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Title: Food, Anxiety and Depression Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2005 by Margaret Paul URL: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 761 Category: Self Improvement
Food, Anxiety and Depression By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
In our current society, there are many factors that can cause or contribute to anxiety and depression. Certainly money and work problems, relationship and family issues, as well as illness and loss of loved ones are major contributors to anxiety and depression. Also, how we feel about ourselves and treat ourselves contribute greatly to how we feel. Even in the worst of times, if we are treating ourselves with compassion instead of self-judgment, we may be able to manage big challenges without anxiety or depression. In addition, being able to turn to an inner source of spiritual guidance and comfort is vital to weathering the hard times.
Most people don't really notice that what they put into their bodies affects how they feel. They might know that if they "sugar out" they may crash emotionally, or if they drink too much they will feel hung over, but they are often unaware of how other foods may be creating anxiety and depression.
In the over 35 years that I've been a counselor, I have frequently encountered individuals whose anxiety and depression completely cleared up by tuning into how food was affecting them.
For example, Marnie discovered that dairy, wheat and sugar kept her up at night. She would wake up at around 3:00 in the morning with intense anxiety, and would be tired and depressed the next day. By experimenting around and cutting out different foods, she discovered that she slept fine when she stopped eating dairy, wheat and sugar. All her nighttime anxiety vanished and she was no longer tired and depressed.
Joel discovered that his sleeplessness and resulting depression was a direct result of caffeine from coffee, tea, chocolate and soft drinks. He had not realized how much caffeine he was actually consuming until I suggested that he cut out all caffeine and see what happened to his sleep. After a week of headaches from caffeine withdrawal, he was sleeping soundly for the first time in years and no longer felt depressed.
Adrienne discovered that her feelings of anxiety and depression, that had been with her most of her life, disappeared after she started eating only organic foods. Her system was so sensitive to the pesticides and food additives in non-organic food that she could not eat them without feeling anxious and depressed.
Alex, who periodically struggled with depression, inadvertently discovered that drinking raw milk from an organic dairy had a completely different effect on him than pasteurized milk. He was visiting Los Angeles and went into a health food store where he discovered that he could buy raw dairy products (which are outlawed in most other states). He found that the raw milk gave him more energy and elevated his mood. He also found that, while he was lactose intolerant with pasteurized milk, he had no problems with raw milk. Now he has his raw milk, cheese, and butter shipped frozen to Wyoming, and no longer struggles with depression.
Over and over again my clients, who have chosen to tune into how food was affecting them, have discovered how much their feelings were being affected by food. Many of my clients have learned that even a little sugar brings them down. Sugar consumes so many vital nutrients as the body attempts to process it that it can actually be considered a poison. How many people really take "Sugar Blues" seriously?
A hundred years ago, when people naturally ate non-processed and organically grown food, they were getting all the nutrients they needed. Now, most fruits, vegetables and grains are being grown on devitalized soil and over-processed on top of it. Cows and sheep that were once grass fed are being fed pesticide-sprayed grains and given hormones to fatten them up. As a result, much of our food not only contains little nutrients, but has many toxins as well. Without the vitamins, minerals, and many other factors that natural, organic and grass-fed food contains, many people suffer deficiencies that can cause anxiety and depression, as well a many other illnesses.
I recently found out that the fat of raw organic dairy products, especially butter, contains natural anti-inflammatory nutrients. I wonder if the huge rise in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions is related to the pasteurizing of milk. Any inflammatory condition can certainly contribute to anxiety and depression.
Food is certainly a major factor in the rise of anxiety, depression and illness. Only you can do something about this by learning how you are being affected by the foods you eat.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?" She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or email@example.com.
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Depression and Insomnia Relationship
You've been lying for a couple of hours, your eyes closed and you wanted to fall into a deep sleep but can't make it. You tried a little more… and again… and again… it goes. At 2 o'clock you fell asleep but at 5 o'clock in the morning you wake up devastated because you found out that you only slept for 3 hours. You lied again but sleep is so elusive… so you get up and eat your breakfast but you wondered why your day is already spoiled…you are easily irritated, annoyed and you felt that everything was not in their proper order… the world again started to become topsy-turvy…then you ask yourself why can't I sleep?
