Offering a unique reference point on alternative medicine and complementary therapies.

Understanding Depression

By on Sep 12, 2013

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Understanding depressionAs can be seen the effects of depression can be varied not only in terms of severity but also in the myriad ways that these effects can manifest themselves.  Fortunately there are an ever increasing number of ways that one can help themselves cope with depression.  There are a plethora of organisations dedicated with dealing with depression, these include Mind and the Depression Alliance.

As well as the use of drug therapy there also a number of alternative and complementary ways that can help with understanding depression.  These include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the premise of how you think about yourself and your environment (your surroundings and other people ) and also on how your behaviours (actions) affect your thoughts and feelings.  It is a talking based therapy whereby the therapist will help you break down each problem and help you become aware of how helpful and realistic your thoughts and behaviours are and will then help you change the ones that are unhelpful and harmful.  According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, this treatment is as effective as antidepressants for many types of depression.

CBT was found to benefit nearly half of the 234 patients who received it combined with normal care from their GP and up to two thirds of people with depression do not respond to anti-depressants according to a study in the Lancet.

 

St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort is a wild yellow flower that has been used for treating mental problems for hundreds of years and is a herbal remedy that has been labelled ‘nature’s Prozac’.  It has been found to be effective in mild to moderate depression but it is important that you check with your GP before taking it as it can have side effects and can interfere with existing medication.

 

Exercise

Exercise has been proven to really help with the effects of depression.  It has been proven to boost serotonin, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in the brain.  The best news is you don’t have to train for a marathon but it can be as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day.  This can include walking, aerobic exercise or even a physical activity such as gardening.  This also provides a dual benefit of getting yourself outdoors.  Joining a class such as pilates, spin or yoga would also help interact with people which can also help with depression.

 

Nutrition

Eating well balanced meals is not only important for you physically but is also very important for one’s mental health.   A study by the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA found evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon & tuna and foods which contain folic acid such as spinach & avocado could help ease depression.  It has also been found that including foods that contain selenium such as beans, legumes, lean meat, nuts and seeds.

 

I have highlighted a few different ways in which depression can be tackled but the most important thing is to NOT suffer in silence.  If you feel you cannot speak to family or friends please go speak with your GP or alternatively go to www.mind.org.uk or www.depressionalliance.org