Sugar Addiction & Depression??

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Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/27/2007 5:45 PM (GMT -7)   
My wife had an appointment today with a psychiatric nurse (a precursor to her appt. next week with the psychiatrist). She has had self-esteem issues and depression for most of her adult life. She basically does the bare minimum each day to survive and doesn't live life to the fullest and as such, she isn't happy.

Anyway, the psych. nurse said something very interesting as we were leaving. My wife had told her that she is a candy fan and that she suffers from poor sleep and has to take some strong sleep meds, not to fall asleep but to STAY asleep. The nurse said that my wife may just be addicted to sugar. Now, I know that some here may want to punch her (kidding), but my wife can sit and eat pounds of candy (not chocolate) and she's all of 105 pounds soaking wet. She metaboilizes sugar (and everything else) extremely fast.

So the nurse said that my wife has a type of liver that blasts through the metabolism process more than most and that this type of liver is succeptable to addictions - even sugar. She said that too much sugar can actually cause mild depression, sleep disorders, and some other things that my wife has had issues with. She ordered some blood work to see what the levels look like and to explore this further.

I have to say that I never in a million years thought that we'd hear that at this appointment. I have mentioned over the years to my wife that she eats too much sugar, but she dismissed it because she is very healthy and the cravings are satisfied with the candy she eats. Wow.

Anyone else have experience with this or heard about sugar addiction and depression?

Thanks, Rick...

Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/27/2007 5:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I just found an interesting article on sugar and depression:

http://www.three-peaks.net/annette/Processed-Sugar.htm

olivia of course
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1523
   Posted 6/27/2007 10:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm addicted to sugar, and I have noticed that when my sugar level drops, so does my mood. The more sugar I have in my system the more hyper/false sense of happiness I feel. Then I must have more, more and some more to feel just as up. The day I dio not have that much sugar I am slugish, and more grouchy.

~~~ Olivia  ~~~
Moderator, Bipolar

"Don't let your yesterday, ruin your today"
"The moon if always full, think about it."
Dx:  Bipolar I (mixed-episodes), PTSD, Anxiety/Panic Disorder 
Current Meds:  Lithium 900mg, Geodon 60mg 2x/day, Ativan 1mg

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Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/27/2007 11:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Olivia,

That's really interesting. Thanks for the feedback. One thing I forgot to mention that the psych. nurse said was that a lot of people with a sugar addiction weren't nursed as a baby (because breast milk is sweet). While I'm not entirely sold on that bit of info, it is interesting to note that my wife was adopted, so she did not in fact nurse.

Were you nursed as an infant?

Rick...

olivia of course
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1523
   Posted 6/28/2007 7:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Rick,
 
I was nursed as a baby, but I think the sugar thing developed when I was about 10 and started to slow down recently.  I think I used it to substitute something that I fealt was missing in my life.

~~~ Olivia  ~~~
Moderator, Bipolar

"Don't let your yesterday, ruin your today"
"The moon if always full, think about it."
Dx:  Bipolar I (mixed-episodes), PTSD, Anxiety/Panic Disorder 
Current Meds:  Lithium 900mg, Geodon 60mg 2x/day, Ativan 1mg

Support HealingWellhttp://www.healingwell.com/donate


Sunnivara
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 6/30/2007 11:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I know you can become addicted to carbohydrates. That is the philosophy behind the South Beach diet, to break the carb addictions. Since sugars are carb it's all the same. I had a terrible addiction to carbs in the form of bread. I love bread, especially sourdough bread, I can't seem to get enough. Or, I should say, couldn't get enough. I say past tense because I tried the SB diet and it really works for breaking cravings. No more cravings! I don't eat white or sourdough bread any more and I don't miss it either. Since your wife does not need to lose weight, however, she probably shouldn't stay on the diet long, but it only takes about 3-5 days to break through the cravings. She might want to snack on nuts to increase her calorie intake while on the "diet" so she doesn't lose weight, and the nuts will give her a healthy replacement to satisfy her psychological need to snack.
 
