In the wake of Robin Williams’ recent suicide, we were all grimly reminded that depression is a condition that can affect anyone—rich or poor, famous or not.
And the number of people suffering from depression continues to grow.
Research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry reported that major depression rates for American adults doubled from 3.33 percent of adults in 1991 to 7.06 percent in 2002.
Depression is also considered a worldwide epidemic, with 5 percent of the global population (1 out of 20 people) suffering from a form of depression, according to the World Health Organization.
And here is where we currently stand according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
- Approximately 10% (1 out of 10) adults aged 18 and over in the US suffer from depression, and nearly half of those cases are classified as “severe.”
- Depressive disorders are now appearing earlier in life. 50 years ago the average age of onset was 29–now it’s age 14!
- Antidepressant use in the US jumped nearly 400 percent in the 20-year period between 1988 and 2008!
- And at least 1 out of every 10 of us takes antidepressants which can have dangerous and potentially deadly side effects.
Let’s take a closer look at what depression is all about, how to tell if you’re truly depressed, and talk about some surprising ways to get relief.
Depression—what exactly is it?
Depression isn’t a condition like pregnancy—it’s not a matter of either you are or you aren’t.
On the contrary, most of us are on a “sliding scale” that ranges from happy and upbeat to completely depressed.
Many people may occasionally feel depressed or suffer from a low mood, but it’s temporary and before long they feel generally happy again.
Others have the “winter blues” otherwise known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and start to feel better once the sun starts shining again.
But still others slide into a deeper, longer-lasting depression, and are very likely to seek help from a doctor.
Now, it’s important to remember that depression isn’t just one single process. There are actually two avenues to explore—your frame of mind and your brain chemistry.
And where people run into trouble is when they take medications like antidepressants that alter brain chemistry, yet their depression is truly due to a life event and their resulting frame of mind—such as grief over the death of a loved one, stress over a job loss, or other area of their life that causes them anger or frustration.
So they conceivably may be taking medication that they don’t need, which isn’t doing one iota of good for their depression, suffering side effects to boot, plus they may actually be worsening their depression by causing too much serotonin to build up!
Is it depression or just the blues?
Since most of us want to try to avoid true depression, here is a quiz you can take to explore whether your low moods may be just the occasional blues, or whether something more serious may be brewing:
The Depression Quiz
Score 1 point for each question:
________ Do you often feel blue or sad?
________ Do you often feel worse in the morning?
________ Do you find it difficult to face the day?
________ Do you sleep excessively?
________ Do you frequently have crying spells, or easily find yourself on the verge of tears for no apparent reason?
________ Do you have trouble falling asleep at night or awaken during the night and can’t get back to sleep?
________ Is your appetite poor or non-existent?
________ Are you losing weight without trying?
________ Do you find yourself eating for comfort?
________ Have you put on an excessive amount of weight in a short time?
________ Do you feel unattractive or undeserving of love?
________ Do you avoid social situations and prefer to be alone?
________ Do you often feel anxious or fearful?
________ Do you often feel irritable or angry?
________ Is it difficult for you to make decisions or stick to commitments?
________ Is it hard to motivate yourself to do things you used to do without difficulty?
________ Do you feel hopeless?
________ Do you no longer enjoy activities that used to give you pleasure?
Your score: _________
As you can probably surmise, the higher your score, the greater likelihood that true depression may be an issue for you. If your score is 10 or over, chances are excellent that depression is an issue for you and it’s time to seek help from a professional.
Many different causes, many different answers
One point that is unfortunately frequently overlooked when people seek help for depression is that there are underlying factors and nutrient deficiencies that can trigger or worsen depression…
And unless those underlying issues are resolved, your chances of truly feeling better are greatly diminished!
