Depression is one of the most serious and life-altering conditions we can suffer from as humans. In this article, I will discuss the common types of depression and how to better understand your condition.
The first thing I would like to mention is that depression needs to be managed by a medical professional in combination with counselling. It's not the type of condition you should be trying to manage yourself. Depression is dangerous and needs constant support.
I classify depression into two areas. Physiological depression and Psychological depression. I know this is broad, but for the purpose of this article and simplification, it works.
Physiological depression Is when there is a physiological cause of the depression. So, in other words, a physical cause. This may be hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, stress, gut imbalances, alcohol or drug addictions to name a few.
Psychological depression is when you have psychological reasons for the depression such as grief, marriage breakdown, stress, bullying, PTSD, work issues, financial issues, and the list is almost endless.
Now in both cases, there is then an imbalance in brain neurotransmitters which trigger the mood to be influenced; so ultimately there is always a physical cause for the mental state of mind.
This is important for all sufferers to understand that the nature of how they are feeling is actually physical. Their mental state is a result of a physical imbalance. This is often not clearly explained.
The issue with the current model when it comes to depression is mostly it’s a one-stop shop. Antidepressants (AD) are prescribed routinely without consideration of whether the cause is physiological or psychological.
In the case of hormonal imbalances, this is often the case, with AD being routinely prescribed - and even the treatment protocols indicate AD as a legitimate treatment approach for a hormonal imbalance.
It's very typical of modern medicine looking only as deep as the symptoms, and not looking at the deeper cause of the condition. This leads to a dependency on AD and possibly a long-term deficiency of the body’s own natural feel-good hormones.
It gets tricky when there is a combination of both psychological and physiological triggers for the depression. A recent study in Denmark has highlighted the increased risk of depression in women taking the contraceptive pill. In time they will link the same issue to other contraceptives such as the Mirena and implants, along with HRT.
Synthetic hormones are not good for your mental wellbeing, because they disrupt your own innate endocrine balance which controls your moods.
If you believe that your depression is more physiological rather than psychological, then it’s worth investigating the possible causes.
Recent research into the microbiome (healthy bacterial balance in the body) has discovered that the gut is, in fact, the second brain, with tissues and influences similar to the brain.
There is a reason why when we're stressed, our digestion is affected, or we say we have a 'gut feeling.' The reason for this is the healthy symbiotic relationship in the gut produces many of our feel-good hormones. In fact, about 90% of our main feel-good hormones - and the sleep hormone, serotonin - are produced in the G.I. Tract.
So this leads us to ponder what the influence of antibiotics and our processed diet are in the development of depression, and the escalating rates of depression in society.
The more affluent we get, the more our food chain is adulterated, the higher our depression rates, and the unhappier we are. It’s ironic that the more we have, the unhappier we have become - but that’s for another article!
The second, even bigger issue is hormones. Your hormones have a huge impact on your mood. It’s very clear to everyone that during a woman’s menstrual cycle and menopause, mood levels alter - and the larger the imbalance, the greater the mood swings as a result. Even to the point where some women in the US have been acquitted of murder, by claiming PMS!
Other factors that benefit depression are Magnesium, which helps calm the nervous system; chamomile and valerian, which are natural nervous system carminatives; B-vitamins; fermented foods and kefir to help re-establish the gut flora balance; and S Adenosyl-Methionine SAMe, L tryptophan, and tyrosine to help improve the body’s natural production of serotonin and feel-good hormones.
Essential oils are also a great option to calm the body. Physical exercise, yoga, and meditation have all been proven to be effective ways to manage depression and release stress and negative thought patterns.
I want to be particularly careful here to not trivialise the treatment of depression, because it needs professional care and treatment prescriptions. But it's important to do your research, and understand the possible pathologies of any health condition - and depression is the same.
In this article, I hope I have given you some food for thought. Feel free to take this information to your health professional, if you feel there may be some other treatment options to help you with your condition.