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Depression is the most common psychological disorder in the US. Those who suffer from depression usually have physical and psychological symptoms, like insomnia and fatigue. Scientists agree that depression is linked to heredity, illness, certain medications, and pregnancy. Most patients experience at least some success with anti-depressant medication. However, more and more health professionals are acknowledging environmental and chemical triggers for depressive illness. In 1992, the EPA conducted a study in which the urine of 7,000 Americans was tested for toxic chemicals.
Chemicals like pentachlorophenol, a wood preservative, were found in 71 percent of individuals tested. According to the EPA, exposure to toluene, the most common indoor chemical, may occur simply from breathing indoor air. Toluene toxicity in both humans and animals has been widely observed, and symptoms include chronic fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, and nausea.
The ideal would be to eliminate all environmental and health-related depression triggers, and see if depressive symptoms improve or disappear completely. Check the following environmental triggers and see if you can eliminate them from your life! Note: if you are currently taking medication for depression, NEVER discontinue medication without consulting your doctor. Quitting medication “cold turkey” is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted unless under direct advice of a physician.
MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) is a controversial diagnosis, and an active debate exists about its classification as an illness. MCS is described as an adverse reaction to low levels of common chemicals. MCS can also be caused by a major toxic event, such as a chemical spill. Some doctors refuse to accept MCS as a viable diagnosis for various reasons. However, chemical sensitivities do exist, and many individuals experience serious reactions from using common household cleaners, such as; bleach, ammonia, detergent, and fabric softeners. According to the Ohio State University Extension, sensitive individuals should try to limit their chemical exposure as much as possible. If you have recently:
•Moved to a new home
•Discovered mold in your home
•Started a new job (especially one with chemical exposure, such as a factory worker or painter)
•Installed new carpeting
•Sprayed for termites
•Sprayed your lawn for bugs or weeds
You may have reactions to these chemicals. If your symptoms are sudden, or the onset of fatigue, depression, headaches, etc, coincides with one of the events above, you may want to consider a possible chemical sensitivity.
Some common chemicals present in household items are:
Formaldehyde (carpet, particle board, insulation, adhesives)
Pesticides (bug sprays, lawn chemicals, and many household cleaners)
Solvents (household cleansers, paint, acetone)
Latex (paints, gloves, caulking)
Aerosols and chemical scents (air fresheners, perfumes, fabric softeners, detergents)
Reactions to these chemicals may be mild or severe. Usually, sufferers will complain of respiratory problems (allergies or trouble breathing), fatigue, depression, low energy, headaches, and joint pain. A combination of these symptoms is common. If you feel that you might have depressive symptoms related to low-grade chemical exposure, there are many easy steps you can take which may help alleviate your symptoms. Here are 10 easy steps to help reduce chemicals in your home.
•Stop using all air fresheners, perfumes, and scented detergents and fabric softeners
•Switch to natural unscented soaps, unscented detergent and unscented (or “allergy”) fabric softeners
•Purchase a good room air filter, and filter-free vacuum
•Open all windows daily, and let air circulate inside your home—and try to go outside and enjoy some fresh air!
•If you have central heating/air, use the best filters you can afford—many of the better filters trap mold and dust mites, a leading cause of allergies
•Use all-natural cleaners, cosmetics, and creams
•Switch to natural fabrics, (cotton, wool, linen, silk, ramie and hemp) and discontinue all dry cleaning
•Always wash new clothing before wearing, especially dyed clothing. In the case of blue dyes, wash twice (blue dyes are more toxic for some individuals)
•If possible, remove carpeting and replace with wood or laminate flooring.
If you need to paint, wear a mask, and open all windows. After painting, try to leave the house for at least a day
•Discontinue use of all petroleum based products, especially in cosmetics, creams, or other topical treatments
Once again, avoid use of: air fresheners, alcohol, chemical cleaners/detergents, cosmetics, nail varnish, paint, newspapers/printed material, perfumes, petroleum products, solvents, and tobacco smoke. There are freely-available natural alternatives to chemical products. Try eliminating as many of these chemicals as you can, and see if you feel a reduction of symptoms. If you would like to help detoxify your body, you can try; mild exercise (walking outside), mild steam room and sauna use, an allergy diet (simple all-natural foods, check with your doctor). You may feel better within just a few weeks.
