Depressed? Are You Getting Better?
Depression can make everyday life feel draining. Low energy and lack of sleep are the most common symptoms of depression we tend to see at Amen Clinics. Quite often, these feelings can stem from your depression medication – and wind up not solving your real problem, which leaves you feeling even more helpless and frustrated. Have you been on antidepressant medications or mood stabilizers, and have seen little to no improvement?
Restlessness and Depression
When people have been on antidepressants and are not getting any better, they tend to have lower energy than normal. This type of fatigue is different for people who just didn’t get enough sleep last night, or do not live healthy lifestyles. This type of energy lag has a flow.
This sort of depression consists of starting your morning feeling groggy and tired. Then by mid-morning, you have a jolt of energy. Around the late afternoon, you are starting to feel extremely worn out. By night time, when you should be falling asleep, you find yourself staying up and unable to rest.
Not only is this cycle toxic to your body but it isn’t helping the depression problem that’s occurring in your body.
Depression and Low Energy Explained
When symptoms occur, a great amount of stress is placed on your body. Over time your poor body begins to secrete a neurohormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that has been linked to depression.
When your cortisol secretion level is too high, your adrenal glands cannot keep up, resulting in:
- Rather than normal or too high, your cortisol levels dip low
- Profound tiredness
- High sensitivity to stress and feeling overwhelmed
- Weight gain and possible cravings
Testing Your Cortisol Hormone or Stress Levels
At Amen Clinics, we offer a salivary cortisol test* four times per day (call for locations that offer this test). Unlike most of our human hormones, cortisol levels fluctuate. They go up in the morning and then throughout the day they slowly decrease, making us want to go to sleep by bedtime.
If your stress hormone levels happen to run backward, that is when you’ll feel the effects of stress, low energy, and weight gain.
Optimizing Adrenal Function From Stressors
With this salivary test, we are able to optimize your adrenal gland functions and help your brain stay clear and bright. Balancing your stress hormones also allows you to lose weight, and keep it off.
We also test you for depression and cortisol levels:
- Using adaptogen supplements, which help the body adjust to stress.
- Using adrenal extracts – dried, desiccated adrenal glands from other animals such as pigs. These extracts may revive and rehabilitate your cortisol levels.
- If neither of these methods help, try an internist. He or she can prescribe medication like Cortef. Cortef is a type of corticosteroid, which can help get your levels up. A corticosteroid is a class of steroid hormone used to respond to low levels of cortisol in response to stress and low blood sugar.
Why It’s Important to Receive a Proper Diagnosis
In Dr. Daniel G. Amen’s book, “Change Your Brain Change Your Life” he refers to how most people struggling with depression are diagnosed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional who is searching for a “symptom cluster”.
For example, if a patient says they are depressed they are most likely to get a diagnosis of depression and be prescribed antidepressant medication or psychotherapy for depression. However, these diagnostic labels don’t tell us about the underlying biology of these problems. That is why a one-size-fits-all treatment plan for depression, just isn’t realistic. Find a specialist who compassionately comprehends your needs and fears.
If you or a loved one is depressed and not getting any better, you might suggest that cortisol hormones are checked, and full physical. For more expert advice, watch: Amen Clinic’s Live Chat on Facebook or contact us here.
*Salivary tests are not available at all Clinic locations. Please call 888-288-9834.