Natural Strategies for Dealing
With Depression and Anxiety

by 4 Organics

Dealing with depression

From the NIH Web Site: In any given 1-year period, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 20.9 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness. The economic cost for this disorder is high, but the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated. Depressive illnesses often interfere with normal functioning and cause pain and suffering not only to those who have a disorder, but also to those who care about them. Serious depression can destroy family life as well as the life of the ill person. But much of this suffering is unnecessary.

Effective Strategies for Coping With Mood Disorders:

We need smart and effective tactics for dealing with depression in today's complex world. Here are some helpful suggestions for dealing with mood issues:

1. Be active. This is so important because inactivity leads to depression. No matter what you decide to do, just make sure you do something. Particularly choose activities that boost your energy: take a walk, do some exercise, pace while you talk, etc. Research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up, and the activity is good for your focus, your mood, and the retention of information. Pick activities you like, that make you feel better. There is nothing better for feeling good than to help others, so try an activity that brings happiness to someone else and watch how it affects you. The truth is simply that we often believe we act because of the way we feel, when, in fact, we feel because of the way we act.

2. Be positive. Yes it's been said so often, but it is true: change your mind and you change your reality. Mental attitude is critical to healthy wellbeing. Use affirmations, spend time around active positive people, but remember, we are what we think. Clean up your thoughts for a healthy life. Also remember to not make major decisions while you are in a down state.

3. Get outside for the light. Exposure to the full, broad-spectrum light found outdoors during the daytime helps us sleep better and wards things like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of mood disorder caused by changing hours of daylight across the year. Exposure to strong daylight helps regulate our mood and sleep patterns. Lack of daylight during the winter months can cause the low mood often referred to as 'winter blues.' Sunlight offers many important benefits so get outside for a while each day.

4. Be social. The worst thing for people feeling low is to be solitary. Enjoy the comfort of good friends or family, be around people you like, just be engaged with someone else. The idea here is to get out of yourself, and have some interaction, and hear about other people's lives, and take your mind off your own problems for awhile.

5. Create an environment around you that encourages peace and ease. Use music, aromatherapy, icons, or whatever works for you to bring your mind to a standstill and allow stillness to soothe your body and mind. Meditation can be a very good way to change your mood. Also, try clearing and cleaning your room/office/home so that you can maintain a sense of order and calm. It is very important that you have a space that is a sanctuary, filled with things that make you comfortable and relaxed, where you can always go to reflect and recharge.

6. Balance your body chemistry through diet and nutrition. There are so many effective ways to supplement one's health that it makes sense to understand what works. Foods rich in tryptophan will help increase key neurotransmitters. Omega-3 oils are very efficacious. One 4-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the potential benefits of fish oil in 20 individuals with depression. Six of 10 participants given fish oil, but only one of 10 given placebo, showed at least a 50% reduction in depression scores by the end of the trial. (A reduction of this magnitude is considered a "cure.") In addition, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 70 people with depression that did not respond well to drug treatment found that the addition of ethyl-EPA (a modified form of a primary ingredient of fish oil) improved the response. Carbohydrates stimulate serotonin production, which in turn can affect mood changes.

Meat, fish, eggs, cheese, yogurt and milk are high in proteins that increase amino acid intake. As with carbohydrates, these too make you feel more positive. Special serotonin-boosting foods are cabbage, brown rice, oats, whole wheat, bananas and other complex carbohydrate-rich foods. Make sure you have a full supplement of Vitamin B, magnesium and calcium - a deficiency in any of these can lead to depression and anxiety-type symptoms and insomnia. Eat more smaller meals and avoid sugar. Try a vegetable and fiber support product like GREEN 33 for total balance.

Ingredients found in MOOD IMPROVE like 5-HTP, St Johns Wort, SamE, L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine and Vitamins B6 and B12 are believed to have significant impact on serotonin production and make an excellent basis for nutritional prevention of depression and mood disorders. It is a fact that a diet high in fats and processed foods, environmental pollutions and modern stressful lifestyles contribute greatly to depleted brain chemical functioning and can often lead to depressive states and illnesses of varying degrees. Without correction and specific nutrients that are essential to emotional health, long-term clinical or degrees of depression may result.

7. Exercise. Although studies are inconclusive, intuitive intelligence is enough to support the value of exercise. In much research, various forms of exercise proved beneficial for depression. It may not be the activity itself so much as the act of participating in social / outdoor events or simply giving the mind and body a rest from the worry and tension. Exercise is a great stress reliever as it helps to burn stress chemicals like adrenaline. It also enhances self esteem since we derive confidence at meeting challenges.

8. Get a checkup at your doctors to eliminate the possibility that thyroid function, allergies, Parkinson's disease, and hormonal disorders may be the cause of your depression. Find a doctor/psychiatrist who will use the dexamethasone suppression test (DST), the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test, and the MHPG urine test to find imbalances . Also, discuss all the options for various 'talk' therapies as possible avenues of approach. Only a qualified psychiatrist can decide which of all the techniques should be employed. These psychotherapies help patients gain insight into and resolve their problems through verbal exchange with the therapist, sometimes combined with "homework" assignments between sessions. "Behavioral" therapists help patients learn how to obtain more satisfaction and rewards through their own actions and how to unlearn the behavioral patterns that contribute to or result from their depression.

We sincerely believe that SSRI's and other pharmaceutical drug therapies should be absolute last resorts.

9. In general, avoid alcohol, drugs, caffeine, sugar, fats, and get plenty of good exercise and sleep. Enough said!

10. Be grateful. Everyone has reasons to be thankful. Gratitude and humility are key emotions for mood health. It is excellent for re-orienting oneself spiritually and emotionally. And don't forget to smile!! Even if you don't feel like it, the act of smiling will change your brain chemistry for the better.


REFERENCES

Blehar MD, Oren DA. Gender differences in depression. Medscape Women's Health, 1997;2:3. Revised from: Women's increased vulnerability to mood disorders: Integrating psychobiology and epidemiology. Depression, 1995;3:3-12.

Elkin I, Shea MT, Watkins JT, et al: National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program. General effectiveness of treatments. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1989 Nov; 46(11): 971-82; discussion 983[Medline].

Murray ML, Wong IC, de Vries CS: Treating major depression in children and adolescents: research is needed into safer and more effective drugs. BMJ 2004 Feb 28; 328(7438): 524-5[Medline].

Ferketick AK, Schwartzbaum JA, Frid DJ, Moeschberger ML. Depression as an antecedent to heart disease among women and men in the NHANES I study. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2000; 160(9): 1261-8.

 


 

The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.



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