Depression is the leading cause of morbidity worldwide and incidence is rising exponentially especially following the COVID pandemic. This condition is characterized by low mood and associated symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. Some patients with depression also complain of widespread pain or headaches.

Treatment for depression consists of various medications that enhance levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. Unfortunately, there is evidence that almost half of the patients treated for depression are not well-controlled with medication.

At The Pain Clinic, we offer a holistic approach to depression, encouraging a healthy sleep pattern, physical exercise, the right food and mindfulness meditation. We can also offer treatment with medical cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceutical medication.

The Consultation

A 1-hour consultation is recommended for patients with depression to help identify all issues which could be contributing to the patient’s ill health. The patient is asked about diet, exercise, sleep and bowel habits as well as medical issues and medications taken. Anxiety and depression levels are measured, together with a quality of life assessment. A plan of action is prepared and discussed with the patient.

Mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to be very effective in depression. Patients are advised on practical ways to include mindfulness in their daily routine. By learning mindfulness and practising it regularly, one can improve the mood and reduce anxiety.

Physical exercise is prescribed according to the patient’s level of fitness. Sleep hygiene is discussed and a healthy diet is recommended. In cases where there may be signs of vitamin deficiency, the necessary supplements are recommended.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is sometimes recommended as a synergistc supplement to combine with exercise as it helps to optimize the neurotransmitter levels after exercise.