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Start-Up Founders On Dealing With Depression 257

Posted by timothy
from the blue-mondays dept.
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Founders at a number of Boston startups shared their stories of building and growing a company while battling depression. One founder didn't even realize he was depressed until glucose and blood tests came back normal, while another said it was worse than her life struggles growing up in the projects. All shared different coping mechanisms. Any advice for dealing with the same?"
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Start-Up Founders On Dealing With Depression

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  • by TheSync (5291) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:00PM (#46654647) Journal

    When I ran a start-up, I remember the pressure being crazy. I believe I had gastric reflux pretty bad. Then when it failed (like most start-ups do), it hit pretty hard. The good news is that it was an incredible experience, and I learned a great deal about business and life from it.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:23PM (#46654961) Homepage Journal

      Giving up sex for more office hours.

      Bad things happen.

    • by ebusinessmedia1 (561777) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @08:45PM (#46656567)
      If you are feeling depressed or anxious, go see someone - a counselor; a psychiatrist; a pastor; a good friend that you trust, etc. Another thing you can do is avail yourself of one of the better self-help books out there; it's called "Feeling Good" by David Burns. I highly recommend reading the first 50 pages, minimum, and doing the exercises (about 10 minutes per day) to start; the book is based on years of solid research and is very accessible. The techniques described have been proven in labs all over the world.

      The reason I like this book is because the techniques employed are lab tested; it is not a "feel good" book; it's a book that describes how to deal with the thoughts that cause depression - i.e. cognitive distortions, and how to "talk back" to those distortions in ways that effectively disarm them. Feeling Good is available for about $10 from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-... [amazon.com]; it is used by therapists all over the world and is probably the most effective book of its kind. btw, this book is also helpful for people who are just going through a rough patch, but are not depressed.

  • As Ricardo's comparative advantage would say: Not everyone is fit to handle a start-up, nor should they be pushed to it by policies making every other condition second-class.

    Of course, that may not fly well with some.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:06PM (#46654735) Homepage

    There's only one piece of advice those who think they may be suffering from anxiety or depression need: Seek professional help as soon as possible, and ignore the ignorant fuckers who tell you to just man up and move on.

    The level and type of professional help you'll need may be a counselor, may be full on treatment - but you'll never regret it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bluefoxlucid (723572)
      Dude, just fucking man up.
    • by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:11PM (#46655611) Journal
      Indeed, may I add one caveated to that, educate yourself on what the professional advises, read the labels and be aware of the side-effects of anti-anxiety pills such as Zoloft, mixed with regular alcohol I've seen at least 4 middle aged friends have their lives totally wrecked by that particular combination, two of whom ended up spending time in jail, not to mention the distress caused to their partners and kids. This is because we need some stress, it's the bodily signal that tells you what you are doing is wrong/dangerous, unfortunately I was too slow to make the connection in my ex-wife's behaviour to save my own 20yr marriage.

      So my advise is seek professional help from a qualified psychiatrist who will probably recommend a good counsellor. Do not accept a script from an ordinary GP, ask for a referral to a physiatrist for a second opinion. Above all educate yourself enough about any drugs you are given, especially the unwanted side-effects that can be far worse than the anxiety attacks. Used properly the drugs are effective, I have more friends that have benefited from their correct use than have suffered from incorrect use.
      • by Aighearach (97333)

        LOL! My friend started taking zoloft and ended up getting kicked out of a bar for trying to spin a stool on his finger... over and over again, because in his warped world, he was spinning it for a long time before it fell. Then he went out to the parking lot, and assaulted some guy who was making out with a woman. He thought he was batman and that he was saving her from an attack.

        Luckily, he escaped the police and a family member got him better treatment; involved quitting the startup, changing medications,

      • Indeed, may I add one caveated to that, educate yourself on what the professional advises, read the labels and be aware of the side-effects of anti-anxiety pills such as Zoloft, mixed with regular alcohol I've seen at least 4 middle aged friends have their lives totally wrecked by that particular combination, two of whom ended up spending time in jail, not to mention the distress caused to their partners and kids...