Surely sugar can cause depression by wreaking havoc on your blood sugar levels so it would probably help her mood to stablize her blood sugar by eliminating the sugary food. She might also want to try some herbal supplements. Rhodiola Rosea works great for alleviating depression and anxiety. Often binge eating is our attempt to deal with anxiety or depression. RR also increases energy and motivation so that might help her resist her cravings long enough to break the cycle.

Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/30/2007 12:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sunnivara,

Thanks for the tips. I had read something on here about that Rhodiola Rosea before, so I just might get that for her and see what she thinks. That's the tough part about all of this - there are so many remedies and medications and different types of therapy that it's almost a crap shoot until you find the right one. I do understand my wife when she says that she's tired of trying different meds. It is frustrating.

Thanks again,

Rick...

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 6/30/2007 12:51 PM (GMT -7)   

Rick, Perhaps it may be a good idea to consult with a physician before you try to have your wife take anything over the counter.  Even natural herbs can be dangerous to some people. 

I can understand your wife's position of being tired of trying different meds.  Often those of us who have Major Depression and have had for years have a difficult time finding the right medication.  However, for a lot of us we are able to get the right medication or find that "one thing" that can lift the depression.  It is very frustrating for the person who has this disease and also to those who have to watch that person go through depression.

My suggestion would be to try to remain positive and give your wife gentle nudges as it goes for working with her doctor on this.  There is help for depression; it comes in working with your physician (hopefully she is seeing a psychiatrist?) on their treatment plan and staying in close contact with any problems.


Elisha
Co~Mod: Depression
Moderator: Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
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wmnak
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 6/30/2007 1:54 PM (GMT -7)   

rick,

i'm not a physician, just an educated layman.  i can tell you what i have learned, but any decisions you and your wife make are yours.

studies have found that sugar is more addictive than most narcotics.  it can cause depression (in extreem cases extreem depression and suicidal idiations.  because it is so addictive, the american food industry (yes, it is an industry and not mom and pop farming their 50 acres) puts it into almost everything, even where "grandma's recipie wouldn't call for it.  to get around labeling laws, they use terms like "sugar alcohol," "high fructose corn syrip" and the like.  yes, breast milk is sweet, cow milk is sweeter, and baby formula is the sweetest of them all.

like michael moore, i don't necessarily practice what i preech.  i love blue bell ice cream (dutch chocolate is to die for) and hershey's chocolate.  in a pinch, i'll settle for m&ms.  yeah


That light at the end of he tunnel?  It's an on-coming train.
 
 


Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/30/2007 8:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Els:

Yes, she just saw a psychiatric nurse (a precursor to her appt. with the psychiatrist on Monday) who is the one who made the connection with sugar addiction (not a diagnosis, just a hunch - my wife got some blood work done on Thursday to confirm). I will certainly talk with the psychiatrist on Monday about the Rhodesia before getting it for her. Thanks.

wmnak:

Thanks for the laugh - I need that. I have been doing some reading on sugar addictions and it's interesting how many books there are out there (search Amazon.com) already on sugar addiction and depression.

Rick...

Sunnivara
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 7/1/2007 12:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Singer69 said...
Hi Sunnivara,

Thanks for the tips. I had read something on here about that Rhodiola Rosea before, so I just might get that for her and see what she thinks. That's the tough part about all of this - there are so many remedies and medications and different types of therapy that it's almost a crap shoot until you find the right one. I do understand my wife when she says that she's tired of trying different meds. It is frustrating.

Thanks again,

Rick...
Yeah, I know what you mean. I suffer from chronic sinus problems and have tried a thousand different remedies for it with little improvement. So I was pretty darn skeptical about RR. But, I have to tell you, despite my skepticism it make a huge difference for me. And it isn't just me. I had such amazing results from it that I have encouraged other people I know to try it. I now have 5 friends and relatives who have tried it and love it! (And I'm working on more. :-) )

Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 7/19/2007 3:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I just wanted to add to this topic a bit. I ended up getting a great book called Sugar Shock (http://www.sugarshock.com) that came out in January of this year. I'm not trying to pitch this book, but it has a wealth of information on how sugar addiction ruins your health and mental state. There's a chapter entirely devoted to how sugar addiction can wreck your relationships (my situation). It says that sugar addicts begin to feel hopeless, they have low self-esteem, low-libido, they sometimes have an impending doom attitude and on and on. It was very enlightening for me and my situation.

