Help for Anxiety and Depression

Elizabeth Stimson, ND

Anxiety and Depressive symptoms plague many individuals on a daily basis. The cause can be multifactorial and it can affect the lives of all around the primary person involved. There may be a genetic predisposition to anxiety and/or depression and often there is a family history.

Causes can vary, however, and the range is vast. Sometimes you don’t even realize what is happening to you…it seems like things changed overnight. It could be an emotional trauma (something you witnessed, or a car accident), your overworked and overstressed self (leading to overworked and overstressed adrenal glands), endocrine imbalance (hormones in the body are not in proper balance – thyroid hormone is a common one that often goes unchecked), as well as other hormones during menses and menopause. Episodes of dysglysemia (low blood sugar)1, nutrient deficiencies (Calcium, Magnesium, B12, Omega 3 fatty acids)2, reactions to the foods you eat and the list goes on. You don’t need to have a full blown allergy to have a reaction to foods. Foods can just make us generally not feel quite like ourselves. Dr. David Perlmutter in his book “The Grain Brain” links gluten to anxiety and depressive symptoms. 3 He mentions several studies that have also made this connection.

Your naturopathic doctor can be helpful in determining the cause of symptoms and help to provide you relief. Various lab tests are at their fingertips and they can help you determine which ones would be right for you. Their evaluation often includes some dietary recommendations and as you see above, food sensitivities are a good place to start testing. They will look at you and your symptoms and may choose to do lab testing including any of the following to rule out the cause of your symptoms:

  • Food and/or gluten/gliaden sensitivity testing
  • Thyroid panel
  • Blood panel including glucose and iron assessments
  • Hormone panel
  • Adrenal panel

They may recommend acupuncture treatments (which can calm the shen (or spirit), and clear liver congestion, and restrictions, as well as help to build up your tired and weakened self and restore Qi (life force). CranioSacral therapy is also beneficial as it targets the central nervous system and releases restrictions in the body, instilling a sense of calm and balance in many people. Both these modalities are especially useful where physical trauma is a factor. Whatever the prescription, your naturopathic doctor will tailor it to you and focus on the root cause of your problems. Acting as your health coach to give you the tools you need for your journey back to health.


  1. Jensen, Dr. Karen ND., Menopause A Naturopathic Approach To the Transitional Years, Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., Scarborough, Ontario, 1999 pp 96, 110, 242-255,
  1. Marz, Dr. Russell B. ND., M.Ac.O.M., Medical Nutrition from Marz 2nd edition, Omni-Press., Portland, Oregon, 1997 pp 450 – 457
  1. Perlmutter, Dr. David,. Grain brain : the surprising truth about wheat, carbs, and sugar – your brain’s silent killers, Little Brown & Co., New York, 2013