Holidays and Depression…do they have to go together?

It’s here; we’re right smack in the middle of the holiday season! A time to celebrate with family and friends; a time to trim the tree, cook the turkey and wrap the Christmas gifts. Just tune into your TV. There is not a channel that is not counting the days till December 25th or January 1st, the start of the New Year!

While many of us are full of excitement and anticipation, a growing number find this time of year full of loneliness and despair. Add stress and hypoglycemia symptoms to that equation, and the situation can become serious, spiraling into severe depression and fatigue, followed by hopelessness and fear.

I recently received the following e-mail and, unfortunately, get far too many that have the same tone around this time of year. You can almost hear and feel the pain of the sender!

“I can’t sleep! Got a million things going around in my head. I am not suicidal and love my life (regardless of this shit) but what if all these knockbacks from docs and the desperation leaves you feeling that u can’t go on with life? Hopeless? I don’t wana die but I’m scared it will come to that.”

In an article on hypoglycemia and depression, Dr. Douglas M. Baird, the HSF’s Medical Director, writes:

The brain is absolutely dependent on a constant uninterrupted source of fuel for proper function. Sugar (or glucose) is primary fuel that supplies the brain with the energy that it needs to function properly; the brain cannot store fuel so the sugar levels in the blood that supplies the brain must stay consistently high enough to supply its needs.

In hypoglycemia, the principal problem is maintaining a reasonably constant and high enough blood sugar level to insure proper function of all organs systems, the brain being the most important. When the fuel supply of the brain drops below a certain critical level, the brain begins to malfunction. The same thing happens to your home computer when the power supply is interrupted or altered. Anything that can possibly go wrong – will! And brain dysfunction can and will occur under these circumstances, including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, memory loss, confusion, mood swings and in its worst form, diagnosable mental illness.

The importance of correcting or at least managing this crucial element for brain function cannot be over-emphasized. Depression can be a direct result of blood sugar mismanagement. Stabilizing blood sugar levels is an important element in the long term management of depression.

So where does that leave anyone who is experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms, especially during the holidays?

Since diet is the cornerstone treatment for reactive/functional hypoglycemia, it is imperative to evaluate your dietary habits. Eliminate the big offenders (white sugar, white flour, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco), and replace them with wholesome, nutritious, allowable foods…there is plenty to eat!

Check out our diet do’s and don’ts as well as our September 2012 blog on “Simple Cooking Suggestions & Healthy Snacks” at www.hypoglycemia.org. Surround yourself with healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable about hypoglycemia and who will guide and support you and be sympathetic to your needs. Then interweave all this insight with commitment and application…add love and you’ll see a New You for the New Year!!

Here’s to your health!

Roberta

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