What is Depression?
Depression that is caused by more than just temporary circumstances is a very common, but serious mood disorder. It causes symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as working, eating, sleeping, and relationships. To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Many approaches to treating depression involve using medications, called antidepressants, such as SSRIs, as well as various kinds of therapies. Sadly, for many, these antidepressant medications can actually increase feelings of depression and immunity to the medication over the course of time. And while counseling and psychological therapy can address less severe forms of depression, it cannot address the root cause of underlying brain imbalances.
How does the Oxford Recovery Model help with depression?
Recent advances in neuroscience reveal the root causes of depression include three things:
- A lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain
- A lack of specific brain chemicals, and
- Brainwave imbalances
Let’s look at each of these a little more in depth:
Inside the brain, we have billions of brain cells, called neurons, sending electrical signals to each other, which we measure as brainwaves.
These electrical waves cause the brain cells to make small chemicals called neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline.
This vast network of brain cells is fed with oxygen and other nutrients by blood from over 100,000 miles of blood vessels inside the brain. For people with depression, there is often not enough of these blood vessels supplying oxygen and other important nutrients.
This lack of oxygen and nutrients begins to cause brainwave imbalances, which can be measured with a brain scan.
This, in turn, causes an effect on the chemicals the brain needs, meaning that brain cells start producing too little or too much of the chemicals they are supposed to.
These chemical imbalances are even more disrupted by nutritional deficiencies in the person’s diet, especially key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids.
So, how do we start correcting what is often a problem with multiple factors?
One of our most important tools at Oxford is called hyperbaric oxygen. This therapy actually causes new blood vessels to grow in the brain and causes the body to create new stem cells which actually turn into new brain cells.
Another important tool is our neurofeedback therapy. We use neurofeedback to scan your brain’s electrical waves and reset them with a non-invasive form of feedback using sound frequencies.
And finally, we use neurochemical testing and therapy, along with dietary coaching, to correct nutritional imbalances which are contributing to problems with the brain’s chemical activity.