
Patient #3 - A Lifetime of Depression Lifted
is a 42 year old man who had been
depressed for as long as he could
remember. He was a good
student, never got in trouble, but had no happy memories. He had always felt gloomy, as if a dark cloud circled over his
head. In grammar school, for
instance, he remembered being constantly depressed, with a correspondingly
low energy level.
He started to see a psychotherapist in 1985. At one time he was
He was not treated with medication, but the psychotherapist was
able to maintain a level of function, albeit low.
In more recent times, he struggled with memory and focus. His ability to concentrate was so poor that he hadn't been able to
read a book for over 10 years. He
found that decision-making, particularly at work, was difficult. He'd had opportunities to advance at his company, but hadn't the
drive and motivation to do so. Additionally,
in the last 5 years, he developed significant anxiety that was, at times,
In 2006, his general practitioner tried several popular antidepressants
which sedated him and made it very difficult for him to function, even to
drive his car.
He then sought help at the Schachter Center.
At his first visit, the patient was instructed on a new dietary regimen
and was given a test kit to take home that would measure the levels of his
hormones and neurotransmitters. These
were found to be abnormal, so we prescribed nutritional supplements for
him that were meant to balance the levels of the neurotransmitters, and to
optimize his hormone output.
When he was seen for the third visit, seven weeks later, he reported
that he had lost some weight, that his mental clarity was significantly
improved, and that he was able to enjoy things that he had never been able
to enjoy in the past, like movies and playing with the dog. He can't remember ever feeling like this
-- simply happy. Naturally, he was excited at the prospect of feeling even better.(1-24-08)
Patient #4 - Fatigued to Fabulous
A 34 year old, female clinical
social worker developed fatigue and severe depression after the birth of
her baby in 2005. Nobody would pay attention to her and she felt abandoned by
the medical profession. It was so bad, that she and her family had to move in
with her parents for 6 weeks. She had been prescribed antidepressants and showed
some improvement. She was later put on another medication that was discontinued
because it made her feel like a "zombie". She then started seeing
another psychiatrist who diagnosed her with bipolar II and major depressive
In the past year, she has been on
Prozac, Lamictal and Lorazepam.
At the time of her first visit to
the Center, the patient was depressed, fatigued, didn't socialize, and was
unable to sleep. She complained of poor mental clarity, memory loss, decreased
libido and increased appetite. Her symptoms waxed and waned. Sometimes she felt
better, sometimes not. Testing results showed her to be low in Vitamin D, with
severe adrenal exhaustion and hormonal abnormalities.
The patient was placed on a healthy
diet and nutritional supplements, including thyroid, iodine, and targeted
On April 8, 2008, her amino acid
supplement program was changed to include relatively high doses of tyrosine,
5HTP and cysteine. By April 28, she reported remarkable improvement. She said,
"I feel fabulous!" We will continue to balance her
neurotransmitters with targeted amino acids. (4-30-08)
Patient #5 - Mood the Best It's Ever Been
A 49 year old woman read Dr.
Schachter's book, What Your Doctor May
Not Tell You About Depression and decided to come to the
Center to seek treatment for depression, feelings of
hopelessness, low energy and low libido, which
had been bothering her for many years.
She had been prescribed various
medications, including Cymbalta, Prozac, Zoloft, and Effexor, which she
claimed did not help her. She'd also tried psychotherapy. She was
currently on Synthroid and Cytomel for hypothyroidism
and Ativan for anxiety.
On her first visit in January,
she was given dietary recommendations and
was placed on a program of nutritional supplements which included those
geared to support her thyroid and targeted amino
acids to balance her neurotransmitters.
Four months later, she
reported that she was doing very well. She had more energy and said that her
mood was "the
best it has ever been."
We are continuing to monitor her
progress and she has been instructed to lower her sugar and starch intake,
to further increase exercise, and to replace her synthetic thyroid
medication with natural Armour Thyroid. (5-6-08)
Patient #6 - ADD, Depression, Anxiety Greatly Reduced
This patient is a remarkable
success story. He was brought here by his father almost two years ago, who
found us on the internet while trying to figure out what was happening
with his son. When he first came to us, he was living in a half-way house
after having been institutionalized for the previous six months. He had
been treated since childhood, for more than twelve years, with numerous
psychiatric medications, mostly for ADD or
possibly ADHD with stimulant drugs, and
sometimes anti-anxiety or anti-depressive
He elected to
discontinue those medications abruptly and then became psychotic
with hallucinations and delusions.
