I can't seem to find a good article on this site that defines the difference between clinical depression (i.e. meaning your brain just doesn't produce enough seratonin) and bouts of depression triggered by life events. What many people don't seem to understand is that you can suffer from clinical depression and yet show zero signs of it... as long as you are on the appropriate medication. If you stop the medication, then you will again show symptoms of depression. If your doctor finds the right type and leve of medication for you, you can lead a completely normal life and noone would even guess you had an illness. How do I know this? Because I was diagnosed with clinical depression about 20 years ago. And over that time I've experimented with staying on my meds and going off of them. That experimentation period is over -- I am taking the meds for life because I know they allow me to lead a completely normal life. Most people I talk to about it today are thrown for a loop when I tell them that I suffer from clinical depression. Because they see no signs of it in my life. And why is that? Because it's 100% treatable through medication and I stay on my meds. I'm not saying it's easy to get to that stage - finding the right medication and dosage for each individual is very tricky and may take quite a long time. But it's doable. And everyone who has true clinical depression should take heart - it can be treated and controlled.
Laura, thanks for sharing and you are right - there are so many versions of depression.

Mine is "situational" based on what I am going through.

Glad to see you are doing great smile
I always think of mine as inherited. People on my moms and my dads side of the family both suffered from depression and self medicated with alcohol.
Well, the different types of depression aren't necessarily distinct. Life events, both emotional and physical, can trigger biochemical changes that cause depression and don't always resolve when the physical or emotional event is over. For example, it's been proven that any serious physical trauma, like a surgery, a car accident, or childbirth, can alter a person's thyroid and/or adrenal hormones, and in some cases, the changes lasts for months, years or forever. And of course, those hormones play a big part in a person's mental health. This is probably why there's so much confusion about treating depression--the line between physical and emotional causes is indeed blurry.

Did you know that most of the seratonin is produced in the gut and not the brain?

If one is suffering from depression due to deficient seratonin they would be wise to improve the health of their gut though diet and supplementation of quality probiotics and B vitamins.

This is just another example of how disoriented the conventional medical community is in their approach to treating disease and because of it countless suffer and even die from depression.

They have no clue on how to heal the body only on how to drug it into submission and further degeneration.
The bottom line is to seek "help" and not continue to live depressed. There is HELP smile
Yes, and there is quality help but you won't find it in most doctor's offices.

If most of your seratonin is produced in the gut and you are deficient in seratonin why do they not do something to improve the gut? instead of just pumping drugs into you? that repairs nothing? is one expected to take drugs their whole life with no hope of being free of them?

One thing I have noticed as a nurse, it that the more chronic disease sets in the less effective the antidepressants are. They are a mask, as facade for much deeper internal physiological issues... the are a crutch which may be needed at times, but the crutch sould eventually be thrown for a cure.

If your depression has a hormonal basis you should have your hormones checked by a saliva test and supplement accordingly as you work to nourish your hormonal glands. Thyroid issues usually can be addressed by supplementing with potassium iodide.
Laura, I'm glad to know that you have found meds which work for you. As I have written, for those who do have chemical imbalances, medications can be helpful, but as you said, it usually takes trying many different meds, and even combinations of meds, to find what works for a particular individual.

With your many years of experience with depression, I'm sure you know that psychiatric illness is not an exact science. There are many chemicals/hormones which are involved and can be unbalanced. Also, different people respond differently to medications, largely because the doctors do not know exactly which chemicals may be causing the symptoms. It can be a very frustrating journey, and many people give up on meds before finding the right ones, which seems to be your point--to not give up.

In my article entitled "Depression and Childhood Abuse," I wrote about the fact that painful life events can actually alter brain chemistry, sometimes predisposing sufferers to depression for years. However, not everyone who is going through a hard time has a chemical imbalance. They can't check your blood or do an x-ray to see what's going on. They can't take a sample and see a particular "bacteria" that is causing a disease, knowing it will respond to certain "antibiotics."

