Tag Archives: Four Pillars of Health and Thriving

MENTAL HEALTH: SOME THOUGHTS ON DIAGNOSING AND TREATING “DEPRESSION”

I recently posted a discussion on osteoporosis that was based on a MNEMONIC, using the word itself as the basis of exploring the Risk factors Evidence that you have Osteoporosis is hidden, and are discovered by Dexascan, or when you suddenly have a major fracture.

DEPRESSION is common, but sneaks up on you. It may be a job to discover that you have it, to DIAGNOSE it, so that you can be treated. The diagnosis has about 10 markers that can be formulated into a mnemonic, so that you can remember what they are. My favorite is by Paul Blenkiron, writing in the BMJ:

These 10 symptoms are described in the 10th edition of “the international classification of Diseases. The problem with some mnemonics is to remember the mnemonic itself.

Not here. Interestingly, The 4 PILLARS OF HEALTH are each represented in this list. 3 of them are valid TREATMENTS for DEPRESSION, as you will see in the following articles. When I looked up intellectual stimulation as a treatment for Depression, all i found was electrical or magnetic deep brain stimulation.

I can’t help but believe that INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION itself would at least help ward off much Anxiety and Depression. SLEEP has an interesting relationship to depression. Lack of sleep can be a CAUSE of Depression.

Recently, deprivation of sleep has been used to TREAT episodes of severe depression. Obviously there is a lot we don’t know. Another puzzlement is the several week delay in the effect of SSRI medications. I acknowledge that throughout history many great intellects have manic-depression, which may be key to their productivity.

Depression itself is credited with deep understanding. The “black Dog” of depression is best avoided, however. A HEALTHY LIFE STYLE SHOULD HELP WARD OFF DEPRESSION.

–Dr. C.

Reference #1

Reference #2

Reference #3

OPINION: THE ” FOUR PILLARS OF HEALTH AND THRIVING”

Homo sapiens have been around for upwards of 200,000 years and our bodies have evolved to deal with conditions far different than we experience in today’s life.

For about 95% of our species’ existence we have had:

  • Far more SLEEP. We were diurnal, going to bed at sundown, awakening at sunrise.
  • A more natural and varied DIET. We had to gather or kill what we ate.
  • Far more EXERCISE as we walked many miles on most days.
  • INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION. Well, here at least we moderns have an advantage, and our brains are better for it, If we get enough Sleep, Diet and Exercise.

Intellectual stimulation is really just a form of exercise. Exercise of the brain; as the brain is in a way like a muscle. If you don’t exercise your muscles, they waste away. If you don’t exercise your brain, your synapses waste away. To overwork a cliche : use it or lose it. Your muscles and brain are very energy-intensive and therefore expensive in evolutionary terms. Metabolic mechanisms have evolved to weed out that which is not needed and not used.

We could then say that there are the “Three Pillars of Health: Sleep, Diet, and Exercise, with the understanding that exercise refers to both muscles and brain. But they are exercised in such radically different ways, and each is prominent at different times in life. Children are reluctant to exercise their brains and are in constant motion. The elderly have much less muscle to exercise, but the aged brain still works quite well if you nurture and use it. So Intellectual Stimulation is best considered a separate category.

SLEEP, DIET, EXERCISE and INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION are then the “Four Pillars of HEALTH and THRIVING”.

These Four Pillars come as a package, reinforce each other, and are intricately interconnected. You can’t afford to neglect one without diminishing the others. But we will be discussing them separately, since they are separately researched and enacted.

Keep tuned.

—Dr. C.

Further reading