He was brought to an Emergency Room where he was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia,
rather than psychosis from drug withdrawal.
He was then put on a new
series of medications and shipped to a state hospital. He unfortunately
developed numerous side effects from the medications, including irritable
bowel syndrome, body-wide pain, severe fatigue, burning skin, constipation
and continued depression.
At the Schachter Center, he
was placed on a nutritional program, one that we find particularly
effective in patients with psychiatric issues. Central to this program
is targeted multvitamin and multimineral
supplementation. He was placed on a gluten-free diet and thyroid
medication. His psychotropic medications were gradually reduced, but he
continued to experience severe fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain and
sleep disturbances. As time went on, his medications were further
decreased, he started to exercise, and his fatigue improved.
At 13 months after his initial
visit, he had finally discontinued his psychotropic medications and things
became considerably better for him. At the time of his last visit, 20
months after his first visit to the Center, he has become much more
social, was exercising at the gym on a daily basis, had lost 35 pounds,
and is now ready to start working again. He has no pain, sleeps normally,
and has a normal energy level. His depression is still evident, but very
mild. He insists that this continues to improve. He seems to be doing very
Patient #7 - Mood Stabilization Allows Return to
Janet is a 42 year old married mother of 3 who came in
with a history of not feeling well for the past 5 years. She associated
this with the use of ephedra to aid in her weight loss. Although she had
lost a significant amount with this medication, she had not felt well
since. She reported fatigue ("I wake up tired" "I go to bed
tired"), headaches, dizziness, moodiness and irritability
("I'm nasty in the morning", worse premenstrually and "I
can't stand myself"). Her local doctor was treating her for anemia
and this was modestly helpful for her energy. Her diet history revealed
very little animal protein (some eggs and up to a quart of ice cream at
bedtime). She felt better with less animal fat and was fearful of
regaining the weight she had lost 5 years before.
She was encouraged to add some protein to her diet
choices, to discontinue all foods with added sugar (goodbye ice cream!),
and to begin some nutrients to help manage her symptoms (chromium for
glucose metabolism, calcium and magnesium for the pattern of premenstrual
symptoms, a multiple vitamin/mineral, and certain essential fatty acids).
When she returned 4 weeks later to review test results and discuss her
response to recommended changes, she reported improvement in symptoms. She
had less PMS, her energy was a little better, and she had less desire for
sugar. Further recommendations were made based on the test results and her
Upon her return office visit in April (now a little over 2
months with eating more protein, less sugar, and using nutrients
therapeutically), she was "90% better", with no PMS, no
headaches, much improved energy (with a little late afternoon slump), and
much less irritable. She was anxious about resuming her school studies,
having had some challenges the previous year. However, she was planning to
re-enroll in June. We started her on targeted amino acid nutrients
address imbalances in her neurotransmitters (epinephrine, norepinephrine,
In June, when she was seen for a follow-up office visit,
she was no longer experiencing the afternoon slump, had enrolled in
school, and was feeling extremely well. Repeat testing showed improvement
in her neurotransmitters. She will continue to be monitored periodically
through office visits and repeat testing. (10/10/07)
Patient #8 - Now Feeling "Shockingly Well"
B. C., age 47 and a mother of three, first came to our
center in 2010 desiring to get help with weaning off medications for her depression.
She had been taking an anti-depressant, an anti-anxiety agent and a mood
stabilizer for the previous 15 months. Of note, she had been treated for
depression on and off since college. She also hoped to avoid medications
in the future because of the side effects she'd experienced: a blood
dyscrasia, a possible seizure disorder with a mood stabilizer, and
insomnia related to Prozac. She was also diagnosed with Multiple
Sclerosis in 1986. Removal of mercury fillings had helped with
the clinical symptoms; she is asymptomatic currently. She also had
clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism and reported benefits with a past
She met with Sally Minniefield for her first visit. A
comprehensive history was recorded: her chief concerns, her medical history,
medication/supplement documentation, family history, diet history and social
history (as we do with every patient that comes to our center). A physical
assessment was done, an initial treatment plan established, and laboratory
tests were prescribed. She was already taking some supplements and committed
to a healthy eating plan. Ms. Minniefield made a few changes in these, and
also directed the patient to review information on the thyroid and the
therapeutic use of iodine, specifically that found in the books/DVDs and
website of Dr. David Brownstein. She also recommended a book by James Harper
-- How to Get Off Psychiatric Drugs Safely. Education is an important
part of the dialogue between practitioner and patient. The patient then began
to reduce the dose of one of her medications and was advised to continue that
When she returned two weeks later for her second visit, this
time with Dr. Schachter, she related that she'd begun to read the information
suggested by Sally Minniefield and felt that it did apply to her. Dr.
