Depression is officially defined in the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition Text Revision). The DSM depression diagnosis classifies depression as a mood disorder.
About one in 10 Americans suffers some form of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Women are disproportionately affected by depression, experiencing it at roughly twice the rate of men.
Depression has devastating effects on a person's relationships with family and friends, on the ability to do productive work, and, of course, on the ability to enjoy life. With so many people suffering, you would think a simple definition of "depression" would be easy, but it is not. Depression is perceived differently by doctors, mental-health professionals and in the general population.
Why are there so many perceptions? One reason for this is that there are many varieties of depression. These different varieties have partly overlapping symptoms. There are other conditions, which often occur together with depression and further complicate the picture. The main one is anxiety.
Depression is officially classed in the DSM-IV as a mood disorder. The Mood Disorders are divided into two types of depressive disorders, the unipolar depression and the bipolar disorder.
Unipolar depressions are the forms that are normally understood as depression. They are classified as Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder and Depressive Disorder.
The second group, bi polar depression is distinguished from the first group by the fact that there is in addition to the major depression, periods of manic, mixed, or hypomanic episodes. The bipolar depression is further divided into four groups; the Bipolar I Disorder, the Bipolar II Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder, and plain Bipolar Disorder.
Hypomania is when the person is more active, but without the delusions of the mania phase.
Cyclothemia is a milder form of bi polar depression, where hypomania alternates with a milder depression.
A mixed episode happens when the person has symptoms of both depression and mania at the same time.
About one quarter to one half of people diagnosed with major depressive disorder will find only partial relief or none at all from the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, such as venlafaxine (Effexor), bupropion (Wellbutrin), duloxetine (Cymbalta), or the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Which antidepressant will work best with least side effects is a genetic factor. In spite of what is often stated in the media and on the Internet, The modern antidepressants are not always best.The older, now largely generic, tricyclic antidepressant work best for a group of people who experience the side effects of the SSRI drugs, without experiencing the benefits.
If psychiatrists knew in advance which antidepressants were more or less likely to work for which patients, they could devise more tailored treatments and avoid exposing patients to ineffective drugs and unnecessary side effects. This is unfortunately a little studied field of research. The reason is probably due to the research funding directed at new drugs, which suppress symptoms, rather than towards understanding the underlying cause.
While the antidepressant drugs do help many, the relative ineffectiveness of these drugs, together with their long list of side effects, has made the alternative treatments popular.
The general opinion as to the cause of depression is that it is a chemical imbalance in the brain of certain neurotransmitters. The real practical question we need to know the answer of is: Why the imbalance in the first place? The most usual underlying cause of depression is stress in one form or another. It is this stress, which throws the neurotransmitters out of balance.
Antidepressants have an important role in depression treatment, but are not mild drugs and need to be tailored to the patient and take many weeks before their effect is felt.
When we are under stress our need for basic nutrients increase, and supplements become advisable. A healthy balanced diet and carefully chosen supplements should be tried first, before antidepressant drugs. Most nutrients will give a beneficial effect quicker than antidepressants.
These treatments include herbs, which have been used for millennia to treat depression, as well as nutrients essential for a healthy nervous system, such as folic acid, vitamin B6 and the omega 3 fatty acids.
Weil’s Mood Support is Dr. Weil's protocol for a healthy outlook. The Mood Support Formula features St. John's wort, folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids. St. John's wort is an herbal remedy that has long been used in Europe to support healthy mood. The B vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B6, are essential nutrients vital for nervous system function. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help in maintaining optimum brain function.
GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) is an important neurotransmitter in the brain and is important in regulating mood. A high concentration of GABA is in the hypothalamus which plays a role in instinctive functions such as sleep cycles, body temperature, and pituitary function in addition to elevating growth hormone levels, speeding recovery, enhancing restful sleep, reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
GABA Plus acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, it is essential for brain metabolism, aiding in proper brain function, anxiety, stress, depression, epilepsy, aging and Parkinson's disease. GABA-Plus is a high potency, scientifically formulated and synergistic combination of amino acid derivative GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), with Inositol and the vitamin Niacinamide.
It can be taken to calm the body without fear of addiction.
Contains No: sugars, flavors, colors or preservatives. No soy, yeast, wheat, milk or egg derivatives.
L-Theanine by Olympian Labs L-Theanine (5-N-ethylglutamine) is a unique free-form amino acid found in green tea. L-Theanine is a relaxant that increases alpha-waves producing mental and physical relaxation decreasing stress and anxiety, without inducing drowsiness.
L-Theanine is a building block for gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA plays a key role in the relaxation effect. In addition to its relaxing, calming and focusing qualities, L-Theanine may also help with the following:
L-Theanine is a “feel good” supplement that causes no adverse reactions. It won’t make you drowsy or groggy. L-Theanine is considered to be safe based on its historical use as a part of tea.
One 200 mg capsule of L-Theanine, or as needed depending on stress and anxiety levels, is the recommended dosage. L-Theanine can be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Some people open the capsule and add to their coffee or tea. L-Theanine is neutral in taste and tends to take the bitterness out of coffee or tea. L-Theanine may enhance the anti-tumor effects of some chemotherapy drugs. Use of L-Theanine with chemotherapy agents must be done under strict medical supervision.