Check out that web site above for more info on the book. There may be people on this board who have some problems and medication doesn't work because sugar might be the cause. Just a thought.

Of course my wife doesn't believe that sugar is the cause of our problems, but I digress.

Rick...
I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change

And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hand
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

~ Lyrics from "Daughters" by John Mayer


Really Trying
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 7/20/2007 5:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Rick,
 
I am definitely going to get this book.  I think my husband may also be dependent on sugar.  The first thing he drinks in the morning is a Coke.  I have managed to switch him to Diet Coke (thinking it was to cut down the sugar) but maybe that isn't helping.
 
Sorry to hear things are still up and down with your wife... it had sounded like things were up last time I checked in.  I've been too tired to hit up this forum lately as my due date approaches.
 
Hang in there... I'm trying to, too.
 

Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 7/20/2007 11:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Really Trying,

Congrats on the baby! I had forgotten that you were expecting.

Read my latest update in my "Seeking help with a depressed wife" posting. Things changed a bit again. Oy.

Well, it turns out that my wife didn't last a week off of sugar. She is officially off the wagon and claims to have more energy and she feels better. Ugh. I tell ya, when I finally think that I'm onto something...

There are so many little things involved in this relationship right now (on both sides, to be perfectly honest) that it's hard to keep track and it's also very difficult to tell where one problem or issue begins and where the next ends. It's very confusing.

Good luck to you with your husband. I hope that the book sheds some light and maybe even help alleviate some of his depression.

Rick...
I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change

And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hand
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

~ Lyrics from "Daughters" by John Mayer


bluebox
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/22/2009 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a sugar addiction like Rick's wife. I am 57....married 31 years. I've been trying to manage my problem since I became aware of it during my college years at UC Berkeley.
Today was 'one of those yucky days'.....

Its a rollar coaster ride -----having periods of time where I feel happy, healthy, and normal-----then all of a sudden something or nothing will happen----and I'll find myself staying home in my jammies to eat candy or chocolate chip cookies until I feel almost sick....
I become more tired, want to isolate, often will cry with a 24 hour period....and having feelings of shame, hopelessness, or just regret, or anger at myself....."for doing it again"!

My father died when I was 4 years old....and soon after the dentist found 16 cavities in my baby teeth. Candy was always in my house (my parents played cards socially--and had candy bowls for the guests)---I never went a day without eating candy. My other favorite food was pasta. I hated meats and protein foods. I was tiny..and later a gymnast--so I was not fat...but I became very anemic by 7th grade.
In college --`compulsive` eating started while I would study and wondered what was wrong with me (as I didn't know other people who did this)-- plus, I was depressed before I knew what the word was---

By my Jr. year at Cal...I thought I wanted to die........so I ran away. I left the country for 2 years.....[just kept running around the world--lost and alone].
In time I came back....went back to school........and slowly --very slowly just started living my life. Things improved....but I had to help myself.....
I `still` have set backs........(not as often---not for weeks at a time)---but its still painful, draining, exhausting, and depressing.
I've learned to live with my problem.......manage it.......have compassion for myself and others.
I have more awareness today.
I exercise on `good` days.......(helps my brain and body)...........but on days like today--- I'm in the house alone..a little sad.....tired..... and avoiding facing the 2nd problem I'll have to deal with of the way all that sugar is going to make my body feel for days to follow........

but I'll correct........I'll pull my boot straps up again---either tomorrow or a day soon ----and eat a little more normal........and keep sugar away from me (for a week or so)......

its such a life challenge for me.......but I do the best I can.

bluebox

manyembers
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 424
   Posted 11/22/2009 1:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Bluebox,

That was a very honest and humble post you wrote. Courageous of you and hopefully will help some others here too.

