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Interview with the general practitioner and advisor author Dr. Depression: "Do not rush to the chemical club - often nature can help much better!"
“The rapid increase in mental illness is being discussed a lot. However, it is rarely discussed that depression often has physical causes; The most common include deficiency in vitamins, minerals or hormones. If the defect is recognized correctly, it can be treated easily and successfully. Unfortunately, however, doctors generally know little or nothing about it and prescribe chemical antidepressants too quickly and too often - which can become a real trap in the long run. ” Wormer, author of the compact guide "Natural Antidepressants", explains the possible causes of depressive conditions, explains the risks of drug treatment and presents gentle ways out of the low mood.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. What does it actually mean and what are the differences between their different forms?
Dr. Wormer: Basically, a distinction must be made between depressive moods - depending on the cause, mostly temporary - and real depression, which can persist. Real depression is classified as a mental illness. Depression is initially a symptom that can have very different causes. If these causes are identified and the disorders are eliminated, the depression disappears in many cases. If all measures remain ineffective and the depressive state increases, a real depression will be assumed. Almost everyone has experienced depressive moods. In contrast, comparatively few people are affected by real depression. The main difference between the two mental disorders relates to the overall feeling: feelings of depression such as tearful grief or guilt are still possible with depressive mood - a real depression, on the other hand, is the absence of any feeling, which sufferers experience as unbearable hell.
They understand depression as a natural reaction to any kind of stress and trauma, which in many cases is caused by physical causes. What's behind it?
Dr. Wormer: Any kind of above-average stress shifts feelings towards depression. Sometimes we notice it, sometimes not. Physical and psychological injuries - traumatizations - can heal, but leave permanent traces or scars with which those affected continue to live. Depending on how severe the traumatization is, the depression can also be different. For example, if you feel exhausted, tired, and depressed after a cold, keep in mind that this is a natural body response that will go away as you recover. If you have suffered a heart attack, you have to expect a severe depressive state - today people are increasingly trying to take the risk of depression into account when treating the heart attack. One reason for depression after traumatization could be the close networking of the immune system and nervous system - the body has given priority to physical recovery, which leads to reductions in the happiness hormones. That is natural.
The mood counterpart to depression is the so-called mania. How do sufferers notice that "normal" mood swings develop into illness?
Dr. Wormer: Those affected feel great! Maybe too great. With pronounced mania, the need to sleep decreases, appetite wanes, and an enormous drive for action becomes noticeable. Manicans have earth-shattering ideas (which have no basis) that they bring to the world with great conviction. They have a charming, sometimes irresistible charisma and just feel great. In a manic state, accounts are opened at five banks in a very short time, three cars are bought, immense debts are made and multiple marriage vows are made. Mania is the "speed mode" of life, restlessly driven by grandiose ideas, sleepless and hyperactive and motivated 1000 percent. If the mania subsides, the victims stand in front of a pile of broken glass. In principle, the maniceman has no choice, he inevitably falls into his frenzy. It is rather the environment that should notice such behavioral abnormalities and recognize them as a partial symptom of a mental illness. If the manic state is low, one speaks of hypomania. This condition is much more common. Affected people are usually considered "normal", at most as "hyperactive", "annoying" or "doer type". Nevertheless, dealing with these characters who are constantly too well tuned can be exhausting and stressful.
In the age of modern medicine and psychology, the use of chemical antidepressants and / or psychotherapy is used for psychological problems. How do you assess these options and what alternative or complementary treatment options are there?
Dr. Wormer: Every therapy option has its indication and justification and, if correctly diagnosed, also has a probability of success. Antidepressants, alternative drugs, and psychotherapy, alone or in combination, can help relieve stressful or life-threatening depression. First, it must be clarified whether there is a depressive mood or a real depression. Then it must be ensured that there is no deficiency of any kind. If this is resolved and an (increasingly severe) depression is still noticeable, antidepressants are a helpful option - to stabilize the mood and prevent suicide. Antidepressants should only be used for a limited time if possible. Psychotherapy can be effective and recommended for any mood disorder. It is also a need-based and temporary measure, especially in crisis situations - sometimes psychotherapy in studies with depressives has proven to be just as effective as antidepressants! Alternative means are “first-line therapy” for depressive states and mood disorders: elimination of deficiency states, treatment of glandular disorders, promotion of recovery, strengthening of the immune system, movement training or artistic activity.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency states are often the first cause of mood disorders. Which of these are associated with depression and how can you remedy them?
Dr. Wormer: The most common deficiency conditions that cause depressive mood are vitamin D deficiency, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency and a lack of thyroid hormones. All of these conditions are easy to identify and treat successfully - if you think about it and don't dismiss this possibility as irrelevant or unimportant. Doctors generally know little or nothing about it and prescribe their patients “reflexively” antidepressants at the slightest hint of depression - in any case far too often. If you allow that, you may be completely unsuspecting in the "antidepressant trap", where you can stay for years. Since doctors only feel responsible for the “sick”, you have to take action yourself: you have your values checked, identify deficiency states and eliminate them with food supplements. It is actually very simple and very inexpensive - and very successful in many cases.
What is the advantage of "natural antidepressants" and what are the risks?
Dr. Wormer: Since natural antidepressants are predominantly the body's own or body-like substances, there are hardly any real side effects to fear. There are certain dosage and application guidelines for some agents that should be followed. The rare exception is the elementary substance lithium, which is only used under medical supervision - lithium is a mood stabilizer for the treatment of bipolar disease. Healthy eating, physical activity, psychotherapy, sleep deprivation and art therapy are very safe recommendations.
Due to their side effects and interactions, you are advised against the careless use of psychotropic drugs. When is the use of the “chemical club” essential?
Dr. Wormer: Yes, I strongly advise against the careless use of antidepressants and loathe the irresponsible prescription of psychotropic drugs! Antidepressants and psychotropic drugs have absolute justification for real depression or psychosis. They can help you survive severe psychological crises and prevent suicides. Antidepressants can be used in acute cases and during recurrent depressive phases. You can save lives too. But they are not a sustainable solution to a mental disorder or a cure for a mental illness.
Just as depression or melancholy have always inspired great works of art, creative activities are available as therapy options. Which offers do you think are promising and effective?
Dr. Wormer: It's easy to answer: Any kind of artistic or cultural activity - be it music, painting, writing, pottery or whatever - can stabilize the psyche and successfully contribute to coping with mood disorders.