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Finding Relief by Writing Your Own Script

In the play As You Like It, William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.”  Put another way, life is a drama.  Sure, there are light moments, but most of us don’t live within some sort of frivolous sitcom.  Each of us is called to deal with serious issues and handle difficult situations.  That’s just the way it is.

For too long, you’ve allowed your anxieties to set the stage of everything that happens to you.  For too long, you’ve allowed your fear to act as the director of your life, determining how you act and respond.  For too long, the producer of this play that is your life has produced little relief from the unending concerns and stress.  You’ve allowed yourself to be played, to be directed instead of insisting on taking charge yourself.  You must decide to write your own script and set your own stage.

As yourself, when you wake up in the morning, whose script you are following, whose stage you are walking on to?  Anxieties, fears, and worries set a dark and ominous stage with a script full of negatives.  That doesn’t have to be your life.  You can refuse to play along.

Every story is told from a particular point of view.  Each one of us has an attitude about life.  We’re either optimists or pessimists.  We expect either good things to happen or bad things to happen.  Now, you might say, aren’t there people who expect neither good things nor bad things?  What are they – optimists or pessimists?  The absence of expecting good things isn’t all that positive, so I would say those people are really not neutral; they are pessimists.

If you’re anxiety-driven about something, you’re a pessimist about it.  The more things that cause you anxiety, the more pessimistic you are about your life.  This is the script you’ve been operating from.  It’s time to fire those scriptwriters and take over yourself, switching from a negative, pessimistic worldview to a positive, optimistic one.

One of the best ways I know to reorient your attitude is to have a heart-to-heart with yourself.  Some people do this silently, inside their own minds, and others prefer to hold an audible conversation with themselves.  One woman I worked with would argue with herself like an opposing attorney, talking to herself out loud.   She said it helped to hear what she had to say out loud because she had an easier time detecting the emotions underlying the various arguments.  If something didn’t sound right, she would stop and repeat the statement to herself, working through it until it made more sense.  So she didn’t disturb other family members, she would often do this while taking a walk.

Another woman I know would hold her conversations with herself in front of a mirror, looking herself directly in the eye.  Other people, will have conversations privately, in the confines of their own minds.  There is something valuable in articulation, in requiring yourself to produce the reasons behind what you do and then making those reasons visible and examinable.  It’s not unlike what people do with their therapists, or when they talk with trusted friends.  All these dialogues can be extremely useful, but you have got to learn how to have these conversations with yourself.  Start building trust with yourself.

As you engage in inner dialogue, don’t forget to control the volume.  Pay attention to the volume of the negative and the positive.  Be aware of when you need to change the dials and allow in more positives.  This is especially true when problem-solving.  You’ll need to crank up optimism, hope, and joy so you can find the motivation and courage to find and implement a solution.

If you aren’t verbal and don’t process things in an auditory way, I encourage you to articulate how you feel through writing.  Many people find great freedom of expression through journaling.  This has an added benefit in that you have a written record of your inner discussions that you can review and refer back to.

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE  and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.

Managing Your Time

What do you think of when you hear the phrase time management?  If you are a go-getter, you may hear those words and think of how many tasks you can cram into a single day.  However, I didn’t say task management; I said time management.

Healthy time management, meant to reduce stress and increase quality of life, includes more than merely scheduling tasks.  Time management means incorporating times to accomplish tasks, yes, but also times of rest, reflection, recreation, and communication.  Each of these is needed daily to advance priorities and goals.

If you are a stay-putter, you may hear “time management” and think of how impossible it is for you to get anything done, no matter how much time you have.  For you, time management means incorporating effort, progress, completion, and accomplishment into each day in order to advance priorities and goals.

Time — no matter how much of it you have — needs to be harnessed and controlled: each morning (or even the night before), decide what you goals and priorities are for the day.  If the day is a word day, then arriving to work on time and being ready to actively participate are going to be main priorities.

However, most people don’t work sixteen-hour days, so there will be hours in each day for other activities.  Decide ahead of time what those activities should be based upon what you want to accomplish as well as on the type of person you want to be.

For example, as you’re on your way to work, you might decide to listen to music or an informative or informational podcast.  You might decide to spend the time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer, depending upon your mode of transport.  At lunch, you might send a quick text, or place a quick call, to a friend or family member.  On your way home, you might catch up on the news and take time to disconnect from your workday.  If you don’t intentionally plan your day, your day will plan you.