        Used properly the drugs are effective, I have more friends that have benefited from their correct use than have suffered from incorrect use.

        You've listed four friends who had their lives wrecked and your conclusion is that "used properly the drugs are effective"? The lesson I would draw from this is that there are other approaches which are shown to be at least as effective in managing depression for many people- exercise, counseling, and sleep training- that do not destroy people's lives and land them in jail. So instead of running to the doctor for a Zoloft prescription, a more sensible treatment plan would be to implement some of the non-dr

    • by seebs (15766)

      Pretty much this, yeah.

      You know, if any other part of your body hurt or stopped working as-expected, you'd probably go to a doctor pretty early on. But we have this cultural ideal that "willpower" is a virtue, so people want to "be strong". But you know, if stamina were a "virtue", would that mean that you should just laugh it off if you suddenly couldn't do normal things without being out of breath? No, it would not.

  • by TWX (665546) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:06PM (#46654737)
    "I hate my job. Is there a support group for people like me?"

    "Yes, it's called Everyone. we meet at the bar."
    • by Aighearach (97333)

      News flash: the drunks at the bar may think they're just like "everyone," but most people are not at the bar.

  • Um.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shoten (260439) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:07PM (#46654745)

    Maybe try getting professional help? Instead of asking Slashdot? Just saying.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BradMajors (995624)

      "Professional help" does not have a high success rate for treating depression.

      • by hendrips (2722525)

        That may be true, but what exactly is "treating depression?" My understanding (and I may be wrong) is that depression treatment is not really even intended to cure the patient's condition. Rather, treatment is intended to improve the condition to the point that the patient can at least function normally, even while they're still sad/stressed/whatever. The question is, are psychiatric professionals successful at that goal? The few people I have known that have suffered from depression say that treatment w

      • by Lotana (842533)

        I am willing to bet that it has much better success rate than asking questions on Slashdot.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Desler (1608317) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:08PM (#46654765)

    One founder didn't even realize he was depressed until glucose and blood tests came back normal

    If his results were normal why would that indicate he had depression?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:15PM (#46654849) Journal

      Because depression presents in all kinds of weird ways.
      In this case "started to get dizzy and feel sick" could have been anything.
      Once blood work ruled out physical problems, that's when you start looking for psychological ones.

      • I thought depression is still a "physical" problem, although not one immediately obvious in blood tests? Otherwise why would you prescribe drugs altering the brain chemistry (which is beyond the blood-brain barrier)?
        • I thought depression is still a "physical" problem, although not one immediately obvious in blood tests? Otherwise why would you prescribe drugs altering the brain chemistry (which is beyond the blood-brain barrier)?

          Because there's good money in pharmaceuticals?

          • I thought depression is still a "physical" problem, although not one immediately obvious in blood tests? Otherwise why would you prescribe drugs altering the brain chemistry (which is beyond the blood-brain barrier)?

            Because there's good money in pharmaceuticals?

            Because it's a crap shoot. There is no physical test for most forms of depression, it has to be diagnosed by professional investigation, subject to whatever current psychiatric fads are in effect.

            And likewise, there's no magic bullet treatment for depression, despite what impression the drug commercials might give. One person's relief may do nothing for another, and the side-effects can often be so annoying that even if an effective drug is discovered, the patient may not use it effectively. I refuse to buy

    • by fleeped (1945926)
      Because then it's not physical, it's psychological. My doctor told me the other day.
  • When you are depressed you are supposed to have lower mental activity, and yet some of the most brilliant people have been known to be clinically depressed [citation not needed]. So then, if depression sometimes comes with brilliance, what gives?

    And does this mean that for some people of this class antidepressants (chemical and psychological) have the effect of actually dulling insight and brilliance?

    Be depressed, be brilliant: Be happy, be dumb.

    Life is such a bitch.
    • by Narcocide (102829) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:22PM (#46654951) Homepage

      Depression is weird

      No, its really, really simple actually, even depressingly so. When you're smarter than everyone else, they all team up to try to destroy you. This is very stressful and the effect of the stress is quite distracting in a way that is nearly constant, even when not being actively bullied at that moment. Imagine how much smarter our most brilliant minds would be if they weren't tormented by mainstream society and their "peers" practically from the cradle to the grave.

