People experience periods of sadness, feeling out of sorts, a bit blue, detached and other variations of mood at different points during their life. Depression occurs when these feelings become a persistent state of being rather than a passing mood. Clinical depression can eventually affect a person’s physical health and ability to perform regular daily activities. A depressed person may eventually experience suicidal thoughts and exhibit self-destructive tendencies if their depression remains untreated.
Symptoms of depression can be mild to extreme and physical as well as mental:
- Irritability and anger; angry outbursts with little provocation
- Unexplained aches and pains; headaches; backaches
- Low energy; small tasks sap energy
- Extreme weight gain or weight loss
- Disengaged from daily activities especially ones previously enjoyed
- Changed sleeping patterns–from excessive sleeping to insomnia
- Poor concentration and memory
Depression can occur for a variety of reasons. Some cases of depression are caused by nutritional deficiencies. Other cases of depression are the result of environmental factors, such as lack of sunlight in the case of seasonal pattern depression.
When a person visits their doctor or therapist and receives a diagnosis of depression, the medical practitioner attempts to prescribe the best remedy for their patient’s type of depression. Remedies may be as simple as making lifestyle changes or dietary adjustments. In extreme cases of depression, prescription medications may be required to alleviate the condition.
Aside from following your doctor’s orders, it is important to be proactive in your treatment and that means using various natural remedies that can help improve your condition on a day-to-day basis.
Your Options In Natural Remedies For Depression
- Increase physical activity. Exercise relieves symptoms of depression and alleviates stress, which can contribute to depression. During exercise, the body releases endorphins, which diminish the perception of pain and act as a sedative. Exercise is a natural mood elevator.
- Eat well. Nutritional deficiencies can trigger depressive symptoms in some people. Patients showing depressive symptoms may undergo lab testing for nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances. People deficient in one or more of the B-Vitamins, Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D may be especially vulnerable to depression as are people with thyroid imbalances; the thyroid releases hormones, which regulate the whole metabolism.
- Ask your doctor about using herbal supplements. Supplements derived from the active components of various herbs have been used successfully to treat depression. An herb commonly recommended for the treatment of depression is St. John’s Wort. It seems to be most effective when used to treat mild to moderate cases of depression. Saffron also shows promise as a treatment for depression; however, it can cause notable side effects in high doses. Herbal supplements must be taken with care and ideally under a health care practitioner’s supervision. They can interact with other medications and may have negative side effects for some people.
- Establish healthy sleep patterns. The quantity and quality of sleep a person gets directly impacts their health and mental status. Getting enough sleep and completing a full sleep cycle (sleep without interruption) supports good physical and mental health.
- Stay engaged in daily activities and set goals. Depression has physical components but is primarily a mental illness. In order to combat mental illness, the mind needs to be engaged in ways, which offset the symptoms of depression. Sticking to a routine of daily activities and setting small goals alleviates some of the cyclical negative thinking, which often accompanies depression. It keeps people from “getting down on themselves.” In other words, maintaining routines and attaining daily goals counter the negative self-talk that can accompany depression and make it worse.
- Explore various mind-body connection practices. Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, Biofeedback, Aromatherapy, Acupuncture, and other alternative therapies offer relief from the symptoms of depression. They offer relief from fatigue, anxiety and scattered thinking.
Many people live with mild to severe depression without seeking medical assistance. People in depressive states no longer need to suffer from the illness. Fortunately, many options for the treatment of depression exist. Depression can be managed, and in some cases, completely alleviated. Early diagnosis and treatment of depression lessen the condition’s overall impact on a person’s physical health and relationships.
Call the NDMDA (National Depressive Manic-Depressive Association) Depression Hotline – Support Group (800) 826-3632 for help.
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