What is Chemical Imbalance? Why does it happen? What can you do about it? These are the three most important questions concerning chemical imbalance theories held by many in the bipolar community and the medical profession today. Researchers have spent decades trying to get to the bottom of what causes common disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder etc. No one seems to know the exact causes of bipolar disorder. But many believe it be some form of chemical imbalance. Certain chemicals in the brain, lead to symptoms of physical and mental distress and disturbances. While the exact link between chemical imbalance and mental health disorders, have not been found, clinical studies and medical observations have been able to define a number of chemical deficiencies that occur in individuals who report experiencing symptoms related to ADD, ADHD, SAD, Bipolar Disorder, Depression and Anxiety Disorders.
What is Chemical Imbalance of the Brain?
Common chemical imbalances related to mental or emotional health disorders such as stated above include:
- Reduced availability of neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, GABA and Acetylcholine
- Increased levels of neurochemicals such as Homocysteine which is very toxic
- Lower levels of serum Magnesium, Zinc or Potassium
- Deficient levels of essential vitamins like B6, B9, B12 and Vitamin-C
- Under supply of key co-factors like amino acids that are used to help transport neurotransmitter percursors into the blood-brain barrier
- Increased cortisol stress hormone levels.
Why Does Chemical Imbalance Happen?
Virtually no one has the answer to why brain chemical imbalance happens. But we do know it occurs. Ask any medical professional the reasons and causes for bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety disorders and their most likely answer would be "A chemical imbalance." It is because of this belief, of chemical imbalance, most medical professionals' first impulse is to prescribe an SSRI, MAOI or similar pharmaceutical "chemical balancer" to treat the condition. In today's world, pharmaceutical drugs play a key role in attempting to balance these brain chemicals. Most pharmaceuticals used only mask the underlying problem.
So unfortunately, in the majority of cases, the most important question has not been addressed.
What's Causing the Chemical Imbalance?
Why not look to nature for some answers to the cause of chemical imbalance to see if there is a solution there?
We notice in nature that everything that grows feeds on some sort of nutrition to enhance its growth. Let's take a look at our nutrition today. Everyone one who reads about nutrition understands our food supply today simply does not provide the essential minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients they once did. How do we know? Well, let's look at the food we purchase in the local Super Mart.
I did a bit of an experiment with a bag of their vine ripen tomatoes. June 18, 2008 I dipped these tomatoes in different types of bottled, tap, and distilled waters to see what effect the water would have on the tomatoes. To my surprise 80 days later all the tomatoes (including the one "control" tomato I did NOT dip in any type of water) are still exactly the same as when I bought them from the Super Mart.
Now compare that with the tomatoes I picked from my own garden. My own garden tomatoes, if not used quickly, rotted within a week. That's because the tomatoes had live enzymes in them that supply our vitamins, trace minerals and such. The store bought tomato enzymes were killed, hence preserving the tomato, but causing it to be virtually deficient in nutrition. So it is easy to understand why the general population is lacking vital minerals, vitamins, enzymes, phytonutrient etc. Why? Because they are being wiped out in the processing plant before they hit the grocery market shelves.
Lack of exercise causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to depression. Also lack of exercise causes lack of oxygen and blood circulation which also contributes to chemical toxins and imbalances in the brain.
Today many people drink bottled water. Often times that bottled water is processed by reverse osmosis. Most people today do not realize this water is more detrimental to health than beneficial because its ph value measures 5.0. A ph value of 5.0 is very acidic causing the body's ph value to reduce considerable each time one drinks a bottle of the water. A lower ph value means trouble for your body because an acidic environment is the exact environment viruses and bad bacteria love. These unwanted viruses and bacteria result in physical and mental health diseases which cause further chemical imbalance of the brain.
Lack of sunshine causes tremendous amounts of changes in the brain. For one it reduces your serotonin levels. Depletion of serotonin is considered the main neurotransmitter of depression.
In today's world, especially in the USA, we lack temperance. We eat too much or too little, sleep too much or too little, work and play too much or too, exercise too little or too much. We seem to lack balance. And balance is the key to a balanced life in mind, body and spirit.
Much of our air is polluted today especially in the larger cities. In seeking relief we use central air conditioning which results in positive ions being blown into our houses. If you think the air you breath has little to do with your physical or mental health, ask those whose children are suffering childhood allergies, cancers, mental health disorders and other diseases which were unheard of just a century ago.
Ever try breathing carbon monoxide? It can kill you. So with our air today as polluted as it is (and especially with central air conditioning infiltrating the very air we breath with positive ions) I believe causes many chemical changes in our bodies, minds and spirits. To maintain optimal health or bodies need to breath negative ions without residual ozone.
How did you sleep last night? Not everyone needs 8 hours of sound sleep but everyone needs sound undisturbed sleep! Lack of sleep causes chemical imbalances in the brain. Scientists have found people who suffer from sleep disorders produce low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine and acetylcholine.
Trust in a Higher Power:
Many do not believe in a God as the creator of the earth. Unfortunately for them. There are lots of scientific studies which advocate prayer allieveates depression. I will only quote one reference here. An article in the December 1998 issue of McCall's Magazine, notes a study done at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical College of Virgina in Richmond, studied 1,902 twins. They found that those who were committed to their spiritual lives tended to have less severe depression and lower risk of addiction to cigarettes or alcohol. The healthful lifestyles of the spiritually rich and faithful clearly contribute to their well being. It is also noted those who do not believe in a higher power suffer more frequently from depression and other mental and physical health disorders.
What Can We Do About It?
1. By reducing the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to depression.
2. Restores One's sound sleep - raising energy levels by releasing endorphines, which are associated with good mood AND raises serotonin levels.