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Look to Biology to Treat Depression

May 27, 2021 12:12PM ● By Joan-Marie Lartin

Depression is an odd affliction. It manifests differently from person to person, and it can be hard to identify, even if a person is in the midst of it. The onset of serious depression, unlike grief or anxiety, is usually so gradual that some of the signs and symptoms are missed.


If an individual realizes they are experiencing depression, naming it, acknowledging it and even sharing the idea with a close friend, partner or family member can be a helpful first step. But someone experiencing depression may not be aware of it and need assistance to move forward.


Signs and symptoms of depression may include less energy than usual; a pessimistic attitude; harsh treatment of self and/or others; taking unnecessary risks; social isolation and withdrawal; excess shopping; overeating; drinking alcohol; smoking marijuana; excessive screen time; disheveled appearance; and comments about things being pointless. Many of these signs are often clustered together.


Depression is usually a logical, albeit negative, reaction to oppressive circumstances such as having a tough, unyielding boss; an abusive spouse; raising a child with a severe disability; living in poverty; chronic illness; and more. These situations can take the joy out of life, making it easy to feel hopeless and helpless.


Sometimes it’s necessary to take a look at a person’s biology in order to help them move beyond a depressed state. Chronic oppressive situations have a negative impact on the body’s natural capacity to remain balanced. If someone experiencing overwhelming circumstances does not have the inner and/or external resources to deal with the situation effectively, the body overuses compensatory or balancing neurotransmitters to calm things down.


This causes imbalances in key neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, and creates another level of challenge, such as low motivation, poor sleep, brain fog and irritability. An experienced clinician can provide an evaluation to determine effective ways to address depression and the challenges that accompany it.


Providing an individual with the correct basic ingredients to rebalance their biochemistry via amino acids such as tyrosine or 5-hydroxytryptophan can be life-changing. Amino acid therapy can be an effective way to address depression because it helps to rebalance important neurotransmitters. Rebalancing neurotransmitters may improve sleep, mental clarity, energy level and outlook.


Joan-Marie Lartin, Ph.D., RN, is a psychotherapist in Carlisle and Gettysburg who provides clients with access to neurotransmitter testing and amino acid therapy, as well as therapy and neurofeedback training. For more information, call 717-961-0088.

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