The Connection between Brain Health, Depression, and Anxiety

We experience symptoms of depression and anxiety about as many times as Trump tweets a day-too often in both cases!  Depression and anxiety are not things we should be treating directly as they are merely symptoms of an underlying unbalance.  Depression and anxiety are the result of brain activity falling out of balance. Simply put, anxiety occurs when there is too much fast brainwave activity in the right side of your brain and depression occurs when there is too much slow brainwave activity in the left side of your brain.  There is a non-invasive treatment that corrects anxiety and depression by rewiring the brain so that it fires correctly and is more balanced. This is attained through a type of technology known as qEEG & Neurofeedback. Through qEEG, a “weather map” of your brain is recorded and areas of abnormal activity (responsible for symptoms we know as depression, anxiety & other disorders) are evaluated and then re-trained using real time biofeedback known as Neurofeedback. This process can achieve great results after appropriate “groundwork” is completed first.  This “groundwork” must be the first step in the majority of cases as imbalances in the brain are almost always an effect rather than a cause. It is important to understand that something or sometimes multiple things have caused brain activity imbalances to arise, eventually leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Depression symptoms vary from person to person and are usually not tied to just being sad and mopey.  Here are a couple common symptoms of depression:

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Everyone and everything annoys you
  • Eating issues: too much or too little
  • You have pain everywhere in your body
    • Chronic pain can lead to depression and depression can increase pain.
  • You start having zero concern of things going on in and around your life.
  • You start isolating yourself from society and going out.
  • Extreme self judgement and negative self talk occurs like a broken record.
  • You think about dying as more a benefit than drawback.
  • You are forgetful, and get more depressed about losing your mind.
  • You eventually become numb about what is going on around you and your relationships.

Anxiety symptoms also vary from person to person and like depression the symptoms are not always what we assume them to be.  Here are some anxiety symptoms:

  • You have heart palpitations and/or increased heart rate.
  • Your breath becomes short and quick with possible chest pain.
  • Constant tight and possible pain in the neck and shoulders.
  • Overall coldness with hand and foot numbness, tingling,etc
  • Frequent states of panic, fear, and uneasiness.
  • Inability to rest with sleep problems.
  • Dry mouth, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Stomach is upset and in a ball from being nervous.
  • Feeling of being weak.
  • Asking yourself if you are on the verge of going crazy.  

Don’t get me wrong, we all have bouts of anxiety and depression at times but they should be short lived. Things become a problem when symptoms become chronic and the effects from being anxious and depressed interfere with our daily life. The significant question is, what is the true cause as to why we start feeling anxious and depressed in the first place? There are actually many possibilities of stressors that affect the different systems of the body causing chronic stress on the nervous system leading to an imbalanced brain.

There are, of course, emotional and mental imbalances when dealing with anxiety and depression.  I use the term imbalance because when a person sees the balance in a situation they are not emotional but grounded and aware of both the good and the bad that is always present.  There may be physical issues that cause the body pain and stress on a person’s nervous system. If this overstimulation of the nervous system becomes chronic it can cause imbalances in the brain that may lead to anxiety or depression.  Beyond the aforementioned factors, other notable stressors to the brain include toxins, infections, and poor lymphatic/glymphatic flow. You have probably heard of the gut/brain axis. The health of your gut directly influences the brain and when the gut isn’t healthy the brain isn’t healthy.  In fact about 90% of serotonin, an important chemical and neurotransmitter, is produced in the gut. Low serotonin levels have been linked to depression as it helps regulate mood, social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and even a part of sexual desire and function. Hence why common effects of depression can be to eat our way to happiness, isolate ourselves, experience brain fog, poor memory, lack of libido, and poor sleep.

With all of the possibilities that may cause anxiety and depression, all aspects need to be evaluated to fully heal and treatment will vary depending on the degree and amount of dysfunction in each system.  As a brain health physician, you have to be able to evaluate and help the whole person as the brain controls the whole person and the whole person affects the brain. It is my passion to help patients find a solution to get well and stay well.