READ - The What, Why, When, and What Next of Depression In Men.

5 minute read

Your advice today is coming from Dr Ian Northeast. Ian is passionate about aiding his clients towards moving and living well. “Movement is life” so goes the saying and is a significant focus of Ian when working with his clients. This can refer to both the quantity and quality of the movement. Dr Ian enjoys putting “Movement Is Life” into play with children; recreational and professional athletes/sports people through assisting with movement quality and efficiency; those in their mature years wishing to maintain or improve where they currently are.

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What is depression? Lets define it first.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a medical illness that affects how you feel, think and behave causing persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. It is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment. (www.psychiatry.org 28/4/2018)

Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, is a medical illness, i.e. its not something that one is going to snap out of, kind of like someone doesn’t snap out of diabetes or heart disease. It’s something that is worked through.

“..persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.” It persists and therefore is more than a bad day or 3.

“..can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. It is a chronic illness..” Not merely affecting how one feels, but also creating physical changes which tend to be chronic (a term meaning long lasting rather than referring to severity).

Why does it happen and why is it important to bring this black dog into the light of open day and discussion?

The exact cause of depression is not know, however we know that there is a bunch of different factors contributing. Some of these factors include:

  • Changes in the structure of the brain itself. The wires (nerves) of the brain rewire and strengthen themselves in ways that contribute to the symptoms of depression.

    1. Changes in the chemicals (neurotransmitters) which signal between nerve cells in the brain.

    2. Changes in the body’s hormones. Hormones are chemicals released into the bloodstream to illicit different effects throughout the body.

    3. Inherited traits or genetic predispositions. While family history is important, it is becoming more accepted that genetics “load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger”.  

More on the why part. Here are a few risk factors: Low self esteem and a pessimistic outlook; traumatic or stressful events such as abuse, death of a loved one, financial troubles or relationship stresses; drug abuse (even the legal ones); poor health and even medications.

Why do we need to bring this black dog into the light of open day and discussion? Because stereotypically, us dudes don’t talk to one another about this stuff and are less likely to seek help.

When does it happen? When we let the why occur. When we stop taking care of ourselves, our health. When we stop training and lifting heavy things and don’t take time to hang out with a good mate or three. When we allow life’s mental stressors take hold. When we put crappy fuel into our body and don’t sleep. Stressful things in our life may push us over the edge but it was how we were living leading up to that event which walked us close to the edge in the first place.

What next? If you, or a mate is experiencing what you think might be depression then reaching out to a health professional is a good first step. If thats me, great. Everyday I work with spine and nerve system health. Guess where depression occurs? In the nerve system. As such, I’ve got a bunch of ways I can help out. If I’m not the right person then I would get a recommendation for a practitioner in your area from someone you trust. A personal referral can  fast track the clinical relationship, help you build rapport with the practitioner which has been shown to improve the results.

Here are 5 things you can start doing today that have been shown to help:

  1. Get a decent nights sleep. Our brain recharges at night and a recharged brain is more resilient to to the depression triggering triggers of life.

  2. Move in the morning. Moving first thing in the morning creates an environment within your noggin which fights depression. You’ve heard of the “runners high” or a “post workout high”? Even if its just a brisk walk for 30 minutes. This will kickstart your day on the right foot which can snow ball

  3. Ditch the crap food. Our gut is connected to our brain. Put crappy fuel into engine, it doesn’t’ work well. In short, eat real food. If you could harvest it or shoot it then eat it. I’m yet to see a bread and vegemite or nutrigrain plant.

  4. Ditch the drugs. Some obvious being alcohol and tobacco. If we think about depression as being a unhealthy chemical state in the brain, then adding disruptive chemicals like alcohol and tobacco is only going to further that non healthy state. Small amounts of improvement are better than none here so rather than looking at the goal of quitting completely, trying to simply cut back can be a good strategy.

  5. Tell a mate. Some one to check in on you and to keep you accountable to the positive steps you’re taking.

Bryce FinckComment