The statements “That is so depressing,” and “I am struggling with depression,” are only a few letters apart, yet their meaning is greatly different.
Who hasn’t said the first and felt the second? That’s normal some of the time.
But sadly, for millions of Americans, including some of our biggest celebrities, the second, “I am so depressed,” is a normal feeling a lot of the time. This is why CBD, which does not have the severe side effects of so many of the pharmaceutical remedies available, has become a focus of interest by researchers and doctors alike.
If you suffer from unaddressed depression, we urge you to seek help. As you will see from the examples in this article, depression has been addressed successfully with a variety of approaches. Approaching depression holistically, making lifestyle changes and addressing the issue emotionally as well as physically can sometimes yield better results than one tactic alone.
Some people are using CBD as part of a holistic approach in dealing with depression. If you are considering CBD for depression, this article will give you information about current research on CBD and depression as well as examples of holistic approaches to addressing this issue. It is important to note that although research is promising, the FDA has yet to approve any drug or supplement containing CBD for this condition.
The following celebrities have been public about their own experiences with depression. Not only that, they have opened up about what they have done to cope with it, including using CBD, which we will share at the end of this article.
Celebrities Who Have Suffered From Depression
Celebrities who have suffered from depression include such well-known personalities as Kristen Bell. You would have heard her voice in commercials and seen her face in “Bad Moms”. Dealing with depression has been a multi-generational program in her family—both her mother and grandmother suffered from depression as well.
Channing Tatum. This American actor and singer was plagued with depression as a child. In an interview, Tatum said his depression and pain stemmed from the fact he had been taking drugs like Dexedrine and Adderall to help with learning disabilities, like ADD and dyslexia. But instead of helping, Tatum describes that it made him feel like a zombie: “It’s like coke or crystal meth.”
Jim Carrey. The man who has made so many of us laugh acknowledged on 60 Minutes that he had suffered from depression through much of his life. Even to the point of considering suicide.
Dolly Parton. This singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist, suffered from severe depression throughout the 1980s. Even to the point of considering suicide.
Brooke Shields. Brooke went public with her struggle with postpartum depression in 2003. She was one of the first celebrities to talk openly about her struggle with postpartum depression. She later documented her struggle in her 2005 bestseller, Down Came the Rain.
At the end of this article, you will learn what each of these celebrities did to cope with depression. Although we have chosen to write about these five, the fact is, there are more. Other celebrities who have publicly shared their struggle with depression include Harrison Ford, Britney Spears, Emma Thompson, Owen Wilson, and many, many others.
What is the Cause?
The fact is, this is a complex condition that involves many factors: environmental, genetics, hormones, social isolation, stressful life experiences, and physical health. Because it is so complex, the best approach for each individual in dealing with it varies as well.
The Chicken and the Egg Phenomenon
With a person who is suffering, it is clear that there are imbalances in the body. The question is: what came first? An emotional trauma that affected the body and caused it to become imbalanced? Or, did a physical trauma occur first, causing the imbalance which then leads to feeling depressed.
The truth is, it is probably a little bit of both.
It is clear and well documented that life events, such as the loss of a loved one, can lead to a chemical imbalance which then leads to declining physical health. Conversely, we see examples of individuals who have developed depression from major physical events like having a baby.
What is Happening in the Body During this?
In the past, it was thought that deficiency of Serotonin, a chemical in our body that plays an important role in many of our bodily functions, was the cause of depression. Serotonin is mostly found in the brain, the blood, and the bowels (just remember the three Bs). However, researchers have determined that although serotonin plays a large role—it is not the whole story. Many other neurotransmitter imbalances have also been linked.
SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are pharmaceuticals that cause an immediate spike in serotonin in the brain. They do not result in immediate improvement, however. It can take weeks for a person taking SSRIs to show improvement, if at all. So, there are other factors.
Though depression is not an inflammatory disease, researchers are finding certain people with depression, inflammation may play a role. This means that effective anti-inflammatories, such as CBD, could assist certain individuals.
Long Term Depression Can Affect Brain Size
Not only does depression affect brain activity, but it can also even affect brain size as discovered by Dr. Manji, former Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Pathology at the National Institutes of Mental Health. The part of the brain that is affected most by depression is the hippocampus. This part of the part plays a role in emotion and is the part of the brain that makes new memories.
This part of the brain, thankfully, can also recover. It can grow new neurons and connections—this is called neural regeneration. And, it can do so all of our lives, not just when we are young. This ability of our brains to change throughout our lives is called “neuroplasticity.”
