Where do Mental Health problems come from?

I think one of the big reasons men don’t seek help is that they don’t understand what’s wrong, or what they can do about it.

This is a (very) potted history of one of the most common issues – Depression.

It will then explain what the up to do date science thinks is going on, and what you can do about it.

Biochemical imbalance in the brain… (or perhaps not)

I think if you asked doctors what causes depression, they would absentmindedly parrot back to you ‘a biochemical imbalance in the brain’, perhaps ‘corrected with antidepressants’

The problem is that, there’s not a lot of evidence for this, and the treatments prescribed (antidepressants) didn’t work as well as you’d have thought.

One reason for this is that this theory didn’t explain very well, why people got depressed or anxious. It just ‘happened’.

It must be genetic… (well, a bit)

Another thought is that it could be a genetic issue.  I see plenty of patients where siblings, parents or grandparents all seem to suffer the same condition, so perhaps it is just a genetic thing.

However studies of identical twins suffering depression shows that their Genes only explain the problem about a third of the time.

So what else could be going on?

Inflammation

More recently, our understanding of what is going on in Depression and Anxiety has grown. There are biochemical processes, called Inflammation that occur in our body due to various triggers.

These processes can be helpful in the short term as they help us recover from illnesses like a cold.

However if Inflammation is present most of the time this can start to cause problems, affecting our brain cells. Long term Inflammation is now thought to be one of the main causes of depression.

How does this work? It won’t come as a surprise to find out some of the causes are being overweight, eating less healthy food, not exercising, lack of sleep and chronic stress. Ringing any bells?

What can I do to get better?

So the good news is that lots of the causes of Chronic Inflammation are changeable, and you have the power to do this yourself. By changing the things like your diet, exercise and sleep quality can potentially lead to a permanent reversal of the conditions.

I’ve even done it myself.

This sounds easy, right? However, I find people like you struggle knowing what to change, and having the tools to do this effectively in a sustained way.

The good news is I’ve learned how to help with both. Let me show you how to make the changes yourself.

Further reading

Causes of Depression:
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/causes/

The Genetics of major depression:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3919201/

Royal College of Psychiatry, Information on Depression:
https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/depression

So depression is an inflammatory disease, but where does the inflammation come from? 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3846682/

A brief History of Antidepressants:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428540/

Cracked, by James Davies.  A polemic on psychiatry

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