Natural Depression Treatment Perth
Natural Depression Treatment Perth
Natural Treatment of Depression – Perth clinic
Depression is a mood disorder in which life experiences of loss, anger, sadness or frustration outweigh a person‘s ability to effectively cope with daily experiences. We have extensive experience working with depression and our Functional Medicine approach.
Depression affects 10-30% of the population and is often undiagnosed. It tends to affect women and adolescents more commonly. Natural depression treatment such as administered at our Perth clinic are effective in balancing brain chemistry and often avoid the need for pharmaceutical medications. Patients already on pharmaceutical medications are often able to reduce or eliminate their medications with our natural depression treatment.
A diagnosis of major depression is considered when any five or more of the following symptoms have been present most days during the same two-week period and represent a change from previous functioning, and at least one of the symptoms is either a) depressed mood or b) loss of interest or pleasure:
- Depressed or altered mood (children or adolescents often present with irritability or anger)
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities
- Significant loss or gain in appetite and/or weight
- Insomnia (especially early morning) or excessive sleeping
- Observable restlessness or lethargy
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, self-hate or guilt
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
Minor depression can be diagnosed if the patient has 2-4 of the above symptoms. Other common forms of depression include post-partum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). (1)
Causes of Depression
A combination of genetic predisposition and diet, lifestyle and environmental triggers.
There are many different reasons that can trigger the spiral into depression, these reasons are different for each person and often a combination of triggers is present for patients. Common underlying factors we identify and address include;
- dysregulation of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline pathways
- HPA axis dysregulation. Cortisol and other hormone imbalances
- Methylation / MTHFR issues
- Gut dysbiosis / bacterial or parasitic overgrowth
- SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
- Key nutrient imbalances
- Blocks in specific biochemical and neurological pathways of the body
- Family or personal history of depression
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Aged between 25 and 44
- Stressful life events e.g. loss of loved ones, divorce, financial stress, loss of job, child birth, physical or emotional abuse etc.
- Prolonged anxiety or stress
- Reduced sunlight exposure (SAD)
- Sleep disturbances
- Social isolation
- Poor diet and nutritional deficiency
- Chronic pain
- Impaired circulation to the brain (especially in the elderly)
- Medical conditions e.g. cancer, hypothyroidism
- Medications e.g. OCP, corticosteroids, beta-blockers
NATURAL TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR DEPRESSION – Perth Clinic
- Identify and address contributing factors
- Support healthy neurotransmitter production, in particular serotonin and dopamine
- Support adrenal function (if associated with long-term stress)
- Assess and address MTHFR, COMT and Methionine pathways
- Assess and support thyroid function
- Assess and address nutritional deficiencies
- Balance blood sugar levels
- Reduce inflammation
- Encourage beneficial lifestyle changes
Diet plan guidelines for Depression
- Diet and lifestyle are key in depression treatment
- Assess overall nutritional status and energy intake:
- Cross-sectional and longitudinal data show that poor diets are associated with an increase in depressive symptoms. Diet modulates key biological processes involved in mood disorders, such as oxidation, inflammation, brain function, endocrine function and mitochondrial function.
- Individuals who suffer with depression may be eating too little or too much, depending on the manifestation. Total daily energy intake and food quality needs to be assessed.
- Balanced whole food, low-GI diet high in complex carbohydrates, healthy proteins and fats to ensure healthy blood sugar balance
- Foods to boost serotonin levels:
- Complex carbohydrates: needed to increase tryptophan in the brain
- High tryptophan foods: tryptophan is the building block of serotonin. High tryptophan foods include legumes, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, eggs, bananas, durian, mango, dates, spirulina and peanuts.
- B6 rich foods: needed to convert tryptophan to serotonin
- Avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates: depletes serotonin
- Avoid food additives especially aspartame: blocks serotonin
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids e.g. oily fish, nuts, flax seeds. At least 150 g of fish should be eaten 2-3 x per week to provide adequate omega-3 fatty acids.
- Foods high in magnesium to reduce nerve and muscle tension and improve energy
- Folate-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables
- B-vitamin rich foods such as nuts and seeds and lean meats
- Zinc-rich foods such as seafood and pumpkin seeds
- Assess the presence of food allergy and intolerances e.g. dairy proteins and gluten. May exhibit digestive disturbances and gut permeability.
Supplements that support Natural Depression Treatment
Patients need to be assessed before randomly taking supplements to improve depression. Certain supplements will be beneficial to some people and to not to others. Some supplements interact with anti-depressant medication and neurotransmitter levels should be tested prior to taking therapeutic doses of these substances.
- L-tryptophan – necessary for serotonin production
- SAMe – key methyl donor in the body and supports the methylation process of the body, shows natural antidepressant effects through regulation of this pathway
- Phenylalanine – inhibits breakdown of endogenous opiates; precursor to production of noradrenalin (caution: may be allergenic in some people)
- Active B vitamins – Folate, B6, B9 – lowers homocysteine levels if elevated. Folate acid is found to be deficient in 15-38% of depressed people; it can also enhance the effect of anti-depressants. Folic acid can be detrimental to those with MTHFR polymorphisms and should be avoided, folate supplements should be in the form on folinic acid or methylfolate.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – to reduce inflammation and support healthy neurotransmitter function
- Magnesium – important cofactor in production of energy and neurotransmitters
- Vitamin C and bioflavonoids – to reduce inflammation, protect neurons and support adrenal health
- B-complex: to support healthy brain function
- Zinc – modulates HPA axis and neuroprotective; often deficient in people with depression and those with Pyrrole disorder
- Vitamin D – depending on status
Herbal medicine treatment that supports Depression
- Nervine tonics – St John‘s wort, lavender, skullcap, vervain, oats, saffron
- Support adrenal and thyroid function – withania, rehmannia, licorice, ginseng, schisandra
- Cerebral circulatory stimulants – ginkgo
- Blood sugar balancers – gymnema, goat‘s rue, cinnamon
Lifestyle / Physical measures
- Exercise – has a significant impact on mood and essential in depression. Increases production of serotonin and endorphins. Start slowly and gradually increase to at least 30 minutes daily.
- Psychological interventions – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combines cognitive therapies with meditative practices and is showing promising results in depression (Teasdale et al, 2000)
- Relaxation/ breathing / meditation / Qigong – 15+ minutes daily
- Daily exposure to sunlight – boosts serotonin
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE DEPRESSION TREATMENT
Depression is becoming more common in people of Perth, Australia and worldwide with the illness striking younger generations much more regularly that ever before.
A fast paced life, poor diet and lifestyle choices, environmental impacts and unhealthy habits with technology and screen time are all factors contributing to the illness.
The onset of depression can be triggered from a variety of different reasons such as a traumatic or stressful event, longer term dysregulation of the neurotransmitter pathways, bacterial overgrowth of the gut, viral infections, methylation blocks and key vitamin and nutrient deficiencies and imbalances.
At our Perth clinic of Advanced Functional Medicine we have experience dealing with depression. Our methods involve correcting underlying body system dysfunction, nutrient and amino acid therapy, rebalancing neurotransmitters, optimizing the gut and other biochemical pathways and instilling healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
If you or a family member are suffering from depression or low mood we would love to hear from you. What treatments have worked best for you? Have you had your gut and neurotransmitters tested? Are your genetic polymorphisms of the MTHFR and COMT enzymes contributing to your condition? We would love to hear your story, please leave a comment below.