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I SHOULD Be Happy, Why Aren't I??

There are many circumstances in a person's life that can legitimately keep them from being "Happy". Personal tragedies, illness, money issues etc are all rational reasons why people feel sad and depressed. But there are millions of people that don't have these circumstances in their lives and they're still depressed. More and more studies point to the probability that it's a "chemical imbalance". But what are those chemicals and how do they get "imbalanced"?
They are called Neurotransmitters (NT); they are the brain chemicals that organize information and spread it from your brain to your body. They affect most of your body's functions.
Some of them stimulate the brain and some calm it. Areas highlighted below are potential problems from these imbalances.

1) SEROTONIN- A calming NT, it regulates your moods, carbohydrate/sugar cravings, appetite control, sleep cycles, pain control, aggression, sexuality/libido, fear, digestion and your immune system.
2) DOPAMINE- Helps us to focus and if it's high OR low, we can have problems with everything from forgetting where we put our keys to not being able to stay on task to having addictive issues. It keeps us motivated to get things done.
3) NOREPINEPHRINE- High levels can cause anxiety and low levels can cause low energy and decreased focus ability.
4) EPINEPHRINE- It's affected by stress and can influence insomnia, heart rate and blood pressure.

What can control or significantly affect the Neurotransmitters?
The Adrenals glands control much of this system and the closer a person gets to Menopause/Andropause (45-60 years old), the higher percentage of control this gland has. Things that weaken the Adrenals are emotional and physical stress, pain, drugs (prescription and recreational), caffeine and alcohol.
Anti-depressants were a $12 billion dollar industry in the US in 2007 and it continues to increase. One of the biggest problems with
anti-depressants is that even if they help, after taking them for a while, they further deplete the Neurotransmitters and the person needs to either keep changing medications or increasing dosages.
Some people will probably always need them but many don't. And studies show that for people over 60, there is no statistical difference in the effectiveness of anti-depressants compared with placebos (fake medicine that the patient thinks is real).
In the next few blogs, I will be discussing the exciting new treatment systems that can increase your Neurotransmitters without medications and some of the new Medical research into this exciting new area.  

Dr Madden
www.drmichaelmadden.net

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Member Comments

    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Thanks very much for this information..........
      In the UK a very favourite TV host Fern Britton has just done a series of interviews on her depression and her HRT and battle with menopause – it caused lots of women to speak out.
      In the UK it's virtually impossible to get information on menopause – I have learnt more from you and this site.

      Thanks so much



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Janet Wooley wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • This may not be too popular But I am going to share it anyway. I believe in God and prayer and have personally seen many awesome things happen in my life and when I am depressed I believe that I can ask my God to intervene and help me out. I choose to get out of that state of mind and believe one makes that choice, kinda like being in quicksand. Calm down, ask myself what can I do in this situation and then do it or see I can do nothing and let it go.
      I just said this to someone a few minutes ago “I could get all depressed and discouraged about my job situation BUT I refuse to go there and I believe God will open doors” those are the thoughts I think on NOT the depressing ones.



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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Allthingsnatural wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Thank you for sharing all of this. I am very glad that there are people who realize that antidepressants aren’t the answer. As you had said before, I think there is a time and a place as when it comes to a drug, I believe everything should be tried and run through first. I see so many children in this country being put on medications and some with some dangerous side affects. I always read up on the ‘medicine’ I believe God intended us for using. There are so many natural and holistic therapies. I will be looking forward to your blogs. Thanks



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    • +3 votes vote up vote up

      Jypseygal wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Doesn’t this forum mean that after 40 we can say what we believe regardless of it’s popularity. I hope that believing in prayer is never unpopular as we are all becoming more present and real in our lives. Thank you for your thoughts.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Sherry Woodward wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • For me, exercising regularly - about 4 hours of aerobic activity weekly - and watching my calories really keeps me from experiencing depression.  I also use progesterone cream that seems to help me focus at work...  which makes me feel more productive...  which then gives me that feeling of satisfaction that also helps me with my “balance“.  The only time I feel depressed, is the week before my period (totally hormonal) and also I feel a bit depressed when my husband is having a depressed episode.
      My husband has problems with depression that seem to happen when he’s upset about his job.  He used to take meds - years ago - but quit taking them when he realized they are not really that effective after so many years.  When he is happy at work, then his depression magically goes away.  but then when trouble brews, he starts drinking too much coffee, wine, beer, etc...  This worries me.  If he’s not medicating himself with that, he’s eating sugary stuff (if he can find anything in the house).  What can I do to help him?  He doesn’t want to take medicine (I agree that he should not), and I can’t control his eating or drinking...  and he feels guilty when he “falls off the coffee wagon“...  or any of his other “wagons“.  He does run when his feet don’t hurt (5 to 8 miles at a time) so he does exercise.  Any ideas?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Anne Lyken-Garner wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • I know some people have clinical depression, a very real disease. Obviously they need prescription drugs.  

