It is common for people to experience depression or anxiety at different points in their lives as a result of circumstance, such as the loss of a job, the mourning of a loved one, an unforeseen diagnosis, a family crisis, etc. Often circumstantial depression and anxiety will resolve on their own, but there are times when they can become overwhelming and start to impact daily living. This is the time to seek help.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders that can be debilitating, such as panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Common anxiety symptoms include constant worry, unrelenting fear, insomnia, heart racing, heart palpitations, shortness of breath or even digestive symptoms, such as nausea, stomach pain or loose stools.
At the other end of the spectrum is depression. Common symptoms associated with depression include sadness; feelings of hopelessness; decreased motivation; fatigue; loss of interest; changes in appetite, weight and/or sleep patterns; and, sometimes, self-harm. There are both innate and acquired causes of depression.
As a Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Hitkari regularly treats people suffering from depression and anxiety. She works with her patients to assess what may be the cause of their feelings and potential factors that may be aggravating their condition. A full assessment includes examining family history; past medical history; dietary intake; the use of alcohol, caffeine or recreational drugs; lifestyle habits; belief systems and other factors. After the assessment, blood work is generally run to assess any physiological causes of their symptoms such as nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems, hormonal or neurotransmitter (chemical messengers in the brain) imbalances.
Once an assessment has been completed, an individualized treatment plan is developed. There are many ways of helping to treat and manage anxiety and depression from nutritional modifications, use of supplements, and counseling, to medications. The chosen methods of treatment are based on the severity of the patient's symptoms and the patient's comfort with the available options. Dr. Hitkari's goal is to help her patients feel better and get back to living healthy, fulfilled lives.