If the day is not a workday, then you will have more time to harness and manage.  There is a danger in thinking that you have all the time in the world over the weekend, but how many Sundays (or the equivalent) have you gone to bed, realizing that you didn’t get done half of what you wanted.  Instead of being satisfied with the goals accomplished, you’re distressed about tasks left undone.  Now not only do you have the week ahead, but you’re also playing catch-up from the week just ended.

When it comes to time management, the challenge for go-getters is to balance time with reflection.  The challenge for stay-putters is to balance time with achievement.

Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE  and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety, and others.

The Power of HOPE

To understand the true power of hope, I think it’s a good idea to contemplate what the world would look like without hope. It is a world without anticipation, without desire or expectation—a flat, monochrome world with only a single what-is view. First Chronicles 29:15 calls it a shadow world.

Over my time in counseling, I have seen too many people trapped in this shadow world without true hope. I have seen them desperately reach for anything—harmful, dangerous, destructive, false—to try to provide some sort of color of hope in the shadow. Imagine my position—within their world without hope I have to tell them that the one thing they cling to for a modicum of hope really isn’t hope at all. I have to point out the painfully obvious: The hope they cling to—whatever it is—is false hope.

If this is all I did and all I could offer, I wouldn’t do it. It would be too bleak. I praise God, however, that my job isn’t just to point out false hope but to point toward true hope. This is hope that sings with a symphony of desire, expectation, trust, sweet anticipation, and even sweeter fulfillment. This is hope that sings with God’s voice. This is not a shadow world; it is quite literally heaven. And what I get to do is show people the way to find their own patch of heaven on earth, through an understanding and connection to true hope.

Now that’s a job I believe in. It’s why The Center I founded thirty years ago has become knows as A Place of HOPE. It is a place where people find the strength and courage to give up their false hopes and the joy to discover their true hope. Hope has come to color everything we do, from the name of our website to titles on my books to our theme verse of Jeremiah 29:11. People come to us riding on the exhausted, failing horses of false hope and leave soaring on the wings of true hope.

This is not an easy journey. It’s not even an intuitive one for many. Letting go of the reins of a false hope in order to place yourself within reach of true hope is very much a leap of faith.

I love the Indiana Jones movies with Harrison Ford. There is a scene in the third movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where in order to save his dying father, Indy must successfully navigate a series of tests to reach the Holy Grail. At one point, Indy reaches a place where he must make a proverbial leap of faith.

Finding himself thwarted on the wrong side of a bottomless chasm, Indy must leap out into the apparent nothingness of space in order to keep going. He steels himself and steps out into the air of the abyss, only to land on a thin stone bridge that was impossible to see before. Once he realizes the path is there, that it is real, he successfully makes his way safely across to find the Grail and save his father. The path across was there the whole time; he just couldn’t see it. The only way to see it was to trust it was there.

The leap between false hope and true hope can be very much like that step into nothingness. On the one side, the false hope seems so substantial, so present, so there. The false hope is a known quantity. Even though a part of you knows it doesn’t live up to its promises and you won’t get to where you need to go by sticking to your false hope, another part of you is terrified of the abyss you’re stepping out into in order to grasp hold of true hope.

You are terrified of the unseen. It is that unseen nature of true hope that requires this leap of faith.

With an excessity, you know what you already have. Hopefully, by now, you recognize that what you have really isn’t much and that you’ve been putting all of your hope and trust in a dead horse, unable to save you. It’s time to let go of the known—the seen—and reach toward something better, something unseen.

Hope, then, is a leap of faith. Hope and faith are linked. It takes faith to hope, and hope fuels faith. It’s time to place your hope and faith in something more reliable, more trustworthy, than an excessity.

 Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE  and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety, and others.

 

 

Depression: Evaluating Your Activities

A familiar childhood fairy tale is “The Three Little Pigs.” Each pig builds his house out of a different material in order to protect himself from the huffing and puffing of the big, bad wolf. The house made out of straw is the one made of brick. Even though it takes more time and work, the brick house is seen as worth the effort because it provides lasting protection.

How does this relate to depression? By examining your life patterns and making positive changes requires your time and effort, but doing so is like building your personal house out of brick. By making changes, and understanding the need for those changes, you are construction—brick by brick—a strong, resilient house that can stand up to the huffing and puffing of life’s storms.

