Depression, Mood Disorders & What To Do!

Depression can be very obvious for some and quite subtle for others but the commonality among all depression sufferers is that they may not be getting the help that they need. Depression is not always something that can be easily treated with a “pill”. Often times there is much more at work in the body contributing to the symptoms of depression and often these underlying influences can get missed. Read on to find out more about the not so well known causes of depression and what can be done to test and treat these factors…..


Depression is becoming an increasing struggle for many people. Depression may be short lived due to some situational circumstance or develop into a chronic condition in which a variety of underlying factors are thought to be the cause. In affluent countries, depression is already the leading cause of disease burden for women. Studies have also shown that depression will become the second leading cause of death and disability worldwide by 2020. This is second only to ischemic heart disease and the greatest burden of depression occurs in North America! The Medical Outcome Study, a four-year longitudinal report, corroborates these projections and adds that depression is more debilitating than other chronic medical disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Over the course of a year, 9.5% of the North American population suffer from depression and depression related mood disorders.  In the course of a lifetime, one out of every four women and one out of every ten men will develop depression.

The question then must be asked…..why? Let’s take a deeper look at some of the main symptoms and causes of depression to find out why and what can be done!

The official definition of clinical depression according to the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) is based on the following eight primary criteria:

  1. Poor appetite accompanied by weight loss, or increased appetite accompanied by weight gain
  2. Insomnia or excessive sleep habits (hypersomnia)
  3. Physical hyperactivity or inactivity
  4. Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities or decrease in sexual drive
  5. Loss of energy; feelings of fatigue
  6. Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach, or inappropriate guilt
  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  8. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide


The presence of 5 of the 8 symptoms definitely indicates clinical depression; an individual with 4 is likely depressed. According to the DSM-IV, the symptoms must be present for at least one month to be called depression. Clinical depression is also referred to as major depression or unipolar depression.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is manifested both physically and emotionally. The classic physical signs of depression are as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue; decreased energy, or a feeling of being “slowed down”
  • Digestive problems
  • Chronic pain
  • Hyperactivity; restlessness or irritability
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Loss of concentration; difficulty remembering or making decisions
  • Distorted eating patterns-either the urge to consistently overeat of loss of appetite  (a significant change in weight is often evident)


The emotional side of depression can include the following:


  • Excessive crying
  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Pessimism; hopelessness
  • A sense of worthlessness
  • Guilt, or self-pity
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Loss of enjoyment from normally pleasurable activities
  • Decrease in sex drive
  • Suicidal tendencies


Causes of Depression

Depression can often be due to an underlying organic (chemical) or physiological cause. Identification and elimination of the underlying cause should be the primary therapy.  The following lists the organic and physiological causes of depression:

  • Food allergies
  • Heavy metals
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Pre-existing physical conditions (cancer, chronic inflammation, chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, lung disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prescription medications (antihistamines, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory agents, birth control pills, corticosteroids, tranquilizers and sedatives)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Stress/low adrenal function

There are many steps that can be taken in order to determine the causative factors of depression and some specific lab tests can help to determine the imbalances.

  • Food Allergy Testing
  • Neurotransmitter Testing
  • Hormone Testing Including Adrenal and Thyroid function
  • Nutrient Deficiency Testing
  • Heavy Metal Toxicity Testing
  • Complete Digestive Analysis

Useful Natural Therapies for Depression

The treatment of depression should encompass the discovery and elimination of the underlying factors that are contributing to the depression. There are also several well documented natural treatments to alleviate depression. Some of these remedies include 5-HTP, St. John’s wort, L-tyrosine, SAMe, Vitamin B-complex and additional B12, Folic acid, Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D3. (NOTE- pharmaceutical anti-depressants should never be combined with 5-HTP or St John’s wort). Dr Cobi’s Top Picks include: Brain Mood, Mood Plus, Essential Euphoria, SAMe and EPA-DHA 1000