What Are The Best Tips To Help A Person Suffering From Depression?
There are natural alternatives for people suffering with depression. It seems like every five minutes you can turn on the TV and see ads for depression medications. It goes to show just how big of a business it is for the pharmaceutical companies, as well shows just how many people are having problems with depression.
When I am teaching my students in nutrition and Applied Kinesiology courses I make sure that I am very clear about the fact that there are varying degrees of depression. As much as I would love to save the world without patients ever having to use medications, I do believe that they are helpful to some people. Its always my preference that they don’t need them long term or for the rest of their lives, but there are obviously many factors that play a role in depression that will determine the ultimate outcome.
I do believe that the techniques and modalities that I teach in Nutrition and Applied Kinesiology courses can “HELP” all forms of depression. We never know if its going to help 2% or 100%. But there is always healing that takes place on some level.
When dealing with something like mild to moderate depression, I tend to agree with Tony Robbins when he says that people with mild to moderate depression tend to lack what he calls emotional fitness. This does not in any way downplay a patient’s experience of their depression. Every single person on the planet could deal with the same situation on a different day when they’re tired and emotionally exhausted, and handle it totally different, than on a day that was emotionally uplifting, they got plenty of sleep, and things tend to be going well in their life.
Emotional fitness is kind of like sports and a way. The more that you train your muscles or body in specific ways for a particular sport, your body becomes very accustomed to dealing with the stresses and rigors associated with that particular sport. The same thing tends to happen with your emotions. The more that you can control and train your emotions to work for you and not being at the mercy of your emotions the higher the benefit you will find. That is when things like anxiety and depression get the best of you and create a downward spiral that can be exhausting and difficult to get through. Many times this situation will continue, and deplete your adrenal glands making it that much harder for you to get through. This happens quite often and chemicals known as epinephrine and norepinephrine are created to deal with stress, anxiety and depression.
When you’re under stress of any kind your adrenal glands will go through many different phases in trying to help you deal with the stresses. In the first phase of adrenal depletion your adrenals will actually try to compensate for the stresses that you are under. Often they will work harder and grow in size to deal with your stresses for as long as possible. If the stresses continue and you don’t give that adrenal gland any rest they will continue to try to adapt and deal with the stressful situation for as long as possible. There will come a point in time when your adrenal glands become completely exhausted. During this exhaustion phase people find it incredibly difficult to have any peace mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically. It’s as though no amount of rest or recuperation seems to help. One of the many issues that can result with these types of stresses is that your adrenal glands would originally have been trying to produce an increased amount of catecholamines, which is also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones have the ability to make us feel amazing and get through these incredibly difficult and stressful situations. They are never intended to be flowing through your bloodstream in a high and consistent basis. Researchers have shown that an increase in epinephrine and norepinephrine over long periods of time can actually destroy dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine receptors have a lot to do with how you feel in a positive way and actually feeling good, happy, and peaceful and enjoying our lives. If these receptors are actually damaged and not able to be used as though they were intended, you could get yourself into a downward spiral that could be very difficult to overcome.
Depression and lack of emotional fitness is just one of many possible symptoms or side effects that you could feel from adrenal exhaustion. When I’m teaching classes to students and doctors around the world I like to exaggerate a few points so that you can fully understand the ramifications of the stress on our bodies on a consistent basis. It does not matter whether you are running from a tiger OR if you got into a fight with your spouse or stressing over bills that you may have. The physiology of stress inside your body is exactly the same. The stress mechanisms in our body were intended for dealing with short-term stresses like running from a tiger. When you are running from a tiger it’s over quickly. One way or another you either got away or you did not get away. During this period of heightened stress the chances of getting hurt running from a tiger very high so your body’s physiology will change and increase the number of platelets in your blood to potentially save you from an injury or gash in your arm. When you’re also running from a tiger you want your blood sugar to be incredibly high so you have as much energy as possible to deal with this is situation and hopefully be able to get away. Now try to parallel the situation to someone living their day-to-day life where they’re under stress constantly and never get a break from it. The platelets are higher which increases the likelihood of cardiovascular risk, and their blood sugar is higher which increases the likelihood of craving sweets and going down the long road towards diabetes.
When running from this tiger, the body is smart enough to know that most of our blood should be shunted in a way that helps us maximally utilize our muscles to either fight if we had to or run away. This is the response of our sympathetic nervous system. When 100% of our nervous system is focused on running from a tiger, by definition that would mean that our restful and recuperative parasympathetic nervous system does not have much importance or energy being given to support those functions. This would mean that not much energy would be directed towards our digestive tract. This is not a problem for the short term running from a tiger, however, if we are doing this all day every day in our stressful lives, the ramifications can be quite extensive. For one, our entire digestive tracts will slow down considerably and we could end up with varying symptoms like acid reflux to not being able to digest our food, what is often called irritable bowel syndrome, or any variation of alternating constipation or diarrhea.
There is a particular test that I use on all of my patients that is known as a Ragland’s test. All chiropractors and medical doctors are taught this test in school, however, it is very underutilized. This test is a functional test showing the doctor exactly how well your adrenal glands are functioning. When the patient has their blood pressure taken in a lying down position and immediately upon standing their blood pressure should raise about 10 mmHg on the blood pressure cuff. Depending on the level of adrenal exhaustion. I’ve not only seen patients who have not had their blood pressure raise at all, but actually drop significantly by 20, 30 or 40 points. One of the first signs or symptoms the patient may show with adrenal exhaustion is feeling lightheaded, or dizzy when they stand up from a laying down or seated position.