If sleepless nights are bothering you, this may be a sign of insomnia or depression. Insomnia is a symptom not a separate disorder. A complaint of this needs a clinician to inquire further to disclose the underlying etiology of the complainant. Depression, conversely, is a serious medical condition that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. The main three depressive disorders are Major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder.
Depression attacks without warning and creates desolation, chaos and negative effects. Twenty million Americans are enslaved by depression and at times this result to suicides. Whatever the result, everyone affected is a loser. Some of its symptoms are: pessimism, "empty mood, guilt feelings, restlessness and irritability, suicide attempts, changes in appetite and weight, difficulty concentrating, decreased energy and insomnia or oversleeping. If you have five or more of these symptoms and are present for at least two weeks, you better seek professional help.
Another factor that contributes to sleeplessness is the food intake. Yes - the food that we eat! If you ate several bars of chocolate or sip a glass of rum the night before, chances are your bloodstream will be suffocated with extra sugar. Too much sugar or alcohol in the blood stream pulls out forces to fight the body's enemies. Your brain needs glucose and because of the "pull out" it results to glucose shortage. The brain reacts to the problem, that reaction grabs you out of sleep. The next time you lack sleep, recall what you have eaten or drank the night before. You might be able to save a trip to your doctor by finding the real cause. You might even opt for a healthier lifestyle. Don't let depression and insomnia beat you down!
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The case against Andrea Yates, accused of drowning her five young children, is disturbing and horrible. Despite what you may think of Andrea Yates or the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of her children, her postpartum depression (PPD) defense will either serve to enlighten more people to the devastating affects of PPD or throw the study of this very real mental illness into the dark ages. While many doctors and psychologists have made great strides in understanding PPD and helping its victims, these same doctors and mental health professionals worry that bad publicity and ridicule could destroy PPD's credibility and their efforts at gaining more funding and study of this disease.
Sleeplessness may be due to mood disorder, either depression or mania. Treatment of mood disorder leads to normalization of sleep. Some patients suffering from insomnia require a pharmacologic treatment. The long-term use of benzodiazepine or barbiturate hypnotics though is not advisable because it might develop into tolerance, dependence, or worst delirium.
For some women, PPD can be a nightmare. While her family and friends expect her to be joyous and elated over the birth of her child, a woman can be sinking into the darkest corners of despair, unable to cope with an infant, the biological changes surging through her body and the severe depression overwhelming her brain. As joyously anticipated as the birth of her baby was, a postpartum woman can become riddled with severe anxiety over her ability to care for her newborn, her self-esteem can plummet and her brain's chemical changes can produce intolerable levels of panic. This is no one's "fault." It is a condition that can strike even the ordinarily soundest individual.
PPD is classified as a mental illness. Only a non-professional would categorize it as a character flaw or weakness. PPD is real, at times to the point of severe psychosis and should be treated as soon as the new mother begins to feel any mental or emotional changes that could affect her ability to care for her newborn. Even though some women will refuse to believe PPD is happening to them, her family, friends and especially her husband must be alert to the possibility of this condition. While you, I and most women we know might have breezed through the first year after the birth of our children with only occasional surges of panic or moments of near collapse, a significant percentage of women suffer more serious PPD. Only one percent succumb to actual psychosis leading to the tragic harm or death of babies and sometimes themselves The greatest threat is denial of their symptoms.
Early identification and treatment of PPD are the keys to successful therapy. If you or a new mother you know is suffering from even the slightest feelings of depression, anxiety or inadequacy, seek immediate help. The birth doctor will be able to identify the severity of symptoms and prescribe appropriate treatment.
Rexanne Mancini is the mother of two daughters. She maintains an extensive yet informal parenting and family web site, Rexanne.com - http://www.rexanne.com -Visit her site for good advice, award-winning Internet holiday pages and some humor to help you cope. Subscribe to her free newsletter, Rexanne's Web Review, for a monthly dose of Rexanne: http://www.rexanne.com/rwr-archives.html
The bright yellow flower of the St Johns Wort (hypericum perforatum) with it's ray-like petals, represents the power of the sun that forces away the darkness. This already points to the anti-depressant effects of the St Johns Wort which are highly respected, even in conventional medicine.