      • by neiras (723124)

        As illustrated by this comedy sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:47PM (#46657059)

        No lollipop for you. Getting angry doesn't make you more intelligent. Angry people are famous, in fact, for doing really stupid things.

        However, at least some forms of depression seem to be related to obsession. You receive what most people would think of as a minor emotional injury and you can't let go of it. It drags you down constantly as it replays over and over in your head.

        Receiving a MAJOR emotional injury where "they all team up to try to destroy you" is more likely to end up with a major shooting incident or the like.

        Obsession can be crippling when it comes to handling injuries, but obsession IS considered a sign of genius when you can't let go of a creative idea and keep pursuing it long after sensible people would have dropped it.

    • by Hentai (165906) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:27PM (#46655027) Homepage Journal

      When you are depressed you are supposed to have lower mental activity, and yet some of the most brilliant people have been known to be clinically depressed [citation not needed]. So then, if depression sometimes comes with brilliance, what gives?

      Here's a weird analogy that seems roughly accurate:

      Being depressed is like being perpetually out of gas. You just can't *do* anything.

      Now, your average person's brain is a typical Honda 90 horsepower engine. Good gas mileage, terrible performance.

      Your average genius's brain is like a Ferrari V8 - super-high performance, but at the cost of needing a LOT more fuel.

      If everyone's getting the same amount of emotional 'fuel' from their friends, family, culture, society etc., who's going to run out first?

      • I prefer the following response to the "Just get over it/MAKE yourself be happy" crowd.

        I'm naturally buoyant. I can pretty much float in water until I pickle to death. Almost no effort required to keep my head above water.

        Depression is like what happens when I put on a scuba weight belt. I can still keep my head above water, but I'm having to MAKE myself be buoyant (so to speak) by more actively treading water. Eventually, however, the extra effort required is going to tell, I can't keep treading and I'll g

    • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:21PM (#46656819)

      There is a condition known as "manic depressive disorder." Essentially, you can have a day where you're feeling so great that you decide to move all of the furniture in your house, repaint the living room, run a mile, begin a novel, and more. You have tons of energy and can do it all. And then you crash into the depression stage where getting out of bed is a major achievement.

      There were some very brilliant people who did some wonderful things in their manic stages only to sink into horrible depression stages (sometimes committing suicide while in these).

      • There is a condition known as "manic depressive disorder." Essentially, you can have a day where you're feeling so great that you decide to move all of the furniture in your house, repaint the living room, run a mile, begin a novel, and more. You have tons of energy and can do it all. And then you crash into the depression stage where getting out of bed is a major achievement.

        These days it's called Bipolar Disorder. and it comes in two varieties, Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I is the classic Manic Depressive disorder. In BPII the ups tend to be much milder and shorter, and the depression tends to be more chronic. BP I is pretty hard to miss- the manias tend to be the kind of thing that land you either in the hospital or in jail. But a lot of people suffering from depression may actually suffer from BP II. The highs in Bipolar II are hypomanic- they're characterized by being

        • I would add that treatment for Bipolar Disorder of either variety is more than initially seeking help--it's a commitment to staying helped. I have BP-I, diagnosed many years ago and well-treated since then. I have a great psychiatrist, and was lucky enough to have hit upon a mix of drugs without too much trial and error that work for me and keep me pretty stable without too many side effects. Given the crapshoot that is psychiatric pharmacology, I've had a really good outcome.

          But, having tasted the highs

  • It's all about the meds...

  • Depression (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:20PM (#46654919)

    High performance requires high maintenance. Just the way the universe works (entropy and all).

    Depression may be an evolutionary stable strait, meaning like pain receptors, it may be there to protect you.

