What is depression?

Depression, or unipolar depression, is a common mental condition that varies in severity, and negatively affects ways of thinking, acting, and feeling. (Gaby, 2011)

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive sleep or insomnia
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • In some cases, suicidal ideation or suicide attempts

Major depressive disorder, or major depression, describes depression that causes clinically significant distress or impairment of functioning. Minor depressive disorder, or minor depression, involves fewer symptoms and less impairment than major depression, but is otherwise similar.

Further information

What Is Depression?
American Psychiatric Association webpage

Medical standard of care

The standard medical approach typically does not consider, or address, dietary, nutrient, and environmental contributors to depression.

Conventional treatment for depression mainly includes psychotherapy and the use of antidepressant medications. Many people find that these medications are only partially effective and have a variety of negative side effects. Nonpharmacological treatments like psychotherapy are used in addition to medications.

Medications commonly taken for depression include:

  • Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]
  • Selective serotonin/norepinephrine-reuptake inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

These medications work by acting on chemicals and neurotransmitters. Mechanisms include increasing the release, decreasing the uptake, and inhibiting the breakdown of molecules such as serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine.

Why consider an orthomolecular approach?

Depression has numerous biological and molecular causes and contributors that have been identified through research and clinical practice. Each individual may experience depression symptoms for different reasons…

The orthomolecular approach:

  • identifies the drivers and causes of depression and focuses on understanding them
  • works WITH the body to restore balance and normal function, and considers the person with the condition vs. just the condition
  • addresses nutrient depletions that promote depression whereas medications do not
  • can be done SAFELY in conjunction with most medical interventions

Gaby AR. (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Alan R. Gaby, VitalBook file.

Gaby, A. R. (2011). Nutritional Medicine (VitalBook file).