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Causes of Depression - Research and Discussion

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LoveandLight

Just wondering on people's thoughts on this? The heaviness and dread and unable to move and despair I've certainly had in years on and off meds but I also suffered in childhood from a lot of crying spells and dread feelings but I never found the root cause and now I've thrown into the mix stupid medication.

 

I've tried counselling, CBT, change of diet, eft and doesn't seem like much shifts it..it feels like there could be hundreds of causes but until the root is found anything else doesn't touch it.

 

What has others experiences been? Did you find the root cause and how on earth did you find it? I feel like I need a list of all possible causes so I can test and go through them..I've had tests for thyroid done btw.

 

Thank you.

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degen12

In my mind:

 

1) Gut - Gut issues, even in the vaguest sense, are getting a lot of attention ATM when it comes to just about every health malady. H2S, quinolinic acid, SIBO, dysbiosis, the list goes on. It gets even more interesting when you see the interplay with autoimmunity and the vicious cycle of systemic and brain inflammation.

 

2) Psychological - You seem to have your bases covered pretty well here. I got a lot of benefit out of psychoanalysis. Defenitely not for everyone.

 

I'm not a doctor.

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moodyblues78

In my mind it really does not matter what the root cause is. All you need is to face these feelings and understand that they are only feelings. Accepting this makes it possible first to live with depression and fully understand that what ever causes it, it is only a feeling and it has no importance. Through that realization and a lot of repeating depression loses it`s meaning and it slowly fades away. It takes a lot of time and practice but it can be done. You need to rewire your thought patterns. That is all.

 

Feel free to disagree but this is my honest opinion and based on my own experiences.

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degen12

In my mind it really does not matter what the root cause is. All you need is to face these feelings and understand that they are only feelings. Accepting this makes it possible first to live with depression and fully understand that what ever causes it, it is only a feeling and it has no importance. Through that realization and a lot of repeating depression loses it`s meaning and it slowly fades away. It takes a lot of time and practice but it can be done. You need to rewire your thought patterns. That is all.

 

Feel free to disagree but this is my honest opinion and based on my own experiences.

 

I agree. Acceptance/mindfulness has been so crucial to my healing experience (althought I find if I go too far down that path it leads to some dissociation, so moderation is key in my case) and it goes to show, in my opinion, why one-size-fits-all or contrived time-limited treatment programs and the like are so hit and miss, or incomplete. Everyone's experience of depression is different, and besides, depression is just a lable that we use so we can try and talk about something remotely comparable in different people.

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LoveandLight

Thank you for your views although when I'm pinned to the couch unable to move with it, it feels like something to do with the body some defect rather than just feelings.

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Altostrata

There is no one root cause for everyone.

 

It could be a harrowing emotional climate, or trauma combined with metabolic issues.

 

Some people experience breakthroughs by investigating the traumas. Some people work through their depression with a psychotherapist and find that to some degree, the solution is to accept their disposition and live as well as they can. This can be a great relief.

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LoveandLight

Thank you for your views. I don't think I could accept my depression as I cannot seem to live with it..I already am obviously as yet but holding out for answers or insights trying different things..but that in itself causes pain..the holding out bit. What really bothers me is not being able to work f/time and a lot of judegments from other people especially you have to help yourself (meaning I should get up and do something when the problem is just that I cannot move with it). What upsets me is the depersonalisation, everything else associated with ssri withdrawal is said to go away with time..but the depression that may stick around..how to live ok when I'm not ok..

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Altostrata

I suggest you look thoroughly at metabolic issues, food intolerances, and nutritional deficiencies. What goes on in our gut has a great deal to do with how we feel.

 

At the very least, this can help you learn how to take care of yourself better, which can be a path to healing.

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LoveandLight

Ok metabolic issues don't even know what this means..thank you shall have a look.

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moodyblues78

Thank you for your views. I don't think I could accept my depression as I cannot seem to live with it..I already am obviously as yet but holding out for answers or insights trying different things..but that in itself causes pain..the holding out bit. What really bothers me is not being able to work f/time and a lot of judegments from other people especially you have to help yourself (meaning I should get up and do something when the problem is just that I cannot move with it). What upsets me is the depersonalisation, everything else associated with ssri withdrawal is said to go away with time..but the depression that may stick around..how to live ok when I'm not ok..

