Depression , the dark evil of our society, is increasingly being fought with drugs. According to a recent US report, less than a third of people taking it have consulted a mental health professional in the past year.
The data are really worrying, the drug is only a symptom silencer and not the magic solution to the underlying problem, so much so that as soon as the drug is removed, the person finds himself having to fight with the same monsters as before.
The first cure for our inner malaise is already present in us and is the willpower, the drive and the courage to change the cards on the table, upsetting those patterns that for years have led us to define roles and behaviors that we tend to repeat now. automatically.
We absolutely do not intend to deny the value of pharmacological support which, in cases of more structured depression, is a good crutch to go on, but if we do not combine all this with a path of psychotherapy, the results will tend to be scarce.
But perhaps not everyone knows that it can also be overcome by adopting, with a little good will, rules and healthy life behaviors that help the brain, psyche and mood to ‘rearrange’.
What is Depression
The disorder , also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression , is a recurring mood disorder. It is characterized by episodes of sadness and bad mood, with a corollary of symptoms such as low self-esteem, lack of interest in normally pleasant activities and widespread pessimism.
It is a real disease, which affects the private, social and working life of the individual, and can also involve nutrition and sleep, and health in general. The quality of life generally lowers.
There are currently no tests to be able to diagnose it correctly, but it is based on situations and symptoms reported by the patient and those close to him.
There is no single cause of the disorder: there is the biological, hereditary and genetic factors. These can find fertile ground if there is a predisposition to develop the disorder at the base.
- Stressful situations
- Excessive and habitual consumption of coffee, alcohol, drugs
- Disturbed sleep for prolonged periods
- Prolonged use of certain medications
These factors combined with genetic ones can cause the disease. But the disorder can be cured, thanks to various targeted actions.
Both mood stabilizing drugs, sports and following a correct diet, with the help of phytotherapy and with the right cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.
Positive outcomes and greater stabilization of mood can occur.
Depression physical and mental symptoms
In depression, the symptoms are:
- low self-esteem ,
- altered need for sleep and food (either too much or too little)
- to be darkened and closed in on oneself
- increasing states of anxiety
- panic attacks
- Bipolar depression
In general, bipolar mood disorders are characterized by mood swings ranging from mania to depression.
The person can alternate a period in which he is hyperactive and over excited , to one in which he is depressed and apathetic .
In the depressive phase, the symptoms are basically those of real depression. Sense of exhaustion, ideas of suicide, lack of appetite, black mood, feeling of fatigue. Alternate with moments in which one feels full of ideas, uninhibited, and even aggressive, cheerful and tireless.
Post partum depression
If the new mom feels a little melancholy, it’s baby blues. It is a sense of inadequacy and sadness caused by the hormonal movements that affect the mother . She tends to disappear spontaneously.
In 15% of cases this state can degenerate into post partum depression . It is a depressive state that occurs just over a month after birth and can become a serious problem , both for the woman and for the newborn.
The symptoms are those of real depression , anxiety, decreased appetite, impaired sleep, guilt and inadequacy in the role of mother, crying fits, tendency to isolate oneself.
The problem must be understood quickly, before it can even become dangerous for mother and baby. Many women feel ashamed and hide sadness. It is up to the family to realize this and invite the woman to be supported.
When it is seasonal, it is a malaise that comes at the beginning of the winter season. Experts studied and officially recognized it only in the 1980s. The scientific name is Seasonal Affective Syndrome ( Sad), it mainly affects women and manifests itself as a sort of more or less accentuated sadness.
While it doesn’t seem like it, it’s more prevalent than you think. The most subject categories are above all women between the ages of twenty and forty. Who often already suffer from major depressive disorders or bipolar disorders. In particular, with the onset of the cold season, the typical symptoms of the disease begin to manifest.
Also the elderly and children who may show sleepiness and difficulty concentrating.
Seasonal Depression Symptoms
Typical symptoms are anxiety , irritability, fatigue, headache, impaired sleep and appetite. They appear in the autumn and winter months and begin to fade in the months of March and April and then disappear in May.
The reasons are to be found in a variation in the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine . This occurs following a decrease in ambient brightness that accompanies this period of the year and which influences the correct trend of biological rhythms.
Summer represents, for most of us, the time for a well-deserved vacation after months of work. Unfortunately, with the end of the holidays, many begin to feel an unpleasant feeling of sadness , even depression.
