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Mood Disorders and Depression

Last night I was quite touched when viewing the ABC’s program Changing Minds.  Changing Minds was filmed in the mental health unit of the NSW Liverpool hospital and gave us insight into the struggle experienced by sufferers of some really serious mental illnesses such as BiPolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Depression.

Your Wellness Centre Naturopathy - Mood Disorders and Depression

A worthwhile program to have watched because mental illness is infrequently discussed bears a social stigma and does not discriminate.

Depression, Most Common Mental Illness

There is a wide range of mental illnesses the most commonly known being Depression and Anxiety which naturopaths at Your Wellness Centre provide natural treatment for. Following is a discussion of depression.

Occasional Low Moods are Normal

Whilst it is normal to feel down occasionally, there are people whose lives can become engulfed by a constant dark cloud of negative feelings and low moods. These people may also find that their mood can affect their appetite, sleeping patterns, and general health.

Many People Struggle with Low Moods

The heartbreaking news is that today, there are at least one million people in Australia that have been diagnosed with a mood disorder. The good news is that natural therapies may provide some options for you if you are struggling with low moods.

What Affects our Moods?

It seems that the world today is so much busier; many of us are working longer hours and not spending enough time looking after ourselves. Throw in financial problems and relationship issues and it’s easy to see how our emotions can become affected. However, did you know that other things such as our diet, being overweight, hormonal imbalances and even chronic pain can contribute to the spiral of sadness? These things can upset the delicate chemical balance within our brains, so it is essential to address these factors if you have mood problems. Fortunately, our clinic may bring you back into balance with a range of well-researched management programs and nutritional and herbal medicines designed to address mood disorders, and may help to resolve any driving factors.

Lifting the Dark Clouds

When it comes to helping people maintain their moods, we believe quite strongly that one shoe doesn’t fit all; this is why we manage each person individually. We use a number of well researched natural medicines that may be very effective for helping people with low moods. Here are some examples.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and SAMe

5-HTP is a nutrient derived from the amino acid tryptophan. SAMe is a substance that is naturally made in our bodies. These two nutrients may be useful to support normal functioning of our brain and nervous system. Both 5-HTP and SAMe may help to correct imbalances in your neurotransmitters or ‘brain chemicals’. This may help to improve anxiety, irritability, and that overwhelming chocolate or sweet craving that you get when you are sad!

St John’s Wort, another popular herb, has many beneficial actions for maintaining healthy moods. In fact, scientific studies have shown that it can help to regulate many of our ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. In doing so, it may help improve mental health. Did you know that St John’s Wort can interact with some conventional medications? As your Natural Healthcare Professional, we can help determine whether St John’s Wort is suitable for your needs.

The Importance of Good Diet and Regular Exercise

Regular Exercise - Your Wellness Centre Naturopathy MelbourneAs well as Natural Medicines, it is important that we look at your diet and lifestyle. Poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can exacerbate the effect that stress and low moods have on your body. At this clinic we have a number of dietary and exercise plans that we can advise you on to help you eat well and feel better, creating a lasting change and true wellness.

Other Important Management Strategies

Other recommendations we could discuss to help you better manage your moods include the following:

  • Counselling: Counselling is offered by various types of mental health professionals. Counselling and therapy have proven benefits in the reduction of mood symptoms and improvement in overall mental health and attitude.

Your Wellness Centre Naturopathy Melbourne - Meditation

  • Relaxation techniques: There are many ways to use structured relaxation techniques to help control stress and improve physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Meditation: Meditation is one of the most popular techniques to achieve physical and mental relaxation.
  • Support systems: People with strong social support systems experience fewer physical and emotional upsets than their less-connected counterparts. Loved ones, friends, business associates, neighbours, and even pets may all be part of your support network. Developing strong social support networks can help you cope with sadness and low moods.
  • Life goals: Having a firm purpose in life is associated with the tendency to have less anxiety and a lower incidence of depression.

If you, or somebody you know, is feeling down, then it is a good idea to make an appointment. Your Wellness Centre may offer you real solutions to help improve your mood and overall wellbeing.

Ring 9879 9596 or contact us here.


Your Wellness Centre Naturopathy Melbourne



Feeling a bit Glum? It may well be the Winter Blues

Many people really “feel” the cold in winter. Commonly they make comments like: “It’s been a while since it’s been this cold” and “It’s too cold to go out”.

Others seem to be feeling the effects more strongly and feel a bit down as well. If you are one of them and feel less than yourself each day, especially on these cold winter mornings, you may be suffering from the “Winter Blues” or Seasonal Affective Disorder,  “SAD”.

The “Winter Blues” or Seasonal Affective Disorder “SAD” is a well-documented phenomenon which affects thousands of people each winter. Winter has the second highest reported cases of depression and suicide, second only to Christmas.

Symptoms of SAD include depression, decreased motivation, tearfulness or being easily saddened, and apathetic.   Other changes in behaviour include cravings for carbohydrate-rich food (comfort foods) such as bread, pasta, potato etc, weight gain, withdrawal from social groups, isolation, constipation or other digestive symptoms.

Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters for the brain.  It leaves us feeling calm, happy and enthusiastic for life.  Sunlight triggers the brain to release serotonin.  So as the days shorten and we are exposed to less sunlight, the brain releases less serotonin leaving us apathetic and de-motivated.  Coupled with decreased exercise and poor eating habits during the winter months, life is all a bit dark and gloomy.

Carbohydrate cravings can worsen throughout this time of the year due to the decreased serotonin production.  Carbohydrate foods lead to a surge in serotonin leaving us feeling calmer. It also increases blood sugar giving us more energy.  However, both of these increases are short-lived and lead to a sudden decrease in serotonin and blood sugar. We then find ourselves feeling tired and sleepy, craving even more sugar. The subsequent weight gain is enough to depress anyone!

The good news is there is a lot which can be done to treat SAD or better still prevent if from occurring.

Some simple adjustments to your lifestyle can go a long way in treating/preventing SAD.

  1. Regular Exercise - Your Wellness Centre NaturopathyExposing yourself to full sunlight for 10 – 20 minutes each day (silly advice you may be thinking…there IS no sun and this is making me glum!) Hmm look out for the occasional peep of the sun through the clouds!
  2. Regular exercise for 30 – 40 minutes, four to five times per week encourages the release of your bodies endorphins and lifts your mood and energy levels.
  3. A diet including low glycemic vegetables and fruits as well as a lean protein with each meal.  This will help stabilize blood sugar levels and feed the body the required amino acids for serotonin production.
  4. Therapeutic dosages of specific nutritional supplements may also be required to quickly increase serotonin levels.

If each Winter you gain a few extra kilos, have decreased motivation and then when Spring arrives and the sun begins to shine you feel so much happier and more energized, you may be suffering from  Seasonal Affective Disorder unnecessarily.

For more information and to discuss further treatment options contact us at:

health@yourwellnesscentre.com.au  or Ring 03 9879 9596 so that we can promptly help you!