SAD – How Emotions Drive Stress, Anxiety and Depression

In the last blog, we looked at the chemical reaction in our brains, specifically with three of the 50+ communicating chemicals called “neuroamines” – either too much or too little can lead to either end of the spectrum of emotional issues i.e. panic attacks, depression, etc.

In this blog, we will go into more detail on how emotions drive us to stress, anxiety and depression. We have what are called “Three Brains” – the cerebral cortex, the limbic system and the brain stem. Here’s the process of how these three interact and produce the chemical reaction with emotions:

Thinking

Cerebral Cortex – the front lines where information is taken in. When we experience or perceive something, we think about it.

Limbic – When our thoughts are produced, they are then sent to this system where the hippocampus assigns any memories we have of this experience/perception and the amygdala help assigns an emotion to that thought.

Brain Stem – When an emotion is assigned, the brain stem then regulates the body’s response to that emotion.

What emotions do you struggle with?

Poll – What impacts your health the most?

What two top things have the most impact on a person's health?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

body-case-study-baucom-institute

The Brain and SAD (Stress, Anxiety, Depression)

At Baucom Institute, we focus on the needs of the body to function properly like what we eat and how we supplement what we eat.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be addressing how the brain, its functions and needsdepressed man sitting in the tunnel, are related to SAD – stress, anxiety and depression.

With the medical community using the prescription pad as the answer to helping patients deal with these issues, it’s time to educate the public about the facts and the options to chemical treatment.

First, let’s address the brain and the areas that are affected by SAD:

Amygdala - Part of the limbic system which controls mood, memory and hormone production and actively assigns negative emotions like fear and anger to our thoughts and perceptions; where negative emotional memories are stored and recalled.

Basil Ganglia - Located under the frontal lobes of the brain, the basal ganglia are connected to the frontal lobe cortex which helps movement, thinking, memories and emotions; studies have shown it atrophies with stress, anxiety and depression.

medical  doctor with brain3d meatl in his hands as conceptPrefrontal Cortex - The front most part of the frontal lobe cerebral cortex helps regulate thinking and reasoning, decision-making, and expression of emotions; stress will cause the prefrontal cortex to shut down and actually shrink as well as lessen metabolism.

Hippocampus - Located under the right and left temporal lobes right behind the amygdala, the hippocampus plays a central role in encoding long-term factual memories, works with the amygdala in creating emotional memories; it will reduce in size with chronic stress, anxiety and depression.

Hypothalamus - The nuclei of the hypothalamus will be altered in chronic stress, anxiety and depression which negatively impacts the pituitary master hormones, affecting the functioning of the entire body and brain.

Next time, we’ll address understanding neuron communication and how stress, anxiety and depression affect neurotransmitters.

Have anything to add? We want to hear from you so post below!

Methylation

Methylation can turn genes on or off.

Some nutrients affect the methylation process quite dramatically. Methylating factors like B12, B6, MD, Zinc monitor specific methylation reactions.

Methylation_DNA_Baucom_InstituteMTHFR

What is MTHFR?

  • Methylenehydrofolatereductase is an enzyme responsible for converting 5, 10- methylenetetrahydrofolate to the product: 5-methytetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF)
  • Certain mutations in the gene coding for MTHFR produce an enzyme that has reduced activity
  • Reduced activity can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine especially when folate levels are low
  • MTHRF genotyping can provide information about potential causes of elevated homocysteine and how to address it
  • 5-methyltetrahydrofolate is involved in the metabolism of folate and homocysteine
  • The product of the reaction catalyzed by MTHFR converts homocysteine (a potentially toxic amino acid) to methionine (a useful and necessary amino acid)

One Patient Among Many

familyMRGrad2013Hi. My name is Beth Rose. I am one patient among many.

I’m one patient among many others who see Dr. Karan Baucom and who has seen significant changes from diagnosis and prescribing changes for me in my daily life.

I began to see “Dr. B.” a few months ago because I was having several symptoms that began to worry me about my health. I have been a fairly healthy person throughout my 52 years.

I was very active when I was younger up until I had my children. Like a lot of moms, our kids take precedence, and we forget about taking care of ourselves! Over the last 20 years I have begun to have aches and pains in my joints, fasciitis in my feet, increasing back pain, terrible heartburn especially at night, increasing fatigue, no energy for running around with my kids, and the last few months terrible pain after eating in my upper torso. I have felt a mess and, with working our business that my husband and I own, I know the stress of that has contributed to the issues.