    Here are some things I know after studying it for many years, and experiencing it for many years:

    1. Get your Thyroid checked (TSH, free T3). Stress among many other things can bring it down and create depression. Even if you are young: Dr.s won't begin testing until you are middle-aged, typically, so ask for it.
    2. Walking every day or other healthy exercise is shown to reduce mild to moderate depressive symptoms in studies over and over again
    3. Take a B complex vitamin that contains Niacin. Take choline and L-Glutamine for brain food. Look these up.
    4. Make sure your blood sugar stays stable. Read up on hypoglycemia. Standard protocol is protein every meal and have 5 small meals a day.
    5. Acknowledge your limits and adapt around them.
    5. If your thyroid is fine and you are still suffering with depressive symptoms it's time to look at either lowering stress in your life or getting with a good Dr. to help adapt.

    Depression will one day be found to have many types I think. It will fool you too by making you think you have thoughts that are your own, but they are as much influenced by mood as your deliberate effort to think. This means simply, if you are depressed, your judgement is not good. That's why support systems are important, but get to good Dr. Your life may depend on it. Oh, and most cases of depression can be remedied.

    • SSRIs have been proven to be barely effective. So no idea what you mean with "remedied". Popping Vit B might help you, but it's not a magic cure.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Don't listen to "successful" people telling you about their "battle with depression". Their experiences are always atypical and usually represent a mild condition. The obsession with listening to heroes, as if a person who is good/lucky with one thing is competent at everything, is thoroughly harmful.

    Instead, obtain professional help, and (within that professional framework, if possible) seek peer support from regular people with regular lives. Depression is often made worse by the sufferer's filtered/disto

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:28PM (#46655041) Homepage Journal

    People who spend dark to dark in their offices often lose sight of life, while scrambling to the top. Give your endorphins a chance to work out, too. We're all headed to the grave, make sure your journey there isn't all work and no play.

    • by bitt3n (941736)

      People who spend dark to dark in their offices often lose sight of life, while scrambling to the top. Give your endorphins a chance to work out, too. We're all headed to the grave, make sure your journey there isn't all work and no play.

      Listen to you trying to get me to go home early so you can weasel your way past me to the corner office. I'm onto you, you scheming bastard. You and your bloody endorphins are headed to the grave sooner than you might imagine.

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:29PM (#46655055)
    Yes depression is real. Yes people have chemical imbalances or are wired the wrong way. Yes some people are born into shitboxs with terrible life circumstances. Yes some people lose their fortunes taking a crap-shoot gamble on flaky or even sure-fire premises. Depression is complex. It could be sourced from professional failure, home-life problems, neurological imbalances, marital issues. Man the fuck up and face your emotions head on. Or take drugs if your brain doesn't allow you to cope that way. Or just talk to somebody about it and let it all out. Venting is helpful too. Depression is real. Sometimes it is overdiagnosed. Sometimes it is missed in people. There are many coping mechanisms. I'm making generalizations but all in all depression is not a binary state, but a spectrum. This is not news for nerds, but it is stuff that matters, particularly if the rates of depressions are on the rise, rates which could be indicative of the socio-economic status of a populations inhabitants, and perhaps about the greater culture as well. I am a software developer and have no professional qualifications to comment on the matter, but since this is the internet, fuck-all lets give it a go!
  • by cheesybagel (670288) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:44PM (#46655239)

    I once had to work in a highly stressful environment. I started doing more and more exercise out of work to just forget it all. I stopped having appetite. Eventually I started losing weight really fast. I also started sleeping less and less. I finished and delivered the project to the client, then left.

    Afterwards I stopped working for a while. My sleep instead of improving got even worse. It came to a time where I did not sleep for 3 days straight. That was when everything started going bonkers. I got highly irritable at the slightest things. Blood pressure went down for no reason at all. I went to the hospital to get some diagnosis on my sleeping problems. While I was waiting for my appointment I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was lying in an hospital bed.

    When I finally got a proper diagnosis and got proper medication, a trial in itself, my condition improved. After a couple of months I went back to work again.

    My advice to you is if you are in a stressful work environment either change your conditions or leave it ASAP. Preferably prevent it from happening in the first place. Try to keep a private life outside of work in order to avoid getting stuck into mind loops. If you keep doing the same workload that is causing you to be stressed under the medication you may come off the rails. I have seen it happen. This condition is a lot more frequent than people would like to admit it. For whatever reason it seems to be anathema to discuss this subject in Western societies. Even if a lot of famous people e.g. Winston Churchill suffered from it.