St. John's Wort, a perennial plant, has been used for hundreds of years to treat depression, unrest and anxiety disorders as well as nerve pain. For a long time, doctors and herbalists alike have known about its use as a sedative, but also as treatment for wounds, burns, insect bites, stomach ulcers and more. It is still used widely today and it's effectiveness has been proven to a point where some insurance companies are now covering the treatment.
It is not a powerful drug -- when used to treat depression -- in the sense of bringing a quick recovery, but shows excellent long term results in many patients. The herb assists body and soul in the healing process and helps to build a solid foundation for a complete recovery.
St John's Wort was tested in a double-blind study of 105 male and female patients in the 20 to 64 year age group, suffering from mild to moderate depression. They were divided into two groups and monitored over a period of four weeks. One group were given 300mg of St Johns Wort extract three times daily, and the other received a placebo. All of the patients had psychiatric evaluations before the start of the study and after four weeks of treatment. The results revealed that, 67% of the St Johns Wort group had responded positively to the treatment without any adverse side effects whereas only 28% of the placebo group showed any signs of improvement.
St Johns Wort is available as tea (flowers and leaves), liquid extracts and pills or capsules. It is normally taken thrice daily and it will take one week or more to notice any improvement in the condition. Treatment can be continued for long periods of time as the herb does not normally produce any side effects. But St Johns Wort can interact strongly with other medication e.g. cancer and HIV drugs, contraceptive pills and others. So it is vitally important to consult a medical specialist first before starting a course of treatment.
One effect of St Johns Wort is, that it makes the skin more sensitive to light. It is therefore important to keep out of the sun as much as possible while using the herb.
There is growing evidence to suggest that St. Johns Wort is a safe and effective, natural remedy for the treatment of mild to medium depression.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is presented for information purposes only. The material is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. It cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment.
Mireille Gautschi is a qualified Flower Essence Therapist and Herbalist who has many years experience with the developement of natural herbal remedies. Her products can be found on the Hillside Herbal Products website www.hillsideherbal.com.au that also offers a very informative newsletter.
Nancy was doing very well until about two years ago when Phil, her boyfriend of 9 years, broke-up with her. It was a difficult moment for her especially after she learned that Phil eventually married her cousin. Since then, Nancy had deteriorated. One evening, she was involved in a motor vehicular accident because she was driving fast and recklessly in a quiet suburban neighborhood.
During interrogation, the cops noted that Nancy was talking rapidly and nobody could interrupt her. Also, she was making jokes and laughing so loud. She further indicated to them that she was on her way to meet the President and his top officials about her invention that could cure the oil crunch. She eventually ended up in the emergency room where she was diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder after intensive evaluation.
Bipolar disorder or manic-depression is manifested by highs and lows. When a patient like Nancy is on the manic side, there is a persistent feeling of euphoria or irritability associated with lack of need for sleep, excessive energy, agitation, fast and loud speech, increase in goal-directed activities such as spending sprees and establishing businesses with no appropriate plan, and hypersexuality.
Patients with this disorder develop poor judgment and impulsivity. They become irritable and can lash out easily even if not provoked. Some patients have delusions of grandeur. When this happens, patients think that they have special powers, talents, and influence.
When not manic, patients either feel normal or depressed. Depression in bipolar disorder has the same manifestation as major depression that consists of feelings of sadness associated with neurovegetative signs and symptoms such as inability to sleep, eat, and concentrate. Energy level is also impaired. In addition, patients experience a feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, and helplessness. Suicidal ideation may ensue.
For individuals who develop mania, does it always mean that they suffer from bipolar disorder?
Not necessarily. Mania can be caused by various medical and neurologic conditions. For instance, multiple sclerosis and stroke can present with manic symptoms. Moreover, medications and street drugs may precipitate mania. Steroids, cocaine, and amphetamine are some examples. Even some antidepressants can induce mania.
So when a person shows mania, the physician usually does intensive evaluation to rule out medical, neurologic, and medication-induced conditions before diagnosing bipolar disorder. This process is important because the treatment varies depending upon the cause. Once other conditions are ruled out, then bipolar disorder can be safely diagnosed and treated.
Dr. Michael G. Rayel - author (First Aid to Mental Illness-Finalist, Reader's Preference Choice Award 2002) psychiatrist, and inventor of Oikos Game: A Personal Development and Emotional Skills Game. For more information, please visit www.oikosgame.com.
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