When struggling with mental illness such as depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, and many other diagnoses, we can feel as if it is all in our head. In reality, it is, but there may also be other factors that contribute.
Many mental illness diagnoses can sometimes be a result of changes in brain chemistry. It can sometimes be the result of hereditary genetics. It can sometimes be the result of traumatic experiences leaving imprints on various portions of the brain.
All of these things can be true. Our struggle with mental illness can sometimes be in our brains. But other factors may also affect how our mental illness diagnoses are affected.
Vitamin, mineral, supplement deficiencies can also have an effect on how we process things emotionally. There have been many studies relating to the connection between vitamin D deficiency and depression. Vitamin B12 and other B vitamin deficiencies have a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions.
Several other deficiencies can also affect brain function, and mood responses including Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, folate, and iron are among those. These deficiencies can be caused by unbalanced nutrition, genetics, age, and other physical illnesses.
Those who suffer from disordered eating diagnoses may be at greater risk of these body/brain/mood deficiencies. As well as those with poor nutrition as a result of their environmental factors.
Other factors that can complicate mental illness diagnoses especially for women are hormonal imbalances that can also contribute to fluctuations and possibly contribute to mental health issues. Hormones that are unbalanced have been shown to contribute specifically to depression and anxiety in women.
Many times those who are diagnosed with mental illnesses tend to be treated only with medications to manage those illnesses with chemical brain changes. However, it may be just as important to get a complete workup of vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and hormone levels. The addition of vitamins and supplements and possible hormone adjustments may help manage many of the symptoms and fluctuations in several mental illness diagnoses.
Proper nutrition and sleep are also directly related to fluctuations in many mental illness symptoms and diagnoses. Managing what you eat and how well you sleep can directly correlate to how you feel. Much of our vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and supplements come directly from what we eat. If we eat poorly or are restricting what we eat, we may not be receiving much-needed nutrition vital to brain balance and health.
Sleeping well is a much-needed item for brain health as well as physical health. Disrupted or poor sleep hygiene can have a direct impact on many mental health diagnoses including bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. If not managed in a healthier way, disordered sleep can directly impact how our mental illness diagnoses affect us and can increase those symptoms and responses.
Mental illness diagnoses do very often reside in our brains and our brain function. However, there are several other factors that can directly impact the effects and even possibly the development of or increase in symptoms.
Mental illness is not just a disorder of our minds but a brain/body connection that involves many parts and pieces.
If we want to truly improve our mental health we must embrace all the parts and pieces that contribute to it and work to have all of them at the best functioning possible.
We are not a single diagnosis, we are a complex construction requiring attention to the whole being, not just what’s in our heads.
Until next time be well,