And it becomes more acute if you immediately return to the frenetic pace of work from your holiday. Knowing how to treat depression with natural methods is important, before getting to psychiatric drugs.
Tips for treating depression
There are a whole series of small tricks that can help us improve our daily life. These are initiatives that prevent you from obsessively basking in worries. Because this does not help to resolve the situation. On the contrary, it will deprive of resources and forces that can be invested in the search for a more serene and peaceful condition.
Cooking something good and genuine , in addition to stimulating our creativity in the kitchen, is a great way to pamper yourself, perhaps even indulging in some small gluttony.
Physical activity is the first thing not to be neglected, walking at least half an hour a day every day or taking a nice walk at the weekend, they help to regain good mood and self-esteem. Playing sports leads to an increase in body temperature. The brain gives off endorphins , chemicals that restore good mood, reduce the sense of pain and strengthen the immune system.
Spending time outdoors also helps, especially during the summer. With the arrival of the first warmth of spring, prefer a walk or a run in the parks or fields , to the classic stuffy gym, take off your shoes and feel the contact with the ground . Being in contact with Nature induces positive sensations which leads to a state of relaxation. It also allows our mind to empty itself of negative thoughts.
Exposure to sunlight increases the production of vitamin D , given by the increased exposure of our body to the sun’s rays. Sunlight helps improve mood immediately . Don’t forget to protect your skin from damage caused by UVA and UVB by choosing sunscreens containing physical filters. Let’s not forget the therapeutic value of Nature.
Practicing yoga also helps , the repetition of physical and breathing exercises relaxes the nerves, tensions and fights depression. Alternatively, meditation sessions can help.
Treatment of depression with nutrition
Nutrition plays its part: space must be given to foods containing B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium .
B vitamins are important for mood balance. Involved in this role are all the B vitamins, B1 thiamine , B2 riboflavin , B3 niacin , B5 pantothenic acid , B6 pyridoxine , B8 biotin , B9 folic acid , B12 cobalamin .
They help the neurotransmitters responsible for a good mood for which the deficiency of these vitamins causes this disorder. They reduce the production of dopamine , serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid. The latter causes mood disorders.
Make way for brewer’s yeast , wheat germ , legumes, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, potatoes and fresh vegetables.
Vitamin C is antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, helps prevent cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and cancer.
As for the nervous system, it plays an important role in synthesizing a brain chemical, norepinephrine , a neurotransmitter that affects mood.
Natural remedies for depression
The pharmacy that nature supplies us is definitely valid also for the diseases of the soul! Help can come from some natural remedies.
Griffonia: A valid support comes from this plant. Regulates appetite, sleep-wake rhythm and improves mood.
Violet violet: In case of moderate depression, you can drink an infusion. Put 1 teaspoon of dried flowers in 1 cup of boiling water, leave for 10 minutes, filter and drink a maximum of 2 cups a day.
Verbena: If anxiety is one of the strongest ailments, 35-40 drops of mother tincture taken 3 times a day for up to 2 months can help.
Valerian: The infusion prepared with 1 teaspoon of anise seeds , 2 of chamomile , 3 of valerian root , 1 drop of essential oil of bitter orange in 200 ml of mineral water for 20 minutes, can help. Filter and drink 2 times a day for 1 month.
Hypericum: It fights anxiety and depression by acting on the production of serotonin and melatonin. The intake must be done carefully because it can negatively interact with the intake of other drugs, such as anticoagulants and contraceptives. It can be taken in the form of mother tincture diluted in a little water (30 drops 3 times a day).
Reishi: Among the herbal remedies , this mushroom typical of traditional Chinese medicine is useful for fighting physical and mental fatigue.
Cordyceps: This Chinese mushroom helps the body to regain sleep, energy, and improves mood .
Aromatherapy: It offers various essential oils capable of acting against depression: in particular cinnamon can bring relief, especially in case of fatigue, asthenia and states of “inner coldness”. In particular, the essential oil of neroli is effective, especially for counteracting states of stress, mental tensions, tachycardia, anxiety.
In general , support from relatives and friends is always important to combat the sadness and loneliness that people suffering from this disorder often experience.
If the symptoms do not improve despite natural remedies and lifestyle changes, it is still advisable not to underestimate the problem. Contact a specialist who will be able to recommend a course of psychotherapy and pharmacological support.
Also read: Natural tips for good sleep