Depression vs. Hormone Imbalance: The symptoms don’t lie.
According to the Center for Disease Control (“ CDC”), symptoms of depression are the reason for 20% of the medical visits to family practitioners. The average age of onset is between 20-40 years of age and women have higher rates of depression than men. Even though depression is a global issue, higher rates are seen in North America and Europe.
There are several known causes of a “depression-like syndrome” which include:
- Low vitamin B12 or Vitamin D3
- Low Sodium or Magnesium
- Low or sub-optimal thyroid functions especially Free T4
- Low sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen)
- Low Progesterone in the post-partum phase
- Low Amino Acid levels
- Poor or leaky gut health
- Mold illness to name a few.
Typically, depression-like symptoms are treated in the United States with an antidepressant before looking at the more common causes listed above. Antidepressants have justifiable uses as a temporary treatment for someone who is severely organically depressed. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants come from a group of medications called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (“SSRI’s”). Some examples of these are Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro.
In many investigational research studies, the efficacy of the SSRI’s was no better than a placebo which raises many questions about this medical treatment. Worse is the long list of side effects these medications can cause such as:
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
- Dilated pupils
- Night sweats
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Impotence in men
- Permanent Erectile Dysfunction (“ED”) even after the drug has been discontinued
Even with the use of an antidepressant, many people will still feel as though they are just treading water, hoping that they can get back to normalcy.
The most important thing for you and your family is your mental and physical health. These two things affect our quality of life, productivity, and attitude in general. There are many correctable causes of depression which should be evaluated and treated before prescribing and covering up the symptoms of depression with an antidepressant prescription drug. This is especially true if your symptoms categorized as depression occurred during a specific time in your life when your body experienced a hormonal change (menopause, andropause, hysterectomy and puberty). This knowledge can be powerful when used with natural hormones and supplements to restore your mental and physical health.