Definition

Depression : A mood disorder leading to persistent sadness and loss of interest in life activities. They may involve one or more of the following

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Anxiety : a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Extreme forms lead to isolation of self. Other symptoms as mentioned for depression are also seen

  • Emotional trauma, unhealthy work environment, financial stresses, unhealthy relationships, drug abuse, chronic illnesses of self or family members all can lead to increased anxiety.
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Causes

Most often there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. There may be a familial tendency. It may also be situational due to prolonged negative/traumatic life situations. People who excessively abuse alcohol, or use recreational drugs are at increased risk of developing depression and/or anxiety.

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Prevention

Individuals with family history of depression and alcoholism should especially be mindful of their lifestyle. Good nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, managing stress so they don’t turn to drugs or alcohol are all key in the management and prevention.

There is DNA testing that can be done to see if you have a genetic predisposition to neurotransmitter imbalances which is the underlying chemical disorder in our brain that drives depression and anxiety

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Management

  • Nutrition : Whole foods, plant-based nutrition with variety supporting detoxification and neurotransmitters
  • Exercise : Daily exercise particularly outdoors is one of the most effective ways to manage mild to moderate depression
  • Sleep : Irregular sleep patterns both insomnia and sleeping too much is associated with depression and anxiety. It is important to have regular sleep patterns that promote good sleep.
  • Stress : Having good stress management techniques and coping skills are very important. Inability to cope in situations is an important concern. Teaching skills to manage stressful situations is very important. Click Here to answer these questions to determine your coping skills
  • Supplements : Based on DNA testing there may be recommendations that can be made for supplements that might be beneficial to support those who have depression or have a tendency for depression
  • Medications : There are a variety of medications that are beneficial along with lifestyle. These can be discussed with your doctor
  • Any time you have feelings of suicide or self-harm please seek help immediately
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