Naturopathic Approaches to Treatment of Mood Disorders
What is a mood disorder?
Mood disorders include depression, anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty with focus, concentration or memory. These are some of the most common health concerns facing Americans today.
What causes mood disorders?
Some of the most common causes of mood disorders are imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, deficiencies of Iron, B vitamin or other nutrients, thyroid conditions, chronic pain syndromes, food allergies, and hormonal imbalances. Naturopathic medicine focuses on getting to the root of the problem, in other words, finding and treating the cause, and not just the symptoms.
How are mood disorders treated?
The most common conventional treatment approaches to mood disorders are medication and/or therapy/counselling. In addition to these treatments, naturopathic medicine offers a variety of alternative treatments to address not only neurotransmitter imbalance, but also hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, or other health issues that may be affecting your mood. Diet and lifestyle are always an important part of treatment. Exercise is one of the most effective treatments not only for mood disorders, but for a wide variety of health conditions. Diets that are deficient in nutrients that are critical for the production of neurotransmitters may worsen symptoms of mood disorder.
Common Mood Disorders We Treat:
Below are some of the common mood disorders we help.
Do you have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night? Do you have overly vivid or disruptive dreams? Do you wake up feeling unrested? All of these can be symptoms of insomnia.
Some things you can try at home to treat insomnia:
- Sleep hygiene – avoiding screens or bright lights for at least one hour prior to bedtime. Avoiding alcohol, marijuana, and sweet foods for at least 3 hours before bedtime. Making sure that your bedroom is a quiet, dark, peaceful environment, including a comfortable mattress, and blankets that aren’t making you too warm.
- Protein snack at bedtime – rises and dips in blood sugar can adversely affect sleep quality, which is why some people notice an improvement to sleep with a small protein snack such as a couple slices of turkey, a piece of cheese, a couple tablespoons of whole milk yogurt (unsweetened) or cottage cheese, a tablespoon of nut butter, or a small handful of nuts.
- Other things that might help – Eye mask, black out curtains, white noise machines or earplugs can be helpful in creating an optimal sleep environment. Some people find that listening to an audiobook or using a meditation app can be helpful for inducing sleep. You can set a timer on these so that they turn off on their own.
There are many medical causes of fatigue, so it is important to see your doctor if you have been having fatigue for over a month. Some common causes of fatigue include viral illness such as chronic mono, food intolerances, anemia, thyroid, adrenal or other hormonal imbalances. My initial medical assessment for fatigue includes testing for these conditions, as well as a thorough evaluation of lifestyle factors that may be contributing such as stress, diet, lack of sleep, or poor quality of sleep.
If you have fatigue the gets better after a long weekend or vacation, you may have stress induced fatigue. In addition to making sure that you are getting enough sleep each night, your treatment may include supplements/nutrients that support your adrenal glands. The adrenals are responsible for stress response and energy, and are a part of the body’s mechanism to maintain stable blood pressure and blood sugar. As a result, the adrenal glands often take the brunt of stressful lifestyles, and need to be addressed as part of your treatment.
Depression and Anxiety
These are two of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions affecting Americans. Some common symptoms of depression include loss of interest or pleasure in doing things, difficulty sleeping or waking up, feeling down or hopeless, feeling bad about yourself, difficulty concentrating and fatigue. These symptoms can also be caused by many other conditions other than depression. Some common symptoms of anxiety include feeling tense, wound up, panicky, always afraid that something bad will happen, increased worrying, and restlessness. Again, there are many other health conditions that can cause these symptoms.
Live Better Naturally
Get the latest updates, health advice and news, and upcoming events: