A Tragic Illness in Need of a Different Model
Depression is a common but serious disorder that affects how you feel, think, and interact with the world. The repercussions are not just mental or emotional but also physical: your body hurts, your gastrointestinal system is upset, and/or you have persistent headaches. The National Institute for Mental Health estimated that 16.2 million Americans experienced depression in 2016.
The Current Party Line
The typical approach to depression is comprised of reviewing a check list of symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Model of Mental Disorders (the “DSM”), and, if enough of the listed symptoms persist beyond 2 weeks, diagnosing accordingly. Then a physician will choose a medication on your behalf. Occasionally and if you are very lucky, the choice of medication follows from a limited pharmacogenetic analysis, other times it is more random, and still other times, it is dictated by less than ideal factors (e.g. what’s on hand, what’s cheapest, what best marketed by big pharma). Finally, you will be recommended a psychotherapist. Despite this well established treatment plan, we still have staggering levels of depression in this country. Why?
Depression is actually heterogeneous
At DCIM, we do not believe in a magic bullet approach to treating depression. While pharmaceuticals can be tools, they in no way address the multi-faceted inputs that affect the clinical issue we call depression. A non-exhaustive list would include:
- Gastrointestinal Infections and Imbalances
- Blood Sugar Dysregulation/Pre-Diabetes
- Subclinical Hypothyroidism (low thyroid)
- Vitamin D or Omega 3 Deficiencies or Insufficiencies
- Adverse Childhood Events/Trauma
- Brain Injury/Neurodegenerative
- Disordered Sleep
Hopefully, a full and comprehensive assessment of depression will be mainstream in the future. For now, join us at DCIM where we are changing the current paradigm one patient at a time, giving your health the best chance at vitality.
© District Center for Integrative Medicine 2019