If you are one of the millions of Americans diagnosed with depression or one of the millions more who report a "depressed mood" on many days per week then this post is definitely for you. Depressed mood issues can result from a number of different situations. No mood disturbance is the same. So how can one drug or one class of drugs really be expected to help the millions of different cases of depression out there? The unfortunate fact is that drugs are usually not enough to fix depressed mood.
Depression is a multifaceted issue. It really takes a whole person approach to truly tackle the problem. This is why starting a depression drug is just the beginning. There are no magic pills that fix any medical condition. Giving your body the tools it needs to heal itself is vital.
When you think of people who are not depressed, no one says that they have a good mood level because they get plenty of fluoxetine or sertraline. Anti-depression drugs fool your body into keeping more serotonin around in the brain to artificially elevate the mood. As with any artificial chemical going into your body, eventually your body will react to counter it. This is why so many people report decreasing effectiveness of their anti-depressant over time.
Your body is designed to have a brain that can feel both joy and depressed mood in moderation. Another issue with people taking anti-depressants is that they report feeling less amount of joy than before. Anti-depressant drugs level out your mood...but this also levels out the highs that you can feel. So a normal mood chart might look like the red line but someone on mood stabilizers might look like the flattened blue or black line.
No doctor, psychologist, or pharmacist can fix your depression for you. They are a vital part to your recovery, but in the end only one person can fix your mood issues...you! So let's look at some things that you can do to fix your depressed mood.
1. Fix your gut.
Ok this just sounds silly. You have a problem with your mood which is controlled by the brain. Why would you need to fix the gut? Surprisingly the gut has a huge affect on the brain. Many Americans suffer from "leaky gut syndrome". Thanks to all the preservatives and antibiotics that we eat, we are destroying our good gut bacteria on a constant basis. So our gut starts to lack the protective bacteria layer that it uses to prevent toxins and bad bacteria from getting into our blood stream.
To fix your gut, you need to take a high quality probiotic. I recommend one with at least 10 strains of bacteria. Remember that different strains of bacteria like to live in different portions of your intestines. Some like the upper GI tract, some the lower GI tract. If you only get one kind of bacteria then one part of your gut is good while the rest is still inflamed and leaky.
2. Give your brain the nutrients it needs to fix itself
Your brain is full of fats. It needs them to maintain the brain cells and their connections. If you eat processed foods with these "franken-fats" in them then you are not getting enough of the good omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fats that it needs. In the absence of good fats, it will utilize bad fats so it can survive. However, substituting with a less ideal part never seems to work quite right. Think of putting a little 4 cylinder engine in a big rig truck. It might be able to move it a little bit but forget towing something. This is what your brain is suffering through. It has parts available but they just don't quite work the same.
To fix this you need to take a high quality multivitamin and high potency omega supplement. The multivitamin will provide the magnesium and vitamin B complex that is necessary for brain metabolism. The omega supplement will give the brain the right tools for the job.
3. Seek out social and religious connections.
People who are part of social groups tend to have a better mood level than those who are isolated. I encourage all my patients to join a church. This can provide both social and spiritual help. Remember that God wants you to live life as the best version of yourself. Prolonged depressed mood levels are not what he wants for your life. Go to church on Sunday (or more often if you can) and make or renew connections with people that you know and love. This is a huge part of having a healthy mind.
In conclusion, please remember that mood disturbances are not all the same. Every patient has a different reason for depressed mood. You cannot expect the same treatment that millions of others receive to be a guaranteed fix for you. Work with your doctor and pharmacist to fix the biological reasons for your depressed mood. If you want to connect with our pharmacist you can call 785-614-3492 or text us at 785-414-9777.