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Depression

Clinical depression is diagnosed on the basis of the presence of eight criteria:

  • Poor appetite with weight loss, or increased appetite with weight gain
  • Insomnia or too much sleep
  • Physical hyperactivity or inactivity
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, such as sexual drive Loss of energy and feelings of fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or inappropriate guilt Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • If five or more or these symptoms are continuously present then a diagnosis of clinical depression may be indicated. Symptoms must be continuously present for at least one month to be called depression.

    Anxiety is different from depression. Anxiety can cause feelings of nervousness, heart palpitations, chest pain, headache, dizziness, and feelings of stomach irritation. It can also affect memory and decrease reaction time. Anxiety is often associated with depression and the two conditions are often symptoms of the same underlying problem.

    Many people experience some form of depression, with symptoms ranging from mild feelings of sadness to serious considerations of suicide. Increased scientific, media and social attention to depression has helped this common condition shed much of the stigma formerly associated with it.

    Chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters are responsible for affecting one’s mood. There are many factors that can affect the levels of these chemicals including nutrient deficiencies or excesses, drugs (prescription or otherwise), alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, low blood sugar, hormone imbalances, allergies, stressful events, environmental toxins and microbial factors (infection).

    Naturopathic medicine can play an important role in achieving the right chemical balance and significantly improving one’s mood.

    Page Last Updated: October 25, 2009

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