This particular lecture about the adrenal glands could go on for an entire weekends course, however, I think it’s important for the patient with depression to know that there are objective measurements that we can follow to see if the adrenal glands are involved and also be able to follow objective measurements on a consistent basis throughout the patient’s improvement.
Actual treatment for depression in our office comes in many forms. I can promise that every single patient who has ever walked into my office with any level of anxiety or depression have never gotten the exact same treatment. Every single patient and their life circumstances are completely different. Even the same patient will be treated completely different from visit to visit, because even the same patient is never the same the next time they come into the office. Even though this article cannot go into the specifics of every possible nuance that a patient presents with, I think that there are several important common and underlying factors that can be applied in a general way towards any patient coming into the office. For one, relieving stress of any kind will always have a positive outcome whether the patient specifically notices it or not. By definition, removing negative stresses from the body is a positive and health promoting function. Starting with the patient structure and biomechanical health I can help to relieve incredible amounts of stress and tension within those systems. Merely relieving pain, increasing range of motion, and improving function and efficiency in a patient’s structural system can go a long way to removing negative stresses from the body.
Another component that I always look at with the patient is their physiology, biochemistry, and a detailed in-depth look at their nutritional health. I go through intensive testing in order to uncover possible deficiencies so that we can appropriately treat those deficiencies and allow the body and its inherent ability to heal itself, fully function in an optimal level. This is one area that can be incredibly diverse from one depression patient to another.
One example of a nutritional deficiency often seen in a patient with depression is a severe lack of essential fatty acids in their diet. These essential fats are necessary in making all of your hormones, which can significantly alter a patient’s mood and health in many ways. A patients’ endocrine system also needs to have a delicate balance, and specific support to any or all of the endocrine system may also be necessary in helping a patient with depression. A simple, yet stereotypical example would be the female that notices massive fluctuations in her mood at different times during her cycle. Hormones that are measured in nanograms and picograms which are incredibly small amounts can have a massive impact on a patient’s mood.
No patient is ever going to see their highest level of health that they are able to achieve by only focusing on structural and biochemical factors alone. The third major component to a patient’s health includes the mental, emotional, and spiritual component of their health. I utilize many forms of therapy and modalities to help patients with this component of their health. Some of the many modalities include Theta healing, Emotional Freedom Technique, Thought Field Therapy, counseling, hypnosis and working with specific emotional reflexes just to name a few.
You can certainly read more about these many modalities on my website, and I implore you to not underestimate their value and ability to help in the healing process. I believe that a patient and their health have many levels of complexities that cannot all be treated in their entirety by just one method such as a particular medication. Whether a patient needs a particular medication or not actually does not matter when we get started with treatment in my office. What is important for them to understand is that every single step that we take moving forward with their health is in the direction of health. Everything I do in my office is additive towards that direction of health. I usually don’t know whether it’s going to take a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or even years, but I do know that we are constantly and consistently making improvements towards health, and most all of those changes can be measured objectively throughout our treatment.
Even something as simple as taking an in-depth look at a patient’s diet can have massive implications with the level of depression that they are feeling. The most basic way of looking at food is on a chemical level. Depending on the diet, some people are bringing health restorative chemicals into their body while others who are not experiencing health, are often bringing in chemicals into their body which disrupt the healthy balance within your body and can significantly alter a patient’s mood and affect any and all disease processes within the body as well.
The overall point that I’m trying to make is that treating depression or any health concern cannot be just one single approach to get the highest level of improvements possible. This is why I believe so strongly in the teachings of Dr. Goodhart and Applied kinesiology. In his diagnostic system, you are try to learn and incorporate the best possible information from all healing modalities. This means that we have a treasure chest of possible healing modalities to be able to help a patient with. This also means that an applied kinesiologist makes a lifelong study of health and all of these healing modalities. The beauty of applied kinesiology is that all of my students study relentlessly every possible modality that they can in order to help their patients. By definition, this means that they are not stuck only using the one or two modalities that they learned in school. This means that they will give each unique individual patient that walks into their offices with the most appropriate individual treatment that the patient needs on that day.
I also think it’s worthwhile bringing up another point specifically regarding anxiety and depression. It is actually normal and necessary for a healthy human being living on planet Earth to experience occasional periods of anxiety and depression. If a patient were to lose a loved one, it’s only normal to be depressed. If your house were to catch fire and you lost everything, it should be understood by every medical professional in the world that you would have a certain level of anxiety about moving forward and how you are going to recover from a situation like that. Please keep in mind that these are normal responses to lousy situations in life. It is a normal response to occasionally have anxiety and depression.
Some of these commercials on TV make people feel as though it is not okay to ever have any level of anxiety or depression, and if you do, then you absolutely 100% need their medication. Sometimes, with the proper emotional fitness, the most incredible breakthroughs a patient will ever have in their life is the result of high levels of anxiety and depression that the patient completely gets fed up with and makes incredible breakthroughs. History is filled with people who are fed up with their anxiety and depression, overcame those thought patterns and turned what seem like was a major negative in their lives into the most incredibly wonderful outcomes. One of the biggest differences between an individual who has emotional fitness and who does not have emotional fitness is that when something appears to be negative that comes into their life, a person with emotional fitness will tend to look at that situation as an opportunity or a springboard for better things to come in the future. Most of lifes negative experiences come down to our perception about what those negative experiences mean. If your experiences in life show you time and again that the most difficult times in your life were exactly what propelled you forward than you actually may see the pattern forming that an individual actually looks forward to more difficult times because they know when they dig deep and get through it, that there are many blessings and positive outcomes yet to come.