Lots of Americans and I argue people through out the world suffer from mental health issues. I believe mental health issues are as prevalent as is physical health issues. It is also an area people do not like to talk about. Hey, I get it as it is easier to explain and more socially acceptable that your diabetic then explaining you’re a suffering from depression. Though, depression I would bet is probably as prevalent if not more prevalent then diabetes.
Remember both are under reported, as those who suffer with diabetics often aren’t aware that they suffer from it whereas those with depression often don’t want to be identified as such. Grief and depression are different but can occur together according to the American Psychiatric Association.1 I am not going to spend a lot of time on this as that could be a blog post itself but, in both cases, they say you feel sad and loss of interest but with depression you also feel loss of self-worth though that is less common in grief. To be diagnosed with depression it must last two weeks.
One type of depression I argue is a result of sub optimal doses of vitamin D3 and that is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic website are the following:2
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Look familiar? It is also more common in the winter, though it can occur in the summer. These symptoms matche up so well with vitamin D3 deficiency, especially the fact you can suffer SAD in the summer. It is part of winter syndrome which I describe in earlier blog post and in my book. Restoring vitamin D3 blood levels to optimal doesn’t only help reduce SAD but depression and depressive symptoms from chronic pain. When I practiced medicine almost all I treated for chronic pain had depression or symptoms of it. I prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) to those with this and chronic pain, for one to restore their sleep. Depression is found in 40-60% of those with chronic pain.3
Then about a year after I started recommending optimal doses of vitamin D3, I rarely again wrote for SSRI’s. As the mood changes appeared to be from many things like the loss associated with their pain but mainly from their pain and loss of deep restorative sleep (DRS).
Once I had controlled not cured their pain this left restoring their DRS and mood. Which the vitamin D3 did but also much more such that they in some ways despite the pain they now felt better, often then they had in decades. This was great as SSRI’s often resulted in weight gain and loss of sex drive the opposite effects of optimal doses of vitamin D3. I am not advising you to stop your SSRI’s or any medications in this blog, only my experience. Again, an area for more study.
- Bair MJ, Robinson RL, Katon W, Kroenke K. (2003) Depression and pain comorbidity: a literature review, Arch Intern Med. 163:2433-45.