Saturday, December 6, 2008

What is depression....really?

Ever had one of those days when you're stuck on approach with too many flights stacked and waiting to land on too few runways? The process eventually happens, it just might be slowed down.

That's really all depression is to your brain. Too much information trying to travel through too few pathways.

Depression is to the brain and nervous system what heart disease is to the circulation--the end result of inflammatory and oxidative processes.

It's kind of like a rusting out process wreaking havoc on your nervous system. As neurons are oxidized, or rusted out, they lose their ability to function. If it's neurons in the emotional center of the brain, you can feel sad. If it's in the sleep center, you may not sleep well. If it's in the reproductive center, it may affect your fertility. When the cortex is involved, you may find you have a hard time with attention span, and making what are normally easy decisions.

A lot of every day factors can accelerate the processes that are the stepping stones into depression. Stress. Sleep disruption. Lack of exercise. Diet.

You don't have depression because your body has a deficiency of psychiatric medication. If the factors causing the problem aren't addressed, medication may be what it takes to jump start your nervous system out of its funk. But there are a lot of things that can help, way before you get to that point.

The first step is to understand what depression is, and what it isn't. It is a condition largely affected by lifestyle choices. It isn't a character weakness. It is very similar to heart disease, only it is affecting a different organ system--the nervous system.

Depression isn't an indication that you're crazy. It may be an indication that your body is having a hard time keeping up with all of the physical and emotional demands it is being asked to absorb.

Nutritional strategies for depression are kind of like opening up more runways...they make information flow more easily. It's not that medication doesn't, but that strategy is more like trying to force all those extra landings in the same limited space. Pilots are no different than non-pilots in this regard; it's just that they have a unique, career-related reason to build the runways that other people don't.

It is something I am excited to talk to you about, because I've seen people achieve great things with a few small changes.

Stay tuned, or subscribe to this blog, as I'll be getting into more details in later posts.

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