You’re feeling kind of down. You’re not exactly certain why you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning and after all, that’s a fairly common feeling isn’t it? The desire to ignore the alarm clock when it goes off and pull the covers over your head and sleep the day away is something everyone experiences at some point in their life. It doesn’t mean you’re depressed or that there’s something wrong in your head, does it?
If the feeling of sadness, inability to engage in your usual activities, desire to sleep more than usual or not sleep at all, loss of appetite or increased desire to eat and these symptoms last more than two weeks, then yes—you may be suffering a major depressive episode.
Depression can be triggered by many things; by situations, by hormonal imbalances and yes depression can also be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The exact chemical imbalances and their relationship to depression are not fully understood, but great strides have been made in the past few years.
People who are suffering from anxiety and depression all seem to have the same chemical imbalances in common. These include the following:
- Low levels of some neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, GABA and acetylcholine.
- An increase of toxic neurochemicals like homocysteine.
- Low levels of serum magnesium, zinc or potassium.
- Some have extremely low levels of essential vitamins like B6, B9, B12 and vitamin C.
- Deficiency of some key cofactors such as amino acids that aid in transporting neurotransmitter precursors into the blood-brain barrier.
- Stress hormone levels (cortisol) are off the charts.
Despite extensive clinical research, little is known of the relationship between chemical imbalances in the brain and major depressive episodes. We simply do not know why or how it occurs. Most medical professionals will tell you that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain but they cannot give you a definitive explanation beyond that simple fact. Most doctors prescribe SSRI’s of MAOI’s which are similar in that they are chemical balancers that treat the chemical imbalance in the brain.
Depression, whether caused by situations in life or by a chemical imbalance in the brain, are deeply disturbing episodes that can have a debilitating effect on a person. Always seek the help of a professional if you feel down and the feeling persist for longer than two weeks.