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Apple School of Sports Medicine & Back Care
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Clinics Ayr and East Kilbride  

Overcoming Depression

Ours is a culture prone to overwork, stress related illness and "just getting on with it." Unfortunately, this sticking of one's head in the sand has major repurcussions for not only our physical health but also for our mental health too. Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with a combination of physical and mental symptoms ( see check list below ). These problems can become chronic or recurrent and affect a person's ability to function effectively in the world. Anti-depressants are one of the world's top selling classes of drugs and millions of prescriptions are written for them every year in towns such as Ayr, Prestwick, East Kilbride and Glasgow.

Signs and Symptoms

  • depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • feelings of sadness and guilt almost every day
  • chronic fatigue
  • insomnia or excess sleep every day
  • loss of appetite or weight gain
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • low self esteem
  • inability to concentrate
  • anxiety
  • lack of motivation
  • diminished interest or pleasure in rejuvenating activities
  • nervousness
  • despair
  • loss of sexual desire
  • irritability
  • chronic headaches

One of the major controversies regarding depression is that the medical, drug based model regards depression as a disorder of brain chemistry as opposed to having any other physiological basis. But according to the American Journal of Psychiatry ( 1981; 138: 629 - 635 ), over half of all cases of depression have as their causative factor issues other than that of brain chemistry and emotional or psychological causes. These include :

Possible Causes Or Contributing Factors

1) Excess stress

2) Nutritional deficiencies

3) Poor diet including increased caffeine, sugar, white flour and additives in the diet

4) Endocrine disorders (especially pineal and thyroid problems). The pineal gland produces melatonin, which is a brain hormone partly responsible for preventing "the blues."

5) Food allergies

6) Excess drugs (prescribed or illicit), alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, etc.

7) Hypoglycemia - pancreas and adrenal imbalances

8) Environmental toxicity

9) Genetic predisposition

10) Heavy metal toxicity

Unfortunately, people with depression are often treated with anti-depressants alone and these other potentially relevant factors are often largely ignored. Approximately half of those people visiting their GP for support are prescribed anti-depressants, another quarter are referred for counselling ( assuming the problem is of a psychological origin ). Drug treatment for depression is focused on 'normalising' the main mood enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin.

However, the manipulation of neurotransmitters is poorly understood, difficult to regulate and create a host of side effects including addictions, suicidal tendencies and, incredibly, depression itself.

Checking for the presence of of the above causes or contributing factors is a key element in selecting a course of treatment. Contact us for advice and support.



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Apple School of Sports Medicine & Back Care | 64 Hunters Avenue | Ayr KA8 9HS | Scotland 07814 528 087 | email :alan@applesportsmedicine.co.uk