The Four Keys To Overcoming Depression

Olivia from Detroit, Michigan writes:

Depression runs in my family. I have been feeling really sad after the death of my father.  I am 58 and in overall good health. How can I overcome these sad feelings? Am I depressed? Is there anything else that I can do?

Dear Olivia, 

Depression can be a real challenge. It can sneak up on anyone at any age. Are you depressed? Maybe. Many times you have to determine if there is simply a serotonin deficiency involved or if it’s headed into a larger challenge of depression. Typically your family physician can handle creating a diagnosis, or they may refer you to a psychiatrist. Just realize that losing a close loved one can spiral the most emotionally healthy person into a period of grief and depression. 

Here are some keys to look for and some warning signs that depression may be knocking at your door

1.Crying Excessively: It’s ok to be upset and cry when there are challenges in life. Sometime the pain and pressure becomes too much. However, crying at small matters throughout the week is a sure sign that there is some instability in your brain chemistry or hormones that may need to be addressed.

2.Easily Angered: Everyone gets angry from time to time. It is part of our natural emotions. It’s ok. However, getting angry at the little things in life, snapping at people for no reason, and hurting our loved ones is never an excuse for excessive anger. If you are easily triggered into anger, have your physician check for low levels of dopamine. Some may offer medication, yet there are many natural solutions. 

3.Generalized Aches and Pains: When depressive symptoms strike so do unusual aches and pains. It has been theorized that the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is strongly connected with depression and low serotonin. That is why many primary care physicians will prescribe anti-depressants as a first-line treatment and many times the aches and pains resolve.

4.Avoiding Close Relationships: The lack of desire to be active and be with friends and family is a tell tale sign that depression may be lurking. Take inventory if you or someone you know is presenting this type of behavior unexpectedly. Low serotonin levels in the brain can keep you from desiring any social interaction. If this is something you struggle with, then look to increasing better food that can support better brain chemistry.

If you see any of these basic patterns, let your physician know. Regardless, it is good to create a healthy eating and lifestyle plan to increase and build better brain health. 

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