By medical definition, Depression is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.

In the office of a Functional Medicine Clinical Nutritionist, Depression is a symptom of an imbalance in the biochemistry of the body. The change in biochemistry can come from psychological stressors, environmental stressors, social triggers, results of the side effects of medications, activation of genetic pre-disposition, mineral deficiencies, toxic metal syndromes, lack of proper sleep wake cycle, chronic pain patterns, slow thyroid function, hormone changes and so on. The most important concept here is that depression is not a sign of a deficiency of an anti-depressant drug. There is a reason that depression occurs. The most important step in understanding how to correct depression is first asking the question why. Why are you or a loved one depressed?

Many of the patients I treat for depression correct both the biochemical and physical component of depression while at the same time addressing the psychological aspect with the counselor. This is the true path to healing. Spirit, mind and body correction.

On the Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutrition side of working with depression, I use a number of functional tests to determine body balance. Blood tests for proper body function are not always accurate for identifying a problem and this can make diagnosing functional mood shifting tricky. I specialize in working with the functional changes in your body to correct the cause of the symptoms and remove the presence of mood disorders. Biotoxins (toxins given off from living things in your body or in your environment) are notorious for causing mood disorders. Mold illness, Lyme disease, Epstein Barr Virus, Systemic Candida and more all have the potential to trigger depression.

In working with a Functional Medicine Clinical Nutritionist you will hear the word “functional” quite a bit. What we are referring to is that not all problems show up in your blood work, and there may be a more subtle change in your system that is not bad enough to raise the red flags for your medical doctor. Depression is a perfect example:

It is good news that your doctor can’t find anything wrong with your blood work. That means there is no pathology or major illness. That brings you to trying to identify the subtle changes in your body. This is the specialty of a Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutritionist, correcting small changes in physiology that cause a non-diagnosed symptom presentation.

It is important to note that when your medical history and health related goals are explored, your consultations are held directly with Dr. Shaw, not an untrained individual, a staff member, a questionnaire or a computer program. You will not be signing up for a “program” and paying money up front for services not yet rendered. Your health care journey in our office is unique to your specific needs.

I look forward to working with you to identify the functional possibilities behind your depression. — Dr. Conan Shaw  Functional Medicine, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Pittsburgh PA

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