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Known Contributors to Depression

Feeling depressed is not just a mental state. Depression is a debilitating whole-body condition that must be addressed physically as well as mentally. The whole- person approach accepts the body as a complex organism and looks for systemic reasons for depression. As Dr. Robert A. Anderson, founding president of the American Holistic Medical Association, says: “A definitive diagnosis of depression should not be made until physical conditions have been surveyed.”[1]

The Importance of Physical Health for Depression Treatment and Recovery

The body is not merely along for the ride into depression. The body is an active participant, with the capacity to aggravate or improve symptoms of depression. The first stop on the road to recovery from depression for many people is a physician’s office. After all, they feel bad. Whatever the factors leading to their depression, many will attempt to obtain a medical diagnosis for physical symptoms.

There are studies showing that addressing physical conditions can have a dramatic effect in overcoming depression. Psychiatrist Richard Hall has found “evidence [of] dramatic and complete clearing of psychiatric symptoms when medical treatment for underlying physical disorders was instituted.”[2]

The body holds its own special key to overcoming depression. Physical illnesses as well as physical conditions that may not be diagnosed or readily apparent can contribute to depression. Yet even when blood work and medical examinations are done, the physical culprits involved in depression can be overlooked. Like a detective, you need to be informed and persistent to discover the truth. To begin, let’s examine several known contributors to depression.

Medical and Health Conditions

HYPOGLYCEMIA – Hypoglycemia can cause weakness, mental dullness, confusion, and fatigue. All of these symptoms, when taken together, can exacerbate depression.

HEART DISEASE – Research shows that one out of every five people who suffer a heart attack will become depressed.

ANEMIA – 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.

SLEEP APNEA – Those who suffer from sleep apnea fluctuate between gasping and suffocating. This pattern severely strains the body and makes getting a good night’s sleep impossible. The resulting symptoms are fatigue, mental confusion, and lethargy—all associated with a state of depression.

DIABETES – The 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 (SAD) – SAD sufferers experience periods of moderate to intense depression during the winter.

HEREDITY – Depression appears to run in families. Educate yourself on the health background of your family, especially of parents or siblings who have experienced depression, whether clinically diagnosed or not.

DEHYDRATION – Dehydration impairs the body’s ability to perform vital functions, causing fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and mental dullness.

ENDOCRINE DISORDERS – When the endocrine system (comprised of the thyroid and adrenal glands) is not working properly, depression can result.

PUBERTY – The onset of puberty in both girls and boys can result in depression.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION – Also known as “the baby blues.” Many new mothers experience mild depression after the birth of a child. This is due to the drop of estrogen and progesterone levels after delivery, with symptoms usually fading within a week.

PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME – This syndrome is linked to certain depressive symptoms: despondent mood, irritability, exhaustion, and bouts of crying.

MENOPAUSAL PHASES – Progesterone and testosterone production can decrease at a faster rate than estrogen, upsetting the proper balance, causing estrogen dominance. With this imbalance, mood changes can occur and depression may result.

LOW TESTOSTERONE – During the natural aging process in men, testosterone production decreases. Higher testosterone levels are known to produce vitality, lean muscle mass, lower body fat, and enhanced sexual performance. The lowering or loss of these functions produce depression in men as they age.

ALLERGIES AND SENSITIVITIES – Research reveals a link between depression and allergies. In one study, 70 percent of patients with a diagnosis of depression reported having a history of allergy.[3]

Professional Depression Treatment Can Help

If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help. Our team is skilled at navigating these sensitive issues. For more information, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.

[1] Robert A. Anderson, Clinician’s Guide to Holistic Medicine (NY: MacGraw-Hill Publishing, 2001), 243.

[2] R. C. W. Hall, E. R. Gardner, M. K. Popkin, and S. K. Stickney, “Unrecognized Physical Illness Prompting Psychiatric Admission: A Prospective Study,” American Journal of Psychiatry 138, no. 5 (May 1981): 629–35.

[3] I. R. Bell, M. L. Jasnoski, J. Kagan, and D. S. King, “Depression and Allergies: Survey of a Nonclinical Population.” Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 55, no.1 (1991): 24–31.

 

Physical Healing in Depression Recovery

Feeling depressed is not just a mental state.  Depression is a debilitating whole-body condition that must be addressed physically as well as mentally.  The whole-person approach accepts the body as a complex organism and looks for systemic reasons for depression.

As Dr. Robert A Anderson, founding president of the American Holistic Medical Association, says: “A definitive diagnosis of depression should not be made until physical conditions have been surveyed.” (1)

The body is not merely along for the ride into depression.  The body is an active participant, with the capacity to aggravate or improve symptoms of depression.  The first stop on the road to recovery from depression for many people is a physician’s office.  After all, they feel bad.  Whatever the factors leading to their depression, many will attempt to obtain a medical diagnosis for physical symptoms.

There are studies showing that addressing physical conditions can have a dramatic effect in overcoming depression.  Psychiatrist Richard Hall has found “evidence [of] dramatic and complete clearing of psychiatric symptoms when medical treatment for underlying physical disorders was instituted.” (2)

The body holds its own special key to overcoming depression.  Physical illnesses as well as physical conditions that may not be diagnosed or readily apparent can contribute to depression.  Yet even when blood work and medical examinations are done, the physical culprits involved in depression can be overlooked.  Like a detective, you need to be informed and persistent to discover the truth.  To begin, let’s examine several known contributors to depression.

Mental and Health Conditions:

  • Hypoglycemia.  This can cause weakness, mental dullness, confusion, and fatigue.  All of these symptoms, when taken together, can exacerbate depression.
  • Heart Disease.  Research has shown that one out of every five people who suffer a heart attack will become depressed.  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 depressed people were four times more likely to have a heart attack than people who were not depressed.
  • Anemia.  This is a condition in which the blood lacks iron.  Symptoms of anemia, similar to depression, include fatigue, weakness, and lethargy.
  • Sleep Apnea.  This is a condition where the air passages in the throat close off during sleep.  The resulting symptoms are fatigue, mental confusion, and lethargy — all associated with a state of depression.
  • Diabetes.  This is the body’s inability to regulate its own blood sugar.  The 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 (SAD).  This depressive cycle — also known as the winter blues — is tied to the body’s secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s biological clock and coordinates the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Heredity.  Depression appears to run in families.  Educate yourself on the health background of your family, especially parents or siblings who have experienced depression, whether clinically diagnosed or not.
  • Dehydration.  Most people don’t drink enough water.  Dehydration impairs the body’s ability to perform vital functions, causing fatique, weakness, dizziness, and mental dullness.

For more information on mental and health conditions associated with depression, see Dr. Jantz’s new book, Five Keys to Dealing with Depression.

(1) Robert A. Anderson, Clinician’s Guide to Holistic Medicine (NY: MacGraw-Hill Publishing, 2001), 243.

(2) R.C.W. Hall, E.R. Gardner, M.K. Popkin, and S.K. Stickney, “Unrecognized Physical Illness Prompting Psychiatric Admission: A Prospective Study,” American Journal of Psychiatry 138, no. 5 (May 1981): 629-35

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.