Depression is a widespread “common disease”. More and more people suffer from depression and the use of antidepressant drugs is steadily increasing. There are about 350 million people affected worldwide. Worldwide depression is the leading cause of incapacity of work, and there is no other disease with the same negative impact on patient’s life like the depression.
Since I started primary care, depression and its concomitant diseases has become more and more the focus of my work.
Depression is a “difficult” disease that has multiple causes and manifestations and is therefore not always easy to recognize and to treat. Every depression and every patient are unique and needs personalized treatment.
Causes and risk factors of a depression include: genetic predisposition, positive family anamnesis for depression, partner or other close person affected by depression, presence of other psychological or psychiatric pathologies, difficult life circumstances, burn-out and chronic stress.
And what I would like to talk about in particular in this article: nutrient deficiency, in particular: vitamin B6 deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, vitamin D deficiency.
If there is a suspicion of a depressive disorder, a thorough diagnosis should be made before therapy. A blood test which investigates the vitamins above, but also iron deficiency (ferritin), thyroid gland, blood glucose should be done.
The above vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin D deficiency, can be the cause of depression, aggravate it or occur with other factors.
International scientific studies have shown that depressed people often have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency doubles the risk of developing depression (especially in the presence of other risk factors). This is especially true for older people. Among other things, because our skin with increasing age produces less vitamin D at sun exposure. The more pronounced the vitamin D deficiency is, the more severe are the symptoms of depression. An example of the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and depressive mood, is the mild form of depression, the so called winter depression during the sun poor months. Conversely the increase of vitamin D level decreases the depressive symptoms.
So before you turn to antidepressant drugs, you should treat vitamin deficiencies (and other nutritional deficiencies).
Light to medium depression may be treated successfully and permanently without antidepressant drugs by:
correction of the nutritional deficiencies, in particular with vitamin D medication
regular sport activity
sufficient sleep
psychotherapeutic support
Pharmacotherapy at the beginning often is not uncomplicated. It takes some time to find out the appropriate antidepressant drug and the right dosage for the patient. In many cases they lose their positive effects after a period but lead to a psychological dependence. You should always first take the above measures and at the same time try to improve your life-style with psychological support.