DEPRESSION LIFESTYLE CAUSES AND CONTRIBUTORS
REBALANCING TO WHAT WORKS FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE
THE BODY/MIND GOES HAYWIRE WHEN IT IS OUT OF BALANCE TOO LONG
It is imperative that one maintains proper balance in the body and in the brain for it to function well.
Even if we throw it off a little bit, but often or for prolonged periods, our bodies will attempt to compensate, which can often cause damage to the body/mind because of the out of balance state.
LOW FUNCTIONING OF THE FRONTAL LOBES
Interestingly enough, it has been proven that depression is caused by low functioning of the frontal lobes and/or an out of balance state between the right and the left frontal lobes. If there is excess activity in the right frontal lobe compared to the left frontal lobe, it is likely to cause depression.
What throws that balance off, as it should normally function in balance?
What happens to our lives when it is thrown out of balance or into low frontal lobe functioning?
I've listed some on the left.
Significant, I think, are a reduce ability to realize to assess and value the long term, to control one's behavior, and to see that one's actions affect the future. There is also an impaired ability to feel well-being. It impairs the development of character, which is a key determinant of the quality of life.
Increased anxiety, more problems unsolved, and reduced problem solving and decision making ability leads to mood problems and unhappiness. The inability to look long term leads to more short term gratification, which in turn leads to behaviors that cause further damage and impairment of functioning.
In short, it is a very, very, very bad idea to do anything that causes your frontal lobes not to be in balance and fully functioning!
It only makes sense that protecting our brain should be the top priority!
LESS CONTROL IS A DOWNWARD VICIOUS CYCLE
Less control means you'll do more unhealthy and harmful things, gratifying short term impulses that cause bad consequences.
In order to break the cycle, it is imperative that the person involved has help of committed professionals and those who care - he/she probably won't do it on his/her own willpower.
CAUSES AND CURES - CHEMICALS
Serotonin: Patients with a reduced ability for the brain to utilize serotonin were prone to depression. To fix this they needed to increase the consumption of foods containing tryptophan, increase exposure to sunlight (30 minutes/day), and exercise (30 min/day)
Street drugs increased high-risk behaviors, blunted frontal lobe functioning. It makes sense that "mind altering" drugs would alter the mind! (The mind reacts to them in a dramatic fashion, trying hard to return to balance.) Marijuana leads to attention, memory, and learning problems and long term brain impairment, with more passivity in life. It is not a "harmless" "so what", though people ignorantly tend to think it is ok and no big deal. It is a big deal - it causes great damage to one's life and well-being.
Caffeine unbalanced the mind, impinging on the brain's communication systems, which involved chemical messengers. It increases acetylicholine and interacts with adenosine transmission. A decrease in acetylcholine is associated with impaired mental functioning. It does not improve intellectual capacity, though many seem to believe it does! Adenosine tones down never transmission, but it is weakened by artificial stimulation of the brain from caffeine. The results are greater anxiety, anxiety neurosis, psychosis and even more serious disorders. It causes dopamine to rise inappropriately, which tends to increase the risk of certain mental illnesses. And it significantly decreases brain blood flow, up to 30% less. Caffeine should be eliminated for anyone, but especially for those who are prone to depression and/or anxiety. It helps, when hyped, people to do simple task more quickly, but it is disruptive on more complex tasks.
Alcohol is a very popular frontal lobe assailant. It weakens frontal lobe activity, abstract thinking (even in social drinkers), and weakens judgment - hugely increasing fatal accidents even below the legally drink minimums! And it causes a loss of brain cells. (Oh, well, what's the loss of a few brain cells...). The gray matter can actually be shown to have shrunk.
Nicotine affects dopamine, contributes to depression, lowers health, and kills.
CAUSES AND CURES - TV, INTERNET: PASSIVITY, MENTAL FUNCTIONING
TV actually hypnotizes, causes non-reactivity to dangers and violence and causes inappropriate harmful behaviors to be considered "ok" without being screened through the frontal lobe, creates passivity in life, and it contributes to lack of success in life, to non-coping and non-problem solving. It damages the frontal lobes, activating the right frontal lobe excessively and causing the left to drift, throwing the balance out of whack and creating mood disorders, including especially depression. It desensitizes us to other people and problems.
Stop TV or at least minimize it to no more than 1 hour.
The internet has many of the same effects, as it involves a sporadic short attention span and the inability to focus on anything for long enough to reason and think things out or to problem solve. Excessive internet activity is a major cause of depression.
Limit its use to actual research, interaction, and things that require actual sustained attention, such as reading and learning.
Both, timewise, suck up your hours and your life, which could have been spent on high return activities and interests.
CAUSES AND CURES - DIET
Sugar intake and refined carbs cause blood sugar fluctuate, which causes overreactivity with insulin, and low blood sugar spells, damaging the flow of the much needed glucose to the brain, thereby impairing its functioning. It takes the brain 45 to 75 minutes to regain normal intellectual function after the blood sugar returns to normal!
High protein, low carb diets can cause serotonin deficiencies.
Have a high carbohydrate diet of fruits, vegetables, and grains, with no refined carbs or sugar, and you'll dramatically increase your serotonin (feel good) and reduce cortisol (stress hormone). And because you feel better you'll tend to eat less and weigh less!
High carb diets, with lots of fiber in it, will have you functioning at peak mental efficiency and it'll have you living a better life - and feeling better!
CURES - PHYSICAL
Massage has immediate soothing effects, lowering cortisol, the stress hormone, and increasing oxytocin (calming).
Exercise quells anxious thoughts, improves mood, increases blood flow and thinking ability, improve left brain function. The latter, of course, helps the balance between the lobes, so that the rational, executive function of being able to run life well is enhanced.
CHILDREN - BE CAREFUL HOW YOU RAISE THEM!
Reducing frontal lobe function early in life may provide a safeguard against depression. Depressed children also had significantly smaller frontal lobes. Sugar and refined carbohydrates and watching TV have a significant effect on the frontal lobes, impairing control, attention, reasoning, and causing passive behavior that will significantly affect his/her future, dramatically lowering the success and the quality of life of the child as an adult.
"Children seem to be particularly susceptible to decreased thinking and intellectual function as a result of sugar consumption. Boys put on a low refined-sugar diet performed the equivalent of one who letter grade higher in school." Neil Nedley, M.D.
BOOK TO READ AND STUDY AND FOLLOW
I am very impressed with the book by Neil Nedley, M. D., called Depression - The Way Out. Though a bit expensive, the value is far, far greater - and it may do the trick for people who have not quite been able to conquer depression before.
An incredible amount of research and well-documented lifestyle changes can be made to cure depression and to get off of the meds!