Table of Contents
- What does SIGECAPS Stand For?
- Traditional Treatment for Depression
- Are You Tired of Using Antidepressants?
- Fit Apprentice’s SIGECAPS – A New Way of Helping Depression
- SIGECAPS Acronym Transformed by the Fit Apprentice
- S stands for Sleep.
- I Stands for Interest Loss
- Why is exercise so critical?
- G Stands for Guilt
- 11 affirmations to Dissolve Guilt
- E Stands for Energy
- Identify Food Sensitivities
- A Simple Meal Plan for Energy
- A Simple Workout Plan for Energy
- C Stands for Concentration
- A Stands for Appetite
- Proper Nutrition to Prevent Agitation and Sulking
- Which Foods are High in the Amino Acid Tryptophan?
- P Stands for Psychomotor
- S Stands for Suicidal Ideation
- S Stands for Strength Training to Prevent Suicidal Ideation
- Mens Sana in Corpore Sano
- And Finally
What does SIGECAPS Stand For?
Did you ever hear of sigecaps( which is also written as SIG-E-CAPS or sig-e-caps ) ? Neither did I, even when my only cocktail of the day was antidepressants. Physicians once used the abbreviation “SIG” to mean directions on prescriptions. The “E” CAPS was to remind the pharmacist to prescribe energy capsules. Energy Capsules or “E” CAPS was the original name of antidepressants.1)https://www.unmc.edu/media/intmed/geriatrics/reynolds/pearlcards/depression/sigecaps.htm This is how sigecaps and depression first became linked together.
The sigecaps acronym turned into a diagnostic screening tool for depression. SIGECAPS stands for questions that help determine a patient’s level of depression. Sigecaps depression screening criteria is in use for close to a hundred years.
If you have depression, you must have alternative options to antidepressants. The negative side effects of antidepressants can be catastrophic. Antidepressants can lead you to suicidal ideation, disability, estrangement, and career loss.
Traditional Treatment for Depression
Traditional treatment for depression entails psychotherapy and/or medications. The most popular drugs to treat depression are Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil and Celexa.
The most common side effects of these antidepressants include anxiety, restlessness, and agitation. Insomnia and sexual dysfunction are also negative side effects.
Wellbutrin is often prescribed for patients who also want to stop smoking. But the side effects for Wellbutrin include insomnia, dry mouth, dizziness, and constipation.
The negative side effects of Effexor include include sweating, nausea, and constipation. As well as anorexia, sexual dysfunction, and dream disturbance.¹
Talk therapy and antidepressants are the traditional first line prescriptions for depression.
Are You Tired of Using Antidepressants?
Prozac and Sarafem, at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg a day, cost about $133 a month.
Celexa, at a dose of 20 mg, costs about $94 a month.
Wellbutrin, at dosages of 75 to 100 mg a day, ranges in cost from $108 to $177 a month.
Besides cost, some people experience catastrophic side effects as in the following infographic.
90 percent of people who take antidepressants have at least one side effect.
While most people can tolerate them, an estimated 20 percent to 30 percent stop taking the medication because they find the side effects intolerable.
The October Consumer Reports survey found that 40 percent of people who took antidepressants complained of adverse sexual side effects.
The FDA now requires antidepressants to carry warning labels indicating an increased risk of suicidal thinking in children and teens who take the drugs.
This warning came after Glaxosmithkline, the maker of paroxetine (Paxil), failed to make public three studies it conducted in 2003 showing an increase in suicidal thinking in children who took the drug compared to those taking dummy (placebo) pills.2)http://consumersunion.org/news/generic-antidepressants-can-save-consumers-1200-a-year/
Fit Apprentice’s SIGECAPS – A New Way of Helping Depression
SIGECAPS Acronym Transformed by the Fit Apprentice
S stands for Sleep.
Have you noticed an increase of sleep during the day or a decrease of sleep at night?
Excessive daytime sleep and/or insufficient nighttime sleep are both indicators of depression.
The New Sigecaps Habit:
Your first new habit to fight depression is to improve your sleep.
