Anxiety and Depression
Causes of Anxiety and Depression
Depression can vary from a long-term condition to that which is temporarily triggered by a specific life event. From a diagnostic standpoint, depression consists of having low mood, low self-esteem and the loss of pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it begins to change a person’s life. From a functional medicine perspective, one person’s depression or anxiety may be very different from another’s. The factors involved in depression and anxiety are psychological, cultural, genetic and related to lifestyle choices, diet and environment. While people often think that they’re depressed or anxious because of life events, more times than not biochemical issues within the body precede the negative external event. Imbalanced biochemistry affects a person’s view of life and their reactions to events. In many cases the cause of depression or anxiety is an internal, biological concern. Food sensitivities are an unrecognized factor in mood disorders, and research suggests that up to half of all Americans are affected. The most common food sensitivities are gluten and dairy. People with food sensitivities have a delayed reaction to food, which may present itself as heartburn, joint aches, fatigue or other symptoms. They may also feel depressed from eating food that puts stress on their system. Similarly, food sensitivities may cause anxiety because of the stress on the body.
Lifestyle Changes Does Make A Difference
Because all neurotransmitters are made from protein, nutrition can be used to improve mood. Foods high in the protein tryptophan, which turns to serotonin in the body, include avocado, pork, chicken, eggs and turkey. Eating foods high in zinc such as red meats, chicken, and eggs, while decreasing foods high in copper such as nuts, chocolate, soy, shrimp, lobster and sunflower or sesame seeds can help the body raise zinc and GABA levels to calm the brain. It is best to consult with a doctor to determine which foods are the best form of medicine for an individual’s particular health issue. Physical activities that can help with mood include any form of exercise that a person enjoys. Other options include acupuncture, yoga therapy, craniosacral therapy and other types of bodywork. While some people prefer doing relaxation therapy on their own, others benefit from a therapeutic touch. Considering all of the possible treatment options, a functional medicine physician can help to determine which approach is best, based on a patient’s needs and preferences