Depression is very common, with antidepressant medications being one of the most frequently filled prescriptions in Australia. Depression is an emotion which most people will experience at least once in their life and is normal when temporary and due to distressing events, loss, or heartache. Prolonged continuation of depressive feelings is however not normal, and help should be sought to address this issue. Many people suffer a mild form of depression which can impact their lives, making them feel down and negative.
Clinical depression and major depression are more severe forms of depression. These forms of depression are diagnosed by a doctor or psychologist, after careful evaluation of your symptoms, length of time depressed, and the severity. Clinical and major depression has profound effects on the person’s life, and can often be associated with eating disorders, weight loss or gain, feelings of helplessness, sleep disorders, and fatigue.
How does naturopathy help depression?
Depression is often caused or exacerbated by neurotransmitter or nutrient deficiencies, which lead to feelings of depression. A deficiency of the neurotransmitter serotonin has been associated with depressive symptoms, which is why the most commonly prescribed drug in the treatment of depression is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which works to try and increase serotonin levels in the brain.
Serotonin is produced in the body from the amino acid tryptophan which is derived from protein. A protein-deficient diet or poor digestion of proteins can therefore lead to a serotonin deficiency. Other nutrients are needed to help with the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, so a deficiency of these nutrients can also impair the production of serotonin, leading to symptoms such as poor sleep, irritability, and depression.
There are several herbs that are effective in reducing depression, enhancing mood, and increasing a feeling of wellbeing. These herbs are selected depending on your individual case and can have an effect within the first couple of weeks.
Flower essences are a therapy that works on an energetic level, being very useful for emotionally related complaints. Flower essences can therefore be very useful to reduce feelings of depression, promote a positive outlook and help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Natural therapies (when used under the supervision of a qualified naturopath) are safe to use in conjunction with conventional antidepressant medications. Katherine will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your individual needs.