I am not a Dr. Phil fan but one thing he said years ago has stuck with me which is that if we want to succeed we need to set ourselves up for success. We need a plan. I used to be a junk food addict also. Now I eat super healthy because I have to in order to control pain and fatigue symptoms I suffer from. Anyway, the way I set myself up for success is to simply not buy any junk food. If it's not in the house I can't reach for it when I'm weak. Of course it is harder when we have husbands who like junk food. Usually when I eat something I shouldn't it's something I bought for him that I then help myself too. But I do try to keep whatever sweets etc. to a minimum and to read the ingredients to buy healthier versions of things.

I would say it might not be a sugar addiction so much as a comfort addiction. When I was a kid I had very little emotional empathy and support in my family. When I cried, if I wasn't being yelled at or ignored I was given junk food to 'make me feel better.' So not hard to see where the compulsion began in my life. I overate all through my childhood and early adult years. It was my friend.

What I have done on a practical level is to replace junk food with healthy treats. If you go to a health store you can buy stevia to use in place of sugar. It is an herb and you only need about 1/2 tsp. to sweeten a whole recipe, or a tiny little pinch in coffee etc. I also searched online and found a bunch of healthy recipes. So I dont' feel deprived even though I only eat junk food a few times a month now because I still have my treats - my versions. Karen (moderator) can tell you how I enjoy my 'bean flour brownies.' Yep! They are made with bean flour, low fat cocoa and sweetened with stevia and I love em!

Also, I do tend to be a very disciplined person, so if I see I am slipping I just tell myself "Okay, time to eat good for 3 days until all that sugar/junk is out of yoru system." At the end of three days having detoxed from the junk food, I no longer crave it. It's when it is constantly in the system that the body becomes addicted to it.

I never used to eat veggies or healthy food but as I began to add raw and steamed veggies to my diet I actually found my body began to crave these things!! THe body can be retrained to want foods that are good for it. So physiologically that is something to think about.

As far as emotions go, I havn't found a whole lot of healing for why I eat, but just ways to manage it. Like keeping busy, or breaking the physiological cravings via the above, staying clear of junk food etc. Planning menus help too. So all these things help us manage the cravings etc. But true healing is also possible I believe, and that will come from understanding the root of the emotional pain and why we eat and addressing those issues - whether it be through therapy, prayer etc. For both of us, it sounds like there is a childlike part of ourself that didn't get the comfort we needed at important times in our early years. Maybe instead of eating when you feel bad, try thinking of things that would have comforted you when you were four and do those. Like drawing, or getting a nice soft blanket and reading a nice book. Self nurturing things, but also things that will comfort the child within as they say. That can be really helpful. Along the same lines I really liked what you wrote about showing yourself compassion and knowing that in a day or two you will find your way out of the cycle. That is a very grounded and healthy attitude and in itself speaks of progress you've made.

Hope you have a nice day and that life will bring you lots of comfort now and always, yeah

embers

Post Edited (manyembers) : 11/22/2009 1:33:20 PM (GMT-7)


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 11/22/2009 9:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi bluebox,

Welcome to HealingWell and to the depression board. Thank you for your post. I think that food and emotion are so often bound up in one another that they're very difficult to separate. There are a ton of books on this subject. Have you talked with counselors about your depression, disconnection, and eating patterns?

Nice to have you,
serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

"Bipolar disorder can be a great teacher. It's a challenge, but it can set you up to be able to do almost anything else in your life." - CARRIE FISHER


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40601
   Posted 11/22/2009 10:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Bluebox,

If you get a chance to, check out a book called the sugar blues. It will give you a whole new outlook on sugar.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


stronglady4me
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 470
   Posted 11/24/2009 1:07 PM (GMT -7)   
If you are serious about Rhodiola Rosea check out the book listed below. It is very readable, it is a story of personal experience of a medical practitioner and the authors don't get any kickbacks from the research. It was very informative.



The Rhodiola Revolution: Transform Your Health with the Herbal Breakthrough of the 21st Century
~ Richard P. Brown M.D. (Author), Patricia L. Gerbarg M.D. (Author), Barbara Graham
Stronglady4me
Walk in harmony
 
I refuse to define myself by my condition or the meds I take

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