A study found that 87 percent of depression patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks, whether the person took an antidepressant or a placebo pill. The study’s lead author told the New York Times:2 “The way this story is unfolding, I think we need to start augmenting standard depression treatment with therapy focused on insomnia.”
Before using Zoloft which has side effects of insomnia, first improve your diet. Increase real food like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats in your diet. Real food can flood your body with real nutrition.
This can help calm down your insomnia. Feeding your body nutrients needed can stop the cravings for junk food that keep you awake. Read more of the surprising benefits of real food here.
Work on improving your sleep. Make a sleep schedule for yourself. Commit to getting to sleep around 10 or 11 in the evening. Do not watch TV in bed or surf the web. Make your room as dark as possible.
When you lie down, pay attention to the sound of your breath. Inhale and exhale. Think good thoughts, everything you are grateful for, and imagine a better future in all areas.
Shoot to get a sleep of seven to eight hours.
Watch this Video on The Importance of Sleep and How it Affects your Brain
I Stands for Interest Loss
The I of SIGECAPS stands for loss of interest in activities. Have you experienced a loss of interest in activities that you once found enjoyable? A loss of interest in such activities is a sign of depression.
The second New Sigecaps Habit: I stands for New Interest and Investment in YOU!
Getting interested in something productive is the second step to fighting depression. You need to take up a new or old interest, something that gets you out of your house or your head.
A new interest does not mean trying all the flavors of Ben & Jerry vanilla based ice creams. Junk food is not entertainment and will never help you relieve depression.
In fact, more junk food means more depression, as you watch the scale numbers climb. The new interest to take is in you, yourself. Yes, you need to invest in yourself.
Stop investing in the stocks of Nabisco and Doritos.
What are you getting out of processed foods, other than fatter? And the more fat you get, the more depressed you will be. Start investing in yourself. You are worth it, no?
A fuel oriented nutrition plan qualifies as a new interest. At least you will be feeding your body the best nutrition possible. All these great nutrients will not only flood your body, but your brain as well.
Find a new interest, such as; music, language, photography, and most important, exercise.
Why is exercise so critical?
Instead of Effexor which can exacerbate your loss of interest in life, first try exercise. When I took Effexor and other antidepressants, I felt tranquilized.
My bosses no longer thought I had any interest in doing my job and I suffered the consequences.
The reason for exercise is to create momentum. To fall into depression, some downward momentum is necessary. This is why people refer to those who are in depression, as having ‘fallen’ into the rut of depression.
The best way to get momentum is to start moving. A walk of thirty minutes to an hour a day is a great way to start. It is important to establish a baseline of physical exercise.
This creates the momentum necessary to get out of the pit of depression. Once you start to feel better, there is a better chance that you will regain interest in life.
Before using antidepressants, do squats, deadlifts and pushups to augment your self-confidence.
Weightlifting to lift your self esteem is a much better solution than antidepressants.
G Stands for Guilt
The G of SIGECAPS is for guilt and self-esteem.
Are you feeling guilty or unworthy? Do you have low self esteem and sense of worthlessness?
The third New Sigecaps Habit: G Now Stands for Give up the Guilt.
Non-stop guilt is a destructive force. Guilt is not action. When you are guilty, you are not helping anyone, including yourself.
Yes, guilt is an excellent tool to prevent bad behavior. But, if you already committed the bad behavior, the guilt now is not going to rectify what you did.
To rectify what you did, you need to have sincere remorse and vow to never do that again.
If you need to apologize to someone, then do it. When a restitution of money is necessary, do it. If they do not accept your apology, or forgive you, the matter is out of your hands.
Excessive guilt eats up your insides. There is no end in sight when you lock yourself in the prison of guilt.
Let yourself out of prison. Or have another friend, family member or mentor tell you that they approve of you.
Of course, you must forgive, love and approve of yourself first.
11 affirmations to Dissolve Guilt
- There is no blame – I release the need to blame anyone, including myself. We are all doing the best we can with the understanding, knowledge, and awareness we have.
- Even though I struggle with guilt, I choose to love and accept myself anyway.
- I am OK and it is safe for me to forgive myself.
- Today, I choose to accept myself as I am and I choose to compliment myself and give myself credit for the good things I do.
