A new look at depression

The concept that depression is a serotonin problem is increasingly being called into question and this challenges traditional ideas of depression as a genetic illness, suggesting instead that our experiences and environments could play more of a role than we thought.

According to Dr Kelly Brogan, a psychiatrist in New York, who explores the theories of the causes of depression and the scientific evidence that lay behind them, ‘there has never been a human study that successfully links low serotonin levels and depression’ the Telegraph reported.

The most widely prescribed antidepressants like Prozac, are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, and work on the basis that depression is caused by low levels of the brain chemical serotonin and can be treated by correcting this imbalance.

But now a growing number of doctors are subscribing to a radical new theory of depression – that the problem, at least for some people, is in fact the result of inflammation in the body, caused by the body’s immune system reacting to an infection or stress.

Dr Valeria Mondelli, senior clinical lecturer in psychological medicine at King’s College London, believes that high levels of inflammation can decrease the number of neurons in our brains and affect the way they communicate with each other , leading to depression.

“We’ve seen repeatedly that people with depression have higher levels of inflammation in their brains and this we think could be a new theory of depression in competition to the chemical imbalance theory.”

One third of depressed patients have increased inflammation, she says and they are the same people who do not respond to SSRIs.

Last month Danish researchers reported that the taking of antidepressants raised the risk of suicide when taken by healthy people.

According to Childline there has been a 116% rise in the number of young people who talked about suicide during counselling sessions in 2013/14 compared to 2010/11. Statistics for the UK also show that the average age for the onset of depression is 14 – as opposed to 45 in the 1960s.

Talking therapies have been proven to help treat anxieties, stress and depression and the National Council for Hypnotherapy has around 1,800 qualified therapists across the UK who can provide the right treatment.

While many suffer from stress and anxiety which can lead to depression, you may be one of those people but are now ready to explore ways of freeing yourself from anxiety and living a fulfilled and happy life, free to do things that bring you joy, says the NCH.

“Research shows that prolonged exposure to cortisol and other stress related hormones can cause memory problems, a weakened immune system, weaker bones, increased blood pressure and even reduce fertility,” says the NCH.

A trained hypnotherapist can help assess the anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.

“The hypnotherapist will discuss with you the amount of sessions needed but it may be around six sessions,” says the NCH. “Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life.”