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  • Groking it and Depression

    I've been recently diagnosed with dysthymia (which is a form of depression). This is actually semi-good news because it's starting to look like my problems are all in my neurochemistry rather than my blood sugar. Since I started wellbutrin in addition to the usual amino acid supplements, I've had sudden, dramatic cessation of my once-violent, out of control, compulsive carb cravings.

    And I mean- POOF. Gone. Brain chemicals are a bitch.

    Anyway.

    I now eat about.. say, 100g of carb a day, happily, and it's all low-carb vegetables right now. I think the fastest carb I eat is onions, and I could happily live without them too. Give me some broccolli and bell peppers and I'm satisfied with my diet.

    But.

    My shrink says that depressed people should not be on low carb diets. She says it's fine if I want to aim for 120g-150g carb per day (and I'm at my goal weight, so I don't need to lose any more). But that anyone with depression issues needs grains.

    I told her that I am not interested in getting on the grain crazytrain again, thanks.

    She then said- 'fine, but eat some fruit. You need carbs to stimulate serotonin.'

    Which would be okay by me. I like berries and apples and so on. But I'm curious about other Groksters out there with depression issues. Did you find that you had better moods when you upped the carbs a bit?
    Getting my Grok on in the Pacific Northwest.

    "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me."
    "Cookie is a sometimes food."
    "Sometimes cookie monster eat APPLE instead of COOKIE. Sometimes eat CARROT."
    -Cookie Monster, partially reformed sugarholic

    "

  • #2
    I struggle with mild depression but haven't noticed a real difference, being low-carb for the last month, compared to me usually. If anything I'm slightly happier.

    And carbs are far from the only thing that boost serotonin....your shrink does acknowledge that, right? Is she saying that because you've maxed out all the other ways to increase serotonin production, and carbs are the only thing that's left? 10 Quick Tips to Boost Your Serotonin | Mark's Daily Apple
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    “The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” -- Joseph Campbell

    Comment


    • #3
      Low fat is far more likely to bring about depression and other mental disorders.

      Comment


      • #4
        I finished reading the Perfect Health Diet, which is paleo, and they cite studies suggesting a ketogenic (low carb) diet is beneficial for depression. I can tend to depression and have really had no sign of it since starting eating primal. In fact, when I have higher carbs 100-150g I think my mood is worse than when I keep them under 100g.
        Karin

        A joyful heart is good medicine

        He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

        Mmmmm. Real food is good.

        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Yaish View Post
          Low fat is far more likely to bring about depression and other mental disorders.
          I agree and you don't need to eat grains to get carbs in your diet. Eat sweet potatoes or even white potatoes. Someone here has talked about Potatoes not Prozac. Here is the website Radiant Recovery® - Dr. Kathleen DesMaisons, author of Potatoes Not Prozac, The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program, Your Last Diet. You could eat a primal diet and have your potato at night and see if that helps.

          I can't remember who has followed that program, but maybe she will add to this discussion.

          Also, I have had problems with depression and it got worse when I first started eating this way, but after a few months got much better. I eat between 50-100 grams of carbs, but usually on the lower side. It takes time for your brain to adjust.
          Last edited by healthy11; 08-11-2011, 08:26 PM.

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          • #6
            When I slip and eat wheat (like I did this week) my mood becomes worse. I don't know if it's the carbs per se (the glucose crash), the lectins, or what, but a significant part of my "wheat hangover" is a significant increase in low mood, lack of motivation, and just a general negative outlook on the world.

