As Naturopathic physicians, we often look beyond brain chemistry when treating patients with emotional changes and mood fluctuations.
Do you take less pleasure in activities that previously gave you great joy? Are you feeling run-down and tired all day and then finding that you can’t sleep at night? Are worries about your family and finances leading to chronic tension headaches and stomach upset? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are not alone. These are common complaints from people who are struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression and other types of mood disorders. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common medical complaints. Statistics say that mood disorders affect as many as 1 in 5 adults in the US and our clinical experience suggests that it may be even more. Signs and symptoms of these common mood disorders include:
- Excessive worry despite no signs of trouble
- Unable to be relax
- Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Frequent tension headaches or irritable bowel
- Irritability and outbursts of anger
- Heart palpitations or racing heart without cause
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in things that used to be fun
- Difficulty with concentration and focus
- Persistent fatigue and lack of energy or vitality
Chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters play a central role in the control of mood, energy, impulsivity, focus and appetite. It is believed that an altered brain chemistry causes the many emotional and physical complaints that people with anxiety and depression experience. The most common prescription medications used to treat anxiety and depression target the neurotransmitter balance in the brain.
As Naturopathic physicians, we often look beyond brain chemistry when treating patients with emotional changes and mood fluctuations. Nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, digestive disturbances, excessive inflammation, and recent or chronic life stresses can all influence mood. The best treatments to improve emotional health and well-being address these multiple underlying issues.
Lifestyle basics such as exercise, sleep, regular sunshine and a well-balanced diet are the foundation for any treatment plan that addresses altered mood and irritability. NaturoMedica physicians are also well versed in therapeutic diets such as the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet to treat anxiety and depression. Our physicians also utilize advanced functional medicine laboratory testing to help assess a disturbance in the microbiome of the digestive tract, an imbalance in the brain chemistry and other hormone changes, a deficiency in key micronutrients and inflammatory triggers in the diet. These various disturbances can cause a cascade of biochemical changes in the body that lead to many chronic health conditions including mood changes.
Often, addressing these underlying problems can have a profound effect on emotional health. Other times, these natural treatments are used alongside more convention medications. NaturoMedica physicians are well versed in the best natural therapies that can be used safely with standard prescription medications for anxiety and depression. Our patients that suffer from mood disorders are relieved to know that there is help available beyond conventional medications and that the goal is to treat the root cause rather than just mask symptoms.