Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression rarely has one root cause. These conditions are a product of biological, psychological, dietary factors in addition to stressful or traumatic events.
Why Am I So Sad And Anxious?
Depression and anxiety can be caused by many different physiologic and hormonal factors: sleep deprivation, nutrient deficiency, poor gastrointestinal health, adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction as well as sex hormone imbalances.
Add emotional stressors such as childhood traumas, difficult relationships, financial stressors, death of loved ones or pets, work difficulties, new babies, divorce, moving, lack of exercise and no self care it’s no wonder we have a hard time coping! Anti-depressants drugs have their role, but they are not the only answer and can have serious side-effects adding to an already stressful lifestyle.
Our approach is to look for and address the underlying causes, not just treat the symptoms with medication. Most physicians, including psychiatrists, don’t receive training on the crucial role gut health plays in brain chemistry which hugely impacts the health of your emotional state.
The bacterial microbiome or colony of “good gut bugs” that reside in your digestive system along with the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract produce over 70 to 80% of the body’s neurotransmitters like serotonin, GaBA, dopamine and nor-epinephrine that not only transmit information from your brain to body but also determine how calm you are, your overall mood, the level of your memory, and even how motivated you are. The old adage “gut feeling”, in recent years, been proven scientifically when researchers in recent years discovered that your gut contains more neurotransmitters than you brain.
Regular imbalances or disturbances in gastrointestinal health can create havoc throughout the whole body in addition to serious impacting brain health as well as escalating mood disorders. When treating depression, we often start with the 4 “R” program of gut health, “Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate, and Repair”. We even see a big improvement for patients who tackle the first “R” by removing sugar, alcohol, and gluten (from wheat, rye, and barley) which are harmful for the gut as well as the brain even if you don’t suffer from anxiety or depression. Contact your practitioner to learn more about the program and how it can help you or a loved one.
Apart from gut health, the health of your glands plays another big role. In recent years, health experts have given more focus to the adrenals (the glands that rest on the kidneys) since they regulate hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Acute, poorly managed stress, overuse of caffeine, poor sleep, and diet can mean overworked adrenals that are constantly excreting these hormones for prolonged periods of time, causing depression and a host of other imbalances.
A low functioning thyroid gland located in the throat, an important “master” gland that regulates metabolic rate as well as heart and digestive function, muscle control, mood and bone maintenance and more, can a lead to both depression and anxiety.
Nutrient deficiencies, particularly methylated B vitamins and essential Omega 3 fatty acids also play a huge role. Many drugs, including anti-depressants deplete the body’s store of B vitamins and critical minerals. Replacing these essential nutrients (see recommended nutrients) is key to weaning off drugs. A cutting edge, powerful, non-drug tool used to treat anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and chronic pain is the Alpha-Stim unit.
This simple device, clipped to the earlobes, produces a tiny micro-electric current stimulating the brain to release encephalin and endorphins (natural pain killers). In addition, it stimulates the brain to produce more serotonin, GABA and dopamine while creating synchronized, calming brain waves.
Self care, correcting gut and nutritional imbalances, along with a steady support system implemented correctly can work more efficiently than medication and without the harmful side-effects. Tried and true healing techniques from Eastern medicine traditions can also be very helpful including acupuncture to support the adrenals and treat mood disorders.
Our acupuncturist, Amy Adams, specializes in treating anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction recovery. In addition, tools such as regular movement, uplifting reading, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and insight therapy can all be useful in breaking negative mindset that works as a feedback loop for the anxiety/depression cycle.
Take The First Step On Your Journey Back To Health
Functional Medicine gets to the root cause of your issues with the help of our experienced team of practitioners. Register as a new patient, on our patient portal and fill out a new patient questionnaire. Our admin team will reach out to you to schedule an appointment and jumpstart your journey back to health!