How you view sadness predicts depression relapse Print

It is very common that a person recovering from depression or coming off anti-depressants will experience some feelings of sadness. A new study sheds some light on whether or not that feeling of sadness will balloon into a depression relapse or just be a passing emotion.

This study evaluated patients who were formerly depressed and those not depressed. The participants viewed sad and neutral film clips while undergoing imaging of their brains. They were then followed for depression relapse over the next 18 months. Those who relapsed into depression were those who activated brain regions dealing with excessive rumination and processing regarding the sadness. In other words, they tended to dwell on it. 

 "Despite achieving an apparent recovery from the symptoms of depression, this study suggests that there are important differences in how formerly depressed people respond to emotional challenges that predict future well-being," says Norman Farb, a PhD psychology student and lead author of the study. "For a person with a history of depression, using the frontal brain’s ability to analyze and interpret sadness may actually be an unhealthy reaction that can perpetuate the chronic cycle of depression. These at-risk individuals might be better served by trying to accept and notice their feelings rather than explain and analyze them."

It is kind of humorous that the advice given by Mr. Farb, even though good, is a more logical way to think about sadness. I would like to add my perspective on this issue since I have helped many people overcome sadness issues.

Actual emotional loss or feelings of sadness for no real reason involve the thymus gland which sits in the middle of your chest.  All the literature ever written about the heart should have been written about the thymus gland, which is the core emotional processor gland for feelings of love and loss.  Most people who have been depressed have some degree of thymus trauma.  Brain drugs, if they "work" at all, tend to put a person in an emotional straight jacket. This makes them not feel lows as intensely, but it also makes them not feel highs very well. When they come off these meds the range of emotional intensity opens up again, which often includes sadness flickering on the radar screen. This is actually quite normal.

The thymus gland gets its energy from the adrenal glands and both of these glands are in a feedback loop with the serotonin side of the brain. Thus, to get a natural expanded feeling of increased serotonin you must boost adrenal gland function. This means getting a good response to consistent exercise. One of the key markers is sadness. If sadness lingers, it actually means on a hormonal basis, that the adrenal glands are still struggling to cope and that the thymus gland is a bit iffy. 

The thymus gland has Coenzyme Q10 receptors all over it. Knowing this, I have given people Q10 in many situations over the years so as to help get through actual emotional trauma and so as to help people recovering from depression not get stuck in sadness. Doses range anywhere from 100 mg per day to 600 mg per day, and can be boosted up as needed. On some dose of Q10 your chest feels lighter, things are not so serious, your sense of humor is better, and you may feel sadness but you won’t get stuck in it. This new study tells me that not getting stuck in the sadness, due to a tired out thymus gland, may be a key point in terms of taking charge of your mood and not slipping backwards.

 

*this is only a summary of Byron Richard’s full article

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 21:53