While constructing your house with brick, you’ll also need to remove some of the inferior materials you’ve used to patch weak spots. Remember, this restructuring process will not diminish you but make you stronger. Consider this process of taking stock of your life as your own personal remodeling project.

As you spend time thinking about the activities you are currently engaged in, and whether or not those activities are filling or draining, the key to these activities is in finding a healthy balance for you. This will depend upon your personality, your stage in life, and your unchangeable life factors. You may be the sort of person who simply needs more time to be inactive or still than others seem to need. Or you may be the kind of person who is energized by activity and interaction.

While it is possible to alter your personality to some degree, each of us has individual traits that we need to factor into our activities. We are not alike, and the same activity or activity level will affect us differently. Some of the many positive outcomes from overcoming depression can be a deeper understanding of your personality, insight into what characteristics you want to enhance and strengthen, and knowledge of what aspects you are ready to change or let go.

In balancing your activities, be aware of any that are negative and occur frequently. These are activities you will want to evaluate for change.

It may not be possible for you to completely eliminate a significant draining activity in your life, but it is possible to evaluate that activity and intentionally purpose to find ways to make that activity include filling moments. Sometimes the filling aspects of a draining activity come from the relationships you build with others as you go through that activity. Don’t overlook the silver lining of friendships in the storm clouds of life.

As you continue to evaluate your list of activities, look for filling activities that occur infrequently. Determine whether or not you are able to increase the frequency of these activities. Is there any way to engage in a similar activity that will also be personally filling? You may take an art class once a week that is personally rewarding but are not able to devote the time for another class. You can, however, get outside and walk through your neighborhood, letting nature’s canvas inspire you for that one class you can take. It is amazing how such small changes can add optimism, hope, and joy to your life. Moving forward doesn’t always happen in giant leaps. Sometimes, the most significant progress is made in a series of small steps.

If someone you know is suffering from depression, remember that it’s important to seek professional guidance when diagnosing and treating depression. For more information about depression treatment, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today. The Center • A Place of HOPE was recently ranked as a Top 10 facility in the country for the treatment of depression, and our team is standing by to help you and your loved ones.

When Grief Turns Into Depression

“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.” – President Abraham Lincoln

These words of President Lincoln illustrate the profound sadness that we can experience over the course of a lifetime. Losing a loved one or dealing with a traumatic situation can understandably cause such feelings of sadness and despondency. But when does this grief settle into depression? And how can a person distinguish between the two?

Grief by itself is not a “disorder”; it is a human experience caused by a traumatic experience of loss of a loved one. While speaking with a therapist or counselor may help a person work through these emotions, grief does not require treatment. Common symptoms of grief include sadness, tearfulness, sleep disturbance, decreased socialization, and decreased appetite.

During the first few weeks following the grief-inducing event, it may be hard to distinguish between grief and depression from observations alone. However, overtime grief may evolve into clinical depression.

Clinicians often use the following guidelines to differentiate between non-clinical depression (general feelings of sadness that can be caused by grief) and clinical depression.

  • Severity (extreme feelings of hopelessness including suicidal thoughts)
  • Duration (most of the day, nearly every day, for at least 2 weeks)
  • Pathology (clinically significant distress or impairment on a person’s daily function)

Because they are distinct conditions, grief and clinical depression can occur together, further confusing the differentiation between the two. Most importantly, however, there is clinical evidence that concurrent depression may delay or impair the resolution of grief. This means that depression can interfere with a person’s natural ability to overcome grief, and continue to perpetuate the cycle.

It is therefore imperative for individuals struggling with depression caused by grief to seek professional help.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression caused by grief, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help. In addition to physical, mental, and emotional treatment of depression, The Center • A Place of HOPE offers Christian support to address the spiritual components and struggles in a person’s life that affect grief and depression. For more information, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a depression recovery specialist today.

 

Excerpts of this blog were taken from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book Turing Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression.

Other sources:

Distinguishing Grief, Complicated Grief, and Depression. Medscape. Dec 26, 2014.

Pies, R. (2011). The Two Worlds of Grief and Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/02/23/the-two-worlds-of-grief-and-depression/

 

 

 

 

Five Signs Hidden Anger is Causing Your Depression

Depression can be caused by a many number of things. Perhaps it is due to a specific, traumatic event like losing a loved one to suicide. It may be caused by prolonged emotional or spiritual abuse. It could be caused by an addiction to technology or a chemical imbalance.

