Mood disorders are debilitating, and they’re on the rise. Here are some effective, safe tools to help overcome these disorders, that your doctor may not tell you about.
Depression and anxiety disorders are more common than ever. Whether that’s because our modern world is so upside-down crazy coo-coo, due to cultural factors, or simply due to increased awareness of these disorders, the fact is that a growing number of people will feel the yawning void moving to swallow them whole… and turn to their doctors for help.
Depression and mood disorders are not well understood. Many of your friends and family members who don’t have personal experience with mood disorders may offer ‘just exercise more, or take this vitamin, or just don’t be so sad’ typed advice, to your unending chagrin. And while our doctors and psychologists may act as if they have all the answers, the truth is that new research often turns our entire understanding of mood on its metaphorical head… and a surprisingly large number of people don’t benefit from medical intervention at all.
If you’re suffering with a mood disorder, there are many tools that you can access to help you cope, thrive, and overcome the darkness you’re feeling. Due to the fast-pace of our modern health care system, your doctor may not have the time to share all of these with you, and may turn immediately to what I like to call The One-Two-Punch of Conventional Modern Mood Disorder Treatment: namely, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibiting antidepressants (SSRI or SNRI drugs).
Serotonin Deficiency and Mood Disorder
If you feel that you need to take an SSRI or SNRI, I support you 100%. You know what you need better than anyone, and these drugs can help people who really need it. However, these drugs are dangerous, and the mechanisms by which they operate aren’t well understood:
Serotonin Deficiency is a neat and tidy way of describing how SSRI or SNRI drugs may treat depression and other mood disorders. Feeling sad? You must have too little serotonin, the pedantically nicknamed “Happiness Hormone”!
There is actually no evidence that serotonin deficiency is even a thing, let alone that it causes depression.
Blood tests show only blood levels of serotonin, not brain levels, which is where serotonin would affect mood, and which are impossible to test. Some say you can never have too much of a good thing… and though these drugs come with sometimes life threatening dangers, a likelihood of challenging side effects, and often dangerous withdrawals, they can treat many of the symptoms of depression and other mood disorders… aka, they may help you feel better. If you’ve suffered with depression, you know that sometimes, feeling better is necessary to survival.
These Drugs Are Dangerous. Your Doctor May Not Understand, or Share These Dangers With You.
The mechanisms by which SSRIs and SNRIs work is still not well understood, and serious side-effects and withdrawals are common. I took an SNRI for physical pain for two months, and went through eighteen months of serious withdrawal. This was after suffering uncomfortable physical, mental and emotional side effects; effects that are disturbing common and frequently severe.
One thing we do know is that anti-depressants treat the symptoms, not the causes, of depression. There is more and more research that shows that these drugs don’t address the underlying causes of depression, and can therefore prolong depression: making it chronic, or even making it worse.
Some popular antidepressants were shown to increase suicidality even in control groups;and in people who were taking the drug for other reasons, aka, people who were not depressed or suffering from mental illness. This makes no mention of the withdrawal symptoms that come with many of these drugs; withdrawal that is often described as worse than the original condition, can last months, and not-infrequently ends in suicide. Understanding these dangers is vital: often people with mood disorders are already having serious trouble coping. Adding emotional side effects and agonizing withdrawal can be fatal.
If you do wish to increase your serotonin levels without exposing yourself to these dangers, there are natural alternatives that can also help you cope with symptoms — aka that can help you feel better, now. That can give you the time you need to make long term, positive changes in your life! The first is…
Natural Serotonin Boosting
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter created predominantly in the gut. You can safely increase your body’s natural production of serotonin by improving gut health with a powerful probiotic supplement, which is shown to relieve depression.Probiotics are available in more places than just pills: fermented foods like yogurt, kambucha and sauerkraut are powerhouse providers of these helpful gut flora, which I imagine like a happy garden full of singing plants, who all love you. Only they live in your bum and are actually sort of gross. Thus the happy highly preferable garden imagery.