Today I am bringing up a very touchy subject for me: Chronic Pain and Depression. If you are a long-term follower of Sifa’s Corner, you may have read my everyday struggle with chronic pain. I have been dealing with my pain for almost 11 years. It’s a very tough journey, to be honest, because chronic pain and depression come hand in hand. There are days when I want feel blank and there are days when I can manage myself- it’s an ongoing process. As many of you can relate to this situation of depression, with or without chronic pain, I have interviewed Dr. Kamani, who works with depression, chronic disease and helps to control it by Functional medicine.
So keep on reading, and share your story with us.
Can you please introduce yourself to the readers?
My name is Dr. Priya Kamani, and I am the founder and CEO of LivingMatrix, the fastest-growing patient information management system for personalized and functional medicine. I earned my MBA from Wharton, trained in pediatrics at University of California San Francisco and received my medical degree from the University of Colorado.
I have been troubled by our current medical system’s inability to effectively address chronic disease. I was inspired to found LivingMatrix after I discovered Functional Medicine and using the principles of functional medicine I made profound changes in my own health was able to work with my doctor to stop several prescription medications. I went from having difficulty thinking and working due to brain fog to having enough energy to finding a start-up, and at an age that defies the norm. Through LivingMatrix we are able to help practitioners effectively work with their patients and often achieve life-changing outcomes.
What is categorized as a Mental Disease in plain words?
Mental Illnesses are those that cause a significant change in people’s thinking, mood, feelings/emotions and behavior and may alter people’s ability to function on a daily basis, lose interest in activities or their ability to relate to others. These issues could be short-term but in many cases, these issues continue and become a chronic problem.
What is depression? What are the common causes?
Depression may be linked to genetics and stressful events in our lives like grief may trigger depression. Sometimes depression can be a side-effect of medications or may be caused by an underlying chronic health condition. LivingMatrix found that in a subset of people body inflammation can drive neuroinflammation and lead to anxiety and depression. That means that even a person who doesn’t subscribe to having moods or effects related to a stressful life can have their anxiety or depression driven purely by physical mechanisms involving inflammation.
And how does someone know that they are suffering from depression and they need help?
The most common symptoms are feelings of hopelessness, unhappiness, low energy and reduced motivation. Daily activities become difficult and in severe cases, people may not be able to function at all. But there are several hard-to-recognize symptoms as well, like decreased appetite, exhaustion, trouble sleeping, and trouble concentrating.
What is Functional medicine?
Functional medicine is a personalized, systems-oriented model that empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying causes of disease. The primary drivers of the chronic disease epidemic are the daily interactions among an individual’s genetics, environment and lifestyle choices. Functional medicine addresses these underlying causes of disease and equips healthcare practitioners to help their patients manage this complex, interconnected web.
How can it help in depression and chronic disease?
Functional medicine practitioners take a holistic approach to assessing the patient and look for the underlying root cause that may have triggered the issues. Often, they can effectively address and treat the underlying issues that lead to depression by modifying diet and lifestyle. While they will use prescription medicine when needed, they are not interventions of first resort.
Do you have any message to share for the readers who are battling chronic disease and depression?
You are not alone and we encourage to seek help. Half of all Americans have a chronic condition and 25% fall into the multiple conditions category. Many complain of anxiety or depression and often can be helped by addressing their underlying issues. Anxiety and Depression even on their own are often responsive to dietary and lifestyle interventions. I suggest seeking out a Functional Medicine practitioner who can do a thorough evaluation.
Want to read more stories related to chronic pain, my struggle, and management tips? Check this out.
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