It’s November, a month where the focus turns to men’s health and our facebook pages are filled with moustaches. I love that there is greater awareness regarding prostate cancer and that younger men are motivated to action. While this is a cause that fully deserves the recognition it gets, I want to also illuminate other health concerns that men regularly experience and that I see frequently in practice. Most often I see the effects of stress, most often anxiety and depression, as the reason men visit a Naturopathic Doctor.
Both men and women get depression but men experience it very differently than women do. Men are more likely to feel very tired and irritable, and lose interest in their work, family, or hobbies. They may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping than women who have depression. And although women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.
Unfortunately, many men do not recognize, acknowledge or seek out help for depression. They are often more reluctant to discuss how they are feeling and downplay their symptoms. Often the reason I see them in my office is because the women in their lives urge them to seek help.
Signs and symptoms of depression:
- Feeling sad or “empty”
- Feeling hopeless, irritable or anxious
- Loss of interest in work, family, or hobbies
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or hypersomnia)
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
- Increased pain, headaches or digestive concerns
- Risky behavior or substance abuse
Naturopathic Treatment of Anxiety and Depression in Men:
- Dietary Modifications:
Balancing blood glucose is critical in managing depression. If you are consuming heavily processed foods loaded with sugar, white flour, artificial flavours, colors and sweeteners these ingredients in your can wreck havoc on your body and mind. These “food-like” products lead to decreases in energy, poor focus and concentration and hormonal imbalances that impact blood sugar regulation and other hormonal processes in the body.
- Supplemental Support:
A number of botanicals and nutrients have a powerful effect on mood and stress. These can be personalized for each individual’s needs but things like St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, L-Theanine, B vitamins and Kava Kava are frequently used for alleviating depression and reducing the physical impact of stress. Addressing stress has a significant impact on depression and its associated symptoms.
What are you doing to improve the health of the men in your life? Are you growing a moustache to rival Tom Selleck or Groucho Marx?
National Institute of Mental Health – www.nimh.nih.gov
Depression Hurts – www.depressionhurts.ca
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – www.camh.ca
Movember Canada – http://ca.movember.com
Dr. Jen Newell is passionate about helping people embrace health, feel amazing and easily incorporate “real” food into their busy lives. Her mission is to make health accessible and achievable, and to inspire patients to live an active, vibrant and healthy life.
Jen has a clinical focus on digestive health, food sensitivities and healthy nutrition; mental health and stress-related illness; women’s health, hormone balance and fertility; optimal aging; and dermatology. She focuses on integrating healthy foods into one’s diet in a medicinal and therapeutic capacity and providing individuals with nutritional support that is easy to incorporate into a busy day. Dr. Newell practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Downtown Toronto.
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