Depression and anxiety are a national and global epidemic. Astonishingly, depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and the second leading cause worldwide! Many turn to antidepressant medication for relief, and these can undoubtedly be useful at times. Unfortunately, they also create dependency and come with unwanted side effects. Worst, they prevent us from getting to, and therefore resolving, the root of what is causing our depression.
So what are some of the main causes of depression, and some deeper or more natural solutions?
Nervous system dysfunction. When people lead stressful lives, or go through a stressful time period such as the death of a loved one, their nervous system can literally get stuck in a state of “fight or flight”. This can lead to chronic symptoms such as insomnia, panic attacks, racing heart, high blood pressure, and eventually chronic exhaustion and a state of hopelessness. To “reset” the nervous system, some highly effective remedies include acupuncture and herbs.
Acupuncture has been clinically shown to nudge the nervous system back toward rest and restorative processes, leading to improved sleep and mood. Acupuncture also releases endorphins, the body’s “feel good” chemicals, which lower pain sensation, heart rate and blood pressure. At the same time, adaptogenic herbs such as St. John’s Wort, Ashwagandha, and Siberian Ginseng help the body adapt to stress, preventing the nervous system from getting stuck in fight or flight mode. Rotating different herbs every 6-8 weeks is optimal.
Nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies contribute greatly to mood—much more than people realize. Vitamins such as B6 and minerals like magnesium, for example, are crucial in the production and regulation of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps the mind transition to states of calm, relaxation and sleep. These days, nutrient deficiencies are rampant, due to widespread depletion of our soil, and our SAD American diets high in processed, and low in nutrient dense, food. Even moderate consumption of sugar and alcohol can significantly deplete our stores of B vitamins and minerals, and disrupt the gut, resulting in depression and anxiety.
Remedies include avoiding or restricting alcohol and sugar consumption, eating organic, and adding in quality, food-based, broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplements. Remember that most vitamins and minerals, even those produced by reputable companies and sold in health food stores, are synthetic, and therefore cannot be utilized properly by the body. Ferreting out the causes of depression and anxiety can be complex, requiring a deeper level of investigation than most “band aid” solutions. At Vital Health we help people find clarity regarding the root causes of their health challenges, providing step-by-step guidance on what to do in order to restore health naturally.
©2021 Darcy Greenwald, M.S.O.M., L.Ac. and Vital Health