Understanding The Gut-Brain Connection & And Seasonal Depression
For some people, the change of seasons from summer to fall inspires cozy feelings of family traditions and upcoming holidays. For anyone who manages seasonal affective disorder (SAD), however, the shorter, darker days can be very challenging.
SAD is a type of depression that gets triggered by seasonal changes. SAD usually sets in in the fall, lasts throughout the winter months, and then goes away during the spring and summer. Some people experience a type of SAD that happens during the sunny, warm weather months, but this is more rare. SAD is also more common in women than in men. SAD symptoms are similar to those of major depression, but some experts believe that people with SAD also produce too much of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, which is why lethargy and extreme fatigue are common with this condition. Other symptoms of SAD include persistent sadness, anxiety, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, and a loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy.
Research shows that SAD, like other forms of depression, may be linked to chronic gut imbalances, such as inflammation, waste impaction, and bacterial imbalances. In our practice here at DTX over the years, we’ve seen many cases of depression and anxiety helped by regular colonics, combined with juicing and dietary improvements. Understanding the gut-brain connection is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing any type of depression, in our opinion!
Comprised of more than 100 million nerve cells in the gastrointestinal tract, the enteric nervous system (ENS) controls digestion and nutrient absorption, and also communicates with the brain in some pretty profound ways. This gut-brain relationship is integral to regulating both gastrointestinal and mental health. Research shows that bowel problems like chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may cause major mood shifts in people, and might also significantly contribute to anxiety disorders and depression. No matter how you look at it, a healthy gut is not only key to overall wellness, it may also be a crucial link when it comes to managing mental health disorders.
If you experience SAD, make sure to seek mental health support as needed, and check in with your healthcare provider, too. Your treatment plan may need to include a number of complementary tools to help you feel better. Other treatments for SAD include light therapy boxes, nutritional support, psychotherapy, support groups, meditation, and relaxation techniques.
The causes of depression can be complex, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to managing any type of chronic health condition, including depression and SAD. While you might need a combination of tools to help you manage SAD, taking care of your gut health is key. Plant based foods, food combining, juicing, and regular colon hydrotherapy can all make such a difference in how well and happy you feel overall — and the benefits increase with time. While any treatment plan for SAD is not a quick fix — and gut healing is no exception — there are healing tools available that can help. With time and dedication, and by creating a unique treatment plan that works best for you, you can find ways to manage SAD that help you feel better.