Functional Medicine – Anxiety and Depression
There is nothing typical about having serious anxiety or debilitating depression, except sometimes the treatment that is offered. The standard characters include cipralex, celexa, zoloft, effexor, prozac, luvox, paxil and now pristiq. It is also important to note that a lot of the time these pharmaceuticals seem to really help the people that use them. In fact they help about 40% of the time and they are some of the best selling drugs on the market. But when medication is required to help someone feel better, the point of this post is certainly not to shame the use of medication but to help create awareness of a new functional medicine approach to choosing medication that can help avoid a lot of headaches. Literally!
You see what is sometimes unknown is that, when you start a typical medication for anxiety and/or depression it takes roughly 30 days for the full effect of the medication to kick in. 30 DAYS! I’m not sure if you have felt depressed or anxious before but 30 days seems like an awfully longtime to wait for a medication to work. Another little tidbit is that, often times side effects of the medication are expected for the first 2 weeks, but these worsening effects like headaches, insomnia, heightened anxiety and agitation actually indicate that the pharmaceutical drug is working well! Talk about getting kicked when you are down.
The other thing to know is that most of the time, being prescribed one of these medications, there is no rational for which medication a person is given. Prescribing SSRI and SNRI drugs, generally is based on favorites of the physician and/or trial and error. But there is now a way to safely pick pharmaceutical antidepressive medications using your own genetics! Actually it has been around for a few years but is becoming much more popularized of late.
Using 23andme.com to provide genetic data, taking that data and providing it to a software company called nutrahacker you can generate a report of many typical antidepressant treatments, including several natural options, to determine which treatment is the best fit for the individual. This essentially individualizes treatment options that are going to be more effective and most importantly safer to use than a simple guess.
Graphically Representation of Treatments for Depression
Now … this should not replace the true purpose of functional medicine, which is to look for the underlying cause of a persons depression and anxiety. 23 and Me data can also help look for this, along with many other tests, such as organic acid testing, hormone testing, sibo testing, food sensitivity/allergy testing, amongst others. If any of you recently saw the Broken Brain series from Dr Hyman you will understand that a lot of the time, anxiety and depression can arise from issues that would not require typical antipressant medications. It is good to keep these top of mind, but most important have someone feel good during the process!