Some researchers believe that the real reason that antidepressants work is that they stimulate the neural regeneration in the hippocampus. This may be why they take weeks to work—brain neurons need time to heal, grow, and form connections.
But SSRIs are not the only thing that helps with neuroregeneration. There is actually an array of lifestyle and nutritional choices that will help with this process. These include exercise, getting sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet (one absent of refined sugar).
How CBD Could Help Your Brain Grow
Research has found that the endocannabinoid system and the serotonergic systems relate and interact with one another. CBD actually activates a serotonin receptor called 5-HTIA. These particular receptors control many other neurotransmitters that have been linked to increasing neural regeneration in the hippocampus.
The FDA recently approved Epidiolex, a Cannabidiol product, for the treatment of seizures. According to research published in The Open Neurology Journal, the reason that this CBD product is effective for seizures is that CBD protects neurons in the hippocampus. That is the exact area of the brain that is smaller in individuals suffering from severe depression.
How Our Celebrities Dealt with Depression
Earlier in this article, we gave examples of several celebrities that have bravely and generously opened up and shared their own stories about depression. Each of these individuals has dealt with their depression in different ways—and often in more than one.
Kristen Bell posted on Instagram that she deals with her depression with CBD, being positive—naming 10 things she loves for every one thing she doesn’t—hugging her family, doing something nice for a friend, activities like cooking and gardening, and meditating.
Channing Tatum experienced extreme highs and lows as a kid when taking medication for learning issues. He found that his emotional state and issues with depression improved tremendously when he stopped taking medication. So much so that he has passionately vowed he will never medicate his daughter, Everly.
Jim Carrey credits a healthy diet and natural supplements for his improved mental health. In a frank discussion about depression, Jim Carrey said that he no longer suffers from depression at all because he had been trying to create a character that he never was and he has now let that go.
Dolly Parton has said that most of her depression in the 80s stemmed from menopause and the inability to have children. Since that time, Dolly has become a champion for children. She established the Imagination Library in 1995 and gave a half a million dollars to the Fort Sanders Medical Center among other things. “Maybe God didn’t want me to have kids so that everybody else’s kids could be mine,” Dolly is quoted as saying.
Brooke Shields credits therapy, medication, and breastfeeding for helping her win her battle with postpartum depression. “The physical connection is what I really needed,” she said. “I think that was important to my recovery.”
Depression Statistics and Symptoms
Depression is not just a celebrity issue, it is a worldwide issue. The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 300 million people are affected by depression globally. Depression is the second most common mental health illness in the US, behind anxiety disorders. It is estimated that 16 million Americans live with major depression.
Depression refers to a wide range of mental health problems. According to mental health professionals, there are some specific markers and symptoms of depression that include:
Telling the difference between normal and major depression can be a problem. Indicators that can provide guidance as to which one an individual is suffering from include being unreactive to circumstances—in other words, feeling low regardless of what is happening. In some cases, the person suffering from major depression may react temporarily to positive circumstances only to return quickly to a depressive mood and feelings.
SSRIs, Depression, and Possible Side Effects
Serotonin is sometimes called the “happy chemical” because it plays a big role in our feeling of well-being and happiness. But that really doesn’t do serotonin justice. It actually does much more. There are about 40 million brain cells and most are influenced in some way by serotonin.
However, the 50-year-old theory that depression is caused by a deficit of serotonin, led to the creation of a class of drugs called SSRIs. These drugs have been dogged by unreliable clinical studies on the subject. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. These include Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft among others. Those same unreliable studies that were used to validate the serotonin theory did demonstrate, however, that physical imbalances caused by extreme diet changes can lead to symptoms of depression in those who have previously suffered from it.
Possible side effects of SSRIs may include, among others:
There are other types of antidepressants in addition to SSRIs. An older type of drug that are still used is called MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). These drugs increase the amount of serotonin and dopamine (which is associated with the brain’s pleasure and reward system) in the brain. They have been found to have even more possible harmful side effects than SSRIs.
When one considers these possible side effects, it is easy to understand why so many people choose to try natural alternatives before a pharmaceutical intervention for their depression.
Types of Depression
There are as many types of depression and there are many reasons for it happening in the first place.
These include Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Bipolar Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Postpartum Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and ‘Situational’ Depression.
No matter what type of depression you or a loved one may be experiencing, it is important to get educated on all of the manners in which it is addressed and work out the best answer for you.
CBD is not the first thing you would take in a crisis situation. For some, it is part of an overall holistic long-term program. Consult your doctor, especially if you are taking prescription medications with possible interactions.