It is normal to feel sad or unmotivated at times in your life; however, if you have felt down for some time and you are having difficulty ‘shaking off’ the feelings of sadness, you may be experiencing depression. Depression can cause numerous emotional, mental and physical symptoms. Major Depressive Disorder is the most common form of the more severe types of depressive disorders.




Although there are numerous kinds of anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most common form of this condition. To be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, an individual must experience the symptoms related to worry and anxiety for more than six months. An individual experiencing anxiety typically has difficulty controlling his or her worry, other symptoms may include distress and struggles coping with various aspects of everyday life.




Various factors can cause or trigger depression. According to research, long-term unemployment, isolation, loneliness, living in an uncaring/abusive relationship, or continued stress related to work can all lead to depression. In addition, recent stressful events (job loss, a death in the family, etc.) can trigger depression, especially when an individual has a previous history of bad experiences.




Since anxiety is a symptom, it has a root cause. While treating the symptoms of anxiety is vital, finding the root cause is just as important. Causes of anxiety include poor gut health, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) dysfunction, and hormone imbalances as well as nutritional deficiencies


Gut Infections


Infections in your gut may lead to inflammation, which can cause symptoms associated with anxiety. When this inflammation begins affecting the brain, it causes an individual to become angry, irritable and anti-social. Since all the neurotransmitters responsible for inducing happiness and tranquility are compromised, depression, anxiety, and stress are prevalent. It was thought that the brain was responsible for creating the majority of the serotonin in the body; however, the gut contains approximately 400 times more serotonin than the brain does.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) dysfunction and hormone imbalances can cause the symptoms associated with anxiety. HPA controls the body’s stress responses (fight, flight or freeze). Instead of feeling stressed about truly dangerous situations (running from a wild animal), today, our daily tasks and environments can collide to cause the symptoms associated with anxiety: In our modern world, we may become stressed out over whether we will make it home before the kids do or if we remembered to close the garage door. Although these are legitimate reasons to feel stressed, as the day continues, more and more stressful issues arise, piling on top of one another. When the stress system is continually activated, the production of progesterone, pregnenolone, cortisol, and DHEA rises, altering the neurotransmitters in the brain.

Besides emotional and mental stress, inflammation can also disrupt the HPA axis. Finding and addressing the reason for the inflammation is essential to eliminate the anxiety.

  • Causes of inflammation include:
    • Infections in the gut
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Imbalances in blood sugar levels
    • Chronic viruses
    • Sleep disruptions/Insomnia
    • Estrogen dominance

Nutrient Deficiencies


There are nutrients that directly impact an individual’s mood. These nutrients include EPA, B6, DHA, B12, zinc, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and magnesium. Furthermore, if an individual has difficulty absorbing protein, his or her body will not have the amino acids necessary to create neurotransmitters.


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Various tests can be used to diagnose depression and anxiety.


Diagnosing Depression


  • A physical exam
  • Targeted questions
  • Psychological questionnaires
  • Blood tests
  • Detailed medical history
  • CT scans, MRIs – to rule out serious illnesses, such as brain tumors
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) – to check brain activity
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – to rule out cardiac issues


Diagnosing Anxiety


  • A physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Questionnaires
  • Detailed medical history




The symptoms of depression may include:


  • Significant weight gain/loss
  • Feeling sad nearly every day
  • A lack of interest in activities he or she previously enjoyed
  • Insomnia (the inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping excessively)
  • Difficulty concentrating/thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Recurrent thoughts related to death, including planning to commit suicide or thinking about committing suicide
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness


Individuals who have the majority of the symptoms listed above will most likely be given medication in conjunction with psychotherapy.


Individuals with mild to moderate depression have a variety of options, including the use of herbal supplements to boost the production of the neurotransmitters responsible for affecting our motivation and mood.




Anxiety can be described as feeling afraid, worried, apprehensive or threatened.


  • Anxiety symptoms include:
    • Irritability
    • Quickly becoming fatigued
    • Restlessness, feeling on edge
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Muscle tension


Depression Treatments


  • Prescription medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • On rare occasions, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – otherwise referred to as ‘shock treatments.’ Today, this procedure is performed while the patient is under anesthesia.


Anxiety Treatments


  • Prescription medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Self-management strategies




It is easier to treat depression when the patient seeks assistance relatively soon after its onset. Left untreated, depression can take over your life. The longer you wait, the more severe your depression becomes and medication will most likely need to be part of your treatment plan. Furthermore, if you wait to seek treatment, you are more likely to experience depression again. At Florida Health & Wellness Institute, we use a variety of therapies to assist our patients in restoring their minds, moods, and bodies to a more enjoyable state.




The first thing that will have to be determined is why you are experiencing anxiety symptoms. Therapies that help with relieving the symptoms associated with anxiety include meditation, eliminating stimulants (like coffee), adding calming beverages to the diet, and the use of specific herbal supplements.


If you are experiencing anxiety and/or depression, it is vital that you seek assistance right away. At Florida Health & Wellness Institute, we are dedicated to providing patients with the quality, compassionate care they deserve. Click the button below to schedule your consultation with Dr. Jorge Peláez.