Thursday, January 28, 2021



Depression is often a symptom resulting from some other condition rather than being a primary issue. For example, depression can be one of a group of yeast infection symptoms, intestinal yeast infection or overgrowth termed “candidiasis”. Depression can be associated with adrenal gland insufficiency or anxiety attack. It can be associated with the thyroid gland or underactive thyroid, food allergy, hypoglycemia, adrenal gland insufficiency and anxiety attacks. At the end of this discussion you will find a list of other pages of this web site which address these other issues associated with depression.

The questionnaire below is provided by the American Psychiatric Association as a screening tool for depression. It is a suggestive screening tool only and you should not use it to diagnose yourself as depressed. It is only an indication. As there are other conditions that can cause depression such as underactive thyroid, glandular problems or side effects to prescription medications, you should definitely discuss this with your physician if you think you may be experiencing depression.

Remember that the answers to the questionnaire can be perfectly normal for certain of life's crises such as a death in the family, divorce or financial troubles. Do not consider yourself clinically depressed if you are experiencing these symptoms as a result of a crisis of life. To be applicable, the feelings must be exaggerated or inappropriate to the occasion.

To answer the questionnaire correctly , you must have recently experienced the symptoms indicated for at least two consecutive weeks. In order for your answers to be suggestive of depression the following criteria must be true:

  • A. You must answer "yes" to both questions #1 and #2.
  • B. You must answer "yes" to at least five of questions #3 through #11.
  • C. Questions #12 through #20 are additional questions that may or may not apply to you but can be helpful in assessing yourself.

  • 1. Y N Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or "emptiness".
  • 2. Y N Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities, including sex.
  • 3. Y N Changes in appetite-either no appetite, often resulting in weight loss, or eating ravenously so that you've gained weight.
  • 4. Y N Sleep problems-insomnia, or, wanting to sleep all the time.
  • 5. Y N You have no energy and are often fatigues.
  • 6. Y N You're restless and irritable.
  • 7. Y N Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or inappropriate guilt.
  • 8. Y N Difficulty thinking, making decisions or concentrating.
  • 9. Y N Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide.
  • 10. Y N Chronic aches and pains that don't respond to treatment.
  • 11. Y N Excessive crying.
  • 12. Y N You feel pessimistic about your life.
  • 13. Y N You have a "what difference does it make?" attitude (you don't use a seat belt any more).
  • 14. Y N You avoid old friends.
  • 15. Y N Crowds bother you.
  • 16. Y N You don't get along with people.
  • 17. Y N You have a poor memory. You've started writing things down.
  • 18. Y N You're not doing nearly as well as you used to at work or school.
  • 19. Y N You have unexplained headaches, backaches and bellyaches.
  • 20. Y N You've made a will and have been thinking about your funeral.

Our nervous system contains chemical messengers called neurotransmitters which become deficient or inactive in depression. The two most common neurotransmitters relating to depression are serotonin and norepinephrine. Antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and Paxil work to reduce the deficiencies in neurotransmitter function. These and other similar drugs are effective but are not without potentially serious side effects. There is even some evidence that these drugs will further deplete an already deficient supply of neurotransmitters over long term use. If you are on antidepressant medication, you should educate yourself about all the potential side effects and interactions with other medications. It is possible to treat depression with more natural protocols and products which are relatively free of the threat of side effects. It is the alternative medicine approach to depression that we discuss below.

There is known correlation between faulty amino acid (protein) metabolism and depression. Clinical studies have shown that amino acid deficiency can lead to neurotransmitter deficiency and subsequent depression. This information may be new to your medical physician but a good clinical nutritionist or other alternative medicine practitioner will be familiar with it. An amino acid "precursor" is the amino acid which your body requires to make a neurotransmitter. For example, the amino acid tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin, the neurotransmitter influencing sleep, appetite, and mood. Tryptophan imbalances can definitely affect serotonin performance. Tyrosine is the amino acid precursor to the production of norepinephrine, another key player in depression. An amino acid analysis which is performed on a urine sample is available from Doctor's Data Lab and Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab, definitely worth the investment for any person with depression. It will show amino acid deficiencies and guide your alternative medicine practitioner in the resolution of the problem. Tyrosine can be taken orally. Tryptophan is not available over the counter but its metabolite 5HTP is. Both these amino acids can be beneficial but should be taken under the supervision of a clinical nutritionist.

In addition, there can be environmental influences on depression which your physician may not consider. For example, heavy metal intoxication (not “poisoning”) can have a profound influence on the nervous system. Lead is one very toxic metal found in some industrial settings. Cadmium is a common heavy metal found in our environment. It is in welding rod, cigarette smoke, and old galvanized water pipes. You should review your life history and see if there has ever been an exposure to toxic metals, even as a child. If you have experienced past toxic metal exposure , a hair analysis for heavy metals can be ordered by your practitioner from either of the two labs mentioned above. Refer to the Toxic Metals page of this web site (links to follow) for details on the surprising impact toxic heavy metals can have upon your neurotransmitters.

Certain environmental chemicals can lead to depression. These include insecticides, herbicides, and thousands of other industrial and household chemicals. They can have a profound effect on your health in a very subtle manner. Review your history to see if you can recall any such exposures during your life time. If environmental chemicals may be a problem for you, your practitioner can order an ELISA/ACT test from Serammune Laboratory which will identify sensitivities to environmental chemicals.

Another frequently overlooked contributor to depression is food allergies. Please visit the Food Allergy pages (links to follow) of this web site for a discussion of the subject. Food allergies often come in a package with other related problems including intestinal dysbiosis, yeast overgrowth, increased intestinal permeability and hypoglycemia.

The point to be understood here is that there are a number of seemingly unrelated conditions that can indirectly contribute to depression. With that in mind, we wholeheartedly recommend a Comprehensive Health Assessment . It is a simple online self assessment of your health history and symptoms designed to help you sort through conditions that contribute to depression such as we have discussed here. 

St John's Wort is a popular antidepressant herb that has been shown in studies to be effective in mild to moderate depression. Do not take St. John's Wort if you are taking Prozac, Paxil or other prescription antidepressants without first talking to your physician. They should not be taken together.

Another supplement which studies have shown effective against depression is S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). It is produced from the amino acid methionine. SAMe is available over the counter but is expensive.

Lifestyle changes you can make include exercise, relaxation, avoidance of alcohol, B complex vitamins, and good diet. Talk to your clinical nutritionist for the best plan for you.


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