If you cannot accept your depression it may very hard to get over it. When my wd symptoms started to lift what was left was the root depression and it was crushing every second of the day. I decided that instead of fearing it would take as it comes and accept it. I forced myself to smile even if i was crying hopelessly and just wanting to die. I smiled through my tears cause i had desided that i will not let depression get to me like it had for my whole life. Day after day i refused to go back to my old ways of thinking and i rewired my brain. I forced myself to be happy about every bad feeling i had. Every time i started crying just because i was feeling so bad i forced myself to be glad of it! We all have our reasons to be put on these poisons and those reasons have to be dealt with. Every time I looked at the mirror I smiled. Learning to accept myself by looking at myself smile. It is a very powerful tool.

 

I saw what a lie I had been living. I found out that all my life I had collected situations, smells, sounds and places that would trigger fear or anxiety in me. I run into them every day and i'm happy that I do cause with them I can rewire my brain to take these situations the new right way. I need to learn to live again cause the first time around I did everything wrong. This new learning process will take years but this time i'm a happy and interested student so I don't mind it at all.

 

So do not think that you cannot accept something. Think that you can and eventually you Will.

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LoveandLight

That's amazing moody blues..I kind of feel like that also..tensing up and shutting myself off trying to keep myself safe my whole life..I need to relearn how to live. Also the acceptance of myself even when depressed I think is important and something that feels very difficult at the moment as I've taken from childhood onwards that I'm not ok when I'm depressed so a lot of pain there.

 

Also I've spent a lot of my life disassociated and feeling that I'm looking down on my body, so therefore difficult to function..through breathing excercises I'm starting to feel in my body more..very different feeling and way of being. Thank you very much for your responses.

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Ramsnic

Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies.

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compsports

Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies.

Totally agree.   And even if you are technically not deficient, you may need more.   For example, I tested out at 60 vitamin D level when a normal range is 30 to 100.  Because PCP thought that was too high, I cut back from 3000IU to 2000IU. 

 

Started feeling depressed and couldn't figure out why.  Yes, I do have severe sleep deprivation but this felt different to me.   After remembering I had cut back the D, decided to take an extra 1000IU and now my mood is fine.

 

Darn,should have asked for a B12 test.  Oh well.

 

Anyway, I urged anyone who is feeling depressed and it seems to feel different from the usual life sucks type of deal, to test your vitamin D and B12 for deficiencies.

 

CS

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LoveandLight

Thanks comps ports, I have thought about nutrition as well but I think I will just need to keep adjusting and experimenting with diet as I cannot seem to tolerate fish oil, vit d or vit b's

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LoveandLight

I'm trying to think back to how I originally experienced depression as I'm almost sure that there is something physical behind it. From a young age 5/6 I would want to curl up and read instead of being out playing, Fatigue but in the feeling that I was being physically dragged down and action was overwhelming. An auto-immune disease in the form of a skin condition also appeared at this age, along with asthma and constant allergic rhinitis. I would cry easily and feel totally overwhelmed. I also felt heavy and physically unfit compared to my peers. Years ago before I had symptoms related to withdrawal, I detoxed for 4 months, cutting out wheat, dairy, sugar, meat all processed food ( still ate gluten - a lot of oats) and the physical feelings lifted. Anyone have a clue what this points to? Thank you.

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LoveandLight

Obviously I could eat like that again but I'm worried that it might be too taxing for my system to detox all this just now..I'm mostly off dairy ATM.

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LoveandLight

Also was told had colic as baby, 4/5 yrs constant mouthful of mouth ulcers and very bad constipation, anxiety and insomnia

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LoveandLight

CLUMSINESS terrible could fall over my own feet especially at that age

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Barbarannamated

Feelings are very different than depression, IMHO. I experienced many feelings -- good, bad, and in between -- prior to taking antidepressants RX'd for fatigue, not depression. The depression AFTER starting antidepressants is a whole different beast. And withdrawal depression, the worst of all. I believe ADs diminish or remove the capacity to experience joy and satisfaction.

 

There are too many physiological/medical causes to list. I do agree that sadness, grief and other natural feelings are far too often medicated, creating various physiological problems that then manifest as depression.

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LoveandLight

What is RX'd?

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Barbarannamated

What is RX'd?

Rx'd = prescribed

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Altostrata

Maybe you do have a physical condition causing your symptoms of "depression," Joannad.

 

You may wish to try an elimination diet for a while. If your symptoms improve, then you know they're food-related, and you can find out which foods by trial and error. You may also need more nutrients from fresh green vegetables or good-quality protein.

