What Your Doctor Might Not Know About Depression

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Interviewer: We've talked a lot about ADHD. What other conditions can you treat nutritionally in terms of behavior conditions.

Dr. William Walsh: Well, actually, we started with behavior and learning, but we've seen more than 3,000 cases of depression. I think I have the world's biggest chemistry database for depressed people, people diagnosed with clinical depression. And what I've learned is that depression is a name given to completely different disorders. And there's a misconception in mainstream psychiatry. Misconception that depression is really a single condition with variations along a central theme. 

And they believe that, in general, and almost always, it has to do with low serotonin activity. Which is why they want to give SSRI antidepressants which are serotonin enhancers basically, serotonin activity enhancers. But what we find is that, and it's described in my book. I've just written a book on this subject. And what we have learned is that we know there are five completely different phenotypes or biotypes of depression. And each one of these different types of depression involves different neurotransmitter abnormalities, and require a different treatment. And we've developed nutrient therapies for each of these five types.

Interviewer: So how can people know if they might be deficient in these nutrients? Is there a definite way you can tell?

Dr. William Walsh: Well, I think so. I assume that a person wouldn't seek help unless they were having a serious problem.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. William Walsh: So there are doctors and clinics who are quite expert in identifying this. But you'd have to get somebody who's familiar with this kind of testing. And it would require methalation testing, determination of a person's methalation status, their metal metabolism. It would be important to look for toxic metals elevated in a person that can be causing difficulty. 

It really is a medical procedure best done, I think, by a medical practitioner who is experienced. And to do it right, you have to know a lot about the patient. You get a lot of clues about the imbalances from the symptoms and traits. 

For example, when a person has elevated copper, they're probably going to have trouble sleeping, history of skin sensitivity. They may be sensitive to rough fabrics. They are prone to ringing in the ears. There's about 30 symptoms that are consistent with high copper, and a completely different set of symptoms and traits for each one of these imbalances. 

What really helps in doing a diagnosis to learn everything about a person and then to do the lab work. And the ideal is when the indications from the symptoms and traits dovetails with the lab work. And then you can make a confident diagnosis and then establish a treatment program.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm. And in terms of seeing a professional for this, the same would go toward treating it too. Because you can buy these supplements over the counter, the zinc and the copper and the folic acid and things like that. But you must be talking about a much higher dose, a higher grade, or it's delivered differently or one of those.

Dr. William Walsh: Yes. If we were to do a complete metabolic analysis of anybody, including you or I . . .

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. William Walsh: . . . we would probably find that, let's say we did your analysis, we would probably find there might be five or six important nutrients that, because of genetics, you were low in.

Interviewer: Okay.

Dr. William Walsh: And you would benefit from many times the RDA of that because you might be fighting genetics. And the goal is always to normalize blood levels and brain levels. We would not be just giving large amounts of something. Our goal is to normalize a person's biochemistry. 

But we'd also find with you or with anyone, that we would probably find that there were several nutrients that, because of genetics, you're overloaded in. 

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. William Walsh: And one big surprise for me in the beginning of clinical work was to learn that it's nutrient overloads that cause more mischief than . . . 

Interviewer: Really.

Dr. William Walsh: . . . the deficiencies. So it's not just a matter of finding what you're low in, but what are you possibly overloaded in. If you're overloaded in folic acid, you would have great anxiety and you would have depression. And you would have a given set of problems because of that. If you were overloaded in methalation, which comes from one of your amino acids, then you would be prone to panic attacks. . . 

Interviewer: Mm.

Dr. William Walsh: . . . and even paranoid schizophrenia. So one has to find out, really, in doing this, what a person's deficiencies, and what their overloads are. And then with rifle shot precision, normalize the chemistry. And that's essentially what we do.

Interviewer: How do you normalize it when they're overloaded, like you said? If they have to much, how do you balance that?

Dr. William Walsh: When they're overloaded, you have to be especially careful.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Dr. William Walsh: Because it means you have to drive something out of the body.

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. William Walsh: And whether it's a toxic like lead or cadmium or mercury, or let's just say it's you've got too much copper in your system, which happens in a lot of these patients, you have to do it slowly. Because these things depart the body through the bloodstream. So you don't want these things early on if you do it too fast. If you step on the accelerator, and these bad guys roar out of your body . . .

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Dr. William Walsh: . . . your blood levels might go up, and you might have the worst day of your life. So we make sure they do it slowly and gradually.


Treatment for depression can often be a quick prescription drug. Dr. William Walsh says reasons for depression may be as unique as the individual. Find out what he's seen when it comes to diagnosing, nutritional imbalances and treatment of depression.

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