Another common cause of depression is anger—anger that you may not even recognize you have. We call this “hidden anger” or anger that you’ve suppressed from your conscious acknowledgement. You may be angry at a family member that continues to exert undue control over your life, angry with God for an unavoidable health problem, or angry at a friend who betrayed you during a time of need. While you may have hidden this anger from view, these feelings of anger and resentment can fester inside us and manifest in unforeseen ways; depression is one such manifestation.

As part of the recovery journey, is it first important to acknowledge, and become aware of, the reason for your depression. Below are some common symptoms of hidden anger that may be negatively affecting your life.

Procrastination: Procrastination in the completion of tasks, especially ones you don’t like or don’t want to do. What do you put off? What is keeping you from completing these tasks? If the tasks are related to past issues of control or connected in some way to people or past trauma, your procrastination may be caused by festering hidden anger.

Sarcasm, cynicism, or flippancy: Within what context, do you typically make sarcastic, cynical, or flippant remarks? Is it only with certain people or only within a certain context? In other words, is your hidden anger tied to a certain person, in terms of what she brings out in you? Or, is it more generally tied to how you feel in specific situations as opposed to whom you are with?

Over controlled monotone speaking voice: This is not only a means of hiding anger, but subsequently any number of other feelings that re not allowed expression. In other words, masking a negative feeling, such as anger, inevitably trains you to mask positive feelings as well, such as surprise, excitement, and joy.

Frequent sighing: You may not even realize you are doing this, so make a note to be mindful of how frequently you sigh, and within what context. Again, is it usually around a certain person, or is it more specific to an activity (i.e. work task), thought (i.e. all you to-dos), or situation (i.e. dealing with a conflict at work or at home).

Smiling while hurting: As with frequent sighing, this may not be something you are particularly aware of. Next time you notice yourself smiling, though, check in with your head and heart. Does your expression match what you’re thinking and feeling inside?

If you notice that you are exhibiting any concerning combination of the above symptoms, it might signal issues related to hidden anger. Our team at The Center • A Place of HOPE specializes in treating anger problems and depression, and we are here to help. The Center • A Place of HOPE has been ranked as the #1 treatment facility for depression in the United States. If you are ready to regain true joy and happiness and release your hidden anger, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a depression recovery specialist today.

 

Evaluating Past and Present Relationships Contributing to Depression

Depression can come when we feel bound to repeat the negative patterns of our past. Through an honest evaluation of our past and present relationships, we come to understand who we are and what we bring to each of our relationships.

Often times, the greatest joys, but also the greatest insecurities, traumas, and scars can come from our own family. The intentions of adults in a family may not be to pass along negative responses to their children, yet through their own inability to control these responses, they set up negative patterns for their children to follow. As children follow these patterns, the negative perceptions that accompany them become grounded in their lives.

Without ever being told, children develop a working model for life based on the suspicion, insecurity, perfectionism, self-centeredness, frustration, or oppressive behavior of their parents. This model produces feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, all of which suffocate optimism, hope, and joy.

You may have a background where emotional abuse of this type, or worse, was evident in your family. It will not be difficult for you to pinpoint how these negative experiences have impacted your ability to balance yourself emotionally. Or, you may look back at your childhood and conclude your family can’t be a source of your depression because you didn’t have an abusive experience. Take time, however, to really examine the patterns you learned from your family.

This is not a search through your past to assign blame, but rather a mature look at the learned responses from your family to discover those that might be contributing to the strength and longevity of your depression. It is so important for you to be able to identify the burdens from past relationships that may be slowing down your rate of recovery. Once you discover these hindrances, you will be equipped to develop a plan for moving forward.

As you review past relationships, also take some time to examine your current relationships. Many times, our present relationships are a direct reflection of the quality and content of our past relationships. If our childhood experience was negative, we often choose to engage in similar relationships as adults.

Write down the significant people in your life today that are not included in the previous group of family, listing each person by name and relationship. Special people in your life need not be confined to family. They can be coworkers, friends, mentors, or acquaintances. How does each person relate to you? Is it in a positive or a negative way?  Does the present relationship mirror a past relationship?