            I am also taking Wellbutrin, and this week I began cutting down the dose (by dosing every other day instead of daily). Interestingly, this week I have also had much more trouble staying away from the "bad" carbs. Mild cravings, but mostly just not caring. But I should care. I normally care. Maybe I'm not ready to go off it after all. :-/
            42 yo female; 5'8"
            Oct 2009: 205 lbs
            Dec 2010: 167 lbs
            Current weight: 158 lbs (first time under 160 in 17 years!!!)
            Goal weight: 145 lbs

            Comment


            • #7
              Amen brother.
              "You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." ~ Vernon Howard

              Comment


              • #8
                I’ve struggled with depression since puberty (I'm 42 now) and have been on meds at least 10 times (I go on and off…I can’t stand the side effects…it always kills my libido). I’ve always stuck to a low fat high carb diet in the past. Plus I’m a reformed sugar-aholic. The carbs made the depression much worse and put my on a horrible cycle (Feel mildly depressed -> crave carbs -> eat lots of carbs -> feel more depressed -> Repeat). Yes, sugar elevates serotonin levels..temporarily. What really helps is lots of good fat, exercise (cardio and resistance), and exposure to natural sunlight. I also take a supplement (Holy Basil) twice a day which also helps.
                "You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." ~ Vernon Howard

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JVib View Post
                  I’ve struggled with depression since puberty (I'm 42 now) and have been on meds at least 10 times (I go on and off…I can’t stand the side effects…it always kills my libido). I’ve always stuck to a low fat high carb diet in the past. Plus I’m a reformed sugar-aholic. The carbs made the depression much worse and put my on a horrible cycle (Feel mildly depressed -> crave carbs -> eat lots of carbs -> feel more depressed -> Repeat). Yes, sugar elevates serotonin levels..temporarily. What really helps is lots of good fat, exercise (cardio and resistance), and exposure to natural sunlight. I also take a supplement (Holy Basil) twice a day which also helps.
                  Hah, this is me too. 31 and struggled with depression, been on meds, blah blah.

                  I do know that even with a low carb diet, mood can be a problem. Usually when I notice that happening, it is because I'm simply not eating enough FOOD. Eating lots of quality fat makes me feel REALLY good. Not just a surge like carbs give, but sustainably good.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My hubby suffers from depression and has been on meds for almost 10 years now (maybe even longer). As someone who is witness to depression, and who is not physically experiencing the depression, I cannot say enough for the Primal Blueprint. My hubby is still on his meds (Paxil and Wellbutrin), but the change in his diet, the exercise, and the success that he has experienced with this lifestyle has helped him a thousand times over. The PB is changing our lives - and not just physically - but emotionally as well. As someone who is in the role of a supporter and caregiver to her depressed husband - I would not go off this lifestyle for anything. The positive changes are worth too much to give up on.

                    (And this is not to say that he doesn't still go through down moods. It just seems that he is able to rebound much faster and the negativity is kept at bay for longer periods of time.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I do not have clinical depression issues, but when I was trying Anabolic Diet (i.e. no fruit), I felt really down. Eating berries and seasonal fruit and a bit of honey feels right to me. In fact, it feels right'er than eating bacon or butter.
                      My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                      When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The latest research is showing that the "serotonin theory" is about as valid as the lipid-heart hypothesis... just so you know. They are guessing. I say do what feels good to you... if you feel good taking your meds and staying relatively low carb, then keep doing what you're doing. Why do docs want to fix something that isn't broken?

                        Good luck to you. Depression is a bitch...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Following your own observations about your mood is obviously the best guide.

                          My two cents: my mood got worse and worse on vlc (which you are not it looks like, so my experience may not apply to you): adding in carbs again (no, not fruit, not gluten -- rather potatoes, pumpkin, squash) has taken care of my irritability and low-ness that had crept on since being primal. So just watch it: it took many months for the low mood to manifest, which i why I really didn't notice it myself for awhile. What I did notice, was a sudden cheeriness when eating carbs on those special occasions with the other humans, or my first attempts at leptin re-sets. I remember months ago when I ate a bunch of sweet potato with trepidation based on Mark's leptin reset post, and I felt sort of high, giddy that day at work. And here I thought it was the crappy job I had at the time that was putting me in a bad mood. That told me that something with my regular diet was amiss. Especially because I didn't "crash" or anything. But, its a chemistry thing and thats just mine.

                          Historically, I have had some depression issues, so its something I'm keen on paying attention to in myself.