 

If you have sleep problems, you may find good sleep hygiene is helpful. If you get little exercise, perhaps you should try getting a little more.

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LoveandLight

I've asked to be tested for - gluten intol. Lyme disease, hashimotos, thyroid, minerals.

 

Will try an elimination diet but not sure that I'll be able to notice any difference just now, seeing as I'm still in big waves..

 

I wasn't overweight as a child just felt heavy..I'm not able to do intensive excercise just now but walk, swim, yoga.

 

Thanks, I do feel that there is something physical going on.

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Altostrata

Those tests may be informative or they may not. There are a lot of "lifestyle" conditions that don't show up on tests. Many people find when they make a change in diet or sleep or something else, they feel better.

 

Doctors might not have an answer for you, you might have to figure it out yourself.

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Janie

Hi Joannad. I admire you for trying to find out the root cause.  

 

Alto is so right about gut health !!!  I'd like to report here that I have recently had a great improvement in my anxiety and depression and other symptoms apparently from addressing gastrointestinal problems that were unknown until my functional medicine doctor had me get a comprehensive stool analysis from Doctors Data. With the report that came back, we have been addressing dysbiosis (bad flora overgrowth), low secretory IgA immune defense, and gluten sensitivity.  I encourage others to check gut health. 

 

The gut-brain connection is amazing and I now feel the gut is indeed like a second brain.   My anxiety is almost non-existent, depression gone.  Although I had to start buspar a few months back for chronic extreme anxiety (which started after Effexor withdrawal), I don't give it credit for this recent vast improvement because  this has occurred several months after I started Buspar and that is supposed to take its full effect in about 4 weeks.   I don't think each of these intestinal problems would necessarily have been discovered or helped with an elimination diet.  Each problem may need a different diet to correct. So learning which is the problem - leaky gut, yeast, or intolerances etc. is important so as to know what to eat and not eat and what supplements may help.

 

Joannad If you've felt depressed your whole life you could also have the MTHFR gene problem. I am not sure how best to get that tested, but you might want to read up on that.  I've read that there is a supplement/vitamin to take that greatly helps those with the gene defect.

 

It is good you are being tested for Lyme disease but the usual test is not reliable. If the regular Western blot is negative, you might want to still get tested by either Igenex labs or else a new test that is coming out soon that tests antigens in urine). Another thing to test is heavy metal toxicity.  For instance, mercury can cause anxiety and I think depression (and other problems) for years before a person gets diagnosed.  Metals affect the brain.  Likewise an endocrinologist may say your thyroid tests normally , but are they testing FREE t4 and t3?  If  you haven't done so, you will need to read up on how important correct testing is for true thyroid diagnosis.  Check out books like Stop the Thyroid Madness.  If you have low energy, could it be POTS? chronic fatigue?

 

I know that positive thinking and accepting things helps, and may resolve things IF the bad thinking is the true problem.  If a physical problem is present, you can't think it all away.  It's wise to get physical things checked out.  

 

Also I recommend faith.  Ask in prayer that you will find answers and recover.  God answers prayers.  Best of luck to you in your search!

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LoveandLight

Thanks for all the info. It is not common to be tested for anything like this in the uk and I think ill struggle to find someone..would it be a naturopath I would be looking for? My doc doesn't even test for vitamin deficiencies!

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tonygio7

Joannad,

In addition to looking at things like nutrition and physical conditions as the possible root cause of your depression, you might consider looking at something like emotional trauma. Increasingly this is being found at the root of mood disorders, and I too found this after long self-examination.  

 

Learning the original cause of my depression—years-long, repeated emotional trauma as a child in an alcoholic household—relieved a great deal of guilt and self-blame I was feeling for my ‘weakness.’ This knowledge alone helped me feel better, though not 100%. I went on to write a book about my discovery of the root of my depression, which also helped me feel better, eg  an un-burdening, and the satisfaction of helping others. 

 

Depression has similar symptoms to PTSD, and my symptoms have always lined up closer to PTSD, not surprisingly if my depression stems from trauma which I believe is the case.  I too experience depersonalization, which also is often rooted in trauma. 

 

I still have to work on keeping depression in check, which I do through practices focusing on acceptance, appreciation, deep-breathing, being in the present, and pursuing meaningful activities. These are things that work for me, though I still look for other helpful techniques. I’m now tapering off AD’s, which I have used several times out of desperation after a major down-turn. 

