Anxiety and Depression: Take a Look at the Functional Medicine Approach
Anxiety disorders affect nearly one in five adults the U. S. each year. An anxiety disorder is characterized by anxiety that does not subside but worsens over a period of time, usually six months or more. Anxiety disorders interfere with everyday activities and can also raise your risk for other conditions like heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression.
Patients experiencing anxiety and depression often present with somatic complaints (relating to the body as opposed to the mind) rather than classic psychiatric symptoms. For example, anxiety and depression may first be signaled by extreme chest pains, abnormal sleep patterns, and aberrant thought patterns.
Anxiety and depression tend to overlap each other and they both significantly reduce well-being and social function. They cause considerable pain and suffering not only for the affected individuals but for their family and friends as well.
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder affecting how one feels, thinks, and handles normal everyday activities like sleeping, eating, or working.
Persistent depressive disorder is characterized by depression that lasts at least two years with episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms.
Postpartum depression is much more serious than the relatively mild depressive and anxiety ‘baby blues’ symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after giving birth. Women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression (extreme sadness, anxiety, exhaustion) during pregnancy or after delivery.
Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by depression that occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight.
Bipolar depression occurs as episodes of extremely low moods in people diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
There is no single identifiable cause for either anxiety or depression. Research shows a genetic component is often a significant factor. Sometimes, medical conditions such as disability or chronic illness like irritable bowel syndrome can instigate anxiety or depression or both.
Both conditions may develop as a result of stress and the challenges of life, trauma, imbalanced brain chemistry or a combination of all of these can trigger anxiety and depression.
Both anxiety and depression remain under-recognized and under-treated in the U. S. today. We fail to realize in our society that mental health is fundamental to physical health. If you don’t have mental health, you can’t feel well physically either.
Medical doctors are often quick to prescribe medication for anxiety and depression however many chiropractic physicians like Dr. Ramah Wagner offer a complementary model using brain chemistry testing and functional medicine for effectively treating anxiety and depression. Wagner Chiropractic explores brain chemistry testing with medical laboratory testing (urine) to look at neurotransmitters of the brain and how balance the chemistries of the brain are.
Chiropractic adjustment in the course of treatment for anxiety and depression may include adjustment not just of the spine but of the upper neck. An out-of-alignment neck prevents proper blood drainage from the brain which may be related to depression, anxiety and other nervous system-oriented conditions. The flow of cerebrospinal fluid must also be unimpeded in order to feed the brain what it needs and establish proper mental function. Ensuring good alignment means ensuring that your electrical system is firing properly keeping you healthy in body and mind.
After running heart-rate variability testing to see how your body is responding to stress, medical laboratory testing of brain chemistry, we tailor a supplement regime to balance up brain chemistry even if the patient is on pharmaceutical medication for mental imbalances.
Important to this strategy is dealing with the brain chemistry imbalances. In many cases, the test results will indicate for certain pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements which can naturally help restore more balanced mental function and mood over a period of time including helping with serotonin and GABA imbalances.
If you are suffering from either anxiety or depression or both, you don’t have to continue living this way, but it may take overriding the prevaling messages in your mind that keep saying there is no help for you. We have helped countless people get their lives back who are already using medication and others who prefer not to use medication. We take a natural approach to rebuilding a healthy brain chemistry and a non-pharma approach to anxiety and depression.
Ballenger M.D., James. “Anxiety and Depression: Optimizing Treatments.” The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry: Official Journal of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry, U. S. National Library of Medicine, June 2000, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181112
Symptoms of Anxiety
numbness and tingling
stomach upset, nervous stomach
pulsing in the ear
fear of impending doom
shortness of breath
electric shock feeling
shooting pains in the face
weakness in legs
a sense of going crazy
inability to rest or to sleep
Symptoms of Depression
persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
decreased energy or fatigue
moving or talking more slowly
feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking in the morning, or oversleeping
appetite and/or weight changes
thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause