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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Proper Diet and Symptom Reduction

04/03/2007

Question:

I have suffered with depression and anxiety for most of my life and am finding it difficult to manage at age 46. I have been on medication in the past, but really feel that there has to be a way to control my issues with diet and exercise and maybe some supplements. Do you have any suggestions. Could I have a defficency that causes these symptoms? Maybe protein? I am an average sized woman and exercise regularly and do not eat much red meat.

Answer:

This question has been forwarded by Diet and Nutrition:

While good nutrition and exercise are important parts of preventing and treating depression, only in the mildest forms of depression can they serve as the only treatment and be successful.  Depression is NOT caused by any known nutritional deficiency.  Depression is felt to be an imbalance of brain chemical neurotransmitters, with probably multiple causes.

Healthy eating is important, as is regular exercise for people who suffer from depression.  The same is true for people with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.  And just like some people with these diseases can be "controlled" with diet and exercise, many more need diet, exercise AND medication.  The same is true for depression -- most people need diet, exercise AND medication or counseling.

If your depression is interfering with how you want to live your life, I encourage you to see you medical provider to discuss treatment options.  If you have pursued counseling in the past, you may want to try that.  Counseling and therapy can be very effective in treating depression.

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati