Depression can affect all of us at some times in our lives. Some people are more prone to depression in the winter and simply taking Vitamin D can help. However for many others the quick fix is not all that easy. Dealing with the underlying cause of the depression is essential in the long run and talking to professional counselors can make a difference.
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health concerns of our society. Depression causes complex set of emotional and functional challenges that affect around 350 million people globally. It is a disabling condition that impacts almost every aspects of a person’s life. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in ten people experience a depressive episode in their lifetime.
Depression is often characterized by low energy level, low self esteem and loss of interest in enjoyable activities. Men and women experience depression differently. Women are 70% more likely to experience depression in their lifetime than men. In the state of depression, women normally feel sadness and guilt, while men experience restlessness or angry and are more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with depression.
Although the majority of people who eventually seek treatment find relief from depression,only about 50% people actively seek treatment for themselves. Women in the age group of 45 to 64 years are most likely to meet the criteria for major depression.
Symptoms of depression
- Persistent feeling of sadness, guilt, loss of self-worth, or hopelessness
- Difficulty in thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Sleep disorders
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Anxiety and irritability
- Physical symptoms such as pain, headaches and gastrointestinal disturbance
- Loss of energy and fatigue
Nutritional supplement to treat depression
FDA (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has approved certain medications for the treatment of depression. Large portion of people affected by depression take antidepressant drugs. Antidepressant drugs have shown to be effective for treating moderate to severe depression, they are relatively less effective for treating people with mild depression.
There are many people who feel mild to moderate depression that want to avoid pharmaceutical medication by using nutritional supplements. Many of these people get great results and the depression lifts. Herbs like Holy Basil, St Johns Wart, and others have been shown to make a huge difference for some people. Other people have had good results with products like EMP, Veeva and Mental calmness.
These herbs and supplements are tried and tested, often over the period of several centuries and have been the subject of many clinical studies. Many of these herbs are commonly marketed as mood boosters for people going through the period of sadness and experiencing hopelessness.
Supplements for treating depression are easily available over the counter. But because many of the herbs used for treating depression are also known for interacting with lots of prescription medicines, especially blood thinners, birth control pills and chemotherapy, it is always advisable to speak with your doctor before taking any kind of medication.
Regularly we get people telling us how well our supplements work for them in treating cases where they are feeling down. You can feel better !
Here are some of the supplements used commonly to treat depression.
St. John's wort – It is one of the most commonly studied supplements for treating mild depressions. However there is one caveat that St. John's wort may reduce the effectiveness of some prescription medications.
S-adenosylmethionine – Also commonly known as SAMe is a supplement that has gone through several studies and has shown to be effective in treating depression. SAMe has also shown to have fewer side effects than many antidepressants.
5-HTP – The supplement converts directly into serotonin and is also known to help with anxiety. However sometimes it can cause anxiety. If you take too much of it, you may feel sleepy or may experience runny stool.
L-Theanine – It’s a phytochemical found in green tea! 100 to 600mg is found to be effective in treating depression. However you should reduce the intake if you start to feel sleepy.
Diet and nutrition
Healthy diet and exercise is considered to be a holistic approach for treating depression. This is because the approach focuses on treating your whole being – body and mind. Holistic approach along with supplementation often helps speedup recovery from depression.
Sometimes, you may find that unhealthy foods, especially sugary food, helps boost mood for a while. But only after few hours, the energy level and mood plummets, leaving a really lousy feeling. Diet has a strong influence on your mood and helps with depression. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains provide a lot more energy and are much better and healthier option to deal with depression than unhealthy, sugary and refined foods. Balanced diet will keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and help calm your mood. This stability is very important especially if you are depressed.
Foods that are known to enhance serotonin are also good for treating depression. Many anti-depressants like Prozac work by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. You can achieve the same results by eating certain foods that boosts your serotonin levels naturally. Here are some of the foods that will help boosts serotonin levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids – Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as wild salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid helps enhance serotonin levels.
Healthy fats – Healthy fats like coconut oil are helpful in boosts serotonin levels.
Folic acid – Studies have shown link between low levels of folic acid and people with depression. Folic acid has also shown to improve effectiveness of other antidepressants medication. Focusing on consuming folic acid rich foods will help improve depression. Foods with folic acid include – dark leafy greens, lentils, beans, avocado, sunflower seeds and fortified cereals.
Protein diet – Eat diet high in protein, more specifically proteins high in tryptophan, like free range turkey.
***Avoid coffee – Caffeine is known to reduce serotonin levels.
Lifestyle and habits
Exercise – Exercise helps in relieving depression by altering the mood regulating brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. Aerobic exercise, like brisk walking on a treadmill, or better yet outside, is excellent for overcoming depression. If strenuous exercise is not something you can do just getting out in the fresh air for a little stroll can lift your mood immensely.
Support groups – Support groups were the standard in psychiatric settings, though they aren’t used as frequently today. It is an excellent way to treat mild forms of depression.
Sleep – Depression can make it hard to get quality sleep and too little sleep is going to make depression even worse. Getting enough sleep will help you deal with depression effectively.
Talk it out – Sometimes just finding someone you can trust, with which you can share your feelings can make all the difference in the world.
Work at having fun – Do things you enjoy doing, even if they feel like a chore. For example go to a movie or dinner with your friends. When you are depressed, it's easy to stop enjoying life. Give yourself a little time and patience and fun things will start feeling fun again.
Dealing with depression is often more complex than finding one quick fix. It often requires a complete rework of your life, including changes in your lifestyle. Though prescription medications are there, they come with their own problems that can make things more difficult. Natural remedies for depression can be just as good or even better at improving your mood without causing any unpleasant side effects. Check out all the products and books that Mom has to offer that can help get you back on track and living happy!