A Holistic Approach to Depression Management

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that is often described as feelings of extreme sadness, anger, and/or loss of interest in daily activities for extended periods. Depression can interfere with relationships and your ability to do daily tasks and activities.

Causes, Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of depression can be different for everyone. Many people suffering from clinical depression, including major depressive disorder, experience prolonged or constant feelings of:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased or complete lack of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling badly about yourself/negative self-image
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Decreased energy and fatigue
  • Mood swings, irritability, or restlessness
  • Lack of appetite or overeating
  • Inability to concentrate, unable to make decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

Depression can be caused by many different factors. It may be environmental, genetic, or a combination of these factors. Depression may develop after experiencing traumatic life events, prolonged stress, death or loss, and family or work challenges. It's important to know that depression can develop or be present without a clear event or trigger.

In some people, depression and other psychological disorders run in families, but depression can develop in anyone. Depression may also be associated with underlying conditions such as thyroid disorders, iron deficiency anemia, and Vitamin D deficiency.

Biologically, depression is thought to result from prolonged neuronal and neurochemical changes in the brain and may be associated with changes in neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

Depression can be diagnosed by discussing your symptoms with your doctor. Based on these symptoms, the severity, and the length of time you've been experiencing them, your doctor can make a diagnosis. We test for underlying conditions such as thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and hormonal imbalances. We can also check brain chemistry, known as neurotransmitter testing.

What is the Treatment for Depression?

We offer patients holistic treatment options for depression, including natural treatments and medications, when appropriate. We use your lab results to devise a customized treatment plan including cognitive therapy recommendations, nutritional counseling, dietary supplements designed to enhance mood and alleviate stress, IV nutrient replacement therapy, and prescriptions if needed. In addition, we can help to reestablish healthy coping mechanisms.

Why Choose Spark Health?

Your providers at Spark Health work as a team to approach your health challenges from every angle. We understand that health and wellness have many physiological and mental-emotional components, and we offer individualized holistic treatment plans to reach your health and wellness goals. Spark Health was founded in 2013 in Solana Beach, California, to provide patients in Southern California with personalized natural medicine and wellness options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Depression and grief can feel very similar and can often overlap after the loss of a loved one or a traumatic life event. However, unlike depression, grief typically does not involve feelings of low self-esteem or low self-worth.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that recurs seasonally. Light therapy can be an effective treatment for this type of depression.

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that affects many women after childbirth due to hormonal changes.

Teens are very susceptible to depression especially as they enter into puberty. It is important to communicate with teens about the subject due to the possibility of suicide and self-harming behaviors.

Many patients with depression experience negative side effects related to psychoactive medications. Alternative or adjunctive treatments may include dietary changes, nutritional counseling, herbal supplements, or incorporating exercise, meditation, and other mind-body therapies into your lifestyle.

Certain medication can cause symptoms of depression. They include some acne medications, oral contraceptives, high blood pressure medications, and cholesterol medications (statins). This side effect is rare, and you should always discuss your symptoms with your doctor before stopping any medications.

Episodes of depression are highly variable but may last a couple of weeks to months, or longer in some people.

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