Dr. Chas Gant, integrative and functional medicine physician, at National Integrated Health Associates was recently interviewed on TakeBackYourHealth radio on the subject of Depression: What We Can Learn from Robin Williams.
What are the causes of depression and what can we do about it?
An excerpt from the interview:
Q. What can we learn from Robin Williams and can we begin by talking about what depression is and how you treat it?
You are very good at describing it in your introduction but I think the other point is we are still a little bit in the shame-based arena when we talk about depression, that there is something wrong with us, or we should "tough it out" or shouldn't have these symptoms of depression. But one of the the nice things about testing for the causes- and finding them- is that it relieves the guess work and it relieves the self doubt and we can realistiically look at the causes that anyone can address. We can get out of the silly notion that we should be ashamed or we shouldn't have symptoms of depression or a mood disorder at any time of our life.
Depression is a complex of symptoms caused by immunological, metabolic, toxic and genetic factors, many of which can be tested for. A typical patient may have 8-10 of these risk factors which collude to cause the symptoms of depression. Nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to depression.
To define depression in a better way, the outward appearance the way it looks or feels, there are many ways the symptoms of depression can manifest:
- sleep problems
- appetite changes
- loss of energy
- loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- self loathing/ self damaging or reckless behavior
- sense of helplessness or hopelessness
The outward symptoms doesn't tell us the cause and that is where the technology has led us now that we can get very precise in how we address the symptoms in any individual.
Q. What does an appointment and testing process look like?
First we need to establish a trust relationship, this is a paradigm shift for people. We don't only have to look at symptoms, we can now look at causes. Finally we can get to the root of why they have been suffering for so long. A mood disorder like depression can be caused by a medical condition. I can set up blood, saliva or stool testing to search for the root cause. A few weeks later, or (longer if doing genetic testing), once the various infectious, metabolic, allergies, toxicities, nutritional deficiencies, genetic factors and more are analyzed, we can create a treatment plan. Then we can go after each risk factor in an intelligent way, that is a relatively cost effective treatment plan.
Q. What about addiction and depression?
I have spent part of my career working with substance abuse. A psychotropic toxin can temporarily make us feel good. But the next day you are toxic, and feel worse than ever, and want to use more, and this is the trap of addiction. Substance abuse with alcohol or prescripton drugs is very serious and first you have to get them off all drugs.
Once I can get them back to ground zero they show their true colors, then its a steady detoxification and re-nutrification process so they can express their genetic potential in an optimum way. We work on lifestyle changes and healthy habits and address food, sleep, meditation and exercise.
It's better to embrace life, not cloud it with chemicals, embracing the difficulties and the joys in life you can have faith there is a higher plan.
Chas Gant MD, PhD, has practiced Integrative and Functional Medicine for over three decades. He specializes in molecular health and healing, with drug free solutions to brain and mood disorders such as ADHD, autism, depression and mood disorders, addictions, nicotine dependence, chronic diseases, metabolic and immune disorders, infectious disease, and more. He is an expert in interpretation of functional medicine testing to diagnose precisely what is deficient in each patient, and then replenish those missing, essential items.