Never = 0;
Rarely = 1;
Sometimes = 2;
Very Often = 3; and
Most of the Time = 4
- Do you feel depressed; hopeless; sad; blue; unhappy; or "down in the dumps"?
- Do you feel tired; have little energy; are unable to concentrate; and lack enthusiasm or interest?
- Do you feel uneasy, restless or irritable?
- Do you have trouble sleeping or eating, either too little or too much?
- Do you feel that sometimes you are not enjoying the activities that you used to enjoy?
- Do you feel that you have lost interest in sex or are experiencing sexual difficulties?
- Do you feel that it takes you longer to make decisions or find it difficult to concentrate?
- Do you feel inadequate, like a failure, or that nobody likes you much any more?
- Do you feel guilty without reason, or put yourself down with negative self-talk?
- Do you feel that things always go wrong or will go wrong no matter how hard you try?
Interpretation: Scores over 25 may indicate mild-to-moderate depression. The higher the score the more likely depression is a problem. Those who scored "very often" or "most of the time" to three or more of these questions may be suffering from a depressive or manic disorder. If left untreated, bouts of depression can become frequent and severe. It may be necessary to seek professional help. Those with very high scores and those with suicidal thoughts need to consult their doctor immediately.
Mild-to-moderate depression may respond to St. John's Wort, 450 mg twice a day. Added vitamin B9 (folic acid) and B12 is especially important for energy and mood as we get older. Effects often take two months to be noticed, so two bottles should be tried before deciding on effectiveness.
Gingko biloba increases blood flow to the brain, and glucose utilization by the brain. It is indicated with mild depression combined and memory loss in those over 50. Gingko "B" has more of the active ingredients of ginkgo biloba than any gingko on the market. One tablet twice a day (120 mg total) for three months is a valid trial. Short-term memory loss sufferers, those with clear early signs of dementia; erectile dysfunction; and peripheral circulation problems like intermittent claudication, may need two tablets twice a day for up to six months to notice improvement.
For those who scored a three or four on question number six, testosterone enhancers are often indicated to raise mood and libido in men over 50.
Premenopausal women who score high on question six may consider progesterone and testosterone enhancement. A DHEA challenge would measures these hormones.
Hgh secretagogues may increase libido in either sex as well.
Those whose scores suggest depression and scored "very often " or "most of the time" for question number four should consider 5 HTP, if the problem is poor sleep or overeating, most especially sweets, chocolates and carbohydrates. 5 HTP is best taken 50-100 mg in the evening. This dose may also be taken once in the day if needed. Improvement should be noticed with the first bottle.
If stress is the main problem, a salivary adrenal stress index test to measure stress hormones ought to be done first.
Caution: Those with bipolar depression (manic depressives) should not take St. John's Wort products like "Mood Wellness." Those already on serotonin uptake inhibitors or MOA inhibitors for depression should likewise avoid this type of product. Also, those with cataracts and exposed to direct out-door sunlight often should wear glasses that filter ultraviolet light. 5 HTP and St. John's Wort should not be taken full-strength together. Natural approaches are for mild-to-moderate depression. Suicidal thoughts, or severe or rapidly accelerating depression, dictate immediate specialist attention.
San Diego, California
Click here for previous articles by John Maher, DC, DCBCN, BCIM.