Here are five of the common culprits that can cause or exacerbate depression, as well as ways you can help turn them around (and start feeling a lot better!):
Depression trigger #1: Blood sugar imbalances
This is most commonly the result of having a diet that is heavy in “the whites”—white flour, white sugar, white rice and all products made with them. That includes white bread, bagels, hamburger and hot dog rolls, cookies, cakes, pastries, pasta, crackers, chips and soda.
Repeatedly eating foods like these taunts your pancreas, encourages insulin resistance, packs the pounds on you and can drive blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Oh, and contribute to depression too.
To help ensure a brighter mood, avoid refined carbohydrates as much as possible.
Depression trigger #2: Low thyroid function
Depression is often an early symptom of a low-functioning thyroid…so it’s wise to make sure yours is OK and get treated if necessary.
Unfortunately this can get tricky because most mainstream doctors will do just one test—a TSH test—to assess thyroid functioning…but that doesn’t always give an accurate picture.
A FAR more accurate and sensitive test that assesses thyroid health is the “TRH challenge test” also known as the “TRH Stimulation test.”
If you’re being checked for thyroid problems your doctor is not familiar with the TRH test, many labs (including Quest Diagnostics) offer it. The CPT code is 83519.
If your doctor is unable to do the TRH test, then at least insist that he run the following other tests (in addition to the TSH) to give a more complete thyroid picture:
- Total T4
- Total T3
- Free T4
- Free T3
- T3 Uptake
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Antibodies
Depression trigger #3: Lacking nutrients from real foods
Many people who suffer from depression are deficient in numerous vitamins and minerals, especially B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.
Refined carbohydrates and processed foods are grossly lacking in ANY appreciable nutrients…so the more you avoid them (like I suggested in #1 above) the better off you are.
Instead concentrate on eating more real foods—fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry and fish, dairy, whole grains, good fats—that will help provide all the precious nutrients your body (and MIND!) so desperately need.
Plus it’s also crucial to not only take in the nutrients, but make sure your body is absorbing them too, and that comes from sound digestion.
You can accomplish these important goals simply by following the guidelines in the Great Taste No Pain health system.
Great Taste No Pain is not a diet–it’s an eating lifestyle that shows you delicious ways to enjoy real foods, plus encourage more efficient digestion and stronger nutrient absorption.
There are just a few simple principles to remember, and I explain it all in everyday language–it’s a cinch.
And if you’re gluten sensitive, Great Taste No Gluten is for you instead.
Depression trigger #4: Allergies and sensitivities
High levels of histamine have also been linked to depression.
So if you suspect you may have undiagnosed allergies or sensitivities, it may behoove you to get tested and treated.
You just might start feeling a whole lot happier and brighter as a result!
Depression trigger #5: Lacking Omega-3 EFAs
Omega-3 EFAs are CRUCIAL to mental health! Your brain absolutely MUST have them to function properly.
It didn’t used to be this way. Back in our grandparents’ day all the Omega-3 EFAs they needed were obtained naturally from their diets.
But because of our current prevalence of processed/fast foods, plus vegetable oils, farm-raised fish and meat from grain-fed animals (which are heavy in Omega-6 EFAs but have few or no Omega-3 EFAs), most people are lacking the Omega-3 EFAs their minds so desperately need.
That’s why supplementation with a high quality Omega-3 fish oil formula like VitalMega-3 can make such a difference in your physical AND mental health.
VitalMega-3 is a top-quality fish oil formula that delivers a much-needed, brain-appreciated 1,200 mg of Omega-3s in every daily two-capsule serving.
If you or someone you love suffers from depression, don’t think that dangerous medications are the only answer…or that you’re destined to feel miserable with no hope in sight.
Instead be sure you’re getting counseling with a skilled practitioner, talk to your doctor about alternatives to medications and do your part–take a close look at what depression triggers you might have and do something about them.
It can make ALL the difference in the world…and quite possibly have you feeling much better FAST!
Remember—we’ll soon be launching our brand new website-www.holisticblends.com! It’s getting closer to completion and the big day will be here before long!