Depression is the most common mood disorder in the US. Medically it is treated most effectively with drugs in the classes of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), TCAs (Tricyclic Antidepressants), and occasionally MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors).
Although these medications can work very well, if you’ve been them for any length of time you probably know that there are some unpleasant side effects, including sleep disturbances, digestive disorders, sexual dysfunction, and occasionally even a worsening of depression or anxiety. There are other side effects as well.
The Naturopathic Approach:
Depression may result from a number of things. We will assess your cortisol status to determine whether adrenal fatigue plays a role. Hypothyroidism can sometimes result in depression as well, so we will need to rule this out if it seems like a solid clinical possibility.
Once we have determined that neither of these factors influences your picture, we will talk about exercise. If you choose one and only one (physical) therapy for your depression, this should be it! We will also eliminate “natural” depressants from your diet. It’s very important for you to have adequate nutritional support, since some depression can be caused (and it can certainly be worsened) by nutrient deficiencies. Together we will select the most beneficial dietary alterations for you.
Next, we will give your body the building blocks it needs to create new mood enhancing neurotransmitters, rather than blocking the breakdown of existing neurotransmitters or stimulating their receptors. We will also discuss important vitamins and other supplements to maintain healthy signal conduction in your brain. There are certain botanicals and homeopathic remedies that can also be very effective.
Finally – and in my view, this is the most important part of all — your mind is a powerful thing, and your story matters. I spend a good deal of time just talking to my patients who struggle with depression, and together we devise techniques to help manage and improve daily symptoms.
My suite of products for symptoms of depression: click on the image for a description and dosing instructions.