Everyone gets sad or down at one time or
another. But for many people, depressed
feelings persist for weeks, months, and
sometimes years. Like diabetes or heart
disease, depression is a serious medical
condition that can grow progressively worse
if left untreated. Long-term depression
interferes with how well we succeed in the
world and how we relate to our colleagues and
loved ones. Long-term depression darkens our
thoughts, drains our energy, and drags at our
work life and special relationships.
Depression affects approximately one out
of every ten adults in the U.S. Fortunately,
depression is highly treatable. The approach
depends on the type of depression. Healthcare
professionals recognize four categories of
Major Depression - This is the most severe form of depressive
disorder. A greater number of symptoms
are present and they are more acute than
in other categories.
Reactive Depression - This is mild-to-moderate depression that
results from traumatic events, such as a
divorce or job loss.
Dysthymic Disorder - This is a chronic, low-level depression
that continues for years. Individuals
with dysthymia may experience major
depression when a life crisis occurs.
Depression (not otherwise specified) - This category is used by healthcare
professionals when the symptoms do
not match other categories.
Depression and Neurotransmitters
disorders are among
the most common
include anxiety disorders,
insomnia, and migraines.
are chemicals that relay
signals between nerve cells, called “neurons”.
They are present throughout the body and are
required for proper brain and body functions.
Serious health problems, including depression
and anxiety, can occur when neurotransmitter
levels are too high or too low.
Every neurotransmitter behaves differently.
Some neurotransmitters are inhibitory and
tend to calm, while others are excitatory and
stimulate the brain. Deficiencies involving the
central nervous system’s neurotransmitters—serotonin and norepinephrine—appear
to be involved in the development of
depressive disorders. Disruptions in other
neurotransmitters, like GABA and glycine,
have been more closely linked to anxiety
Environmental and biological factors—including stress, poor diet, neurotoxins, or
genetics—can cause imbalances in the levels
of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain.
These imbalances can trigger or exacerbate
Facts about Depression
Depression that lasts more than several
weeks begins to affect every aspect of
life. The most common symptoms of longterm
depression include loss of interest or
pleasure, feelings of overwhelming sadness
or fear, changes in appetite (weight gain or
loss), disturbed sleep patterns (insomnia
or sleeping more than normal), changes in
levels of activity (restlessness or significantly
slower movement), fatigue (both mental and
physical), lowered self-esteem, and thoughts
about death or suicide.
Depression can affect
children, teens, and adults. Depression is highly
treatable, yet only
about one-fifth of
the more than 18
adults suffering from
a depressive disorder
are currently under the
care of a physician or a psychologist.* Studies indicate that 54 percent of the
American population believes depression
is a personal weakness, and 41 percent of
depressed women are too embarrassed to
seek help.* Depression may develop from a complex set
of risk factors, including genetic makeup,
brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Depression is commonly misdiagnosed and
under-treated. Depression can mimic physical illnesses and
cause fatigue, muscle tension, sweating,
nausea, cold hands, difficulty swallowing,
jumpiness, gastrointestinal discomfort or
diarrhea, and other physical symptoms.
* Data adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health
Most of the drug-based methods used to
treat depression include chemicals that either
imitate a neurotransmitter or redistribute
existing neurotransmitters. Many affect
serotonin, and some affect other
neurotransmitters like GABA, norepinephrine,
or dopamine. It is generally believed that
drugs supporting serotonin signaling will be
beneficial when depression results from a lack
of serotonin, and that GABA supporting drugs
will be effective when a person’s symptoms
are caused by a lack of GABA.
While the idea of matching a drug to a chemical
imbalance is generally supported, the vast majority of healthcare
providers prescribe psychological drugs based only on a patient's
symptoms, and very few actually try and match a drug to a biochemical
imbalance. This may explain why some drugs are
ineffective for some patients.
Neurotransmitter function can also be supported with
nutrient-based programs. Neurotransmitters are made from various
components of food in a normal, healthy diet. Increasing the amounts
of these dietary constituents can help maintain normal
neurotransmitter levels. Targeted Amino Acid Therapy has great success in treating anxiety disorders naturally.
While no program can guarantee success for
everyone, it is worthwhile to effectively match a drug-based and/or
nutrient-based program to the specific needs of the
Contact Dr. Bronner about Natural Treatments for Depression