                          By the way, congrats on getting a diagnosis. What a relief that must be.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As someone who works with those who have mental illnesses every day, let me caution that trying to be the sole judge of your own moods is actually a pretty bad idea. Get a loved one, someone who can be there to support you to also help evaluate your moods.

                            One of the first things to suffer when a person is in the depths of mental illness is their own judgement about their condition.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And carbs are far from the only thing that boost serotonin....your shrink does acknowledge that, right? Is she saying that because you've maxed out all the other ways to increase serotonin production, and carbs are the only thing that's left? 10 Quick Tips to Boost Your Serotonin | Mark's Daily Apple
                              Shrink strikes me as pretty much into CW, and not interested in learning anything else. She IS a doctor, after all, lol. But this is also Vancouver, crunchy granola-land, so she's probably flexible on diet.

                              I re-read the link, thanks for providing it as I'd forgotten about Mark's direct advice. I'm now thinking that I'll try having some fruit with protein first thing, then haul ass outside to get exercise, fresh air and sunlight. I suspect that any supposed benefit of grains over fruit will be offset by the definite serotonin boost of sun and exercise.

                              Low fat is far more likely to bring about depression and other mental disorders.
                              Concur. I felt a hell of a lot better when I added saturated fat back into my diet. I was getting SOME fat before, not very much. Just whatever was in salmon, basically. I rarely would have some olive oil. Otherwise it was lean protein and low-carb.

                              they cite studies suggesting a ketogenic (low carb) diet is beneficial for depression. I can tend to depression and have really had no sign of it since starting eating primal. In fact, when I have higher carbs 100-150g I think my mood is worse than when I keep them under 100g.
                              I have heard this contradictory advice about how carbs create depression v. carbs relieve depression, and no one seems to know anything, lol.

                              I suppose when I think back... I was a total sugar addict for the first 20 years of my life. All that daily sugar did make me nondepressed in that I was basically drunk and hyper... but it also involved REALLY awful crashes. So I suspect that carbs are just going to put me on the rollercoaster. I'll get relief.. and then a crash.

                              No thanks.

                              I agree and you don't need to eat grains to get carbs in your diet. Eat sweet potatoes or even white potatoes. Someone here has talked about Potatoes not Prozac
                              Ah, PNP. I always have to check myself and be polite to people when they bring it up. I respect your good intentions with this comment. That said, I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate PNP, it nearly killed me via induced hypoglycemia. The less said about it's founder's attitude and conduct the better.

                              Oh hell, I have to rant, lol. I'll make it a small rant. I hate that twit for (a)giving me bad advice that made me a hell of a lot sicker than I had to be and (b)being alternately condescending ('you just are too stupid from your sugar abuse to do it right! or not lie about eating breakfast because if you ate breakfast you'd agree with me so obviously you didn't eat breakfast! PS: eating breakfast will cure cancer, save your soul and fix the US debt crisis.') and outright insulting ('the only reason this doesn't work for you is because you're a liar, a cocaine addict, a whiny little middle class girl and a moron who thinks they understand ANYTHING. Smile! PS: what you really need is to pay me $400 for consultations, so stay desperate and sick, sucker.')

                              For the record, I'm so straight edge that the hardest drug I've ever done is caffeine. I don't even drink. I'm the only person in Vancouver who has never even tried pot.

                              Anyway. Sorry, I just can't stop myself. Please don't take my bitching the wrong way, I appreciate the spirit the advice is offered in. I just can't stand that twit and her PNP crapola.

                              When I slip and eat wheat (like I did this week) my mood becomes worse. I don't know if it's the carbs per se (the glucose crash), the lectins, or what, but a significant part of my "wheat hangover" is a significant increase in low mood, lack of motivation, and just a general negative outlook on the world.

                              I am also taking Wellbutrin, and this week I began cutting down the dose (by dosing every other day instead of daily). Interestingly, this week I have also had much more trouble staying away from the "bad" carbs. Mild cravings, but mostly just not caring. But I should care. I normally care. Maybe I'm not ready to go off it after all. :-/
                              I remember that wheat hangover. It made me even more tired, too. I think I'll pass on the grains.