  • How I deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by ddt (14627) <ddt@davetaylor.name> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:51PM (#46655321) Homepage

    I've suffered from chronic depression all my adult life, but I didn't want to medicate unless it was a medicine which could cure me, which doesn't exist (yet). I've been an entrepreneur for most of my 20+ year career. Here's how I "self-medicate":

    • Moved to a place with lots of sunlight.
    • Sold my car, bicycle everywhere.
    • Got rid of my cell phone, use skype # for calls.
    • Got rid of my TV.
    • Got lots of redundant bandwidth- FIOS, cable, 3G/4G modem
    • Got a roomie.
    • Eat more fish and vegetables.
    • Became a regular at a couple of restaurants.
    • Got involved in local hacker community and broader game dev community.
    • Stay productive. Getting something done every day helps.
    • Work on projects with others, use skype video often if not in same space.
    • Got a medical marijuana certificate. Best when used judiciously.
    • Make a habit of checking in on my last dozen or so thoughts. Are they all sad?

    There's no one thing that seems to have done the trick, and it's not a perfect cure. I still have "down days," but I feel a lot better off overall than I used to. I think the hardest thing for anyone to do would be to cut their TV, cell phone, and car out of the picture, but I have to say, these were some of the most helpful things I did. Not only did they dramatically reduced bills but also reduced lots of stress and distractions. Granted, I can find plenty of distractions with my copious internet bandwidth, but at least they're more self-directed.

    • Re:How I deal (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nmoore (22729) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:12PM (#46655635) Homepage

      I didn't want to medicate unless it was a medicine which could cure me, which doesn't exist (yet)

      Got a medical marijuana certificate. Best when used judiciously.

      I am not sure how to reconcile these two. Selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors count as medicine, but partial CB1 agonists do not?

      • by ddt (14627)
        You're right. I meant medicate regularly with long-term anti-depressants. I had heard too many cases of people having to experiment to find the right kind, sometimes experiencing even suicidal thoughts when on the wrong sort, and at the time I was diagnosed, they all seemed to be of the form that you keep dosed all day every day, which made me feel kind of "longitudinally uncertain," if you know what I mean. I was also told that they can shave off your highs along with your lows, and I really like my hig
      • I know a lot of people, my sister included, who have a big issue with taking drugs prescribed by a doctor, but no issue with taking drugs purchased from a dealer. The logic can be pretty strange. For example I was talking with her about looking in to trying an anti-anxiety medication. My family all has issues with that, but she is far worse than the rest of us. My parents and I take low doses of SSRIs for it and it seems to help a lot. Thus it would probably be worth a try for her, since we have a great dea

        • by ddt (14627)

          I know a lot of people, my sister included, who have a big issue with taking drugs prescribed by a doctor, but no issue with taking drugs purchased from a dealer.

          No offense, but I'm not your sister, and I can articulate why I went this route. :)

          I pointed out to her that it was completely my choice to take an SSRI, I could stop any time I wished, they aren't addictive, there is no court or medical order that requires me to take it, I continue to take it because I find it useful.

          That's not entirely true. Some SSRI's cannot be stopped: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

          However it is silly to be ok with THC and LSD and the like, but not with an SSRI.

          Now please don't anyone mistake me for saying "Everyone should take SSRIs." No, not at all. However if a professional suggests they, or another drug, may be useful to treating a condition you have, you shouldn't say "No I won't take drugs," but then go out and smoke a joint. That is just silly. That would be like then refusing to use marijuana if a doctor prescribed it.

          At least in California, to get your certificate, marijuana has to be prescribed by a doctor. I just renewed mine last week. You have to fill out a pretty extensive questionnaire about other drugs you're taking, how it affects you, how much you're using it, and your health history in general. The doctor took my blood pressure, which

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      Wow, is there anything else than productivity in your life ?

      • by ddt (14627)
        I have a rich play life, too, but the jury is out on whether it helps me cope with depression or serves as a form of escapism to avoid dealing with it, so I thought I'd stick with the clear wins.
        • by eulernet (1132389)

          I meant: are you able to do nothing ?