Take time to reflect on the relationships in your life and how you engage with them. This process alone could reveal the reasons for your depression. While it is important to acknowledge the past and understand its effects on the present, it is also important to note that you have the opportunity to make positive changes for your future.

If you are struggling with depression and you are ready to change your life for good, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help. Recently voted in the Top 10 depression treatment facilities in the United States, The Center • A Place of HOPE not only helps ease the symptoms of depression, but seeks to heal its root cause. If you are ready to regain true joy and happiness in your life, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a depression recovery specialist today.

 

Is Social Media Making You Depressed?

In today’s tech intensive world, we invest increasing amounts of ourselves online—our time, our energy, our identities. But for all of the time and effort we put into our virtual lives, how much does is really add to our happiness and overall fulfillment? Is it possible that our social networking can be contributing to our feelings of depression?

In Dr. Jantz’s book, #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology, and Social Networking, he cites a study of “disconnect anxiety.” In it, participants described the following feelings when unable to connect via Internet, email, social networks, texting, chat and other online activities:

  • Feeling lost
  • Having only half a voice
  • Disoriented
  • Tense
  • Empty
  • Inadequate
  • Loss of freedom

Paradoxically, we also suffer anxiety when we are connected. Maybe we’re overwhelmed with a multitude of social networks we’re intent on updating on a daily basis. Or maybe we’re suffering from information overload, struggling to stay on top of every development, from world news to the latest from our Facebook friends’ news stream.

In other words, at any given moment throughout your day, the desire to connect online may be a source of anxiety. Even the conscious decision to voluntarily disconnect can be anxiety ridden, making you certain you’re going to miss something or, worse, that your “friends” and “followers” are going to forget you. These feelings of anxiety and social disconnection can lead to depression.

If you suspect you may have an unhealthy level of anxiety associated with your online activity, or lack thereof, consider the following criteria used to determine nonchemical addiction:

Importance: How important has it become to your sense of self and the way you live your life? You can determine importance not only by how much you’re doing it, but also by how much you’re not doing other things. Priority equals importance.

Reward Response: Does doing it make you feel better and more in control? Does not doing it make you feel worse? Doing things you enjoy makes you feel better. Avoiding things you dislike can make you feel better, at least initially. There is a positive payoff to all this activity that can obscure the activities’ negative consequence.

Prevalence: Do you find yourself doing it more often and for longer periods of time than you originally planned? If you feel compelled to say “Just a little bit more” all the time, you’re carving out more and more space in your life for these activities. The question becomes, in order to carve out this time, to what else are you taking the knife?

Cessation: Do you feel anxious or uncomfortable if you cannot do it or if you just think about not doing it? One way to gauge how important these things have become for you is to consider doing without them. The higher level of panic and pain you anticipate, the stronger the hold they have over you.

Disruption: Has doing it disrupted your life and your relationships, causing interpersonal or personal conflicts over what you’re doing?

Reverting: Do you often say to yourself you’re going to do something different but then turn around and keep doing the same thing—or doing it even more? Before you know it, you’re right back to doing what you did, and more.

It is difficult to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, hope, and joy on the inside when you are struggling with feelings of anxiety, disconnection, inadequateness, and emptiness caused by the constant bombardment of technology and social media. The answer is in taking back control, as much as is possible, of the outside environment of your life. Either we allow our activities and our circumstance to carry us along, or we take control of the direction our lives are going.

Take a moment to examine the role of technology and social media have on your life. Which elements of this technological connection is fulfilling? Which parts leave you feeling inadequate, drained and depressed? Ultimately, the environment you create for yourself is vital in overcoming your depression. Structuring a holistic recovery plan, taking into consideration nuances like technology use, is imperative to this process.

The Center • A Place of HOPE has been consistently ranked among the top treatment facilities in the country for depression. If you believe you are struggling with a technology addiction that may be contributing to your depression, call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 to discuss treatment options. Know that you are not alone during this struggle, and never lose hope.

Excerpts of this blog were taken from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book Turing Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression.

 

Physiological Conditions Causing Depression

The body is not merely along for the mind’s ride into depression. The body is an active participant with the capacity to aggravate or improve symptoms of depression. Understanding the complete picture of an individual’s depression, including the physiological conditions associated with depression, can help elucidate causes and factor into effective healing.