As you said, Laura, depression is treatable, but there is no magic pill. In most cases, even when a med is found which is effective for a patient, its efficacy plateaus after a while, and then begins to lose its efficacy. Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, have been found to be as effective as antidepressants in long-term treatment for depression.

However, each patient is different. What might work for one might not work for another. I agree that it is important for sufferers of depression to seek treatment, including meds. I don't, however, believe that the labels we put on psychiatric illnesses are so important. Each patient experiences the symptoms of his or her disease at differing levels, and different doctors might put different labels on the same person. What matters is that we get the help to make us feel better, and I know that we are all happy that you were able to do this. smile

Maria--excellent info, and very well-written! Thanks so much for your input! smile
Arrow, that is also great info. I agree that feeding people drugs forever is not the best option. There are so many potential causes for depression, as well as helpful natural treatments, which I try to write about as much as I can.

As for hormonal causes, I know that my issues are heavily affected by my hormones. I have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and though my periods are somewhat irregular, I (as well as everyone around me) know that my period is coming because for about a week and a half, I have little control over my emotions. I sob, I scream, I get extremely angry, and I feel completely hopeless. It's such a rollercoaster ride...AND I HATE ROLLERCOASTERS!!

Thanks for the information regarding the serotonin in the gut. I wasn't aware of that.
Connie, I know how you feel. Depression usually does tend to run in families. I have it on both sides, and as you mentioned, my father's family "self-medicated" with alcohol, too. That's never a good idea, as alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and it makes the depression even worse. I used to drink to "feel better" when I was young, but it never seemed to sink in that instead of feeling better, I usually ended up crying at the end of a night of drinking. DUUUHH!! smile
The funny thing is my mom can see alcoholism in people in our family, but she is drinking red wine every evening for health reasons. Which I had said "one glass is for health, not the whole box" LOL!!
Connie, that's big-time DENIAL! My mom drank a lot before her accident. She knows she drinks too much, but she doesn't care. She says she enjoys it and it helps her sleep, which is just another form of denial. mom could be the Queen of de nile!
Posted By: Anonymous Re: Clinical Depression - completely treatable - 01/31/11 02:07 AM
only this afternoon i was discussing alcoholism with a complete stranger i met while i was out shopping, he was a middle aged gentleman and his concern about his two sons was quite open. he told me one son was an alcoholic and the other was smoking cannabis, i told the man i could identify with his worries. after he explained i told him that he wasnt alone with his problem with his two son has drank heavy since coming out of the army? he was with the united nations as a peace keeping force in bosnia and i told him i worry about his health all the time. just over 3 years ago i had a premonition that the road he used would be unlucky for him, i had an awful feeling about him being hurt? he got drunk and tried to cross the road at night and an articulator lorry hit him and put him in hospital? he discharged himself the next day covered in cuts and bruises, he did go back to have his tendon in his leg repaired though. i thought this accident would be the wake up call he needed but he still wont stop the drinking i am concerned about him and hope he will come to his senses, but he is an alcoholic and only he can help himself ive tried and failed.
I'm so sorry about your son's alcoholism. I know how you feel, as there are alcoholics in my family, as well. It can tear you apart if you let it.

As you stated, he is the only one who can change his behavior. All you can do is pray for him and refuse to enable him. You should go to Al-Anon meetings, too. I'm not sure, but I would imagine they have them there, or if not, they should have something similar. I've been meaning to go myself. I've heard that it is extremely helpful in learning how to deal with the pain of having someone you love being an addict, regardless of the substance.

I sincerely hope that your son is able to get help for himself before it's too late. He has to be suffering from depression and possibly post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), too. He really needs to see a therapist, as does everyone who sees combat. I can't imagine the kinds of memories they have to live with on a daily basis. It's no wonder they are so messed up when they come home, and that they turn to substance abuse. Please try to talk him into seeing a therapist. It's worth a try.

I'm hoping and praying for the best for you and your son. Thank you so much for your post and feel free to visit us again.
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