While many people understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness, very few recognize a similar connection between nutrition and depression. Nutritional neuroscience and nutritional psychiatry are emerging disciplines where research is showing that nutrition is intertwined with cognition, behavior, and emotions.
Diet Affects both Physical and Mental Health
The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research reports data that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. While a healthy diet may help protect and bolster a person’s mental health, an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for both depression and anxiety.
Nutrition and Depression
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that by 2010, the diagnosis of depression will be ranked as the second leading cause of disability, just behind that of heart disease. Depression may be most commonly viewed as emotionally-rooted; however, nutrition can play a key role in the onset, severity, and duration of depression.
Nutritional Psychiatry Data for Food Patterns
The typical diet of people with depression is far from adequate. Food choices are often limited, meals frequently skipped, appetite is poor, there is an increased desire for sweet food, and a decreased desire for food rich in carbohydrates. These food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that are found to occur during periods of depression.
Depression Triggered by Diet
Eating a diet low in carbohydrates tends to precipitate depression as the production and release of “feel good” brain chemicals of serotonin and tryptophan are triggered by carbohydrate rich foods. For those with depression, their food choices may actually be contributing to their diagnosis.
Depression Psychiatrist Locally
While diet can be part of your overall treatment plan it is not a substitute for the medication and adjunct services that your psychiatrist prescribes following a comprehensive evaluation. Call the office for a confidential appointment.