Sources: National Institutes of Health, US Department of Labor, Ohio State University Extension, Chemical Hazards Handbook, Environmental Protection
Christine P Silva, BA, CRTP, lives in California with her husband, two children, and three spoiled cats. She earned her undergraduate degree from San Jose State University, and her advanced accounting certificate and California tax registration from Cosumnes River College. She is the founder of the Sacramento Volunteer Tax Preparation Clinic, a free service offering tax assistance to low income and Spanish-speaking taxpayers.
We really do care about your health and happiness and are thrilled you are interested in our articles, but please always check with your doctor before trying something new!
Domestic Violence And Depression
More and more people are reporting incidents of domestic violence to the police. If you are a victim of domestic violence you will be aware of just how frightening it can be. The question that many people ask is what are the causes of this violence, is the person just a lunatic or are there other reasons behind it.
In the example of a husband hitting his wife when he is drunk, this is typically what can happen.
According to the latest reports alcohol has a large part to play in leading to cases of domestic violence. For the sake of making this article easier to read, I shall call the husband John and his wife Linda.
John is a really nice guy when sober. Linda is very much in love with him and hopes that they will grow old together. John is a great father to their two children, is helpful around the house and is a great cook. The problem occurs after he has had rather too much to drink. John now becomes a whole different person, he starts to accuse his wife of having an affair, becomes abusive and very angry. Linda realising he is drunk attempts to walk away to leave John to his bad mood, this only adds however to his anger and he starts to become violent.
The next morning John can not believe what he has done and is full of regret and remorse. He can not say sorry enough and begs for Linda's forgiveness. He promises that it will never happen again and states that he will give up the alcohol if that would make his wife happy.
Linda is not sure what to do, she would love to forgive and forget but feels that it is very likely that it only happen again in the future if she does.
In many cases people like Linda will forgive their partner or husband a number of times before eventually losing patience with them.
My advice for John would be to stop drinking alcohol straight away. This seems to be the cause of all of these problems, therefore you need to find something else to have an interest in.
Another cause of domestic violence is known to be depression. Some people who are normally very relaxed can become very angry and abusive when in a deep state of depression. They can take their problems and frustrations out on their partner much like in the example above.
A few days or weeks later when the person in question is feeling a lot happier, they will not believe what they have done.
Whether it is because of depression or alcohol, one solution to this domestic violence problem could be to attend some form of anger management program, that is for people like John.
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Today we are going to teach you about a natural and effective way to fight depression and fatigue.
Besides its physical health benefits, exercise is often said to help people simply feel good. And a growing number of studies are showing that these mood-boosting effects may even fight clinical depression.
The results indicate that, in selected patients with major depression, aerobic training can produce a substantial improvement in symptoms in a short time.
Previous studies have suggested that exercise is a potent mood-booster, and some research indicates that for some patients regular activity may be a better depression treatment than psychotherapy or medication. Exactly why is unclear, but exercise does influence certain mood-related hormones. And it is also believed to enhance people's sense of control over their lives.
In one study that compared exercise with antidepressants among older adults, investigators found that physical activity was the more effective depression-fighter. (British Journal of Sports Medicine April 2001;35:114-117)
We are not talking about running a marathon, just walking as little as 30 minutes can improve symptoms!
I personally have felt these amazing effects after starting an exercise program when I have been in a mental rut. Believe me, it will help you too!
Thomas Von Ohlen is a clinical nutritionist and developer of Plasma Pro software for doctors. In his 15 years in private practice he has helped thousands of people, from all over the world, achieve their health goals through education and product recommendations. His FREE newsletter is available at http://www.healyourbodynow.com
As women approach midlife and menopause one of the things to be on the lookout for is depression. While menopause is not thought to be a cause of depression the two can occur at the same time. What is believed to be a cause of depression is changes in estrogen levels which occur during menopause. It is known that women are affected by depression over twice as much as men and that a family history of depression can factor into this as well.
The symptoms of depression and menopause are very similar and include sleep disorders, hot flashes, fatigue, anxiety, and irritability. Many women associate these symptoms with the changes that menopause brings, but they may be a sign of depression that needs to be understood and dealt with. There is no reason women need to suffer from depression during menopause. It is important that they accept the physical changes happening to their bodies during this time and work with their doctor to mitigate the symptoms of menopause, but it is also important that they realize that depression and menopause can be mutually exclusive and both can be dealt with.
