If you’ve had lasting feelings of sadness
or hopelessness and lost interest in things that used to give you pleasure, it may be depression. Depression can be scary and can make you feel alone, but it’s not your fault. If you think you may be depressed, fill out the questionnaire.
Then, print it and share it with your doctor.
Check off any symptoms you've had for 2 weeks or more.Scoring: 0-1 checks
Unlikely to be diagnosed with depression 2-4 checks
Speak to your doctor about minor depression 5 or more checks
Speak to your doctor about major depression
"Folate therapy is the essential cornerstone in the treatment of all patients afflicted with depression."—Lawrence D. Ginsberg, MD, January 20, 2013, oral presentation
Is it depression?
If you’ve had lasting feelings of sadness or hopelessness and lost interest in things that used to give you pleasure, it may be depression. Depression can be scary and can make you feel alone, but it’s not your fault. If you think you may be depressed, fill out the questionnaire. Then, print it and share it with your doctor.
What causes depression?
Depression is very common, affecting more than 20 million people in the United States, and there are many causes.1 They can be genetic, environmental, psychological and/or biochemical (such as changes in hormones or a chemical imbalance).1
A chemical imbalance can cause depression?
Yes. The human brain needs to maintain chemicals in a certain balance to function normally. When things are outside this range (either too high or too low), it can lead to depression.2,3
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Depression. National Library of Medicine website. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/depression.html. Accessed May 14, 2013.
- Mental Health Center. The brain and mental illness. WebMD website. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/brain-mental-illness?print=true#. Accessed May 8, 2013.
- Brogaard B. Brain chemical imbalance symptoms. Livestrong.com website. http://www.livestrong.com/article/192253-brain-chemical-imbalance-symptoms/. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Is depression treatable?
Yes, there are many treatment options for depression. They include prescription medicines, talk therapy, and natural options such as folate therapy.
Why is folate important?
Folate plays an important role in regulating mood. Low folate is linked to depression, can negatively affect a person’s response to antidepressants, and can even contribute to a relapse of depression.1
Your body has to go through many steps to convert folate/folic acid into L-methylfolate, the form that reaches the brain. Many people with depression are unable to do this.2,3 In fact, surprisingly, 60% of the US population do not have the genetic makeup needed for the conversion.4 Other reasons for low folate include medicines (like metformin, anticonvulsants, and oral contraceptives), diseases (like malabsorption syndromes), excessive alcohol, smoking, and aging.5-8
And experts recommend folate for depression?
Yes, they say folate should be considered from the start of treatment. Folate is well tolerated, can speed up the rate of response for antidepressants, and can be helpful for symptoms.
- Fava M, Mischoulon D. Folate in depression: efficacy, safety, differences in formulations, and clinical issues. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;70(suppl 5):12-17.
- Stahl SM. Stahl’s Illustrated Antidepressants. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 2009;116.
- Stahl SM. L-methylfolate: a vitamin for your monoamines. J Clin Psychiatry. 2008;69(9):1352-1353.
- DailySpark Web site. Folate levels influence depression symptoms. Available at: http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=folate_ levels_influence_depression_symptoms . Accessed June 25, 2013.
- Ortega RM, Lopez-Sobaler AM, Gonzalez-Gross MM, et al. Influence of smoking on folate intake and blood folate concentrations in a group of elderly
Spanish men. J Am Coll Nutr. 1994;13(1):68-72.
- Mountifield JA. Effects of oral contraceptive usage on B12 and folate levels. Can Fam Physician. 1985;31:1523-1525.
- Reynolds EH. Folic acid, ageing, depression, and dementia. BMJ. 2002;324:1512-1515.