Thoughts or talk of death or suicide
The causes of depression, like many mental disorders, can vary. It may be the side-effect of medication or treatment; it could be stress-related due to personal or work issues; or it might be reactionary, for example, due to bereavement. Depression may also be the result of an underlying disease such as Alzheimer's or a brain tumour - disorders that can affect the central nervous system or areas of the brain that control emotion.
Editor's Note: Antidepressants were among the most commonly prescribed medications in 2002. Studies show multiple prescriptions increase chances of dangerous drug interactions. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors have caused a hypertensive crisis when taken in conjunction with fermented foods such as cheese. Depression has traditionally been viewed as increasing with age and dietary balance is crucial during the primary time for preventative early aging, between ages 40 and 60.
There is evidence to show that diet can also affect mood and levels of depression. Some dieters that have been on low-carbohydrate diets (such as the Atkins Diet) have reported mood swings and increased levels of depression.
Of course this can also work in reverse: rather than the diet causing the depression, it could be that the depression affects the diet. Sufferers of depression often turn to food for comfort. This causes weight gain, which makes them more depressed. They then embark upon a fad diet to quickly lose the weight, and thus become further depressed.
A report published in the Lancet Journal stated that there was a strong relationship between high consumption levels of Omega 3 fatty acids (found in food such as oily fish) and low levels of depression. These findings would suggest that people prone to bouts of depression should steer clear of fad diets, where you almost certainly end up cutting out a valuable food group or nutrient for a period of time. Instead, they should consult a qualified nutritionist and devise a healthy eating plan that is rich in nutrients and 'healthy fats' that are thought to optimize brain function. However, depression should never be taken lightly, and sufferers should always seek medical advice before starting any medication or dietary plan.
4. The Aging of the Brain, the Aging of the Mind, David Morgan, PhD, Institute for Cortext Research & Development, Fall 1996.
5. Reuters, Paul Simao, Aug 26, 2004