Below is a list of several known causes of depression. We have seen them demonstrated in the lives of countless clients. Many times, individuals came in suffering from depression without really understanding why. Other times, clients who initially came to us because of an addiction or eating disorder sought help for depression as well. Take time to read through this list of possible contributors and note any that seem relevant to your life.

Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is more commonly known as low blood sugar or the “sugar blues.” The body’s main source of fuel is glucose, which is a form of sugar. Glucose is produced by the body through the consumption of carbohydrates, sugars, and starches. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream during digestion. Glucose that is not needed is stored in the liver as glycogen. When the amount of sugar in the blood is insufficient to fuel the body’s activities, hypoglycemia occurs. While this condition has not been universally accepted as a cause of depression, even skeptics will agree that hypoglycemia can cause weakness, mental dullness, confusion, and fatigue All of these symptoms, when taken together, can exacerbate depression.

Heart Disease: A recent study has shown that one out of every five people who suffers a heart attack will become depressed. It is understandable how such a traumatic event in one’s life could contribute to a state of depression. Conversely, a link between depression and heart disease was found in a study at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, which reported that 1) those with heart disease were more likely to be depressed than healthy people, and 2) depressed people who had heart attacks were four times more likely to die within the next six months as people who were not depressed.

Anemia: This condition is also known as iron-poor blood. Symptoms of anemia, similar to depression, include fatigue, weakness, and lethargy. It is difficult to experience mental alertness, optimism, or energy when your body is physically run down.

Apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition where the air passages in the throat close off during sleep. It is more common in those who are overweight and older, as the muscles in the throat lose rigidity and become limp upon relaxation. The resulting symptoms are fatigue, mental confusion, and lethargy—all associated with a state of depression. Though this is a serious condition, it can be treated successful through surgical and nonsurgical methods.

Celiac Disease: This is a condition in which the immune system attacks the food protein gluten. In the process, the small intestine is damaged, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the body to absorb zinc, tryptophan, B vitamins, and other essential nutrients. The absence of these nutrients affects the body’s ability to produce serotonin, the deficiency known to be linked to depression.

Diabetes: This is the body’s inability to regulate its own blood sugar. This constant up-and-down stress of elevated versus low blood sugar levels can compromise the body’s ability to regulate important nutrient absorption and hormonal levels, which provide protection from depressive mood swings.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: This is also known as “the winter blues.” This depressive cycle is tied to the body’s pattern of melatonin secretion. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s biological clock and coordinates the sleep-wake cycle, including temperature control. Melatonin is produced in the dark and is in greatest production during winter months. However, due to winter’s shorter days, melatonin may be produced either earlier or later in the day, thus throwing the body’s cycle off track.

Heredity: Simply put, depression appears to run in families. While no definitive study pinpoints a depression gene, there is research that suggests a family link.

Dehydration: Most people don’t drink enough water. When the body is dehydrated, one of its main detoxification methods is compromised. Dehydration can cause fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and mental dullness.

Reactional Hyperphagia: It’s no secret that we tend to crave comfort foods when we’re stressed. This doesn’t bode well for people whose stress stems from their inability to lose weight, particularly if they’re experiencing reactional hyperphagia. In this condition, emotional stress affects brain chemistry and hormones in such a way that the body craves “fullness,” even if there is no physical basis for it.

Endocrine Disorders: When the endocrine system, comprised of the thyroid and adrenal glands, is not working properly, through either over or under-functioning, depression has been a result. However, doctors rarely check the thyroid, so its connection to evident depression often goes undiagnosed.

Impaired Homocysteine Conversion: Homocysteine is a nonprotein amino acid, the presence of which in the body must necessarily be converted into the amino acid cysteine. The conversion requires adequate amounts of folate, B12, B6, and zinc in the body. So it is deficiencies of these nutrients that impair the homocysteine-to-cysteine conversion, resulting in homocysteine build up in the body, the overabundance of which has been linked to depression.

After reading through the aforementioned list of physiological conditions, you may immediately recognize some as being present in your life. However, to accurately diagnose yourself and others, you may need to obtain the professional expertise of a medical doctor who understands the role of physical conditions in depression. The Center • A Place of HOPE has been ranked by a third party in the top ten of all treatment facilities in the country for depression. If you would like to speak with depression specialist, please call 1-888-771-5166 / 425-771-5166 or fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you.