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Depression/ Insomnia



DEFINITION OF INSOMNIA

Insomnia, sharing some characteristics with depression, is a disorder indicated by a struggle to fall asleep that can be either acute or chronic, often accompanied by symptoms of fatigue and concentration/memory problems. Additionally, it can be defined by characteristics such as waking up frequently during the night, waking up earlier than normal in the morning, and not getting regenerative sleep. Insomnia can be a result of high stress levels and a lack of sunlight, leading to restlessness, or can be due to irregular sleep patterns and utilizing drugs to keep an individual awake. 


DEFINITION OF DEPRESSION

Depression is a serious mood disorder, categorized by poor mental health and emotional problems. Affecting roughly 17.3 million American adults, or about 7.1% of the U.S. population, it is a condition that is correlative of a loss of interest and care in topics previously found interesting. More severe symptoms include losing ability to continue basic functions, such as eating or sleeping, often leading to a diagnosis of other issues. While being the most costly disorder in the U.S, it does not have a particular cure due to its wide array of causes. 


DISEASE MECHANISM OF INSOMNIA

In regards to insomnia, there are similar causes but can oftentimes be much simpler in root. Disruption to circadian rhythms as a result of increased travel or extreme shifts in external temperature can lead to irregular brain activity. Oftentimes, people who work night shifts experience insomnia due to them sleeping during the daytime and not having exposure to daylight; the longer these types of jobs continue with treatment, the worse the condition can get. This can be attributed to imbalances in melatonin, meaning seeking foods rich in magnesium, calcium, or Vitamin B6 can help naturally regulate these sleep patterns. Additionally, other medical conditions, both chronic and acute in nature, may trigger discomfort as well as a release of various other molecules that can prohibit regular sleep. For women experiencing menopause, the decline of estrogen and progesterone can lead to night sweats and hot flashes, which correlate with sleep loss. High blood glucose levels and low levels both may also be a trigger for this condition. This is because high levels can cause frequent nighttime urination, disrupting steady sleep while low levels can cause increased hunger and night sweats. Overall, getting steady sleep during the nighttime is the best method of avoiding this disorder and staying healthy.


DISEASE MECHANISM OF DEPRESSION

While depression can be induced by many external social factors, behaviors, or habits, clinical depression is mostly dependent upon an individual’s biological characteristics, specifically those that pertain to an individual’s neurotransmitters and neurochemistry. The ability to conceive depression stems from the shifts in connections between key neurotransmitters and their corresponding neural circuits. According to Mayo Clinic, changes in “function and effect” of these neurotransmitters in response to specific neural circuits responsible for “mood stability” can be a key source of depression. These changes can be both innate and affected; for example, research indicates a correlation between depression and genealogy, suggesting that an individual’s ability to receive depression and its concurrent effects are inheritable. In the 2006 research publication by the National Institute of Health saw survivors of the Holocaust retain intense PTSD and depression due to their early trauma incurred by their experience in concentration camps. The conclusions asserted suggest the causes of depression to be linked to hardship, a common theme in many cases of the affliction. Such a statement can logically reason that depression, unlike other neural disorders, can be acquired in numerous stages throughout an individual’s life due to a specific social factor strong enough to alter the neural chemistry of an individual and affect mood stability. Hormonal shifts and the introduction of other molecules, perhaps through drugs, can disrupt the chemistry of the nervous system and can cause additional chemical imbalances in neurotransmitters. 


NUTRACEUTICAL CURING MECHANISM

While there is no one particular solution to the treatment of either condition, there are numerous steps that can be undertaken to alleviate the symptoms and return to stable mental health. On an emotional and social level, talking to a professional or someone trusted can help establish a root in particular for depression; such forms of therapy and relaxation techniques, such as meditation or breathing exercises, provide perhaps the most natural approach to treatment. Engaging in activities that the individual is passionate about can also reduce the negative thoughts and emotions he or she may have. While it may be repeated across various platforms, research also shows that getting a good night’s rest goes a long way for both conditions and coordinating a multitude of primary functions; this repetition is well founded. From a medical viewpoint, there are various supplements and prescriptions that can also help. Current solutions for depression include antidepressants, which work by inhibiting the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin – essentially prolonging the presence of serotonin between nerve cells, a compound associated with happiness and motivation.


For insomnia, sleep medications may be given, oftentimes working by activating a neurotransmitter known as GABA which inhibits nervous system activity, resulting in a general decrease of brain activity. However, it should be noted that the vast majority of these prescriptions have some extent of side-effects, ranging from minor headaches to perhaps a relapse back into the condition. Alternatively, there are more biological and nutrient based solutions to these conditions that mimic the technique of their medical counterparts but are far greater in risk. For instance, reducing the intake of sugar can reduce cortisol levels found in the blood translating to less stress and increased well-being. Additionally, consuming proteins abundant with the tryptophan molecule leads to escalated production of serotonin in a more natural manner. Moreover, the ingestion of melatonin through foods such as eggs and fish can permit better sleep by coordinating circadian rhythms and regulating blood pressure. Melatonin can be generated in the body through the intake of a combination of magnesium, calcium, and B6. In general, reducing inflammation by cutting the intake of foods high in sugar, trans fats, or refined carbohydrates will help relieve symptoms of this condition. This is primarily associated with the fact that increased inflammation leads to a corresponding decrease in neurogenesis and neurotransmitter metabolism, resulting in higher intake of the various neurotransmitters beneficial for the conditions. For the best treatment, an individual should control the factors he or she can, attempting to reduce external stress and to improve his or her mental well being.


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