Atypical Depression and Chromium Use

atypical_depressionAtypical depressed individuals tend to sleep excessively, eat too much (particularly carbohydrates and lots of simple sugars), experience an often profound reactive dysphoria (melancholia) and tend to be very sensitive to interpersonal rejection. This depression is characterized by lethargy and often significant debilitation. Also, approximately 80 percent of atypical depressives meet diagnostic criteria for phobias and panic attacks.

Chromium picolinate in some control studies helps decrease carbohydrate cravings by improving blood sugar regulation. That said, the other aforementioned profound symptoms of atypical depression don’t respond to this trace mineral in any significant way. Most certainly, chromium does not facilitate improvement in panic or phobias.

To read the volumes of ever-increasing information on the subject of alternative medications, herbal products, vitamins, nutrients and minerals, one is led to believe that the latest “natural” miracle cure is either on the horizon or already here. There are many claims to fame in this regard, but most of them fall by the wayside if or when they are subjected to scientific research.

One other problem with chromium is that many consumers, regardless of specific instructions, will purchase the WRONG type of chromium. Chromium picolinate has efficacy in reducing carbohydrate cravings, not other forms of chromium.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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