Success: Depression and
Other Psychological Disorders

Dramatic Response to TAAT (Targeted Amino Acid Therapy) for Depression and Anxiety

Sarah is a 61 year old married woman when she first came to our office. After receiving medication for hepatitis C four years ago, she developed 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).

Angry 10 Year Old on the Mend

Robert is a 10 year old who had been diagnosed with depression, 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 frequency. 

A Lifetime of Depression Lifted

This 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. At one time he was suicidally depressed. 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, crippling.

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)


Fatigued to Fabulous

A 34-year-old female clinical social worker developed fatigue and severe depression after the birth of her baby. 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 episode.

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 amino acids. 

On April 8, her amino acid supplement program was changed to include relatively high doses of tyrosine, 5HTP and cysteine. Twenty days later, she reported remarkable improvement. She said, "I feel fabulous!"  We will continue to balance her neurotransmitters with targeted amino acids.

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.

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 medications.

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 well.

Mood Stabilization Allows Return to School

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 history.

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 to address imbalances in her neurotransmitters (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin).

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.

Now Feeling "Shockingly Well"

B. C., age 47 and a mother of three, first came to our center 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 thyroid prescription.

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 reduction.

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. In two years, 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, 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)

Postpartum Depression, ADD and Bipolar II 
Symptoms All Improved

When B., a 36-year-old married mother of one first came to the center, she reported a history of postpartum "psychosis" for five years before coming here. 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 nine months later, 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 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. 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 needs.

Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C 

From Poor Grades and ADHD to Success in School
Reported by our Patient's Mom)

When 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 Ritalin.

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.


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