 

I wish you strength and good luck in your recovery.  Please post how you do and if I can help.

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Altostrata

Curious that it does not mention physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; unsuitable jobs; disintegrating marriages; loss of loved ones; loneliness; or financial difficulties.

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csm2014

Curious that it does not mention physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; unsuitable jobs; disintegrating marriages; loss of loved ones; loneliness; or financial difficulties.

There will always be unpredictable environmental stressors throughout one's life and no way to avoid them; it's how well we're wired chemically and genetically that determines our coping ability. What's important is the strength we have within us to manage and cope as these challenges arise. I know in my case, if my chemistry is right, I can handle tremendous external (environmental) stressors; if it isn't, I can look at a wall and break down. To me, it's always been about getting the internal chemistry right first. If one's somatic (physical) foundation is not healthy, then any of those things can trigger a meltdown. Genetics play a big role also. Predispositions for mood disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression are well known. Too many times, I see many people remain stubbornly and indefinitely in TOXIC abusive relationships, jobs, and circular habits which WILL eventually cause free radical damage, hormone imbalances, and even cancer.

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UnfoldingSky

I am pretty spaced out at the moment so I could be way off base here but I believe there are problems with that article. It's great that they point out that drugs are problematic, but the bit about the biomarker that predicts responses to drugs and CBT I believe has issues.

 

btdt and I were discussing the Mayberg study they refer to in the article, which drew conclusions about a biomarker that predicts if "depressed" people will respond to CBT or "medication".  The study can be found here:

 

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1696349

 

I was too out of it to go over the whole thing but I did notice, they did not exclude people from the study who had past drug exposures (except those who took and failed to respond to Lexapro) and it doesn't say how many did, so their results may actually be looking at findings that reflect something about how a person with iatrogenic problems responds to treatments, not how a "depressed" person responds to them.  If the majority had past drug exposures then the results can't be assumed to apply to people who were labeled as "depressed" who weren't ever exposed to drugs. 

 

Further to this, the article says "Dr. Mayberg has identified a biomarker in the brain that can be used to predict whether a depressed patient is a good candidate for medication, or might be better off with psychotherapy".  What that really means though when you look at this study is JUST Lexapro.  Would the same group also "respond" to other drugs?  What about drugs that are processed differently?  Has anyone verified these results really do mean that the people who responded to Lexapro would respond to any antidepressant, that the biomarker correlates with responses to other drugs too? (I am not being rhetorical I don't know the answer to this question.)

 

Actually I just read the last paragraph of the study again and it seems they do acknowledge that they haven't verified responses to other drugs or other non-drug treatments.  So saying that they found a biomarker is really quite preliminary.

 

 

 

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UnfoldingSky

Actually I should have said how a person with possible iatrogenic problems responds to certain treamtents.  It's not likely that if they had significant withdrawal issues that they'd do well on drugs.

 

Anyway the point is that if most were exposed to drugs then they confound the results and they can't be generalized to people who never took them.

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UnfoldingSky

Okay let's try this again..I just tried to correct the word "treatment" in my last post and I was told I didn't have permission to edit it?  Is that because the time elapsed for editing?

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UnfoldingSky

Curious that it does not mention physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; unsuitable jobs; disintegrating marriages; loss of loved ones; loneliness; or financial difficultiesI may have missed this but they also didn't explicitly state that many script drugs are causes inlcuio or certain psychological factors like learned helplessness.

 

I may have missed this but they also didn't seem to explicitly state that many script drugs are causes, some of them avoidable ones too (like acne drugs or birth control pills).  Unless I did miss this some of the health problems they were saying lead to "depression" may actually be partly or totally caused by the treatments for those issues. They also don't cover psychological factors like for instance learned helplessness.

 

Also CW gave me an article that discussses possible problems with vit. D supplementation and challenges to the idea that low D is necessarily something that requires treatment.  I haven't read it fully so I don't know how it diverges from the article and neither of us know if what they are saying is correct but for anyone who is interested it's here:

 

http://gettingstronger.org/2012/11/why-i-dont-take-vitamin-d-supplements/

 

I had just started supplementing with D but now am unsure what to do, it's so complicated trying to sort this all out...