- I am learning and improving everyday, I am patient with myself, I love myself and accept myself as I am.
- The best path is to release any self-blame or guilt, I don’t need those feelings anymore, I can let them go.
- I release and let go of all self-criticism.
- I forgive myself for being so hard on myself.
- You deserve the Best always.
- Abundance and joy is my right. I am good enough, always been good enough, and I do my best.
- I completely love and approve of myself as I am.
Source Credit: Based on the Teachings of Louise Hay
How to Change Your Life
E Stands for Energy
The E stands for Energy and is the fourth question of the SIGECAPS screening test. Do you feel fatigued? Do you feel a lack of energy? A common symptom of depression is fatigue, and a lack of energy.
Some people characterize the lack of energy as feeling “burnt out”. They all boil down to the same problem, lack of energy. Antidepressants are the last thing that will help with energy.
The fourth New Sigecaps Habit is to increase your energy. The best course of action to increase your energy is to improve your nutrition. Feed yourself high quality food, the best of the best.
Make sure that you have vegetables with most meals, at least twice a day, if not more.
Go for complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potato and oatmeal. Instead of higher processed foods like wheat bread.
Identify Food Sensitivities
Before using drugs which have known side effects, identify potential food sensitivities. Wheat, eggs, peanuts and dairy can affect some individuals.
Wheat consumption can cause symptoms of depression in some individuals.
See how the Negative Properties of Wheat can affect you.
First, remove all the toxic foods and habits from your life. And only then think of taking medications if you are still suffer from depression.
It goes without saying that you need to lay off of the junk food.
An excellent diet is going to help increase your energy more than antidepressants. Avoiding junk foods can boost your energy levels more than any antidepressant.
See how Ultra-Processed Junk Food can affect people. Obesity is no help for any person who wants to increase their energy levels.
Like the ‘soup nazi’ said: “No More Snicker Bars for You!”
A Simple Meal Plan for Energy
- Drink a tall glass of water with a real lemon wedge upon waking up.
- Have half a grapefruit before or with breakfast.
- Bowl of oatmeal, hot or cold, with water, 1% organic milk or cashew milk.
- Add berries and peanut butter (if you like) to the oatmeal.
- Boil a couple of eggs or sautee a vegetable omelete.
- For lunch, have some brown rice, black beans, veggies and turkey (optional).
- Have a fruit between breakfast and lunch and/or lunch and dinner if you are hungry.
- For Dinner, sweet potato, salmon and a vegetable, like bok choy, cauliflower or broccoli.
- If you are still hungry after all this food, have an apple.
- Establish regular meal times to train your body when to expect fuel every day. This will prevent body distress that can lead to depression.
A Simple Workout Plan for Energy
- Walk every day for 30 minutes.
- Do some type of weight training or bodyweight training 3 days a week.
- For example, pushups on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Add squats, jumping jacks and situps to the pushups if possible.
- Or, add weight training with dumbbells or barbells.
- On Tuesday and Thursday, relax, except for deadlifts.
- Rest on the weekend.
- Keep track of the number of repetitions and weight of each exercise.
- Do 5 sets of at least 5 repetitions or 3 sets of 10 reps.
- Rest between sets for one minute. The higher intensity produces more testosterone and endorphins which help to relieve depression.
- When you can do between 6 and 12 repetitions, you can increase the weight.
- Keep your weight training to no more than 45 minutes a day.
- Or you might end up getting depressed from being in the gym too long.
C Stands for Concentration
The C represents concentration. Do you have difficulty concentrating? Reduced concentration is a hallmark of depression. Especially together with other SIGECAPS depression symptoms.
C stands for Concentration and Cardio
What can you do to improve your concentration? All the steps that you are implementing till now are going to help.
Better sleep, a new interest in yourself and investing in you. As well as dissolving your guilt, and a healthy meal and workout plan.
These previous steps will fuel and relieve your mind.
The fifth New SIGECAPS Habit is to increase your concentration. Several other suggestions are to:
- Focus on what it is that you must get done.
- Limit distractions like radio or tv.
- Work in a quiet atmosphere.
