“300 million people (globally) have depression, according to the World Health Organization. 16.2 million adults in the United States – (or) 6.7 percent of all adults in the country – have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.” – Amy Morin, LCSW
The Truth About Depression
“If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell.” – Abraham Lincoln
Depression is a mental disorder which results from chemical imbalances of the brain. It isn’t a personal weakness or failure, but a medical issue! As with any other condition, it requires proper diagnosis and treatment.
According to the World Health Organization:
- 300 million people worldwide have depression
- More than 16 million U.S. adults experience a major depressive episode annually
- Half of the individuals with clinical depression are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
- Around 20 % of adults will experience some depressive condition at some point in their lifetime
Signs and Symptoms
- Feelings of anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, pessimism, or sadness
- Low energy or fatigue
- Manifestation of body aches and pains (psychosomatic symptoms)
- Thoughts of harming or killing oneself
- Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
- Inhibited movement and flexibility
- Problems thinking; including with concentration, decision-making, and remembering
- Changes to appetite
- Difficulties falling and staying asleep (insomnia)
- Abuse: Previous or current emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse.
- Grief, especially grieving over the death of a loved one.
- Family history: Genetics is partially responsible for the onset of depressive symptoms.
- Illness: A secondary medical condition may increase risk. Known conditions include insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, and chronic pain.
- Life changes like loss of a job, new job, marriage, divorce, relationship difficulties, childbirth, and more.
- Medications like beta-blockers, anti-seizure medications, acid reflux treatments, emergency contraceptive, birth control, and corticosteroids.
10 Natural Treatments for Depression
- Have a simple routine
Depressed people feel as if they are better off lying in bed all the time. This doesn’t help, though. Having a flexible schedule is a good way to keep your life on track.
- Set small goals
Setting far-reaching goals is not a good idea but having a small one instead can help with motivation. It is quite productive, as small and simple goals are easier to achieve.
Exercise releases endorphins, known as feel-good hormones. According to neuroplasticity research, regular exercise helps adjust some of the imbalances surrounding these conditions.
- Eat right
Diet is one of the key factors here! Avoid junk and processed food and eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies instead.
- Consider supplements
Supplements like fish oil, SAMe, and folic acid may help reduce depressive symptoms. It is recommended to check if they interfere with any medications when considering any supplement.
- Get a good night`s sleep
Setting up a proper schedule, including going to sleep at the same time and limiting naps can improve the quality of sleep long-term. Sleep is of utmost importance for the overall health, and it is closely related to depression as well.
- Don’t avoid responsibilities
Although taking a sick day or ignoring the bill is tempting, avoiding responsible can make you feel worse and disoriented.
- Try something different
As already discussed above, depression can make a person want to stay in bed all day. But, this can make a person feel even worse. Try something different instead. Read a book. Take an online class. Go to a park. Go to a museum.
- Practice gratitude
Depression makes it difficult to be grateful for anything. It can distort your thoughts and test your will. To change your perspective to the better and improve your mood, take 5-10 minutes daily to write down a few things for which you are grateful.
- Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness means giving your attention to the present moment, to the here and now. When depressed, the brain worries about the past and future, and mindfulness helps ease the negative symptoms and make them less frequent.