I had talked to Dr. B. about my family’s health a lot but Dr. B. asked how I was doing. She knew I was under a great deal of stress and could see the fatigue and lack of energy. I made an appointment and soon was undergoing several tests, including a full blood workup, sonograms, and mammogram. When Dr. B. got the test results back, she sat me down and gave me the most thorough report I’ve ever heard about my health! I was amazed with all the information and how it all linked together. My hormone levels were out of whack, I had gallstones, there are nodules on my thyroid, and I have several food allergies among other issues. I was totally shocked.

With advice and direction as well as prescribing a vitamin and bioidentical hormone supplement regimen, I am beginning to feel good again. I have increasing energy and less fatigue each day. Even better, my outlook on life is much more positive, which I think that has everything to do with the hormonal balance.

I appreciate my family physician, who we have been going to since our children were babies, but Dr. Baucom, as my specialist in Restorative Medicine, has been a life changer for me personally. I’ve never seen anyone take so much time with their patients, not only to diagnose and treat but to also educate.

I’ve been through the “School of Longevity” at The Baucom Institute. I hope to graduate with flying colors in the few next the months to come!

Disease Prevention Over Disease Management

american-heart-monthSomething tragic has happened in America’s clinical health agenda. Doctors have trained patients to rely on medicine for the answers rather than on learning ways to help themselves prevent their reliance on medicine or on medical help. The medical community has it all backwards.

You go to the doctor and you get medicine to deal with your issue. You go to the pharmacy to get the medicine the doctor prescribed to deal with your issue. In all that time, there is only an emphasis on how to treat the symptoms of the real problem not really prevent the problem from happening in the first place.

Longevity management medicine places emphasis on disease prevention versus disease treatment. Its medical protocols involve extensive initial laboratory baseline testing, hormone balancing, laboratory test monitoring, patient education, proper diet, nutritional supplementation and appropriate exercise.

At Baucom Institute, for instance, we go to great lengths to find where the patient is in terms of their health when they come to see us and then through extensive testing we determine the proper course of treatment and educating the patient how to change their own lifestyle so that they can help themselves change their own course toward health.

The Baucom Institute is interested in a quality of care with outcome measures which include: improved laboratory test profiles, enhanced strength, increased endurance, and a greater feeling of wellness as the patient works along with Dr. Baucom to achieve personalized life enhancing goals.

What has your experience been in working with a doctor? What have the results been for you?

free-weight-apple-628x363

Hormone Series – Part VI: Cortisol

cortisol

The adrenals are two triangular shaped glands located on top of each kidney. Cortisol is one of several hormones released by these powerful glands. It is released as a “stress hormone.”

Cortisol controls:

  1. Blood sugar
  2. Fat and Protein mobilization
  3. Prevents inflammation
  4. Will make the liver make sugar from fat

The pituitary gland activates the adrenal gland by secreting ACTH. ACTH is adrenocorticotropic hormone. It stimulates the “cortical” layer of the gland to make cortisol. Cortisol has distinct bio-rhythms. It is high in the morning and by the evening is down. Stress alters the rhythm and may eventually cause the gland to become “exhausted.” “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” by James Wilson, ND, PhD, is an excellent book to explain why and how cortisol depletion can result in severe exhaustion. Unfortunately this hormone is not understood by most physicians. It is a test rarely ordered and a syndrome basically ignored.

Stress factors:

  1. Anger
  2. Fear
  3. Death of family member
  4. Divorce
  5. Marriage
  6. Financial Worries
  7. Job
  8. Relationships
  9. Personal Illness
  10. In-laws

Just to name a few, are viewed as stress. These issues if chronic and severe can totally deplete this vital hormone. Thyroid and severe adrenal stress go hand in hand. Low blood pressure as well as low blood sugar may be the only symptoms. Recovery from adrenal stress can take up to a year with treatment to resolve.

Cortisol is vital to the feeling of well-being. Longevity and quality of life are severely compromised when this powerful and needed hormone is barely available. Patients will rely on sugar and caffeine to “boost” their drive because they are unaware as to the real reason for their chronic fatigue.

Since the adrenal gland is needed for survival when compromised, all the other glands suffer as well. The thyroid gland, in trying to pick up the slack, will, in time, become hypo active itself, further compounding the situation.Cortisol-is-a-hormone-300x210

Eventually the immune system falters and Lupus, Crohn’s, colitis, chronic sinus and infections can plague the individual. Abdominal obesity (cortisol paunch) along with decreased HDL cholesterol, increased triglycerides and increased blood pressure herald the demise of this vital hormone. There is acute adrenal fatigue, and mild and high adrenal fatigue. Saliva testing of the morning, noon, evening and night cortisol levels is the best way to determine the level of fatigue.

