I always tell my patients that anti-depressant medications and anti-anxiety medications were originally created with good intentions in mind, but now they are drastically overused in our country.
The 2 biggest groups of people I see prescribed these medications are teenagers, both boys and girls, and women above the age of 40. What do these 2 groups of people have in common? They are both going through major hormonal transitions in life.
All depression and anxiety has an underlying cause. Depression and anxiety are symptoms of something else deeper going on. What the doctor should be asking is WHY is this patient having this problem and these symptoms. Sure, anxiety and/or depression can be situational based on what is going on in a person’s life, but it shouldn’t be running your entire life. The most common underlying causes of anxiety and depression are all treatable without using pharmaceutical medications. Often times I find in clinical practice that anxiety and depression are caused by the combination of a variety of these factors.
The most common underlying causes of anxiety and depression I see in my office are:
1. Hormonal Imbalances:
Hormone Imbalances in both men and women:Depression and anxiety can be the first sign of low Testosterone in both men AND women. Yes, women need Testosterone too! Fluctuations and imbalances in estrogen and progesterone in women often manifest as psychological and emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
2. Undiagnosed Thyroid Disorders:
The standard lab tests used to diagnose thyroid disorders are very limited. The commonly used test only looks at a couple steps in a very complicated process. Thyroid disorders go undiagnosed for years because doctors aren’t doing a complete and thorough thyroid panel.
3. Vitamin D deficiency:
Vitamin D, then sun vitamin, is important for psychological and emotional health in so many ways. Most notably, Vitamin D is a co-factor needed in the process to create Serotonin and Dopamine, your happy, calm, cool and collected neurotransmitters. If we don’t have enough vitamin D, we can’t make sufficient amounts of those happy hormones.
4. B Vitamin deficiencies:
I am seeing more and more B12 deficiencies these days. Often supplements and vitamins contain the wrong types of B12, B9 and B6 so people’s bodies don’t know how to assimilate them properly. All B vitamins & vitamins are not created equal.
5. Low Iron levels:
One of the most common symptoms I see of low iron, before even patients complain of fatigue, is depression or anxiety. Other markers of iron levels need to be check outside of just someone’s red blood cell count, which would show if someone was anemic. Actual iron levels as well as iron stores should be checked to catch iron deficiency early.
6. Food Sensitivities:
Many people are eating foods that can cause or worsen anxiety and depression. These can be discovered using blood testing or doing an elimination diet. Eliminating or minimizing inflammatory foods can help treat and eradicate psycho-emotional symptoms in adults and adolescents.
7. Gastrointestinal dysbiosis:
Over 70% of your serotonin and dopamine is actually made in the lining of your gut. The balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria and microbes is integral to our psycho-emotional health. If a person has an overgrowth of bad bacterial in their intestinal tract, this can severely affect your production of serotonin and dopamine and thus your mood.
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