          I believe that you identify yourself too much with your actions.
          When you don't produce anything, you feel empty and that's the cause of your depression.
          But it's not really depression, it's just a fear of emptiness.
          Being very active will not solve this emptiness, it just exacerbates it.

          • by ddt (14627)
            I am not able to do nothing. My mind is an insatiable thing, and it needs to feed on ideas, knowledge, people, entertainment, etc. That's part of why I got really serious about the redundant bandwidth. Hadn't considered I might be afraid of emptiness. I'm open to ideas if you have any suggestions on how to test for that fear and/or treat it.
    • Eat more fish and vegetables.

      There's increasing evidence that diet may play a role in mental illness. I've always been skeptical of the low-carb craze and the recent war on sugar. However, it's been shown that a number of neurological disorders do respond to carbohydrate reduction. One is epilepsy, which can respond to a very low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet. In these diets, sugar and carbohydrates are cut out, and the body primarily burns fat for fuel. The other is bipolar II. There are a couple of documented case studies of bipolar

  • Group Depression (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sanat (702) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:06PM (#46655517)

    When I worked as an engineer at McDonnell Douglas and things were spiraling down... I watched as the energy required to do a small task seemed to require a herculean effort to complete... Seemed that each day there was less employees to do the work... and each of them had less energy to "make it happen"... I have been fortunate not to have to experience this over and over like some individuals have. My heart goes out to those who suffer with depression and with those who struggle maintaining ... whether it is maintaining a job or trying to maintain consciousness to man up and get by.

  • by dsgrntlxmply (610492) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:38PM (#46655927)

    One model claims that manic depressive tendency is under-recognized and over-represented among entrepreneurs. This sounds intriguing, but I must admit not being aware of any data that directly support the claim.

    Another factor is post-mission depression. Here, we have something in common with military people, aid workers, and religious missionaries returning from deployment. One's life was for a time directed by a highly directed sense of purpose and mission, held in common with one's principal cohort. This often was within an organizational structure that made high demands, but diverted attention toward the mission and away from unknowns and uncontrollables. When the mission ends, the coherence and structure end with it.

    Startup culture can reward what in other contexts would be seen as manic and obsessive/compulsive behaviors. In a bubble market with an IPO pending or recently made, it can be difficult to distinguish reality from illusion from delusion. For a while, one's life can evolve toward an obsessive focus upon one number: a stock price.

    Spoken from experience.

  • Not all depressions are alike, and not all sufferers are alike.

    Some depressions are biological, some are caused by situation; (before diagnosing yourself as depressed, first determine whether or not you are in fact, surrounded by assholes - to paraphrase Twain, I think). Seeing a doctor can help, but sometimes, seeing the wrong kind of doctor can screw you up worse. Some doctors just want to push pills at you. And sometimes, it's the wrong kinds of pills, or sometimes, the problem isn't one that pills can

  • This whole thread harshes my mellow...
  • by plopez (54068)

    Lots of drugs.

  • by Theovon (109752) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:30PM (#46656903)

    SSRIs work reasonably well for a lot of people to help with depression. But that depends on how much serotonin you have in reserve and whether or not the depression is actually caused by low serotonin. One of the major places your body stores serotonin is in the intestinal lining. If you eat a diet that is more conducive to intestinal health, you’ll store serotonin better. Meanwhile, 5-HTP supplements are like eating pure serotonin (there’s actually a two step conversion process from 5-HTP to Tryptophan to Serotonin, IIRC, but 5-HTP passes through the blood-brain barrier much more easily than Tryptophan). And if you are too low in serotonin, an SSRI won’t help, because there just isn’t enough serotonin to reputake inhibit.

    Some people are low on norepinepherine too, so an MD might prescribe an SSNRI. Tyrosine (which you can also get in pill form) is a precursor to dopamine, norepinepherine, and epinepherine. Another way to boost dopamine is low-dose (i.e. 4.5mg) naltrexone (LDN), prescribed for a variety of things including chronic fatigue and autoimmune diseases; it’s a dopamine receptor antagonist that causes the brain to produce a net surplus of dopamine. Some people with mood problems also benefit from supplementing GABA, but that never worked for me or my wife, so I don’t know much about it, except that GABA is inhibitory in some parts of the brain and excitatory in others, making it have the opposite of the desired effect for some people.

