Depression is a condition that affects millions of people, and can be quite debilitating. Everyone has episodes of sadness and feeling down from time to time, but depression goes beyond this. Those who have prolonged episodes of hopelessness, feeling alone, low self-esteem or lack of interest may be suffering from clinical depression, which must be treated. Here are a few ways to treat - or prevent - depression.
What Causes Depression?
There are a few theories about what exactly causes one to become depressed. The main theory suggests that there is an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the individual, such as epinephrine, serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric. Many medications or anti-depressants out there have been formulated to correct this imbalance.
Other theories state that depression is a direct symptom of a devastating event, such as the loss of a loved one, serious financial distress, or divorce. This aggression is then turned inward by the person, causing them to become depressed. Other theories even suggest that depression can be caused by a pattern of helplessness as a learned behaviour, or from lowered/elevated activity in certain parts of the brain.
Natural Ways to Treat and Prevent Depression
Besides pharmaceutical medications, there are a few things that you can do naturally to lessen depression. They may work for some, and may not work for others. They are worth giving a try.
Increase Omega-3 Consumption
Omega-3's are an essential component of the nerve cells and brain's membranes. These can increase brain and nerve function by ensuring that neurotransmitters are functioning properly. The best source of omega-3's are from fish, in particular wild deep-water fish like salmon and cod. They can also be found in abundance in flax seeds and walnuts.
Decrease Your Refined Sugar and Simple Carbohydrate Intake
Refined sugar has many negative effects on the body - including on the brain. Simple sugars elevate the blood sugar levels quickly, which then fall rapidly soon after. This has many negative effects, such as lethargy, irritability, anxiety and depression. Limiting your intake of these substances can help alleviate feelings of depression.
Exercise has been known to stimulate the release of natural endorphins, which naturally affects your mood. Since exercise also keeps your body in shape, it can also have an indirect affect on your mood when you're healthy and fit.
Take Supplements and Eat Vegetables
Many vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, which many depressed people are lacking. Vitamins such as B6, B12, folic acid and iron have positive effects on neurotransmitters in the body. If you find it difficult to get these nutrients from food, then take supplements to ensure you are getting enough of these vitamins.
Lower Your Consumption of Alcohol
Alcohol is nothing more than a toxin for your body. It acts as a brain depressant, which increases cortisol in your body. Lowering your alcohol consumption can have a positive effect on your mood in the long run.
There are many ways to help treat and prevent depression. Medications and therapy are all very helpful and useful in this department. You can also help to combat the effects of depression with simple dietary and exercise changes as well. In combination with other types of therapy and treatment, depression can be beat.