Help for depression
Ally, age 21, came into my office seeking help for depression.
She desperately wanted to avoid anti-depressants as much as possible. The BECK Depression questionnaire indicated that her depression was moderate so I told her we had other options to try with her before we had to resort to anti-depressants.
Her medical history revealed that she had been on the birth control pill for the last five years, she never took supplements, she had poor quality sleep and a terrible craving for sweets.
I explained to her that naturopathic medicine does not provide quick and easy answers but if she was willing to accept a different way of doing things we could get somewhere with treating her depression. She was willing to give my program three months to work and I told her I would be closely monitoring her and would not hesitate to recommend anti-depressants if she got worse.
The first thing I always try to correct is sleep quality. I taught her optimal “sleep hygiene” which included getting the electronics out of her bedroom, no computer or TV stimulus for one hour before bed, a calcium and magnesium supplement at bedtime as well as a hot bath.Ally experienced the calming effect of calcium and magnesium almost immediately and was sleeping better and better each night so within a few weeks sleep was no longer an issue.
The second thing I like to emphasize is diet and the craving for sweets. Ensuring adequate protein intake will often curb this craving. At the same time protein also controls daily blood sugar variations that may contribute to depression and anxiety.
The third thing I address are other deficiencies that relate to depression. Vitamin B complex and especially vitamin B6 are very commonly deficient. This is not only due to poor diet choices over the years but also to the use of birth control pills which depletes these vitamins.
I usually prescribe extra B6 for 6-12 months then switch to a regular B complex once the depression is gone.
When I saw Ally two weeks later she was sleeping better, and her intake of protein was really helping her cravings for sweets.
Ally was ready to accept a different way of doing things and now looking back over the last year, since her diagnosis of depression, she had forgotten how far she had come.