Depression is a complex mental health concern. Symptoms can vary from person to person, because there are various types of depression. When we dig a bit deeper, there a few mechanisms and proposed reasons for what causes depression.
It’s important to consider these factors because these things alter our treatment plans.
Genetic Influences of Depression
There is a strong connection established through family, twin and adoption studies that genetic factors play an important role in affective disorders, including depression .
Biochemical Basis of Depression
There are various aspects of the biochemistry that relates to depression.
Synaptic Transmission: for neurons to work, there are many steps in the process. These neurons are the brain cells, which can control many aspects of mental health. The way neurons fire and connect will have huge impacts on mental health, including depression .
Monoamine Hypothesis: this is one of the first major hypotheses of depression. This is the theory a lot of doctors follow when they use common medications in treating depression. The idea is certain neurotransmitters are deficient in the central nervous system. Serotonin, norepinephrine and/or dopamine are considered monoamine neurotransmitters. The issues can arise in the production of these neurotransmitters, the transport of them, the receptors associated with them and the re-uptake of them .
Endocrine Processes in Depression
A variety of hormonal abnormalities have been demonstrated in those with depression. Altered levels of cortisol, growth hormone, thyroid hormones have shown there could be a hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction.
The Immune System and Inflammation
There’s emerging research showing that inflammation is a potential causative factor for inflammation. When it comes to treatment, neuroinflammation is often a target in treatment when working with a naturopath, in addition to treating the endocrine and neurotransmitter influences of depression  .
Treatment Should Be All Encompassing
For a lot of people suffering from depression, their presentation will differ because their underlying factors may differ. We must consider all of these major factors when assessing and treating depression.
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About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera
Dr. Johann is a fully licensed Naturopathic Doctor. His approach emphasizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s health naturally. Dr. Johann obtained a Doctor of Naturopathy at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Education at CCNM is a vigorous four years, with a curriculum involving biomedical sciences, physical diagnosis, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle management.
While Dr. Johann has a general practice, he focuses on fertility, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and autoimmune disease.
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