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csm2014

In the rapidly emerging science of genetics and epigenetics, there have been many significant advances made in only the last couple years that have given rise to mutations that are now being recognized as having a profound influence on our mental and physical well-being. The shining star and most recently studied taking center stage in that galaxy is a defect of the MTHFR enzyme which thousands (if not millions) of people are walking around with, as yet undiagnosed, or worse, misdiagnosed, and subsequently unecessarily medicated with sedatives, antidepressants, blood pressure meds, etc. that can lead to a worsening of their overall health. It is estimated that up to 60% of the population has some degree of this enzyme defect. I am one of those who was unfortunate to have inherited the most severe version of this mutation (MTHFR C677T homozygote) which was discovered indirectly nearly three years ago. In my case, my functional capacity of the enzyme is only 30% which means I am at risk for many diseases - unless I use very specific supplemental intervention. Although having this defect is not a death sentence by any means and is totally reversible if the correct action is taken soon enough, I have done everything to help reverse the possible effects, the most prevalent and easily remedied being elevated homocysteine, but that is only one of a myriad of maladies this defect is capable of. Had I known sooner, I may have been able to stave off many of the health issues I encountered since my discovery of it, including the most recent ones that led my being put on a mood stabilizer and benzo (didn't have a choice at the time), as it it something inborn. In these cases, supplementation with the correct forms of non-drug nutrients in the correct dosages are absolutely essential, including Vitamin D. Diet alone will not "fix" this mutation, period, but definitely assists in strengthening overall health. Supplemental nutrient intervention is the basic tenet of what is termed epigenetics which is the ability to control via external (environmental) factors whether a particular polymorphism (gene defect) gets expressed - or not.

But having a MTHFR defect is not where it stops. There are many other polymorphisms now being recognized as just as deleterious and no one person is the same. We all have combinations of many mutations, with some canceling out the bad ones and combinations of others potentially making things worse. I was fortunate to have done a DNA saliva test when the data was still available (23andme.com) to determine what other mutations exist and and slowly trying to understand and work on those as well, but it's very complex to say the least, as we are in the infancy of what we know, and few, if any docs, know anything about them since they are too busy treating sick patients and don't have the time to do research, thus we have to become our own research patient advocates.

Also keep in mind that many prescription drugs, including certain ADs, deplete many necessary vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D: http://www.askdrheimlich.com/blog/vitamin-and-nutrient-deficiencies-caused-by-medications/

Several studies that show clear cut links between MTHFR, other genetic polymorphisms and psychiatric disorders: 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24744941

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25173634

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25012419

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24967710

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24751310

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24577139

http://www.doctorbecky.net/mthfr.shtml

 

A huge great resources to learn more on this mutation is: http://mthfr.net/

I hope this is of use to some of you with complicated unsolved histories. Finding and correcting these mutations just might be the answer and eliminate the need for these potentially toxic psych and other meds. I would never rely on someone's opinion and a few arcane studies to determine my individual needs for any nutrient, especially given known genetic mutations or other health issues which overrides any question of use. Furthermore, I would go by what the blood tests tell me as the blood never lies. While I agree that megadoses of certain antioxidants and nutrients used therapeutically for short terms definitely have their place which I would advocate any day over meds, chronic overusage constitutes the equivalent of using it pharmacologically with side effects notwithstanding. So, in that resepct I agree with the article.

Also, the author mentions Trevor Marshall (Marshall Protocol) who isn't even a physician: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/03/14/clearing-up-confusion-on-vitamin-d--why-i-dont-recommend-the-marshall-protocol.aspx

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Altostrata

I absolutely disagree with the theory that people become "depressed" because of some essential physical flaw, and I question the biological basis of this theory.

 

This is simply alternative medicine's variation on biopsychiatry's position that there's some unitary biological basis for the extremely heterogenous conditions labeled "mood disorders" or "mental illnesses."

 

Prior to the discovery of new-generation antidepressants, 80% of "depression" was related to situational stressors and spontaneously resolved without drugs within 6 months.

 

About 50% of all US marriages end in divorce. Few of these are stress-free.

 

People may feel down because of physical illness. Physical illness has a biological basis. If physical illness is properly addressed, people can indeed perk up.

 

Studies finding various diseases co-occurring with so-called "depression" are all confounded by the possibility the "depression" is an emotional response to illness. In the full text of those studies, there is usually a disclaimer to this effect.

 

I'm not buying this -- and an article by Joseph Mercola in an alternative health publication is not at all convincing.

 

Don't even get me started on MTHFR. Read the topics about it on this site.

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