Aha, I bet that title might make some people mad….initially anyway!
Modern neuroscience has now taken us beyond the scale and scope of modern psychiatry, even with the advent of the new DSM-V coding and definition changes. Diagnosis is still based on symptoms! Can you say, #fail?!
People who report depressive symptoms typically are placed into 2 main categories, melancholic or atypical. Melancholic depression symptoms typically look like lack of energy, difficulty facing everyday tasks, brain fog, poor concentration, and feelings of emptiness. Atypical depression looks more like low mood, together with sleep problem, overeating, emotional paralysis and heightened sensitivity to rejection. Blah blah blah…
The point is that does not come close to characterizing ALL of the potential subtypes of depression that are now known, if you have a functional medicine, holistic, modern neuroscientific perspective. These subtypes look like many of the common depression symptoms, but are ULTIMATELY characterized (and labeled) based on the underlying pathology causing the symptoms, such as:
- Menopausal or andopausal depression
- Malnutrition-related depression
- Deficiency of vitamin D, B vitamins, Magnesium, Chromium, etc
- Thyroidal depression
- Stress hormone-mediated depression
- HPA over-activation (hypercortisolism)
- Adrenal fatigue (hypocortisolism)
- Toxin induced depression
- Heavy metal induced depression
- Food-induced depression
- Immune-induced depression
- And more….!
Now, does this not beg the question? Should all these subtypes of “depression” be treated the same way? Of, course not. Treatment has to be personalized to the patient, based on THEIR cause. Back to my title…of course depression is real. It is biochemical, and genetic, and dietary, and hormonal. It can be measured, assessed, and treated. But should we continue to call it “depression”, like it is one big mental illness, and treat everyone the same???
No way, no how.