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
• Feelings of worthlessness, self-approach 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.
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.
Anxiety is different from depression. Anxiety can cause feelings of nervousness, heart palpitations, chest pains, 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 cause.
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.
After a thorough review of your symptoms and upon ruling out any potentially dangerous conditions causing those symptoms, your naturopathic doctor will help you determine
which factors are contributing to your depression/anxiety.
Next, the underlying cause is treated using the healing powers of nature to stimulate the imbalances. Naturopathic doctors employ botanical and homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, therapeutic touch and nutritional supplements to do this. Your lifestyle, including physical activity, stress management techniques and sleep patterns are all considered when your naturopathic doctor puts together a treatment program specifically designed for you.
While the body is healing, many natural remedies can be used to help you cope with the symptoms of anxiety and depression. To ensure there are no improper drug interactions, naturopathic doctors will consult with your counsellors and other therapists.