                              Wellbutrin is great, isn't it? I get that indifference to food too, and it's really NICE after the bullshit I've been through with brain chemistry-driven sugar cravings.

                              I’ve struggled with depression since puberty (I'm 42 now) and have been on meds at least 10 times (I go on and off…I can’t stand the side effects…it always kills my libido). I’ve always stuck to a low fat high carb diet in the past. Plus I’m a reformed sugar-aholic. The carbs made the depression much worse and put my on a horrible cycle (Feel mildly depressed -> crave carbs -> eat lots of carbs -> feel more depressed -> Repeat). Yes, sugar elevates serotonin levels..temporarily. What really helps is lots of good fat, exercise (cardio and resistance), and exposure to natural sunlight. I also take a supplement (Holy Basil) twice a day which also helps.
                              Sounds like sensible advice. I remember that carb cycle. I'll try more sun, exercise and so on before I bother with more carbs.

                              I do know that even with a low carb diet, mood can be a problem. Usually when I notice that happening, it is because I'm simply not eating enough FOOD. Eating lots of quality fat makes me feel REALLY good. Not just a surge like carbs give, but sustainably good.
                              Not enough food period would add up to not enough protein, not enough fat... makes sense.

                              My hubby suffers from depression and has been on meds for almost 10 years now (maybe even longer). As someone who is witness to depression, and who is not physically experiencing the depression, I cannot say enough for the Primal Blueprint. My hubby is still on his meds (Paxil and Wellbutrin), but the change in his diet, the exercise, and the success that he has experienced with this lifestyle has helped him a thousand times over. The PB is changing our lives - and not just physically - but emotionally as well. As someone who is in the role of a supporter and caregiver to her depressed husband - I would not go off this lifestyle for anything. The positive changes are worth too much to give up on.
                              That's encouraging. Thanks.

                              The latest research is showing that the "serotonin theory" is about as valid as the lipid-heart hypothesis... just so you know. They are guessing.
                              Yeah, I kinda get that impression after a while... lol. Thanks for the heads up.

                              . So just watch it: it took many months for the low mood to manifest, which i why I really didn't notice it myself for awhile. What I did notice, was a sudden cheeriness when eating carbs on those special occasions with the other humans, or my first attempts at leptin re-sets.
                              Hmm. I can relate to that SUDDEN drunken kind of 'mood lift' from carbs. I'll watch out for it and maybe try some pumpkin in the fall or something. It's summer right now, so I might as well just have berries while they're local.

                              As someone who works with those who have mental illnesses every day, let me caution that trying to be the sole judge of your own moods is actually a pretty bad idea. Get a loved one, someone who can be there to support you to also help evaluate your moods.

                              One of the first things to suffer when a person is in the depths of mental illness is their own judgement about their condition.
                              Fair enough, but I am just in chronic depression (dysthymia), which isn't major depression. I'm also not suffering from bipolar or schizophrenia, which I imagine would impede one's awareness of reality more so than depression.

                              That said, depression has it's own distortion of reality going on in that it makes everything seem negative. I suspect in my case, depression is more likely to make me feel pessimistic about my condition overall. I think I see my mood fairly accurately.

                              Also, feedback from others is tricky because I've developed this habit (having had this chronic stuff ALL my life) of kind of acting more with it and cheery than I am. I can keep that up for.. .a while. But not all the time. I guess when people see me crash or just run out of steam to play-act, that's when to ask them how they see my mood.
                              Last edited by CandylandCanary; 08-12-2011, 01:26 PM.
                              Getting my Grok on in the Pacific Northwest.

                              "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me."
                              "Cookie is a sometimes food."
                              "Sometimes cookie monster eat APPLE instead of COOKIE. Sometimes eat CARROT."
                              -Cookie Monster, partially reformed sugarholic

                              "

                              Comment

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