Suppose that you go to your doctor and complain of fatigue, guilt, worthlessness, irritability, insomnia, decreased appetite, loss of interest in regular life activities, persistent sadness, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide, you would probably leave your doctor’s office with the diagnosis of depression, and a prescription for Zoloft, Prozac, or another anti-dpressant drug.
But is this always the right diagnosis for such symptoms?
The answer is: NO!
Those same symptoms belong to a variety of other conditions that require treatments other than antidepressants and psychotherapy.
They may certainly look and feel like clinical depression to the outsider, but they require a different way of treatment.
Here are 10 conditions that might show the same symptoms as clinical depression:
- Vitamin D deficiency
A good doctor will order a blood test to see if a patient is low on vitamin D before sending him off with a prescription for Prozac because so many of us are lacking adequate amounts of this critical vitamin.
Studies are increasingly showing that most people are Vitamin-D deficient, and that there’s a close association between vitamin D levels and depression symptoms.
The best source of vitamin D is early morning sun. If you have no high risk for developing skin cancer, do expose large areas of your skin without applying sunscreen for around 15 minutes.
And if you can’t be in the sun, supplements are available at the local drugstores.
Hypothyroidism is also easily mistaken for clinical depression. You feel tired and exhausted, worthless, irritable, and incapable of making a decision. Getting through each day without naps is a major accomplishment.
Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, is one of the most undiagnosed and misdiagnosed health problems in the world.
A note to my medical colleagues, TSH testing is not enough to diagnose thyroid malfunction.
- Low blood sugar
People who experience fluctuations in blood sugar blood sugar levels on a daily basis are usually insulin-resistant, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance has been recently linked with depression. But the good news is that simple diet modifications — like eating low-carb, high-protein foods every few hours — will help alleviate symptoms.
Our thirst sensation doesn’t really appear until we are 1 or 2 percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.
- Food intolerance
Certain foods can trigger inflammation in our bodies, just like toxins from the environment would.
Our bodies react differently during those inflmmatory responses. So, while some people sneeze or break out in hives, others get sad and anxious.
Keep a food journal and try to figure out whether you feel bad after eating certain foods, especially red meat and dairy, and eliminate them from your diet to rgain your healthy mood.
- Caffeine withdrawal.
That anxiety and depression you feel hours after having coffee is probably because your body is going through withdrawal, and for those who are chemically sensitive to all amphetamine-like substances that raise dopamine levels, that withdrawal translates to tears, shaking, and panic attacks.
- Some medications.
If you think a drug you’re taking might be causing your depression, you may be right. Certain medications prescribed for various medical conditions do cause such feelings as sadness, despair, and discouragement. And those are feelings that are often associated with depression.
Medications that cause depression appear to alter brain chemicals in some way. And even though the drugs may be necessary to treat the condition, the side effect is hardly acceptable. As an example, Accutane, which is prescribed for the treatment of acne, has been found to also sometimes cause depression. So have oral contraceptives, high blood pressure drugs, and even statins that treat high cholesterol.
If you think that your medication is causing your to get depressed, talk to your doctor about changing it.
- Beta-adrenergic blockers
- Calcium-channel blockers
- Interferon alfa
- Iron deficiency.
If you have any type of iron deficiency, one psychological symptom could be signs of depression. While an iron deficiency may not be the sole cause of depression, it can cause symptoms similar to depression such as a lack of appetite, irritability, extreme fatigue, headaches and mood swings.
Also, anxiety is a psychological issue that can stem from having low iron levels. If you have low iron levels, it could trigger panic symptoms, leading to a panic attack. Panic attack symptoms include feelings of dread, fear of dying, chest tightness, headache, fear of fainting, choking symptoms, muscle weakness, insomnia and visual disturbances.
- Lack of sleep.
Normal sleep is a restorative state. When sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can lead to increased tension, vigilance, and irritability.
Physical or emotional trauma and metabolic or other medical problems can trigger sleep disturbances. Poor sleep can lead to fatigue. With fatigue, you exercise less and that leads to a decline in your fitness level. Eventually, you find yourself in a vicious cycle of inactivity and disturbed sleep, which causes both physical and mood-related symptoms.
- Heavy Metal Poisoning
Heavy metal toxicity can disturb your brain chemistry causing depression and anxiety.
Heavy metal toxicity can have a wide range of negative effects. Mercury, can cause depression and add to anxiety; mercury and cadmium (main source: smoking) can significantly compromise your immune system. Amalgam fillings still present a significant risk of mercury poisoning, mercury toxicity can also cause allergies
Lead poisoning particularly contributes to anxiety, lead also dulls your intelligence.
Lead, cadmium (from smoking) and arsenic disturb dopamine. This neurotransmitter gives the brain energy, motivation and the capacity for pleasure, when it becomes deficient you can get a low energy demotivated depression.
Aluminium pots and pans slowly dissolve metal into the food. Use either high quality stainless steel or glass and earthenware.
To reverse this build-up and actively eliminate this type of toxin requires taking supplements over several weeks.
I wish you the best of health!