You’re feeling kind of down. You’re not exactly certain why you don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning and after all, that’s a fairly common feeling isn’t it? The desire to ignore the alarm clock when it goes off and pull the covers over your head and sleep the day away is something everyone experiences at some point in their life. Could this mean depression?

If the feeling of sadness, inability to engage in your usual activities, desire to sleep more than usual or not sleep at all, loss of appetite or increased desire to eat and these symptoms last more than two weeks, then you may be suffering a depressive episode.

Depression can be triggered by many things – situations, hormonal imbalances and yes, depression can also be caused by chemical imbalance in the brain. The exact chemical imbalances and their relationship to depression are not fully understood, but great strides have been made in the past few years.

People who are suffering from anxiety and depression all seem to have similar chemical imbalances in common. These include the following:

  • Low levels of some neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepineprhine, GABA or acetylcholine.
  • An increase of inflammatory neurochemicals like homocysteine.
  • Deficiency of magnesium, zinc or potassium.
  • Deficiency of essential vitamins like B6, B9, B12 and vitamin C.
  • Deficiency of some key cofactors such as amino acids that aid in neurotransmitter production and transport.
  • Cortisol “stress hormone” levels are off the charts.

Despite extensive clinical research, little is known of the relationship between chemical imbalances in the brain and major depressive episodes. We simply do not know why or how it occurs. Most medical professionals will tell you that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain but they cannot give you a definitive explanation beyond that simple fact. Most doctors prescribe SSRI’s or MAOI’s which address chemical imbalance in the brain, but do not help with the deficiencies that can affect the production of neurotransmitters.

Depression, whether caused by situations in life, chemical imbalance in the brain, or both, are deeply disturbing episodes that can have a debilitating effect on a person. Always seek the help of a professional if you feel down and the feelings persist for longer than two weeks.