The following list continues from the first part of this series on the physiological contributors to depression. The list from both articles (parts one and two) makes up 20 factors that might possibly have an influence on mood. It is possible that at least one or two of these might be playing a role in your physical, emotional, and psychological functioning.
Seeking the Professional Assistance
However, rather than attempting to determine this yourself, it might be best to seek the professional assistance of a nutritionist. He or she can assess your body’s levels and determine whether there are deficiencies that might be contributing to depression. There are some naturopathic physicians who would claim that tending to these deficiencies alone could treat depression. However, it is always best to keep a holistic point of view and remember to include the suggestions of your doctor, psychiatrist, and psychologist.
- Infectious Diseases – Certain diseases, such as strep throat, can affect the autoimmune system and mood.
- Intestinal Parasites – When parasites infect the body, particularly the intestines, symptoms can include fogginess and depression.
- Lack of Exercise – Those who do not exercise are three times more likely to experience depression.
- Leaky Gut Syndrome – This ailment is caused by two conditions listed here – candidiasis (part one) and intestinal parasites, and its symptoms include allergic reactions, poor absorption of food, and malnourishment.
- Lifestyle – High levels of stress, smoking, and lack of exercise can lead to depression.
- Low levels of neurotransmitters – Levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain will have an affect on mood and mood swings.
- Malabsorption: When there is an inability to absorb certain nutrients because of deficiencies in bile acids, pancreatic enzymes, or stomach hydrochloric acid, this can affect mood and depression.
- Nutritional Deficiencies – When necessary vitamins are deficient in the body, such as Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, mood is affected.
- Pharmaceutical Drugs – Certain medications are necessary for the treatment of mental illness, addiction, or physical ailments. Examples of these are antipsychotics, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, cholinergics, cortico-steroids, estrogens, levodopa, and reserpine.
- PMS or Menopause – This physical chance in women can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – When the body does not receive enough sunlight, depression can be a result.
Other Contributing Factors to Unhappiness
Another contributor to unhappiness is the thoughts that take place in the mind. For instance, it’s easy to think that after you reach a certain point of success, then you will be happy. Once you achieve all your goals, then you will feel satisfied. When you’re finally dating the woman you’ve always wanted to ask out, then life will feel really good.
But that’s not the best strategy. Instead, according to TED Talk Speaker Shawn Anchor, happiness should come first. If we are happy first then we will reach success. If we are feeling good about our lives, then positive experiences will come our way.
Although this is profoundly true, there’s a danger for those who experience depression or anxiety to think that positive thinking is going to change their lives. In one way, changing your thoughts can change your life. On the other hand, treatment of depression requires an exploration of the inner life, if that hasn’t already been done. When you have the opportunity to vent, get angry, scream, and communicate frustrations and fears, then depression can begin to lift. Psychotherapy can be the venue for this, as well as giving yourself the chance to be seen, heard, and acknowledged in a way that you might not be at home or in the workplace.
As mentioned earlier, it is important to consider the professional assistance of both alternative and traditional forms of medicine before making a decision about how to treat depression. The above list is meant to provide a general overview and support a deeper understanding of depression. Rather than it being solely a mental illness, this series is meant to emphasize that depression has a physical facet to it, in addition to the cognitive (thinking) aspect described above. For this reason, the physiological contributors to depression listed here are for consideration purposes only.
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state that includes one’s physical, mental, and social well-being. All of these facets of health should be considered when discussing and treating depression.