Depression and Insomnia Like Each Other, A Lot.

Depression and insomnia go hand in hand. While it may be a common assumption that depressed people sleep a lot, in at least as many cases of depression a significant lack of sleep is noted. As a result, chronic insomnia is often a symptom of deeper rooted depressive disorders, and when looking into causes for insomnia, doctors will often closely examine a patients current state of mind. If depression is successfully diagnosed, in many instances insomnia will be the result of that depression.

This is why, in some cases, when people seek out a doctor to help with insomnia they are prescribed an SSRI tablet as a treatment option. In cases of chronic insomnia coupled with depression, it is very common to be provided with a short term dose of popular sleep medications as well as the longer term SSRI meds. This is done because an SSRI takes time, sometimes up to 2 weeks to be effective at inhibiting seratonin re-absorption. A sleeping pill is used to allow for proper rest until the SSRI is up to speed in your system. I'll get into that a little more later on, but if you were treated for insomnia with a prescription sleeping med as well as an SSRI such as Prozac, e.t.c... don't panic, your doctor knows what he's on about.

Depression is normally treated with the ever popular Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, e.t.c... which are all SSRI derivatives (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors). As I eluded, these medications work to stop Seratonin from being reabsorbed back into the nerve cells of your brain. It useful to know what seratonin is, for the purpose of understanding how suh a deficiency can cause insomnia.

What Is Seratonin?
Seratonin is a neurotransmitter that produces what we often think of as the "happy" feeling. It is the neurotransmitter that most regulates moods within a functioning, normal brain. Melatonin - the hormone our body produces to reguate sleep patterns is made from seratonin - so to speak - in that it is not uncommon to see an increase in melatonin production of up to 48%, when tied to SSRI medication use. So, following this particular rabbit hole, we can see where the logical path ends. This is why many people prescribed an SSRI will comment on how their sleep cycles become more regular while on the medication.

What is perhaps less widely known is that seratonin is produced from tryptophan, and therefore not a direct result of brain activity, persay. Tryptophan is produced via food digestion and metabolizing, so it stands to reason that when your digestion is not working properly, you will not be producing the right amounts of tryptophan - and as a result - seratonin. Properly digesting proteins and amino acids breaks down tryptophan into seratonin, and when the digestive tract is unhealthy or diseased, this will cause problems such as insomnia and depression.

Most general practitioners may miss this important fact when prescribing your sleep meds and SSRI meds, overlooking a potentially serious situation. Doctors that are well versed in SSRI pathology are known to look directly at your digestive system to be sure there is no lingering issues there that could cause a mal-absorption of your nutrients.

If the root cause of the problem of depression and insomnia is the digestive system, then it only makes sense to look after this issue. Having a proper diagnostic procedure(s) done to determine your digestive health is paramount. Having said that, it is always wise to use what you can for the short term, but not at the expense of finding the core of the problem. In more cases than are widely known, depression is often traced back to a problem with your nutrition and/or digestive system's ability to metabolize foods - foods that provide the building blocks for every neurotransmitter that your cells and brain needs to properly function.

Should you be considering the possibility that your insomnia and depression are co-related, they very well may be. And the answer is not always within the pharmacy walls. You should first ask yourself if the following symptoms affects you on a regular basis:

  • indigestion/ heartburn
  • frequent gas/ wind
  • Constipation
  • Chronic/ constant diarrhea

Any of these symptoms - in any combination - on a chronic (recurring) basis, can be the root cause of your depression and insomnia. Now I certainly would never promote NOT taking a prescription for depression, as in the short term it will be something you likely require to feel better and get some proper rest. However, dealing with the issues of proper digestion are likely the single most important factor in maintaining a healthy body, so with that in mind, don't hesitate to get a proper check up to be assured you are not suffering from a hidden chronic digestion issue.

Now you know that depression and insomnia are close cousins in the family of rotten conditions we can encounter, so it's very important to note that one leads to the other. In some cases, which I will detail in future articles, insomnia is the root cause of depressive disorders. This is an entirely different beast of course, mutually exclusive of the above details. God never makes things simple it would seem. :)

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