      Like Janet above, I believe that prayers heal me. When I’m depressed (or get the blues), I try to do something good for someone else, listen to music, watch a comedy show etc. Laughter does help me. Singing helps me too. When I don’t feel like singing, I do anyway. This soon pulls me out of the darkness.

      Of course, I don’t suffer with depression as a disease. I just get depressed like everyone else now and then.  

      I’ve actually just written an article on my blog about this very subject. It’s called, emotions that heal and emotions that don’t.



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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • I’ve dealt with clinical depression.  I have been hospitalized and have had years of therapy.  I am proud to say that today..and have been for many years now...med free...therapist free...and can handle most situations now...including death.  

      I have found that some people are just unhappy all the time.  It’s their demeanor.  They have been that way all their lives and have no desire to be any different.  Now why they are like that...I have no clue.  It could be lots of reasons...as Dr. Madden stated above.  

      For me personally...it’s all about choices.  Life is about choices.  You can choose to let something bring you down into a depression or you can choose to say...“I’m going to fight this.”  Now..with people who have a chemical imbalance...you too can still fight for happiness..you just have to fight harder.  I am a HUGE believer in prayer, faith, and God.  I know that is what delivered me from the depths of hell.  Some people think that you can just depend on a pill to make them happy...and that will never work.  

      To be happy...you have to do many things....(if you‘re fighting depression)..

      1. Eat right daily
      2. Exercise Daily
      3. Meds (if needed)
      4. Journaling
      5. Prayer/meditation

      It’s like a glove....

      You can choose to be a miserable person or you can choose to make a difference in someone else’s life.  You don’t have to look far to find that someone else is a whole lot worse than YOU!!  Take the focus off of YOURSELF..and focus on someone else.  That is what I did....and helping someone else does wonders for your attitude...and way of thinking.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jamiecat wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Perhaps my blog will bring you some joie de vivre.  Please take a “Bonjour, Happiness!”
      xo Jamie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Oceangirl40 wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • This is a difficult one for me because I am one of those people that take anti-depressants. In January it is 5 years since my husbands car accident. I deal with a person every day that is not the man I married. He sustained a traumatic Brain injury and other difficulties due to his injuries. There are times I am dealing with a childish man and if I say or tell him something there are times I have to repeat over and over again the same thing he also has anger issues. This isn’t the only reason I take them it is very difficult coping with him but I also have all responsibilities that we once shared! Finances have been very, very tight and now I have the worries that my girls will not have a Christmas because we don’t have the money.  

      I believe in god but when I needed the church the most they were not there for us. I am working my anger out on that yet. All I wanted was for someone from the church to come and I could of used it at that time because I didn’t know if he was going to live or not. A Lutheran Minister actually gave him the prayer for the sick and for that I am thankful.  

      I go to counseling but it will take time because I am also dealing with a 15 year old daughter that is trying to run on her own program also my oldest daughter left for college this year (I am coping pretty well with this now the beginning was hard). We also go to family counseling to work on our issues.

      I also just found out recently that I will need a knee replacement by the time I’m 50 not a happy thing for me.  Exercise is limited for me at this point. Until I can get my knee feeling better.

      I just feel it is what I need and hopefully at some point I will be able to go off them.

      Recently a friend of my daughters was in a bad ATV accident and it brought back a lot of bad memories from my husbands accident.  I do things that make me happy so I think I am on my way.  

