Article: The Real Cause of Depression and Anxiety May Have Nothing To Do With Your Mind
The Role of the Hypothalamus in Overdrive in Depression and Anxiety
A good article on depression and it’s causes – linked below.
Having worked with depression using systemic approaches for a number of years, a couple of observations from scientists and doctors mentioned in the article seem a little obvious to me, and raised the ire in me.
But at least they are starting to investigate chronic illnesses from a systemic or whole body approach now. Hallelujah!!
These observations include:
1. “Depression is not a condition that is isolated in the mind, and that the body may play a primary role in causing or preventing depression.”
2. Doctors and scientists are “starting to question whether the pharmaceutical solutions even works” – well how about that!! 3. “I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition any more. It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.”
The article talks a lot about the role of inflammation in depression and the effectiveness of good nutrition and certain nutrients to combat inflammation.
Terrific. We’ve also seen plenty of research come out on the influence of gut health on the immune system and on neurotransmitters that influence mood, sleep etc.
However, these approaches, whilst effective rarely yield complete results (in my observation and experience).
In looking for the ultimate or root cause of depression and anxiety, my belief is that scientists would also benefit in directing their attention higher (in the body or brain-stem) to the hypothalamus for it’s role in influencing inflammation, neurotransmitter levels, gut function and the immune system.
The hypothalamus is a gland that regulates all automatic functions of the body (including the gut and immune system), endocrine function, many higher brain functions including sleep cycles, cognitive function memory and neurotransmitter function.
In fact, you could say the hypothalamus is the general. It’s job is maintaining homeostasis (or balance/health in the body). In other words, it there to keep our bodies and us alive and functioning efficiently.
Effectively the hypothalamus is the link between our mind and our body.
And a hypothalamus that no longer woks harmoniously can significantly alter homeostasis in the body – depression and anxiety being one of the many resultant symptoms of a hypothalamus in overdrive. Many doctors and scientists (including Dr David Mickel – founder of Mickel Therapy) are starting to discover that in most people in the modern world, the hypothalamus does not wort optimally – it is very often in overdrive, especially in chronic illnesses such as depression, anxiety, IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and many auto-immune conditions.
A hypothalamus in overdrive sends out regulatory signals to the body at a pathologically accelerated rate that can severely disrupt homeostasis in the body and results in a vast array of symptoms, including anxiety and depression. And it can severely disrupt gut function and exacerbate inflammation, further increasing these symptoms.
It has been suggested that a hypothalamus in overdrive may well be the ultimate or root cause of depression and anxiety.
To rectify this we must start at the level of the hypothalamus or the general and create harmony in the function of this link between body and mind.
Mickel Therapy addresses this by starting with correcting the communication between our primal emotional brain centres (or body-mind which serves to keep us happy, safe and comfortable with relationship to our environment by sending us primal or ‘pre-thought’ emotional signals), and the thinking or rational brain (or the mind which is the data control system for our body and serves to interpret and create action based on these emotional signals sent by the body-mind).
A healthy neural pathway or relationship between these two intelligence centres keeps us happy, safe and comfortable and we maintain homeostasis.
When this relationship breaks down, as it so often does in the modern world due to the mismatch between the world we have created and the bodies we have inherited, we internalise these emotional messages, and therefore stress, and the hypothalamus goes into overdrive; eventually producing symptoms. Effectively, we end up permanently in ‘fight or flight’ arousal.
With Mickel Therapy, we use a set of tools that targets the reason for the breakdown in communication between these two intelligence centres that is specific to each individual, then start taking action to reverse this breakdown, or create a healthy neural pathway. The result being that the hypothalamus is taken out of overdrive and symptoms start to disappear and the hypothalamus can harmoniously regulate bodily function (including gut, immune, inflammation and neurotransmitter function) and create homeostasis or optimal health.