    Another mood enhancer is Theanine. You can get it in pill form, but a great source of that is Kombucha, which is fermented tea. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and probiotics. The probiotics and possibly the moderate amount of vinegar are also helpful for digestion problems.

    Getting back to intestinal health, some people have a mild sensitivity to things like dairy (casein, lactose), wheat (gluten), and/or soy. Removing those from your diet may reduce tissue inflamation that interferes with good intestinal function. My kids can’t have dairy in winter. That’s when all these colds and other infections go around. Dairy causes just enough additional inflammation that when they pick up a bug, they much more prone to ear infections that require antibiotics (which tend to also kill off a lot of good bacteria). In small children, eustachian tubes aren’t fully developed and tend to have drainage problems. If we keep them off dairy (they get calcium and protein from other sources), proper drainage prevents ear infections from getting out of hand, and although they probably pick up various infections anyway, the symptoms are so mild that there’s no need to take them to the doctor. IIRC, when I was a kid, my parents observed that if I had too much dairy, I’d get phlemmy and have more trouble with colds and such. The dairy might also directly interfere with immune function. Anyhow, removing that may seem like a mild food irritant can actually have a substantial positive impact on intestinal function due to reduced inflammation and as a result better mucosal lining and better serotonin storage.

    Other amino acids people often take to enhance intestinal health (e.g. people diagnose with celiac disease who require a great deal of gut rebuilding) include glycine and glutamine. Google that for more.

    Not to get mystical or anything, but everything in the human body is a lot more connected than is suggested by what you learn superficially in high school biology. Why would the human body store serotonin (an important brain neurotransmitter) in the intestinal lining? I don’t know. Because there was no selective pressure not to? Perhaps the mucosal lining that partly serves to protect your tissues from getting digested themselves just happens to be good at suspending other things the body needs to store. Either way, the link is well established (see http://www.jneurosci.org/content/21/16/6348.full.pdf in the Journal of Neuroscience, for instance). Some things may seem obvious, like maintaining proper blood sugar levels (prefer low glycemic foods) and making sure you get enough protein are good for mental function; in fact, the link goes much deeper. Eat well, and you’ll think well.

  • Been there.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by john_uy (187459) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:34PM (#46656937)

    I think the most important medicine is to surround yourself with people who care and are able to support. Me and my colleagues started a business. Things are going well now but I had those bout of depression before (including thoughts of suicide.) Before, I felt alone in an island. The image of me being perfect was so high that I didn't open up to other people.

    Now, it is different, I've learned to share and ask for support from my family and close friends. I have learned that I am not superman and I do make mistakes. I have learned to take care of myself and love myself more. :) Life is so much better now. :)

    P.S. May be one bonus for me is that I am generally a happy person living a simple life. Though one disadvantage is that if bad things happen, it does probably hit me harder than other people. I also didn't take any prescription medicine.

  • Niacin, B6, C, Zinc.

    Actually you should take a good hefty dose of all the vitamins and minerals from A-Z. Plus the important oils: EPA/DHA/ALA/GLA.

    Maybe it won't work for you. But you might want to try to rule this out. It seems to have worked for a lot of people.

    You think an above average brain can get by on the average amounts of these essential nutrients, which are precursors to the biochemical processses of thinkint and memory? Good luck with that.

    Read Hoffer, Prousky et. al. in Google Scholar.

  • Learn how to drink great quantities of alcohol without incurring headaches. Water-flavoured "beer" doesn't cut it, you'd have to drink many liters of the thing which means too many bottles or cans around and you have to take a piss too often, and end up overworking your kidneys. That isn't healthy. Booze and other spirits is expensive and toxic. Have to keep a glass of water around else your mouth, body and eventually brain will dry.. not good.
    Red wine is great, and exponentially healthier when you don't ge

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