Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder and a major health problem in the United States. It is a mental and emotional state characterized by dejection, lack of hope and general unhappiness which may result from normal stressful situations. Normal depression, or reactive depression, is a healthy response to a specific disappointment and is temporary. Mild and severe depressions are prolonged and unhealthy; such depressions usually require outside help for recovery.
Depression occurs in all age groups, particularly the elderly and young; at any age it is twice as common in females as in males.
Those individuals with mild depression are often treated without medication and are encouraged to find relief by spending time doing things they enjoy. Other treatments for depression include counseling, change of diet, exercise and antidepressant drugs.
Bereavement Divorce Job loss Neglect Unrealistic expectations Mid life crisis Childhood environment Loss of parent Cold, uncaring upbringing
Premenstrual syndrome Postpartum depression Physical abuse Cerebral allergy Oral contraceptives Alcoholism Drug abuse Heredity
Mental disease and nervous disorders
Chemical deficiencies, especially vitamin B-12
Antihypertensives such as reserpine
Viral infections and intra-abdominal neoplasms, especially in the elderly
Over- or underproduction of hormones by the outer layer of the adrenal gland
Chronic diseases, especially ones which are disfiguring and leave the individual with a permanent handicap
Signs & Symptoms
Depression is diagnosed, according to the American Psychiatric Association, when at least four of the following symptoms are present for a minimum of two weeks for adults and at least three of any of the four signs are present in children younger than six years old:
Energy loss or fatigue
Insomnia or excessive sleepiness
Hyperactivity or slowed movements
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or self-reproach
Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities or decrease in sexual drive
Changes in eating habits manifested by a marked increase or decrease in appetite and significant weight change
Reduced concentration, thinking abilities, and recurrent thoughts of death or attempted suicide
Some symptoms of depression, such as feelings of guilt or inadequacy, may be apparent only to the person experiencing them. But these feelings in turn often bring about changes in behavior and attitude that are noticeable to others, such as:
Anorexia Headache Dry mouth Constipation Blurred vision Anxiety attacks Sexual dysfunction Frequent crying spells Impaired concentration Gastrointestinal or abdominal pains
Withdrawal from usual relationships
Overreacting to the minor irritations of daily life
Inability to find pleasure in normal joys of living
Emotional instability and inexplicable mood swings
Sleep disturbances such as insomnia and early morning waking
Increasing inability to get out of bed and face daily responsibilities
Common statements from severe depression with mental diseases are about:
Believing others are watching them
Seeing visions of coffins or dead relatives
Hearing voices making accusations of unpardonable sins
Suffering delusions of worthlessness, sinfulness, or incurable diseases
Structure & Function:
Nutrients for Brain Support &
Essential Fatty Acids
Adult DHEA* DLPA 500 - 1,000 mg Lecithin* Melatonin* Niacin 50 - 500 mg Phosphatidyl serine* Tyrosine 200 - 500 mg Vitamin B-6 25 - 100 mg Vitamin B-12 10 - 100 mcg Vitamin C 1,000 - 3,000 mg
* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.
Lecithin supplementation may also prove useful, facilitating mental function.
Melatonin, is also being intensively researched. It seems to be a natural for those forms of depression associated with "winter blues" or "cabin fever", now usually described as: SAD (seasonal affective disorder) because of its role in circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycles).
Gibson, C., Gelenberg, A. Tyrosine for depression. Adv. Biol Psychiat 10 (1983) 148-159.
Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.
If depression is caused by cerebral allergy, an Elimination Diet is recommended.
Depression can be treated with many drugs, including tranquilizers or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI's). Alcohol should never be ingested with tranquilizers to prevent possible increased central nervous system depression. The combination can cause excessive drowsiness, posing a hazard for those individuals who drive. Monoamine oxidase metabolizes tyramine in the gut. MAOI's prevent this breakdown, and norepinephrine is released in response to the intact tyramine. Symptoms depend on the MAOI dosage and the quantity of tyramine-containing food that was ingested. This drug-food combination may cause: palpitations, a nosebleed, severe headache, or a severe hypertensive crisis resulting in intercranial bleeding and sometimes death.