At The Baucom Institute, treatment is based on the stage of fatigue and support is given to the glands until they are healed. We also encourage your lifestyle and diet be altered. Of course, alleviating the stress factors is paramount to getting the most out of your treatment.

What is your stress level? What do you think your level of well-being is right now?

Cortisol “The Stress Hormone”

2010-10-22-TheVisualMD_Wellness1Tip_StressThe adrenals are two triangular shaped glands located on top of each kidney. Cortisol is one of several hormones released by these powerful glands. It is released as a “stress hormone.”

Cortisol controls:
1. Blood sugar
2. Fat and Protein mobilization
3. Prevents inflammation
4. Will make the liver make sugar from fat

The pituitary gland activates the adrenal gland by secreting ACTH. ACTH is adrenocorticotropic hormone. It stimulates the “cortical” layer of the gland to make cortisol.
Cortisol has distinct bio-rhythms. It is high in the morning and by the evening is down. Stress alters the rhythm and may eventually cause the gland to become “exhausted.” “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” by James Wilson, ND, PhD, is an excellent book to explain why and how cortisol depletion can result in severe exhaustion.

Unfortunately this hormone is not understood by most physicians. It is a test rarely ordered and a syndrome basically ignored.
Stress factors:
1. Anger
2. Fear
3. Death of family member
4. Divorce
5. Marriage
6. Financial Worries
7. Job
8. Relationships
9. Personal Illness
10. In-laws
Just to name a few, are viewed as stress. These issues if chronic and severe can totally deplete this vital hormone. Thyroid and severe adrenal stress go hand in hand. Low blood pressure as well as low blood sugar may be the only symptoms.

Recovery from adrenal stress can take up to a year with treatment to resolve.
Cortisol is vital to the feeling of well-being. Longevity and quality of life are severely compromised when this powerful and needed hormone is barely available. Patients will rely on sugar and caffeine to “boost” their drive because they are unaware as to the real reason for their chronic fatigue.ponokefalos andras

Since the adrenal gland is needed for survival when compromised, all the other glands suffer as well. The thyroid gland in trying to pick up the slack will, in time, become hypo active itself, further compounding the clinical situation.

Eventually the immune system falters. Lupus, Crohn’s, colitis, chronic sinus and infections plague the individual. Abdominal obesity (cortisol paunch) along with decreased HDL cholesterol, increased triglycerides and increased blood pressure herald the demise of this vital hormone. There is acute adrenal fatigue, and mild and high adrenal fatigue. Saliva testing of the morning, noon, evening and night cortisol levels is the best way to determine the level of fatigue.

Treatment is based on the stage of fatigue. Support is given to the glands until they are healed. Lifestyle and diet must be altered. Of course, alleviating the stress factors is paramount to treatment.

What difficulties do you have that you might relate with stress?

Stressed Out and No Place To Go – Part II, Coping

boy-sleeping-on-bullLast week in our blog, we talked about if you are alive and breathing at this moment then you have probably had stress in the last 72 hours in some form. We gave some statistics that The American Psychological Association, American Institute of Stress, New York, has come out with when they completed a survey in April of 2012 of the U.S. population and reported the statistics about stress. In it they revealed that 77% of the population of the US regularly experience stress on an everyday basis and that it costs this country $300 billion in health care annually on issues related to stress.

So what can be done about stress? Isn’t it inevitable?

In “Coping with Stress” by Susan Balla MA from www.learningdynamicsinc.org, November 2012, Susan says that we all experience stress—it’s our natural body response to the demand we might encounter. When it becomes a problem is when we perceive that we don’t have the resources to deal with the demanding situation. That’s when we need to find ways to cope to create balance back in to our life. She says we can find ways to keep stress at “healthy levels” that give us that edge to be better yet keep us functioning. She goes on to list the three areas where stress can show up:

  • Physical: fatigue, headaches, nausea, chest pain, muscle spasms and numbing
  • Mental: forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, inattention, poor problem solving
  • Emotional: anxiety, depression, hopelessness, worry, anger
  • Behavioral: isolation, diminished sexual drive, sleeping/eating less or more

She says there are ways to cope:

 Tip: Consider turning your cell phone off (or at least put it on silent) when completing any of these activities. It pays to disconnect from the outside world for a while. And remember, anything they are calling you about can wait and if not, others can deal with it. We are not superheros, nor do we need to be.

