Depression has become one of the prevalent problems in the world today and is becoming a major killer as well. It’s staggering that 15% of depressed people will commit suicide, and that statistic is so sad and so unnecessary. Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in any given year. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder–all of which can be effectively treated by properly-trained professionals.
4% of preschoolers-over one million in number – are now clinically depressed and the rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23%.
30% of women are depressed.
80% of currently depressed people are not receiving any treatment. Over ½ of people with depression think of it as a weakness and 40% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
In the WHO report on mental illness released October 4, 2001, it was stated that depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 — and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease. And in the 2004 Rand Report, it was learned that depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than US $51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills.
Newer figures are lower but in a study released in 2002 antidepressants worked for 35 to 45% of the depressed population, while more recent figures suggest the actual results may be as low as 30%. I have certainly found that true in my work with clients who come in for counseling and are on anti-depressants. They are tested using the metabolic profile hair test and found to have quite a high rate in depression in spite of having been on anti-depressant medications. The medications being prescribed are simply not addressing the problem effectively in many cases.
As reported by S. Vedantam in an article he wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine 2004, standard antidepressants, SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, have recently been revealed to have serious risks, and are linked to suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors. It’s so unnecessary.
- Short-term (exogenous) depression can be caused by loss or extreme trauma.
- Chronic or life-long (endogenous) depression is caused by trauma in childhood which includes: emotional, physical or sexual abuse; yelling or threats of abuse; neglect (even two parents working); criticism; inappropriate or unclear expectations; maternal separation; conflict in the family; divorce; family addiction; violence in the family, neighborhood or TV; racism and poverty.
The results of research published in Nature shows that trauma prevents certain parts of the brain (hippocampus and frontal lobe, where decisions are made) from developing properly.
Certain neurochemicals are also involved, such as a surplus of noradrenalin, perhaps as a result of the structural problem of the hippocampus and frontal lobe. Recent studies indicate that serotonin, which is targeted by most antidepressants (SSRIs), is not as much a factor in depression as the long-term presence of the stress hormone cortisol.
Physiological problems, plus learned beliefs and behaviors, make functional decisions difficult, and the results reinforce the depression in a vicious cycle.
Studies are increasingly linking more illnesses to depression, including: osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, eye disease and back pain and the list of illnesses grows daily.
I believe that long-term recovery from depression ultimately requires addressing the underlying relationship causes of depression. Healing both the relationship environment and healing the underlying relationship causes of depression is vital in preventing relapse. In addition to the relationship causes the nutritional deficiencies that are contributing to the depression need to be addressed as well.
In our metabolic profiles, we are finding low- functioning hypothalamus glands in clients. The hypothalamus gland contains a filter that filters out and identifies the importance of stressors. The physical and emotional experience of clients is to feel overwhelmed. Typically a chain reaction will happen when all stressors are seen as serious stressors and when the brain then signals the adrenal glands to provide the fight or flight hormone adrenaline. Over time the adrenal glands get worn out and the client develops “adrenal fatigue”. The way that will be experienced physically and emotionally is with the manifestation of feelings of tiredness or exhaustion, feeling less and less able to cope with stressors, sometimes experiencing agitation. Many times sleep cycles are affected because the body is too exhausted to be able to rest. Depression can often be the end result so clients can experience a body depression. Our metabolic test is showing, quite often now, low thyroid function. Our test measures the health of the gland, not the amount of hormone in the bloodstream. Many clients have had medical tests that indicate they have thyroid hormone in their bloodstream so they are perplexed when they learn their thyroid is low functioning. The symptoms of low thyroid function again are low energy and depression. Clients will say, and this is old and young alike, “I’m just so tired.” Weight gain often accompanies low thyroid function.
I have developed a team approach to treating depression. It consists of me, a licensed professional counselor, a naturopathic doctor, a metabolic profile lab specialist, a budget consultant to address financial issues, a chiropractor who specializes in applied kinesiology a doctor who performs atlas realignment when indicated and various other professional and practitioners when indicated. Each client has a unique fingerprint and has individualized and unique needs. I do not practice a “one size fits all” team approach.
In the therapy part of the process, if someone chooses to work with me, I help them understand the real causes of depression so they don’t blame themselves unnecessarily for their depressed mood and for not having been “cured” yet.
I also help them learn to create relationships that meet needs not met in childhood.
I promote a good relationship between myself and the client.
I help them identify emotional, cognitive, relationship and neuromuscular patterns and learn concrete tools to change any of these a client would like.
Over the last two years, I have had specialized training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) discovered and taught by Dr. Francine Shapiro. The method is used primarily to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Performance Anxiety. It is quite a complex method and too elaborate to discuss for the sake of this article, but in short, it heals the brain of trauma and thereby gives the individual client numerous new perspectives that can raise self esteem, alter negative mental states, reduce anxiety and depression, increase clarity of thought and can transform cognitive distortions and negative underlying, unconscious belief systems. I have added EMDR to the team approach that’s used in the treatment of depression to those clients I work with locally if it’s a method they would like to use.
Personally, I have had many experiences with depression. My mother suffered with depression and post-partum depression and it robbed her often of the ability to be emotionally available to her children. It created a lonely childhood for me with the absence of emotional connections. My father also suffered with depression and his showed up as anger. It was during a time when depression was not recognized, understood or treated. Unfortunately, I also experienced years of depression myself before I found the program that I now share with others. Depression is a thief of sorts. I will continue to do what I can do to decrease the loss to others that depression creates.
I have friends and other close family members that suffer with depression and I see how the pain of it keeps the focus on themselves and leaves them virtually unable to have emotional connections with their loved ones. It’s so unnecessary. It’s such a waste and such a tragedy that the numbers of people with depression are so astronomical.
For those clients, family members and other loved ones, who follow our recommended protocol, they are pleased with their results and how they feel better and feel differently and how their lives and relationships improve. This team approach is never touted as a “magic bullet”. It takes time, energy, money, follow through and commitment on the part of all parties involved, both client and professionals. I’m certain that it’s worth it.
It’s never indicated to ignore depression. It is deadly. Also it is never recommended to come off antidepressants without the advice of a physician or specialist and then typically a weaning process under supervision is required.
Holistic Healing of Body, Mind, Spirt, and Emotions, available for sale on my website in both ebook and paperback book format.
The financial consultant’s website is www.floydhenderson.com
The professional website for EMDR is www.emdr.com