      So I don’t believe it is all bad, god can’t fix all our problems we have to do that ourselves.  By the way I did try coping with it for 3 years by myself and I couldn’t do it on my own anymore.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • This is very interesting info Dr M. Thx for sharing. I look forwards to the upcoming posts as I am trying to balance all things health and prefer NOT to use meds if possible.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Vikki.....believe me...if you can ...it’s the way to go.  When I really got off all the meds..what by the way...blew me up..and now I have this weight that I did not have prior to going on medications.  It put the majority of my weight ON.  

      Also....after realizing what I needed to do....to get better....and did those things....there was no looking back..and I never have. Do I still have some “down” days? You bet I do but I do not let them destroy ME.  I love life...I love ME...and now I just need to get ME back where I use to be...but with more wisdom than I had before.  

      You changing your diet....has been an inspiration to me and I am getting myself siked up to try it at the first of the year. I know myself well enough that starting it now would only set myself up for failure.  

      The older I get the more I am inclied to going more natural.... not putting crap into my body...and getting healthier and HAPPIER FOR SURE!



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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Oceangirl40...I am so sorry for what you are going through now and what you’ve been through already.  It is a shame your church let you down when you really needed them.  Let me confirm with you...NOT ALL CHURCHES ARE LIKE THAT.  If you had been a member of my church...you would have had more support than you knew what to do with.  Our pastor would have been at that hospital with you...and members of our church or a journey team would have been there to help you in anyway they could.  We are all about helping our church members...but not just our own...but people in general.  People we don’t even know...we help.  That’s what being a Christ follower is all about. God has been there for you every step of the way....you just have to reach out to Him and have faith in Him that he will take care of you and your family.  It’s hard to let it go...but He wants you to.  

      As far as the meds goes...I can understand why you are on them...and that at this time...you might just have to have them.  I understand that fully.  But hopefully one day...you can get off of them.  I can’t even begin to imagine what go through daily.  

      Knee replacement.  My husband had a full knee replacement two years ago...at the age of 46.  Very young but he had no other choice.  I will say it was the best surgery he had.  He’s also had two back surgeries...and with back surgery comes alot of depression...so in some aspect...I’ve been there...but of course not to your degree.  Just don’t wait too long to have the knee replacement. It’s not worth all the pain.  Rehab is the key.  

      You have a lot you are dealing with....full plate.  All I can say is look to the Lord....pray....have faith that he will take care of you and your family....journal.....and take care of yourself.  Do something for YOU!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sherry Woodward wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Hi MC - May I make a suggestion to help you get a good start with your first-of-the-year diet?  Keep a daily journal of everything you eat - amount, calories, fat, fiber, etc...  Don’t limit yourself or tell yourself it’s too many calories, but just record everything.  It’s sort of a pain to have to do this, but just by collecting this data of your daily food diary will help you so much in January to figure out what changes you really need to make - and even what types of nutrients & foods you need to add to your diet.  I like to keep a paper journal, but my husband likes to use the “calorie counter” on www.livestrong.com because it even gives you calorie counts for restaurant food.  Also - read every book you can about healthy nutrient-rich foods like “Super Foods RX”—I love to cook and I enjoy putting recipes together of food that gives my family to most nutrition-bang for the calorie-buck.  Food is a good thing...  and figuring out what you enjoy eating that is good for you can be fun.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • MC I have watched so many women struggle with various issues. I am in no way judging those who need or want meds but I want to try to limit what I can. If I only had taken the time for myself when I was younger that I’m taking now.....sigh.....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Violet09 wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • I’m very interested to read more on this subject. Thanks for your interest.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • Vikki...I agree.  Some people have to have them...and that’s okay.  I just know when I got off of them and was able to...I was glad...and I felt better.  Everybody is different.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • HOTCARAMEL:  thanks for the suggestions!  I am already a member of Sparkpeople.com and have not been faithful to it the past week or so but now that Thanksgiving is over and I’m done with the majority of my renovations/decorating...I’m ready to focus on my diet and exercising.  You are so correct on the writing everything down.  It makes a huge difference.  Stuff adds up....estatic

      Right now...I’m warming my brain up to it.  That’s what I have to do..and most people on here that know me...know I do this many times a year...don’t I folks?estatic  Always getting back on the wagon....LOL.  But I’m not going to give up.  One of those times...it’s going to work for me...and I won’t ever fall off.  

      I’m ready to get rid of the artificial crap....the junk.  I already take Juice Plus daily....so I’m getting my fruits and veggies in....just need to rid myself of everything else...AND any toxicity that is in my life.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sherry Woodward wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • MC - I have some information on toxicity that I think you’ll find interesting.  Email me at [Link Removed] and I’ll share.


