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Mental Health Root Causes

Mental health, anxiety and depression are very treatable conditions. Unfortunately, surveys indicate that many people avoid seeking treatment or refuse to admit that they have a problem because of the negative connotations society associates with mental illness. Some people often think that if they have a mental illness they will be judged as being weak or incapable of coping with life. The sad thing is that they do not realize there are certain factors causing emotional symptoms in people that are not shameful at all and that their condition is very treatable. 

Causes of Anxiety and Depression

Neurotransmitters, which are chemicals responsible for mood and emotions, are also created in other areas of the body apart from your brain. Their production depends on your diet, the toxins in your body, the health of all the organs in your body, your lifestyle, medications and the amount of stress or trauma you have experienced in your life. When neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, melatonin and dopamine are out of balance, symptoms of depression, anxiety, OCD, suicidal thoughts, aggression, insomnia and paranoia begin.

Treating mental health therefore requires a holistic approach to ensure the right “root cause” is treated. If you only rely on psychiatric medication to suppress symptoms, or counseling to feel better without healing your body, you might never fully recover from a mental health condition.

Stress, Trauma & Adrenal Burnout

Your brain has the ability to create new neural connections based on what you experience. This ability is called neuroplasticity. Significant events alter the neural pathways in our brain, causing new nerve connections to be formed in order to cope with the stress and to anticipate similar events that may occur in the future. You might not even be aware that a particular emotional event has such a profound effect on you, but these neural connections alter your perception of the world and of yourself, leading to changes in mood, behavior and self-esteem.

If left unresolved, these experiences continue to affect your mind and your body consciously or subconsciously. This creates what I call emotional holding patterns, or EHPs, where your mind and body remain affected and continue to respond to emotional experiences as if they were still occurring.

Emotional and traumatic events - be it a relationship breakup, parents fighting, divorces, a significant loss, financial difficulties or death of a loved one - cause a stress or “fight or flight” response in your body. Your adrenal glands produce hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol to help you cope with this stress. If unresolved, the chronic stress from EHPs exhausts your adrenal glands, leading to an imbalance of cortisol and other hormones. Studies now show that adrenal burnout and cortisol imbalance are one of the leading causes of anxiety and depression.

Trauma therapy such as EMDR, gestalt psychotherapy, tapping and somatic experience therapy are some of the ways to resolve EHPs and reduce the stress on your adrenal glands. Additionally, I recommend lifestyle interventions to reduce daily stress which also exhausts your adrenal glands. These include meditation, mild exercise, music therapy, good sleeping habits, massage, acupuncture and rest. Homeopathic remedies, herbs and nutritional supplements also play an important role in supporting your adrenal glands and reducing the effects of stress on your body and mind.

Digestive Health

The lining of your intestines provides a barrier that prevents toxins and undigested food from entering your blood stream. This lining is protected by good food and good bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics are killed off and your gut lining is damaged by excessive medication (especially antibiotics), excessive alcohol, a poor diet, eating inflammatory foods such as gluten and dairy, and by chemicals and pesticides in your food.

When your gut lining is damaged, toxins leak into your blood stream and trigger excessive inflammation throughout your body. Chronic inflammation causes a neurotransmitter and cortisol imbalance, leading to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Chronic inflammation, adrenal fatigue and toxicity also cause an imbalance of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Low testosterone levels are associated with increased levels of depression and low progesterone levels exacerbate anxiety and mood swings with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Studies also show that most of your serotonin and other neurotransmitters are produced by good bacteria in your gut, and that mental health issues are directly influenced by an unhealthy digestive system and chronic inflammation. I have seen many cases of anxiety, depression and even bipolar improve by reducing chronic inflammation, diet changes and healing the gut with probiotics, vitamin D and omega 3 oils. (These protocols are covered in my book Heal Your Body, Cure Your Mind on health.drameet.com/books).

It is also important to eat a diet high in essential nutrients. B vitamins and proteins are essential for making neurotransmitters. If you eat a diet consisting of mostly carbohydrates and meat, you’ll miss out on essential nutrients for brain health.

The next super organ connected to mental health is your liver. Here’s why:

  • Your liver activates about 70% of your thyroid hormone, which is necessary for stimulating the production of neurotransmitters.
  • Your liver produces bile, important for digestion and the health of your gut and good bacteria. A healthy gut reduces inflammation, which is important for mental health.
  • Your liver metabolizes hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Low testosterone levels are associated with increased levels of depression and low progesterone levels exacerbate anxiety and mood swings.

Having a healthy liver and detoxifying on a regular basis is therefore paramount for mental health.

In summary, if you are suffering from emotional issues, it is important to seek professional care to help you find the root cause of your issues. In the meantime, if you are on medication, it is advisable to continue taking your medication until your doctor feels it is safe to wean you off them. You can work with counsellors, psychotherapists, nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists and other alternative practitioners in partnership with your doctor so that you can achieve the best results in your journey towards emotional wellbeing.

Get your free ebook and video course on mental health, gut health, liver detox, adrenal fatigue and trauma on www.drameet.com

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