  • Take a time out and take a moment to address the situation. Try leaving the room if you are in an argument or taking a minute at your desk to stop. At this point, focus on your breathing.
  • Focus on breathing. Is it slow, calm, and deep or fast and agitated? Taking a moment to slow your breathing down can clear your mind and decrease your stress reaction. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the ground (or lay down). Close your eyes. Take one slow, deep breath in through your nose. Hold it briefly. Exhale your breath slowly out from your mouth. Repeat this process several times, focusing only on your slow, steady breaths. On your exhales, visualize your muscles relaxing and the tension leaving your body.
  • Relax in a quiet and comfortable space to practice visualizations. Close your eyes, sleep waterrelax your breathing, and begin to picture your own personal oasis. Place yourself in this oasis. Develop your surroundings using all five senses. If you are on a beach, focus on how the sand feels under your feet. Is it warm, wet, and soft? Can you hear the waves lapping up against the shore or feel the cool wind? Can you smell the salt water or the fresh air after a rainstorm? The more you practice your visualization, the easier it will be to summon it when you need it most.
  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation. Begin in a comfortable position, either lying down or with your feet flat on the ground. Starting at your feet, begin to slowly tense your toes and then slowly relax them. Repeat this process of tensing and relaxing your toes three times. Move to your whole foot next and repeat the tensing and relaxing pattern again for three times. Slowly move up your body, stopping at each location that you are able to tense.
  • Consider keeping a stress journal to help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Make sure to track what caused the stress, how you felt physically and emotionally, how you responded, what you did to make yourself feel better.
  • Go to sleep. Your body rejuvenates during sleeping hours making you healthier and more equipped to start a new day. Consider keeping your bed and bedroom an intimacy and sleep sanctuary. If you have trouble sleeping, try eliminating everything you do in your bed other than sleep and sex. Things like watching television or reading can impede upon your sleep cycle. Teach your body that when you enter your bed, it is time to sleep.
  • Exercise! When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins that create a natural high. Exercise helps regulate sleep, decrease tension, decrease depression, and increase your immune system. If you don’t feel like hitting the gym, try yoga to help stretch your muscles and improve your breathing. Simple stretches can also benefit your body since many people experience stress in their bodies. Try taking a few moments during the day to roll your head, stretch your neck muscles, roll your shoulders, and stretch your body.
  • More than just walking the dog, animals have therapeutic influences on their human companions. Petting an animal can decrease your blood pressure and help you live a longer life. Take a moment to care for and love a creature that will love you back unconditionally.
  • Laughter is truly one of the best medicines. Watch a comedy or spend time with your favorite funny friend.
  • Depending on your religious preferences, prayer can help you reflect, gain perspective, relieve pressure, and find hope and support.
  • Sometimes, spending time with friends is all we need to alleviate some tension. Having a conversation can add different perspectives, allow our frustration to vent, and give us a feeling of community instead of isolation. When faced with a stressful situation, it is important to remember that you are not alone, many others face similar hardships, and there are several resources you can pull from to be successful.
  • stress free zoneTry meditation. Start in a relaxing position and begin to empty your mind of anxiety provoking thoughts. Try repeating a word that has no emotional connection, to aid in clearing your mind. The more you practice, the easier this exercise will become.
  • If reading relaxes you, schedule time during the week for a quiet hour in the most comfortable part of your home. Curl up on the couch, in the bath, or in your favorite nook and transport yourself with a good book. Make sure to pick a time when the house is quiet or you know that someone else in the house can handle anything that arises.
  • Everyone needs a little indulgence once in a while. Take the time to slow down and pamper yourself. Try taking a warm bath with scented candles or going to the spa, these are wonderful ways to ease muscle tension and leave your stressors at the door.
  • Activities such as cooking, listening to music, cleaning, going for a car ride, gardening, dancing, or sitting at the local park are all wonderful coping strategies if they work well for you.

Remember: Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act. If we are well, than it is easier to give freely to others around us. If we are depleted from worry, depression, or fatigue, we are less equipped to deal with everyday stressors for both our families and ourselves. Giving back to yourself will not only replenish your resources it also reminds us that we are worth it.

Do any of these ways of coping resonate with you? How do you cope with stress?