Most of us are aware of the fact that depression can be caused by traumatic life events, negative thinking and stress, but there are physical conditions which cause depression that should first be ruled out before taking antidepressants.
According to "Prescription For Nutritional Healing," there are many common causes of depression. One of the most common causes is food allergies. An allergist can do either a skin or blood test to determine the causes of your allergic reactions. The skin test is the most effective.
When I was seven years old, I was given the skin allergy test. A little instrument was used to make over a hundred little scratches on my skin. Upon each scratch, an allergen was applied. They waited to see the reaction, and if a wheal appeared, there was an allergy.
The procedure was not pleasant, to say the least, so I was none too happy about it. I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of taking injections for the allergies, either, but the needles for the injections were tiny, and I could hardly feel them.
Due to a move and financial difficulties, I only took the allergy injections for about a year, but during that year, I felt better than I’d ever felt. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a cough and severe stomach aches, many times with vomiting.
My allergy tests were done because of almost constant sickness. Depression was not considered with regard to the testing. I’m not sure when my depression appeared, but I know that I was not a happy child. I also know that when I was taking the allergy injections, I felt like a different person.
If allergy testing is not an option for you, there is a way in which you can determine your own food allergies. In her article “What’s the connection between allergies and depression?” Merri Ellen Giesbrecht writes that Jurriaan Plesman, a Clinical Nutritionist, recommends that you keep a food journal while eliminating foods from your diet.
The foods we eat the most are the ones to which we usually develop allergies, so those are the ones we should suspect first. Eliminate one food for at least four days. Then eat a large amount of that food on the fifth day. If your body has a strong reaction to that food, you have an allergy to it.
Another common cause of depression is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. There are many different causes of hypoglycemia. The test to determine if you are hypoglycemic involves multiple blood draws, so it is time-consuming and expensive. Many times, the testing is done improperly, or the results are not interpreted properly.
I have an aunt who was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. Since she was not an insulin-dependent diabetic, and was not taking any medications which would affect her blood sugar, she was advised that she should elimiate sugar from her diet and reduce her intake of carbohydrates. This prevented her body from having an "over-production" of insulin, which was believed to be her problem, and it did seem to help her.
Thyroid disorders can also cause depression. An article entitled “Depression and Thyroid Illness” on AllThyroid.org reports that depression can be “the first sign of overactive or underactive thyroid.”
Because the symptoms of hypothyroid mimic those of depression, many doctors miss the cause of the depression, the underactive thyroid. A simple blood test can determine whether your thyroid is functioning properly, and with treatment, your depression can be reduced, or even eliminated.
When a patient presents with symptoms of depression, doctors usually tend to prescribe antidepressants first, and ask questions later. For this reason, you should do some sleuthing on your own.
Do whatever you can to determine if you have a physical cause to your depression. See an allergist to have allergy tests, or use the elimination method of determining whether you have allergies. Try cutting back on sugar to see if you feel better. Have your thyroid checked to see that it is functioning properly.
Why take antidepressants if you don’t need them? It’s always best to find the root cause of depression and treat it, rather than just putting a Band-Aid on an open artery. Your health is your own responsibility, so do what you have to do to take care of yourself. You deserve that.
James F. Balch, MD and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Garden City Park, New York: Avery Publishing Group, 1997.
Merri Ellen Giesbrecht. “What’s the connection between allergies and depression?” Cure-Your-Depression.com, 2008.
“Depression and Thyroid Illness.” AllThyroid.org.
Jurriaan Plesman. “Finding Your Allergies,” 2009.