Healthy Body Healthy Mind
You may have been told your depression is due to a ‘chemical imbalance in your brain’ which needs to be treated with prescription medication, but do you really believe that medication is the best solution for you? There are some surprisingly simple strategies that you can try before turning to medication.
There are no tests to diagnose mental health problems – just your symptoms, which are interpreted differently by health professionals.
Depression has many different causes. When the reason for depression is unclear, and nothing can reasonably explain it, it may not be ‘you’ – it may be your physical health that is causing the way you feel.
Dealing with physical health issues really can help to improve mood changes, negative thoughts, irritability, poor sleep, brain fog, and that ongoing, grinding fatigue.
If you feel irritable and anxious when you can’t eat immediately – the sugar levels in your blood may have hit rock bottom, causing brain fog and unexplainable emotions. This can be related to what you ate, or didn’t eat, a few hours earlier. Regular meals help to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable. Sugary foods can cause big fluctuations in blood sugar, and mood levels, so simply avoiding these can improve the way you feel. Simple proteins like fish, meat and eggs, plus vegetables, fruit, and whole grains taken at 3 meals a day are a good recipe for stable blood sugar levels.
Other Reasons for Mood Changes
Food sensitivities, such as wheat, gluten or soy can cause mood reactions. If there are times when you simply have to eat a particular food, like milk, sugar, or chocolate, it can mean your body is addicted to them. Such food or foods are wreaking havoc with your body chemistry, your mood and your life.
What you can check on:
B vitamins are essential for a smooth-running nervous system. Having your nutrition checked for these, plus iron, iodine, and more, can reveal causes of the way you are feeling. Remarkable improvements can occur once depleted nutrients are replaced, leaving you feeling better, and less depressed.
Low thyroid function or imbalance can cause anxiety, depression, brain fog, weight gain, poor concentration, cold sensitivity, dry skin, constipation and hair loss. Enough to make anyone feel miserable! With appropriate treatment, thyroid function can be normalised – and so can you be!
Three tests you can have done to check your thyroid function are:
1. A full thyroid profile, including thyroid antibodies, and reverse T3 and T4
2. Iodine levels – iodine is essential for normal thyroid function.
3. Other nutrients to check for are selenium and zinc.
This book by psychiatrist Doctor Kelly Brogan ‘A Mind of Your Own’ describes many ways that people with depression can avoid medications. Dr Brogan only rarely prescribes antidepressants.
Without identifying these physical health issues, taking mediciaton long-term is a possible outcome, as the real reason you feel the way you do is not being recognised or treated. Integrative doctors, supportive GPs and naturopaths can conduct the tests you need to identify these health problems. Your recovery might surprise you!