Foods to avoid, if taking MAOI's for depression:
Ripened cheese Sausage (fermented) Beef liver Chicken liver Chianti Meats (canned) Soysauce Yeast concentrates Bologna Salami Pickled and dried, salted herring
Foods to consume with caution is taking MAOI'S for depression:
Red wine Beans Beer Sherry Banana Avocado Figs (canned) Chocolate Yogurt Vanilla Processed cheese (American) Gouda
Coffee, hot chocolate, and cola drink (consume only 1-3 cups per day)
Vitamin C deficiency may be the cause of psychological disturbances such as depression. Prolonged Vitamin B-12 deficiency may also result in depression.
Depression can be caused by the consumption of large numbers of raw egg whites. The egg white contains a protein which binds to biotin, making the vitamin unavailable for the body. The protein is inactivated by heat; therefore, no harm occurs from consuming large amounts of cooked egg whites.
Oral contraceptives frequently cause a vitamin B-6 deficiency in the user. The exogenous estrogen in birth control pills increases the body's need for vitamin B-6, a tryptophan metabolite. Because tryptophan is shunted into making the vitamin, little is left for making serotonin, a neurotransmitter. These low levels then cause symptoms of depression. These symptoms are readily reversible with the administration of 10 to 30 milligrams of vitamin B-6 per day.
1. Ignatia amara wildly fluctuating moods. 2. Natrum Muriaticum depression arising from grief. 3. Pulsatilla nigricans weepy.
Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.
X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency
Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.
Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.
Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.
Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.
Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.
Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica or Hydrocotyle asiatica)
Kelp (Laminaria, Macrocystis, Ascophyllum)
Peppermint Leaves (Mentha piperita)
St. John's Wort
Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) stimulates the cardiovascular and digestive systems, including appetite and nutrient absorption.
Gotu kola and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) are noted as tonics.
Kava has only recently become available beyond its native South Seas. Western palates generally consume capsules, rather than cupfuls! It is considered relaxing, even sedative, although the mind remains clear and there is no hangover effect.
Kelp (Laminaria, Macrocystis, Ascophyllum) may also boost vitality, via the thyroid gland, as well as resistance to stress in tandem with the adrenal glands.
Peppermint Leaves (Mentha piperita) are soothing as well as stimulating.
St. John's Wort has suddenly become the definitive herb for depression. It has even compared favorably with a number of standard prescription drugs e.g. Amitryptilin, Desipramine, Diazepam, Imipramine, Maprotiline and Prozac!
St. John's Wort is indicated for depressive symptoms (including: anxiety, depressed mood, disinterest, feelings of worthlessness and inactivity) as well as secondary symptoms (including: lack of concentration and sleeplessness). It is also effective for seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
St. John's Wort has become the second most frequently prescribed phytopharmaceutical in Germany, with annual sales exceeding $70 million (1996).
Valerian has been rediscovered in this age of insomnia, as a gentle, natural sedative without the addictive consequences of many prescription drugs.
Bloomfield, H. Hypericum and depression. Prelude Press, LA, CA. 1996.
Harrer, G. Sommer, H. Treatment of mild/moderate depressions with Hypericum. Phytomedicine 1: 3-8, 1994.
Harrer, G., et al. Effectiveness and tolerance of the Hypericum extract LI 160 compared to maprocitine: a multicenter double blind study. Journal of Geriatricpsychiatry and Neurology 7 (1994): s24-s28, 1994.
Holzl, J et al., Investigations about antidepressive and mood changing effects of Hypericum perforatum. Planta Med. 1989, 55:643.
Hubner WD et al., Hypericum treatment of mild depressions with somatic symptom. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology 7: s I 2-s 1 4, 1994.
Linde, K. et al: St. John's wort for depression - an overview and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. BMJ 1996, 313(7052): 253 - 258.
Martinez B, et al. Hypericum in the treatment of seasonal effective disorders. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology 7: s29-s33, 1993.
Walji, H: Depression: feeling overwhelmed. Natural Health Series, Kian Press, 1997.
Wincor, MZ et al., St. John's wort and the treatment of depression. US Pharmacist, 1997, 22:88-97.
Aromatherapy - Essential Oils
Related Health ConditionsAbstracts
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Alpert JE & Fava M: Nutrition and depression: the role of folate. Nutr Rev, 1997 May, 55:5, 145-9.
Bell, I. R.et al: B Complex Vitamin Patterns In Geriatric and Young Adult Patients With Major Depression. Journal of The American Geriatric Society, 1991;39(3):252-257.
Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983.
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Chicago Dietetic Association & the South Suburban Dietetic Association of Cook & Will Counties. 1981. Manual of Clinical Dietetics. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadephia.
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