Depression is typically defined as an overwhelming feeling of sadness that is felt daily, stretching into weeks, and interfering with your daily life.  When you look for answers as to why someone feels depressed, the information available indicates that no one really knows why people are depressed. Could there be a reason why someone is depressed? Of course! Never to take away from someone “feeling” depressed, but what can we do to help someone make a shift?  Could it possibly be chronic?  Could it also be a depressed system? A depressed system is a part of your body that is not functioning properly such as: digestion, elimination, reproduction, circulatory, and respiratory.  The entire physiological components are at risk for depressed or lowered function.

The Feedback Mechanism:

You are a feedback system. If your body says it needs fats, carbs, protein, B vitamins… you go after the hamburger that is in the refrigerator. If you are hot or cold, you get a sweater or a fan.  If you feel happy, you stand tall. If you feel sad, your posture bends forward, over-activating the psoas muscle for protection.

Feedback mechanisms create patterns when they dominate your daily life. If the pattern doesn’t change, the feelings continue. There are many ways of addressing feelings of sadness, but you must include the brain in order to shift the pendulum in the other direction.

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Lack of energy
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Attention issues (AD(H)D)
  • Loss of interest
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or inadequacy
  • Chronic pain
  • And more

Chronic Pain:

Many adults suffer from chronic pain. Pain can be from an old injury or a new one. Pain can happen from sitting all the time, which has been compared to smoking. When your body is not functioning as expected, you may feel pain from an involved area or an area of pain referral. The interesting part about pain is what it does to the brain.

Pain is interpreted by a nociceptor. Nociceptors are a type of receptor that are designed to feel pain that may cause the body harm.  You can experience a nociceptive reaction when a nerve is irritated, when other tissues like bones, muscles, and skin are activated, or internal organs, such as involuntary muscles in the heart, are injured or inflamed.

The interesting part is you only need 10% of nociceptors to register pain in the brain. So where does the other 90% go? It goes back into your autonomic nervous system. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for the global regulation of many systems in your body. The ANS regulates involuntary action, the intestines, heart, and glands, and is divided into the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Depression and Your Brain's Chemistry:

To look at your brain’s function consider the neurotransmitters (NT) which carry messages from brain cells or neurons.  The main NT involved in depression includes glutamate and GABA, which regulate mood and emotion. Glutamate is excitatory and GABA is inhibitory. When you experience chronic stress and anxiety, some of these connections between nerve cells break apart. When communication breaks apart you become stuck.  When you become stuck, and the connections fall apart it is believed that the end result is depression.

The rhythm and synchronization of neuronal activity in the brain is the creation of brain waves. There are many processes involved in the creation of brain waves including neurotransmitters and a net electric charge changing the cellular excitability responsible for mood and emotions.

Depression and Your Brain's Function:

There are several areas of the brain that have been found to be dysregulated in depression.  The areas of interest include a lack of blood flow to the Prefrontal Cortex, the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus, and the Insula. The Prefrontal Cortex is associated with executive function, working memory, selective attention, self-reflection, memory, and emotional processing. Chronic stress and anxiety shift the blood from the front of the brain to the back of the brain. Therefore, a shift in blood flow will cause a lack of oxygen and nutrients to your executive function. The Anterior Cingulate Gyrus functions to regulate emotion and behavior, as well as helping to regulate the autonomic nervous system and pain. The Insula is involved in desires, cravings, and addiction.

The CMB Difference:

At CMB, we have a 3-tier approach to evaluate your unique story.

  1. Brain – A comprehensive approach through QEEG will identify how your brain is wired from the top down
  2. Chemistry – Evaluate your internal biology through functional labs;
  3. Mechanical – Educate you on the power of movement in helping you redirect your brain

We begin with a brain map. A brain map is a road map that identifies how your brain is wired. We use QEEG (Quantitative electroencephalography) which allows us to see how the brain is organized and if a brain wave is under- or over-aroused.

QEEG has found altered circuitry in those struggling with depression that involves the Frontal Lobe, the Cingulate Gyrus, the Insula Cortex, and the ability to send oxygen to the frontal region of the brain. This pattern of altered circuit communication is associated with depression and further compounded with chronic stress.  Dysregulation in blood flow is also associated with the brain preparing the body for a flight-or-fight response. To change this pattern, you must practice a new pattern. The practice is supported through a therapy called Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is used to promote organization, self-regulation, and awareness so the individual can learn to balance their brain, reduce anxiety, and move forward.

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