Facts about Depression:
Depression is one of the greatest killers of our time and affects 50 million Americans at some point. In the US, 70% to 80% of medical office visits are due to depression complaints. Since
1988 there has been a 400% increase in the use of antidepressants.
Depression is a Risk factor for:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease
Kessler et al. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun; 62(6):617-27.
How is the current treatment model working?
“It’s Not Working Very Well! Psychiatric Outcomes Have Not Improved in Decades….” “The unfortunate reality is that current medications help too few people to get better and very few people to get well.” Insel, NIMH.
Treatment with Drugs:
Antidepressants have effects similar to placebo, except for those with severe depression. Antipsychotics and stimulants are no more effective than in 1954. Taking multiple psych medications is linked to suicide.
Symptom-based diagnoses are misleading – there are many roads to depression, symptoms tell nothing of the underlying physiology.
How do antidepressants work?
Anti-depressants such as Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft, Elavil, Cymbalta, Effexor, and Pristiq are intended to increase the available amount of serotonin and/or norepinephrine in the brain. Aplenzin, Budeprion, Buproban, Forfivo and Wellbutrin are intended to increase the available amount of norepinephrine and dopamine to the brain.
Are these symptoms of Depression or Symptoms of Hormone Deficiencies?
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex.
- Difficulty concentrating and complaints of poor memory.
- Insomnia or oversleeping.
- Appetite changes, which may include weight gain or loss.
- Fatigue, lack of energy.
- Slow speech; slow movements.
- Thoughts of suicide or death.
Most of these accepted symptoms of depression are also symptoms of hormonal deficiencies or imbalances. In any case, depression is a medical condition and hormones should always be considered as a possible treatment alternative. Even mild depression should not be ignored.
A drug-free approach to treating depression symptoms consist of implementing a regimen of natural supplementation to increase serotonin. Some of the best sources are 5HTP, Inositol, Saffron, B6, L-tryptophan, St. John’s Wort.
Did you know: 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. Enzymes and probiotics along with clean eating help make the gut healthy. Good eating habits and the addition of nutritional supplements to the diet help the body to increase serotonin naturally.
Dopamine is both a hormone and neurotransmitter. L-dopa, the metabolic precursor of dopamine (a natural product) increases dopamine in the brain and is widely used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Tyrosine, a natural supplement, increases dopamine.
ADHD and Restless Leg Syndrome have been associated with low levels of dopamine.
Low levels of Magnesium have been linked to anxiety and depression.
Hormones and Depression
Depression is generally defined as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Most anti-depressant drugs work on the premise of affecting a neurotransmitter such as serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine. Neurotransmitters, like hormones, are chemical messengers.
The Psychiatric Annals have many studies showing the benefits of using hormones like DHEA, thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone to treat depression and anxiety. Bioidentical hormones have been used to treat Post-Partum depression (deficiency in progesterone) and PMS (moodiness, irritability, feelings of sadness – deficiency in progesterone and maybe thyroid).
Testosterone is often considered and acts as a natural anti-depressant. Hormones like DHEA and Estrogen can also affect a person’s mood and their thyroid which can have multiple beneficial effects of relieving depression.