Depression Test makes me Depressed

Since the inception of Obamacare, promises of healthcare at a lower cost appear to be fueling governments’ medical watchdogs looking for more ways to creep into our personal lives. Now, the call for depression tests is on the horizon for women during and after pregnancy; no telling how they’ll use this information.

Postpartum depression is nothing new; subsequently, major scientific advances have been made that help women ease debilitating symptoms without the use of drugs that have side effects often worse that the condition. While the popularity of using drugs to alter brain chemistry is the current popular remedy, helping patients gain control over their lives produces greater biochemical changes. A powerful technique is teaching individuals to be more optimistic.  Depression may be due from an underlying organic (chemical) or physiological cause.  Addressing the cause should be the primary therapy; failing this diminishes the effect of any antidepressant therapy. (1)

Highly respected Doctor John Lee, MD died in 2003, and his work continues to influence the way functional medicine providers’ help women overcome hormonal issues. This is what Dr. Lee said about postpartum blues…

Many women experience depression in the days (and weeks) following childbirth. Other symptoms include headache, irritability, and sleeplessness.The depression can cause incapacitation and be prolonged. Research by Brian Harris and colleagues in Wales found that among 120 women, those with the highest prenatal and lowest post natal progesterone levels also scored highest on measures of postpartum depression scores.

Recall that as pregnancy advances, placental production of progesterone rises to levels of 350 mg to 400 milligrams a day, and the ovaries’ contribution at that point is nil. With delivery, the placenta derived progesterone is suddenly gone. The only source of progesterone at that time would be the adrenal glands. It is possible that adrenal exhaustion plays a role in a woman’s inability to provide even a modicum of progesterone in the day following childbirth. Postpartum depression is notoriously difficult to treat. It would seem appropriate to measure progesterone levels a day or two after childbirth and, if found to be low, progesterone cream could be promptly supplemented. It is possible that his simple and safe therapy could make postpartum depression much easier to treat”.“What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause”, pages 103-104.

Though hormones play a significant role in postpartum depression, the other contributing causes listed below should not be discounted or ignored. (2)

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Vitamin deficiencies or excess
  • Poor diet
  • Food allergies
  • Childbirth
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Environmental factors (chemicals, toxins, and electromagnetic fields)
  • Dysfunctional thyroid gland
  • Low serotonin levels
  • Prescription/illicit drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Illness
  • High homocysteine levels
  • Heredity

Exercise may be the most powerful natural antidepressant available. It increases endorphin levels directly correlated with a mood-elevating effect. Physical movement improves blood flow, and further oxygenation to the brain increases, enhancing production of beta-endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Exercise was found to be as effective as medication in reducing depression among patients with major depression. (3) Research concludes that physical activity has a protective effect from depression for older adults. (4)

Depression is real and better discussed with professionals whose mission is to address the person as a “whole”; this is not the function of government agencies.

Kelly Brogan, MD has some very good ideas on how to defeat depression. Take a moment to meet Dr. Brogan.  Also, visit and learn how to beat the blues and feel better!


1.  Cognitive Therapy and Research 12 (1988):117-30.

2.  Breggin, P.R. Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Therapies of the “New Psychiatry”. New York: St. Martina’s Press 1991.

3.  Archives of Medicine, 1999

4.   American Journal of Epidemiology, 2002. 





One Responseto “Depression Test makes me Depressed”

  1. John Krueger says:

    I don’t feel that the government recommendations represent an real intrusion in to our lives. The recommendations are actually from the United States Preventive Services Task Force. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is “an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services.”[1] The task force, a panel of primary care physicians and epidemiologists, is funded, staffed, and appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.[2][3]

    The USPSTF does not consider cost-effectiveness.[4] Recommendations are based solely upon evidence of medical benefit to the patient, no matter how expensive it is.[5]. In the case of screening for depression, they just affirmed what practicing physicians have assumed all along. Depression is under recognized in the post partum period for a variety of reasons and people don’t recognize the symptoms or understand that effective treatment is available. Although most women will see their physician or provider for a post partum visit, they don’t always volunteer information about their mood unless someone asks. Although medication is not always needed for people with mild to moderate depression where counseling and exercise alone may be effective, for people with severe depression, medications are essential because the severity of symptoms makes talk therapy and physical exercise impossible. Most are unable to sleep, eat, go out, or even get out of bed, much less take care of a newborn. There are some specific causes that should certainly be looked for like drugs, alcohol, thyroid dysfunction, and history of abuse, most women with post partum depression do not end up having these secondary causes.

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