Author reveals unconventional 'cure' for depression (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Alan Barrington from Loughton has written about his battle with depression and how he believes that he has cured himself
A man who claims to have cured himself of depression after becoming disillusioned with conventional treatment has written a book about the power of positive thinking.
Alan Barrington, of Upper Park in Loughton, was diagnosed 50 years ago, when understanding of the illness was limited.
But he continued to struggle after being prescribed drugs and was told he would have to be treated by a psychiatrist.
Mr Barrington says his life changed when he spotted an advert in a magazine promoting a technique known as autosuggestion, which was pioneered by Émile Coué at the beginning of the 20th century.
It involves the participant regularly repeating positive phrases, like an internal mantra, to promote a sense of well-being.
Mr Barrington said: “I sent for the book out of desperation but learning about autosuggestion changed my life.
“After I had managed to cure myself of depression, I felt better than I had before. I was more confident and I had more determination.
“There has been so much in the media about depression I thought that writing this book could really help people.”
Mr Barrington went on to marry and have two children, as well as a successful business.
And he credits autosuggestion for making it all possible.
He still practices the technique and declined to give the Guardian his age because he doesn't allow himself to talk about it, or put any importance on it.
Research into the treatment of depression has, however, left the technique in the margins.
Professor Tim Kendall of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the evidence suggests the technique is not as effective as widely used treatments combining psychotherapy and drugs.
He said: “Currently, we know that psychological treatments and drug treatments have good evidence for their effectiveness, either alone or in combination.
“At the present time, autosuggestion does not appear to have such an evidence base and, until it does, it would be difficult to recommend it.”
His colleague Professor Nick Craddock, agreed, saying: "Autosuggestion' is a type of psychological approach that may work for some people with milder forms of depression.
“However, for mild and moderately severe forms of depression, cognitive behavioural therapy has a much more robust evidence base. For more severe depression, the evidence favours use of medication in combination with psychological approaches."
Mr Barrington’s book, Cure Depression, is out now.
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