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Health Protocols

Depression

Introduction

Depression is a state of psyche characterized by a spectrum of negative feelings ranging in scope from minor unhappiness to overwhelming despair. Though generally associated with emotional or psychological symptoms, depression can be accompanied by severe pain or other physical symptoms as well; depression is capable of dramatically influencing the lives of those it affects.

Recent data estimate the overall prevalence of depression at about 11.1% of the American population, or nearly 35 million individuals,1 and predictive models suggest that up to 50% of the population will experience at least one episode of depression during their lives.2

The framework underlying the pathogenesis of depression is complex and variable among individuals; both psychological and biological factors influence a person’s state of mind at any given time. For example, emergent research links depression with several metabolic phenomena, including inflammation, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress. Intriguing preliminary data also suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a previously unappreciated role in depression. Moreover, the role of hormones in depression is considerable, including stress hormones (glucocorticoids) and sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen). Many people affected by depression may be suffering from hormonal imbalances that are significantly contributing to their symptoms.3

The mainstream medical establishment relies heavily uponpsychoactive drugs that manipulate brain chemistry as the frontline treatment.4 Unfortunately, the success rate of pharmacologic intervention for depression is a mere 50% or less and these medications are fraught with potential side effects, including a proclivity to increase suicidal ideation with some antidepressant drugs.5

Life Extension, on the other hand, acknowledges and appreciates the complex nature of depression and advocates a comprehensive management strategy that includes proactive lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, hormone restoration, and targeted nutritional support to complement conventional antidepressant treatment and balance brain chemistry holistically.

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