There is an urgent need for an approach to treating depression that goes beyond that of conventional pharmaceutical, psychological, and other types of interventions. There are many other influences on depression that are usually not assessed or are given only passing notice in the conventional model. In this attached reading, examine the scientific research on dysregulation in a variety of areas. In functional medicine, these diverse influences are seen through a prism called the Functional Medicine Matrix Model. Evaluating these core systems helps to uncover a rich collection of underlying antecedents, triggers, and mediators that may be linked to depression. Remediating underlying dysfunction is likely to have a highly beneficial effect on many patients with depressive disorders, resulting in improved outcomes for a greater number of people.
In the majority of individuals, depression is the result of a confluence of multiple predisposing antecedent factors (e.g., genetics, developmental influences and learning, environmental exposures, cultural conditioning, trauma, lifestyle) and more immediate triggers (e.g., divorce, job loss, death of a loved one). There may also be mediating factors that make recovery difficult, such as poverty, chronic pain, or other illness. The depressive process is mediated on the metabolic level by multiple chemical messengers including (but not limited to) neurotransmitters, receptors, second messengers, cytokines, neuropeptides, and hormones. Read more about experiences in assessment and treatment of depression in Chapter 7 below: