Depression can take on many forms. From clinical depression to persistent depressive disorder, bipolar and bipolar II disorder, and postpartum depression, Americans are feeling the impact of this mood-impacting and life altering issue.
If you or a loved one suffer from depression, then you are aware that it is so much more than simply feeling low. Depression, in its various forms, impacts the entire person.
Major depressive disorder impacts over 17 million people in the United States. While depressive disorder is more prevalent in women, this does not exclude men as those dealing with depression. Children are also no exception, with nearly 2 million children between the ages of 3-17 being diagnosed with depression in 2018 (Centers for Disease Control “Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health”, 2018).
Depression’s Impact on the Body
Symptoms of depression can be seen and felt throughout the body. An individual dealing with depression may feel tired and unmotivated. However, they tend to have trouble sleeping. Body aches and pains, specifically headaches and even migraines, often accompany depressive symptoms. Oftentimes these pains do not subside from use of medication. There is also an overwhelming loss of interest in the things in life that were once enjoyed.
Depression and Digestion
Depression can also significantly impact the body’s digestive system. For some, overeating is a coping mechanism to battle the emotional lows of the day. This can lead to weight gain, obesity, type II diabetes, and other health issues. On the contrary, others eat less or neglect eating altogether. Irregular and infrequent eating patterns often lead to issues such as cramping, constipation, pain, and other issues within the digestive tract.
Depression and the Heart
A vital organ that is often physically impacted by depression is the heart. High heart rate and tightening of blood vessels occur when stress hormones are released throughout the body. In a depressed state, these hormones run rampant, increasing the risk of chest pain, heart attack and stroke. In fact, adults dealing with depressive disorder have a 64% higher risk of developing coronary artery disease (National Institute of Health, Heart disease and depression: A two-way relationship, 2017).
Depression and the Immune System
Depression can impact the body’s ability to fight and ward off diseases and infections. It has been suggested that some vaccinations may also be less effective in individuals suffering from depression.
Depression’s Impact on the Brain
Depression can take its toll on the brain as well. Individuals suffering from depression may find that they have difficulty concentrating. They may also experience memory issues or brain fog, and their decision-making abilities can be hindered.
Treatments for Depression
Therapy and medication are the two leading treatments for depression and depressive disorders. These methods are often combined, along with support groups, to offer relief.
Therapies for depression typically include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and behavior therapy. Medications include SSRIs, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics. While often successful in reducing symptoms of depression, medications do not come without side effects. Some typical side effects of antidepressants and other prescription medications include:
- Dry Mouth
- Blurred Vision
- Weight Gain
- Increased Heart Rate
- Change in Blood Pressure
- Lack of Energy
While in many cases the side effects outweigh the impact of antidepressants and other drugs used to treat depression, there may be another option.
Drug-Free Depression Treatment
In addition to talk therapy, CBT, and other forms of therapy and support groups, Upper Cervical Care is making a positive impact on those suffering from depression.
Research points to the brainstem and upper cervical spine in many mood disorders, including depression. This is because the brainstem is involved in the regulation and control of brain chemistry as well as many other vital functions throughout the body. The lower portion of the brainstem is located in the upper part of the spine. Upper cervical care provides alignment of this part of the spine, allowing for clear communication from the brain to the rest of the body.
Studies suggest that many patients suffering from depression were also diagnosed with whiplash and other neck traumas. Whiplash is an injury that can directly impact the upper neck and lower brainstem. Following the trauma, mood disorders can be triggered immediately, or they can take months or even years to develop. Exciting new studies show “significant improvement” in depression test scores after specific upper cervical corrections. This noninvasive and safe alternative should be the beginning point for all who believe that they are suffering from depression.
The Next Steps in Treating Depression
If you or a loved one are suffering from depression, we invite you to discover the healing powers of upper cervical care. Scheduling a consultation with an upper cervical chiropractor could be your next step in true healing.
Upper cervical chiropractic provides a gentle adjustment/ correction to your spine without popping and cracking. This adjustment works to realign the spine and allow communication to flow freely from the brain to the rest of the body. Schedule a consultation to determine if upper cervical care is a good fit for you or someone you care about.