reply to post by Jools
Depression and anxiety are the direct result of a chemical inbalance in the brain.
The jury is still out on the reason for the inbalance....but know that every thought and emotion you think/feel has a corresponding chemical reaction.
For example, when you are scared your body floods with adrenaline to help you fight or run away. The adrenaline doesn't last long, which is a good
thing. Too much adrenaline and you go into a state known as "hyperarousal." Basically, it means you're constantly "alerting" too danger, so
your body floods with adrenaline, which makes you more nervous, etc. etc. etc.
Anti-depression medications work in a couple of different ways, and since there is no blood test to determine the root cause of your depression,
doctors are forced to use trial and error. One form of inbalance involves serotonin, a neurotransmitter directly linked to mood, anxiety, In a
normal brain, serotonin is released and absorbed in adequate amounts.
However, there are a few ways serotonin can be problematic. If the neural transmitters don't reabsorb the serotonin, you can have a problem. Or
perhaps the brain doesn't produce enough serotonin or the serotonin never reaches the receptor sites. All of these problems could lead to mood
Information about Serotonin
So, with the different possible problems with serotonin, there are different medications. Some work on producing more serotonin. Other meds work on
the synaptic connection. Since its impossible to tell what the basis of the problem is, docs have to "guess" and use trial and error for meds.
Another neurotransmitter that plays a possible role in depression and anxiety is dopamine. Dopamine is the "feel good" chemical....when you see a
baby laugh or hug a family member, that good feeling comes from a surge in the dopamine levels. Interestingly enough, new research indicates that
lack of dopamine is often self-treated using drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol. Dopamine is also associated with addiction.
Information about dopamine
You mentioned food.... many depressed people tend to overeat. Do you find yourself craving chocolate? Chocolate is associated with serotonin, and it
is theorized that people who consume chocolate in large quantities do so as a way to "self-medicate."
chocolate and depression
I've dealt with depression for most of my teenage and adult life. I've taken different medications until I found a combination that works for me.
But medicine alone is not enough. If possible, see a cognitive therapist or counselor who can help you recognize core problems that might be
contributing to your depression.
Also, exercise is a must for treating depression, as is thinking positive. Remember, every thought has a corresponding chemical reaction. If you
constantly think "I'm no good, everyone hates me, I can't do this," it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Meditation may help you with this.
In short, to summarize my long-winded response, your experience with depression and anxiety will be unique to you. Try the medication if you want,
but be willing to switch medication to find the right fit. It generally takes about a month to notice a difference in yourself when taking a new med,
so be patient. Definitely find someone to talk to and share with....this could even be keeping a journal. Exercise every day. Meditate every day.
And of course, think happy thoughts!
Best wishes on your journey