Schachter reviewed her laboratory tests, finding that her Vitamin D levels
were sub-optimal and that many of the trace elements were low. Salivary
hormone results indicated imbalances, especially the cortisol (stress) hormone
levels. Dr. Schachter then developed a specific nutrient protocol to address
her symptoms and lab results as well as to support the slow tapering off of
her medications. He wrote out a plan for reducing her remaining medications
with the intent to monitor her closely.
She continued to alternate office visits with Dr. Schachter
and Sally Minniefield, coming every 4 to 6 weeks. By March 2012 she had
successfully tapered off all three of her medications.
We continue to follow her with office visits every 2 to 4
months. At her most recent appointment with Dr. Schachter in July of 2013 she
reported feeling great ("shockingly well" was her description). She
had improvement in stamina, less sensitivity to allergens and an improved
sense of well-being. We will continue to monitor her health and make
adjustments to her plan as issues arise.
Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C (7-24-2013)
Patient #9: Postpartum Depression, ADD and Bipolar II
Symptoms All Improved
B. is a 36 year old married mother of one who was first seen
at the center in November of 2011. She reported a history of postpartum
"psychosis" five years before coming to the Schachter Center. She
was subsequently diagnosed with ADD and Depression (Bipolar II). B.
actually had her first depressive episode at age 22. She had been on a variety
of medications over the years with varying response. She had been stabilized
with one medication for about 8 months and then developed hives and low-grade
fever. Her doctor immediately discontinued the medication, fearing worsening
of these side effects. Within a week of stopping the medication she came to
our center with rather pronounced anxiety. She hoped to find an alternative to
relieve her acute symptoms of withdrawal, to treat her condition with more
natural and less potentially harmful substances, and to prepare herself for a
safe and successful second pregnancy. She was also concerned about some memory
problems, especially with a family history of Alzheimer's Disease.
She was seen by Sally Minniefield, PA-C for the intake
interview on a Friday. At that time Sally started her on a specific
multi-vitamin and mineral supplement which has been found to help mind and
mood. When she returned 4 days later to complete the evaluation and meet with
Dr. Schachter, she had already noticed an improvement in her mood.
Testing revealed a severe iodine deficiency, elevated mercury
and elevated markers of inflammation. Specific dietary recommendations were
made and therapeutic nutrients recommended to address these issues. A trial of
thyroid medication was given for clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism. She
continued the previously prescribed multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
Within a few months she reported improvement in mood, energy, memory, sleep
and vision. Her PMS symptoms were less prominent, she was warmer, and her hair
loss had lessened.
When she was seen in August 2012, she was 10 weeks pregnant.
Although she had nausea and vomiting throughout much of the pregnancy, she was
able to continue the thyroid medication and a few supplements. She had her
"Schachter Center" son in March 2013 without any postpartum
depression. Postpartum depression has a 50% chance of recurrence.
Having had her baby boy, B. returned to re-evaluate her
supplement protocol and update her laboratory tests with Sally in June of
2013. Her mood was stable. She was nursing her son and wanted nutrients that
would not adversely affect him. She will continue periodic assessment as time
goes on, using the Schachter Center for close attention to her nutritional
Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C (7-19-2013)
From Poor Grades and ADHD to Success in School
(Reported by our Patient's Mom)
Back in February, 2008, my son was a 4th grader. He'd just
received a D in science and we knew that we needed to do something. He was
having trouble concentrating. He was still having difficulty reading and that
was making school very hard for him, even though he was very bright. He was
diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. We didn't want to go the drug route with
We came to the Schachter Center and saw Sally Minniefield,
R.N., P.A -C, Dr. Kopelson and met with a Lifestyle Counselor. Lab testing was
done on blood, urine and saliva. My son was then started on a program which
included changes in diet as well as targeted nutritional supplements. The
results were amazing. We had always tried to eat pretty healthy, but we
learned that we still had far to go.
Within a month, teachers, friends and family saw a marked
difference. He was calm and content for the first time in his life. Everyone
was amazed that this could be the same child.
It's been six years now and my son has been a consistent A/B
student and his recent teachers are unable to tell that he'd ever been a child
with such difficulties, We, his dad and mom, are so thankful that we have been
able to keep him off drugs and still have him get better. (8-30-14)