Doesn't Have to Suck The Life Out Of You
Mental depression is a subject that I can address from first hand experience. Unfortunately, I’m not alone. “Depressive disorders, which pose a substantial risk of death and disability and are associated with suicide and poor work productivity, affect about 8 percent of adults.” (1)
It was in my research to better understand the depression that caused my son to commit suicide that I learned how to control my own resulting depression, eventually without the use of antidepressants. Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are not a sign of weakness, rather, they are a sign of having to try to remain strong for too long. One in three of us go through this at some point in our lives. My hope is that this page will provide support for those who struggle with mental depression so that they know they are not alone. There is real help out there, but the problem is that when you are "that depressed person", you don't always have the motivation and energy required to help yourself.
On these pages you may expect to find:
the causes of mental depression
signs of depression
how depression is related to ADD and addiction
how, why and when antidepressants work or don’t work
Depression is not just feeling blue once in a while but is an ‘unrepaired emotional short-circuiting’, with more profound negative health consequences than the exposure we have to a lifetime of un-nutritional food and toxins. It “is the leading cause of premature death and disability in people between the ages of 18 and 44 years.”(1)
Unlike addiction, depression is not classified a disease but a disorder. It is responsible for 66 percent of all suicides. (1) Autopsies of people who have committed suicide have revealed biochemical disruptions that are unique to suicidal depression. Most of those autopsied are found with little to no serotonin in their brains. No amount of counseling or psychotherapy can produce a cure for depression for those who suffer
biochemical induced mental depression. (2)
These are a few statistics regarding depression that I find interesting:
- 1 in 20 Americans are depressed according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and 80% of them say they have daily functional impairment. (1)
- In spite of the above,
Americans taking antidepressants doubled in a decade, from 13.3 million in 1996 to 27 million in 2005
making them one of the most prescribed drugs in the U.S and making the psychiatric industry a $330 billion industry. (1) It certainly makes one wonder about the success rate of antidepressant type drugs. (1)
- Adults at the rate of 850 people per day are going on disability due to mental illness. (Bipolar and depression) are responsible for the increase to 4 Million today. Very few of these get off disability once on. (6)
- Depression is expected to be the second leading cause of disability for people of all ages by 2020. (1) Why? Unhealthy lifestyles are more common among those who are depressed and their children are more likely to suffer, not only from this lifestyle, but from low self esteem and behavioral problems which may result from inherited depressive genes. According to Julia Ross, Mood Cures, (it) “will out rank aids, accidents, and violence as the primary causes of early death and disability” by 2020 (3)
- 2/3 of people suffering from depression go undiagnosed. Untreated depression is the no 1 cause of suicide (1)
- Depression increases the risk for cognitive impairment and dementia later in life as reported in the March 2010 issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Living with depression impacts every area of your life in a negative way, preventing you from living the life you always dreamed of (3)
- Depression occurs twice as often in women than men (1) (men produce 52 percent more serotonin than do woman). Men are inclined to attribute depression to other causes such as stress, not wanting to admit to this social stigma. (2) Depression genes are not related to stress genes (2)
- 40% of all alcoholics battle against mental depression (2)
- It has been found that antidepressants may be of no real benefit with a mild or moderate case of depression—about as effective as a placebo but with no side effects (placebo, however, is approximately 33 percent effective—the power of the mind cannot be discounted as a strong healing modality) (1)
ADD, Addiction, and Depression are all rooted in the same neurological imbalance,
the Dopamine neural pathway. Therefore, it is no surprise that
those who have ADD and/or ADHD,
often experience either mental depression, addiction or both.
“Mood is largely the result of the balance of neurotransmitters-especially 1) serotonin converted from amino acid tryptophan, and 2) dopamine and norepinephrine, converted from the amino acids L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine. Low levels of one or more of these chemical messengers are common in patients with depression.” (4)
Having said that, there is no single biochemical glitch which explains depression. At Health Recovery Center, they treat fourteen different sources of depression. (2) A brain is too complex for such a simplistic explanation. For example, some people may be depressed with higher levels of serotonin while others who have lower levels of serotonin are happy. (1)
Depression may not be simply an imbalance of neurotransmitters in your brain but may start in the development and functioning of neurons. “The cause is thought to be a disruption of the brain’s neurochemistry. (1) Central norepinephrine neural pathways in the brain play a role in vigilance, motivation and energy levels. These pathways are associated with serotonin neural pathways, which are involved in controlling impulsivity, and share a role with the dopamine pathways in appetite, sex and aggression.
In his research for a book concerning breaking addictions, Dr. Amen mentions a study, using MRI brain scans to measure brain activity in the Prefrontal Cortex. The study links low activity in the prefrontal cortex with depression and a greater risk for relapse among substance abusers. The study showed that diagnosing and treating the deficiencies in the Prefrontal Cortex may alleviate depressive symptoms, in turn improving an abusers ability to break free from addiction. "What I find so fascinating about this study is that it reinforces my belief that addictions aren't simply a lack of willpower or a sign of weakness; they can be symptoms of a troubled brain. And when you fix the brain, you often fix the addiction", said Dr. Amen. (5)
My Personal Perspective and Experience
It’s odd but after many conversations with friends, families and professionals alike, I have noticed the one thing that ADD, Addiction and Depression seem to have in common, unlike other diseases and disabilities, is an overwhelming sense of frustration, judgment and disillusionment. Loved ones seem to question whether these diagnoses are real or imagined. They want to reason with the afflicted person just as I did. IT DOESN’T WORK! You can’t talk someone out of a brain imbalance any more than you can talk them out of any disease.
In spite of the professional counsel I sought, I remained unaware of what my son was actually going through in his early teens. In hindsight, and from my own more recent experience with depression, I now know that he experienced depression throughout his teen years, the onset more prevalent near puberty.
I believe, as do many published experts, that loss of self esteem may be the most undermining challenge of those who suffer from ADD, Addictions, and Depression. I also believe that where Attention Deficit Disorder is present, you'll most likely find a strong likelihood of depression and possible addictions, all as a result of the imbalance in the Dopamine Center of the brain.
Chad's loss of self worth, which began from being misunderstood in school, pushed him ever closer to the addiction and depression that would take his life. I believe that addiction was his way to drown out his sensitivity, pain and feelings of failure.
If you were to profile alcoholics and/or addicts, I believe you would find that in many, many cases these people are more sensitive, more intuitive and more creative. Unable to find a protective emotional barrier, they often turn to relief from their emotional vulnerabilities by using alcohol or other substances to deaden these sensitivities.
If you find yourself in my situation as a parent, you’re doing the right thing right now—you’re trying to educate yourself. Get help but get the right help. If addiction is involved, I would also recommend attending an AlAnon meeting for the sake of the sanity and the compassion you will find there. Most importantly, never, never give up and do not underestimate the
Power of Prayer.
(2) firstname.lastname@example.org by Joan Larson
(3) Mood Cures by Julia Ross, M.A.
(4) hotzehwc.com –health & Wellness Ctr
(5) Dr. Daniel G. Amen, M.D. Amenclinics.com
(6) Robert Whitaker, Medical Journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1998 also author of several books including "Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America"