The crazy pace of life in today's society can take its toll on our health. Add to that the very stressful economic times we are all struggling with and it is no surprise that stress related health problems are increasing. The most common of these include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, trouble sleeping, digestive disorders and mild to moderate depression. It is the symptoms of mild to moderate depression that we will be addressing in this article.
Depression affects approximately one out of every ten adults in the U.S. The most common symptoms of depression include loss of interest or pleasure, a sense of overwhelming sadness, changes in appetite, sleep patterns and activity level, fatigue and muscle pain. The method of treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. For many years the use of antidepressants has increased greatly, however there is some debate over their efficacy in treating the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Despite a 253% increase in the use of antidepressants in the last 10 years, leading mental health experts writing in the British Medical Journal find recent studies show antidepressants to be no more effective than placebo.
There have been great strides in identifying and rectifying some of the physical causes of depression utilizing natural alternatives Some of the physical sources found to cause depression include nutritional deficiencies in certain B vitamins, certain amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and specific minerals. These deficiencies can lead to a reduced capacity to handle stress causing hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances.
Often these imbalances can have adverse effects on the adrenal glands. The stress handling glands can become fatigued and depression is almost always a symptom of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal hormones are the vitality hormones which provide us with a sense of well being and help maintain healthy mood and emotion. Treating adrenal fatigue is essential to felling better. These glands can be tested using saliva testing or urine analysis. Adrenal function can usually be restored through diet and supplements in about 12 weeks.
Neurotransmitter balance is also very important for reducing the symptoms of depression. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells. They are present throughout the body and are required for proper brain and body function. Serious health problems, including depression, can occur when neurotransmitter levels are too high or too low. A urine sample is used to test the levels of neurotransmitters. Imbalances can be corrected and supported using specific amino acid therapy
Natural remedies to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate depression are a good choice. There are virtually no side effects and positive results are often felt in as little as 2-3 weeks. Healthy diet choices and moderate cardiovascular exercise should be included in any plan.
Dr. Karla Parkhurst DC, ABAAHP
Lakeshore Wellness Center