It is estimated that today, nearly 50 percent of Americans will struggle with mood symptoms, and 11 percent will be medicated for them. Psychiatric medications are now the second leading class of drugs sold, after cholesterol-lowering drugs. With side effects ranging from nausea to blurred vision, sexual dysfunction to suicidality, they must be effective enough to warrant such risks, right?
A PLOS Medicine article from 2006 states that “long-term drug treatment with antidepressants or any other drugs has not been shown to lead to long-term elevation of mood,” and suggests that the term “antidepressant” should be abandoned.
Depression: It’s Not a Chemical Imbalance
A deficiency in serotonin, norepinephrine, and/or dopamine has long been thought to be the cause of depression, but what if we told you that this theory has not achieved scientific credibility, even after six decades of research?
In order to understand what an imbalance is, we must know what balance looks like. To this day, neuroscience has neither characterized the optimal brain state nor how to even assess for it.
In addition to the long list of possible unpleasant side effects that come with taking an antidepressant, they are also habit-forming and the neurotransmitter-enhancing effects of antidepressants disturb energy homeostasis, which could lead to worsening symptoms.
Using Nutrition and Mindfulness to Treat Depression
Most of us know by now that there is no “magic pill”. Long-term treatment of depression requires doing some investigative work to find out the root cause. Symptoms of depressions or other mood disorders should be viewed as your body’s way of getting your attention to let you know that something is amiss.
Inflammation in your gut caused by food sensitivities and/or eating a standard American diet (SAD), causes inflammation in the brain leading to symptoms like depression and anxiety. This means that trouble in your gut can be the product OR the cause of mental illness.
Since our mind and body are in a symbiotic relationship, balancing the core systems of the body are often the solution to relieving depression and anxiety. We can do this by:
Discovering any food sensitivities and optimizing nutrition
Calming the mind with techniques like mindfulness meditation
Finding an enjoyable form of exercise
Lessening exposure to environmental toxins
By looking at depression through a lens of curiosity, questioning what it may be telling us about our body and spirit, we can take a more gentle, compassionate approach to discovering methods of treatment. Our most powerful tool for healing exists in our ability to honor our co-evolution with the natural world and send our body a signal of safety through methods of self-care involving diet, mindfulness, movement, and environmental detoxification.
It turns out that when we eat nutrient-dense foods, make an effort to live in the present moment, and move in ways that nourish our spirit, our bodies reward us in countless ways…
Through a life of vitality.
Let Us Help You Flourish
At Flourish! we take an integrative approach to treating clients through mindfulness-based psychotherapy, nutritional services, and wellness consultations. A holistic approach allows us to provide individualized treatment, customized to the needs of each client. By evaluating the whole person, we’re able to get to the root cause of your symptoms and provide the most effective treatment plan so that you can live a fuller, happier life.
The most important value that all of our practitioners share: mindfulness. We believe mindfulness is key to cultivating well-being, but we understand that getting there often requires the guidance of an experienced and trusted facilitator.
If you struggle with depression, anxiety, or a mood disorder, coupled with chronic illness and/or digestive problems, you could benefit from the integrative nutrition and mindfulness-based treatment options available at Flourish!