      Hotcaramel, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Coachmombabe wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • I’m so glad you are writing about this at this time! While like most people I’ve had depression from time to time, but I’ve always been able to “snap out of it“. I’m a very upbeat and positive person.

      I’m positive even now, but my mind is unfocused and I lack the enthusiasm that I usually have for life. I’m wondering how much is peri-menopausal and how much is dealing with the loss of my brother. It seems that some of the lack of focus started before he became ill, but details are blurry.

      During his illness I began eating in ways that were not supportive of my health, but I’ve been disciplining myself to reign it in. Of course the holidays haven’t helped, but I’m determined to get back on track.

      Like several others have mentioned, my faith and prayer life keep me buoyed even in the most difficult of times, but it does not always provide the energy and focus I need. That  gets me down a bit. I long for that passionate love for life that I had not so long ago!

      Blessings,
      Coachmombabe
      http://www.shilohhomeofhope.org

      "Treat others as if they are who they ought to be and you help them to become who they are capable of becoming." Goethe



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Zena Coleman wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • This is something that I have a personal interest in. THANK YOU.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Nov 29, 2009
    • I found this statement particularly enlightening...

      One of the biggest problems with
      anti-depressants is that even if they help, after taking them for a while, they further deplete the Neurotransmitters and the person needs to either keep changing medications or increasing dosages.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Nov 30, 2009
    • looking forward to the upcoming information...thanks Dr Madden



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marya1961 wrote Nov 30, 2009
    • Thank you, Dr. Madden..you are correct..each person’s situation is different and I believe most people would prefer not to be on meds, but unfortunately the reality hits you when you know you must be, so you learn to deal and combine the best of both..in my case, I need to take certain meds, so I include naturopathic/probiotic therapy along with conventional medication, organic diet and regular exercise and it works for me.  Looking forward to your next blog.happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Maryann Rhodey wrote Nov 30, 2009
    • Thank you for the information you shared.  It is always helpful to have a medical perspective with these issues.  I am looking forward to more of your posts.  

      Thanks again.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lacewigsstore wrote Nov 30, 2009
    • Greetings to all! I would also like to share my idea of making yourself happy by looking your absolute best. I believe that looking great can help everybody feel happy and thus increasing your self-esteem/self-confidence. Visit us soon at [Link Removed] and get the look that you deserve instantly and for less!

      !pic(image description)!


      Lacewigsstore, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Geralyn Schulkind wrote Dec 1, 2009
    • Great dialogue...and Ocean girl, don’t judge God by the actions of people...people will many times let you down...God will lift you up...“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will guide your path.”  Proverbs 3:5

      One of my favorite scriptures to hold onto...God be with you all, Geralynohhhh



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Faye43 wrote Dec 10, 2009
    • Thank you Dr Madden for the very interesting blog, Faye



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Alina Bartell wrote Feb 24, 2010
    • Very good post, Dr. Madden, even if I got to it quite late. Thank you very much for speaking up about problems with anti-depressants. For me it’s true that these are not the ultimate solution and it’s an illusion that chemical pill will fix us. I so understand why it’s popular. All my life I was upbeat, action type gal who never believed anything can stop me. Well, not in 50’s. Especially last few years - pretty tough, with body hormones not helping at all - it’s a struggle to stay upbeat. I remind myself daily to look inside and outside for people, thoughts, inspirations that will inspire not degrade. It’s not always easily. But at least my mind, even if not happpy, stays clear and working. With meds the “help” is artificial and cannot be sustained.

      http://www.NaturalClothingCompany.com
      Great designs. Earth approved.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Michael Madden DC wrote Feb 24, 2010
    • That’s true, you need to look inside and outside of yourself for inspiration and direction. It’s been shown in research that anti-depressants aren’t really any more effective than placebos unless someone is very seriously, “clinically” depressed, which is a dramatically smaller number than the huge number of people put on them. However if your hormones are imbalanced, your neurotransmitters will often be unbalanced also. So you CAN do something about it with addressing things naturally. You don’t need to JUST look for inspiration. Go to my website and look around.
      http://drmichaelmadden.net/
      There ARE answers there.



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