I was fortunate to participate in this advanced clinical training utilizing the Functional Medicine Model to address the underlying neurology, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, and neurobiology of mood disorders.
Depression is much more than a neurotransmitter issue!
We now understand the key mechanisms involved in the dynamic responses impacting the limbic system through multiple different pathways. A thorough understanding of these key underlying mechanisms allows for a personalized and precision approach to a individual’s treatment plan including diet, lifestyle, and nutraceuticals.
Depression and mood disorders must be understood as a dynamic response to various mechanisms that impact certain areas of the brain. Those key areas of the brain underpinning mood disorders are the limbic lobe (fear center) and the frontal lobe (executive area). The key functions we take into careful consideration impacting those areas are:
- Cerebral blood flow
- Neurochemical activity
- Receptor site responses
- Genetic susceptibility
- Metabolic imbalances
- Immune imbalances
Those individual mechanisms play a key role in the expression of mood disorders and manifest as depression, anxiety and other related disorders such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Many people and even doctors believe the roots of depression lie in an imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine or epinephrine. And while they definitely do play a role in the overall function of the brain, viewing diseases such as depression or anxiety solely through the lens of neurotransmitter imbalance is a short-sighted and flawed model. We now understand disorders such as depression and anxiety are a reflection of wide-spread systems imbalances that involve a dynamic interplay between the brain, the immune system, the hormonal system, the microbiome, etc. Intervening with a single approach, such as a drug targeting serotonin rarely results in a lasting clinical effect, and can lead to further impairment over time. We need to evolve our treatment approach to the newest evidence available from the scientific literature to address the complex web of potential contributors that underlie mood disorders, such as:
- The microbiome
- Blood sugar regulation
- Prostaglandin signaling
- Hormone levels
- Brain function
- Signs of neurodegeneration
- Brain oxygenation
At Peak Health we are constantly thriving to bring the latest and most evolved care to our patients through the application of Functional Medicine. If you or a loved one has been struggling with mood issues, please feel free to reach out to us for help.
#functionalmedicine #anxiety #depression #bipolar