Stress, Anxiety, Depression
Medical DisclaimerThe advice given is in no way meant to take the place of professional advice. Should you wish to consider any level of treatment you are strongly advised to run this past your GP or health professional. Click here to speak to the team
Emotional Issues – Stress, Anxiety and Depression
What causes this?
Mood alteration is one of our most problematical issues in health. Fear evolved to help us survive so that we could respond quickly if in danger. The fight or flight response was intended to prepare an individual in a dangerous situation to fight or run away. Modern life has unprecedented dangers, but they are usually not the sort you can hit on the nose or run away from. So our anxiety accumulates, we produce stress hormones and our bodies have to deal with the effects.
Loss, grief or discontent with work, home, relationships and social life can lead to depression, as can longer term stress.
All such negative emotional feelings are due to an imbalance of the excitatory and inhibitory hormones in the brain. These neurotransmitters can be altered by ‘exogenous’ causes (life events or ones perception of them) or ‘endogenous’ causes (imbalance of these hormones).
Psychological techniques like counselling, CBT, NLP and others help with exogenous emotional processes but endogenous imbalances are often due to:
1. deficiencies in the nutrients that make the neurotransmitters
2. toxins that interfere with neurotransmitter production and that block the receptors in the emotion centres that they are meant to attach to in the brain
3. food allergy and intolerance can cause psychological issues
4. bowel disturbance leads to neurotransmitter production which then travels around the body in the blood stream and influences the brain – the Gut-Brain Axis
Problems associated with Emotional Issues and what they can lead to:
A lack of appetite or poor eating habits due to ‘comfort eating’ which in turn leads to
• Nutritional deficiencies.
• Mitochondrial dysfunction (the parts of cells that turn oxygen and nutrition into energy)
The same neurotransmitters and neurohormones that govern emotion control the intestine.
• Problems with digestion and bowel movement are often affected by our emotional state. We all have ‘gut feelings’
Stress influences production of cortisol which is our stress controlling hormone.
• This is directly linked to imbalance of our female and male hormones like oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone
• Chronic stress response can lead to a variety of illnesses
If left untreated any emotional issues can lead to a diminished quality-of-life, lower immune resistance, reduce the ability to exercise which in turn diminishes most aspects of health and has an association with most and many conditions and diseases.
What symptoms are shown:
• Lack of drive
• Lack of energy
• Excessive irritability
• Anger and violence
• Lack of libido/sex drive
• Bowel complaints
• Muscle aches/fatigue
Diagnosing the cause and directing treatment options of Emotional Issues:
It is important that you discuss emotional issues with close family and friends and see if things can be resolved. Your GP may not have the time to deal with non-physical issues but practices may have associated psychologists. Differentiating between exogenous and endogenous emotional problems may not be that easy simply through a chat or a talking therapy but fortunately Functional Medicine has tests that can be of use in diagnosing and treating such problems. Often emotional issues are caused by both external factors and neurotransmitter imbalance so much so that treating one but not the other does not resolve the problem.
1. Comprehensive adrenal stress profile
This saliva test measures cortisol, our stress coping hormone, DHEA, a useful marker of how stressed you are and secretory IgA, an immune component that drops the more stressed we are and advises us if your immune system is suffering due to stress. Imbalances affect energy, mood and immune function. Stress influences many areas of health such as:
- anxiety and depression
- chronic inflammatory conditions
- tummy aches and digestive symptoms
- fatigue syndromes
- sleep problems
- headaches and migraines
- recurrent infections
- menstrual difficulties and infertility.
2. Urinary Neurotransmitter Panel
This test tells us about levels of important inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter levels. Too much or too little adrenaline, noradrenalin, serotonin, GABA, dopamine and glutamate needs to be corrected and this test advises about the use of certain amino acids and herbal extracts that may redress that.
3. The NeuroAdrenal Panel
This extensive urine and saliva test provides both Tests 1 and 2 above
4. The Complete Neurotransmitter and Hormone panel
This urine and saliva test combines both the NeuroAdrenal Panel with a full assay of the female/male hormones and is ideal for stressed individuals concerned their sex hormones are influencing their health and well being.