- Break up your task into manageable pieces.
- Establish a routine and stick to your calendar.
- Start a cardio program to ensure that you get 30 minutes of daily exercise. This will help you think clearer, get healthier and fitter and help you fight depression. All at the same time.
A Stands for Appetite
The A in the SIGECAPS acronym stands for appetite. Have you lost your appetite?
Have you lost enjoyment in food, or, are you bingeing on food? A loss of appetite or in some cases a major increase in appetite is another of the classic signs of depression.
A is for Appetite
Follow the simple meal and workout plan above. This can help regulate your appetite.
Do not punish your body for the anxieties of your mind. Think of food as fuel for your body and eat when you are hungry.
Stop snacking on junk food and focus on high quality food.
The workout plan will help to keep you moving. Building muscle and exercise is going to help your appetite.
Proper Nutrition to Prevent Agitation and Sulking
How important is good nutrition for depression?
Let’s examine the function of antidepressants.
Antidepressants increase serotonin levels. They block certain receptors from absorbing too much serotonin. This increases the availability of serotonin to your brain cells.
As a result, antidepressants are SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Because antidepressants prevent receptors from absorbing too much serotonin. Common SSRIs include:
Antidepressants are not the only way to increase serotonin in your body. Another way of getting more serotonin into your system is through food.
Particularly food that contains tryptophan.
In order for your body to manufacture serotonin, it needs a sufficient supply of the natural amino acid, tryptophan.
Tryptophan helps normalize levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. This can help with both depression and increased aggression or slowness of movement.
Which Foods are High in the Amino Acid Tryptophan?
- Eggs. The protein in eggs can significantly boost your blood plasma levels of tryptophan, according to recent research.
- Cheese. Cheese is another great source of tryptophan.
- Salmon. Have you ever noticed being in a better mood after good quality salmon? Now you know why.
- Nuts and Seeds.
- Traditional milk products, yogurt and soy milk
- Calf’s liver, chicken breast, turkey breast
- Halibut, cod, tuna, salmon
- Cheddar processed cheese, cottage cheese, tofu, gruyere cheese
- Apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, avocados, pineapple, peaches
- Spinach, mustard greens, asparagus, eggplant, winter squash, and green peas
- Kelp, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and cabbage
- Cauliflower, mushrooms, cucumbers, potatoes
- Walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, chestnuts, almonds
- Ground flax, sesame, pumpkin, fenugreek, sunflower seeds (roasted)
- Mung bean, soybeans, kidney beans, lima beans, chickpeas
- Brown rice, red rice, barley, corn, oats
Source Credit: http://www.med-health.net/Foods-High-In-Tryptophan.html
P Stands for Psychomotor
P is for psychomotor agitation or retardation. Are you feeling more anxious and cannot sit still? Or, are you more lethargic and very slow in your movements?
Increased agitation or much slower movements are signs of depression.
S Stands for Suicidal Ideation
The S of SIGECAPS stands for suicidal ideation. Are you preoccupied with thoughts of death? Do you have a plan to commit suicide?
Suicidal ideation is the most urgent sign of depression and requires immediate treatment.
S Stands for Strength Training to Prevent Suicidal Ideation
Antidepressants carry a warning label that their use might lead to suicidal ideation. You have as good a chance to prevent suicidal ideation with Fit Apprentice’s Sigecaps. As you do with antidepressants. And the only side effect is getting leaner and stronger.
But, once you are at the stage of suicidal ideation, you need immediate help.
Before calling the suicide hotline, there is one more suggestion, strength training.
Strength training? For depression?
Besides cardio, start pushing yourself to get stronger in body.
How can strength training help depression?
Mens Sana in Corpore Sano
If not, you must take immediate action. Either calling the suicide hotline or check into a hospital for observation.
I’d appreciate it if you could take a minute to share your thoughts.
What do you think are the most powerful natural ways to help relieve depression?
I’d love it if you also came back later and let me know what your results are from using Fit Apprentice’s Sigecaps plan.
Did Fit Apprentice’s Sigecaps plan help to relieve your depression, or that of a friend or loved one?
Just leave me a comment below.
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