As women approach menopause their menstrual cycles begin to change and start to become unpredictable. This unpredictability of their monthly cycle is a sign of erratic ovulation. Erratic ovulation causes unpredictable releases of the hormones estrogen and progesterone leading to mood swings, forgetfulness, hot flashes and all the other symptoms associated with menopause.
Most women going through menopause feel that they are loosing control of their bodies when in fact it is just their natural reaction to the aging process. This feeling of loss of control can lead to symptoms of depression. As the symptoms of both menopause and depression worsen they start to feel that there is nothing they can do and a feeling of hopelessness falls over them. This feeling of hopelessness is a major part of depression and left untreated can lead to severe depression.
Untreated depression is a major health risk. Researchers have found that depression is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and in some cases it can lead to bone deterioration increasing the likely hood of osteoporosis and broken bones.
The treatment for depression and menopause can follow a two pronged approach. It is important to treat not only the depression with antidepressant medications and counseling but also to treat the symptoms of menopause as well. Menopause can be treated with hormone replacement therapy where synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone are used to even out the woman's hormone levels.
If you are a woman approaching midlife and menopause be aware that depression can be a very real side affect of the changes that will happen to you. If start to see the symptoms of depression it is best to talk to your doctor about what treatment options may work best for you.
Andrew Bicknell is a writer and owner of http://depression.worfdog.com. Visit his website for more information about depression during menopause and depression itself.
Postpartum depression or peripartum depression occurs after a woman gives birth. Within a few hours of giving birth the amount of the two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, return to their pre pregnancy levels. Many researchers feel that this drop in hormone levels, much like the smaller changes in hormone levels can affect a womans mood just before her menstrual cycle, is one of the causes of postpartum depression.
Environmental and household chemicals have been linked to numerous illnesses, including; chronic fatigue, skin reactions, depression, low moods, allergic reactions, chronic infection, sinusitis, headaches, and sleeplessness. Strong chemicals are released from new homes, household paint, household cleaners, mold, new carpeting, termites, perfumes, and a slew of other common household items.
In some women the levels of thyroid hormones decrease as well. This decrease in these hormones can lead to symptoms of depression too. Some of these symptoms include a depressed mood, a loss of interest in daily things, problems sleeping and fatigue, irritability and weight gain.
Another factor that can lead to postpartum depression is genetics. This type of depression can be passed down from mother to daughter. There is also a correlation between postpartum depression and women who suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome.
Postpartum depression is also known as the baby blues and one in ten new mothers suffer from this to one degree or another. In addition to the drastic changes in hormone levels, the presence of a new baby in the house is also a major factor in postpartum depression. A new baby can be a major stress on a new mom and this can factor into becoming depressed. Some of these factors include:
Having less free time then before the baby was born and an inability to control the time needed to get things done. The baby demands all the mothers’ attention, leaving little time for herself.
Going through labor is extremely stressful and tiring for a new mom. A new mom does not have time to regain her strength post delivery because of the demands and needs of the new baby. Just getting a good nights sleep is nearly impossible with late night feedings and diaper changes.
Many new mothers question their own ability to be a good mom. They become overwhelmed with the care the new baby needs and start to worry that they aren't providing the care their baby needs.
For new moms, postpartum depression can occur with a feeling that they are no longer who they used to be. Their old schedule and ways of doing things have been replaced by the needs of their new baby. They can also feel like they have to do it all and try to take care of the new baby while doing all the things they used to do. This can be very overwhelming because chances are the care of the new baby will not allow them to accomplish all that they think they should.
New moms can also become disconnected from their partner and family. They find that their time is limited and they just don't have time to spend with the rest of their family.
For most women the "baby blues" will usually go away as their hormone levels get back to normal. But for some women the depression associated with a new baby does not go away and can steadily get worse. It is very important that women who experience any kind of depression after child birth talk to their doctor right away. Most cases of postpartum depression can be dealt with medication and some counseling.
Andrew Bicknell is a writer and owner of http://depression.worfdog.com. Visit his website for more information about postpartum depression and depression disorders.
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