Depression: the Silent Epidemic


Depression: the Silent EpidemicDepression in its clinical form, is a mood disorder in which the individual may feel sad, helpless, hopeless, as if life is just too overwhelming and burdensome. Every one of us experiences depressed feelings from time to time; no one can escape the hurtful things in life. Its how we react that matters in the face of adversity.


Question that often arises is- Can I overcome depression? Yes, you can. To combat and overcome depression all of us need to learn how to face and manage difficulties skillfully. Sadness and hurt are parts of life that no one escapes. Easy it may sound, the goal should be to handle difficulties as temporary problems to be solved in efficient ways.

Treatment Options

There are a wide variety of treatment options for dealing with depression. Each case is different and the prescribed treatment varies from person to person. Some treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy

  • Support groups

  • Medication/antidepressants

  • Natural remedies

  • Hypnosis

  • Meditation

  • Exercise

  • Any combination of the above.


In this section of the article we deal with, Self Help Techniques to deal with Depression. With increasing side effects of medication for depression, like weight-gain, anti-depressants should be the last resort.


Meditaion:

Depression: the Silent EpidemicMeditation can calm the mind and reduce stress, making dealing with depression easier. This technique brings you in contact with the present moment and creates awareness of what is around you.

Inhale slowly and deeply. Imagine your breath beginning at your head and traveling down to your feet, then coming back up again. Feel your breath travel through your body. How long you spend in this meditation it all depends on your tolerance for it. If you're new to meditation, ten minutes might be as much as you can handle. If you can last for or gradually increase your time to thirty minutes that would be ideal.

Realistic goal setting

Goal setting fights depression by helping women regain a sense of control over their lives. Regaining control over life also boosts self esteem and helps with positive thinking. Remember that regardless of age, a one-week goal is a manageable way to begin with. Goals should be “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, to build self-confidence.

 

Relaxation Techniques

Learning relaxation techniques can ease stress, muscle tension and anxiety. Progressive relaxation teaches- how to relax at will. This way of relaxation allows you to regain control over your body's involuntary muscle tension, and trains your body to release that tension. Basically, you focus your attention on one group of muscles at a time (the left arm, for instance, or the lower back muscles). Which in turn helps you, to become aware of the tension and tightness in that group of muscles, examining where the tension occurs and how it feels. Now exaggerate the tension, tightening the muscles and then releasing. By making the muscle even tighter than usual, you train your body to recognize how a relaxing muscle feels. Over time, the muscles relax more easily, and you become more aware of your body's tension trouble spots.


Breathing techniques can help you remain grounded and calm. Breath counting is one of the more commonly used techniques. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. As you exhale, count each breath. When you reach five, start back at one. If your mind wanders, return your mind gently but firmly back to breath counting.


Exercise

Depression: the Silent EpidemicExercise is a great tension-fighter. It can improve body image, confidence and self-awareness. Exercise also increases the level of certain neurotransmitters (endorphins) that are known to elevate mood. Summoning the energy to go to aerobics class can be very difficult especially when you are feeling down and out. Start off slowly—even ten minutes a day is better than nothing. Exercise with a friend if possible, to help keep your motivation up. Even a simple walk around the block is better than nothing and is a great way to start exercising. Twenty to thirty minutes of bicycling, swimming, dancing, running, or brisk walking can relieve most common, mild depressions. Yoga exercises combined with some deep breathing and meditation each morning, will leave you feeling refreshed and better able to face the day.


Nutritional therapy

Correcting nutritional deficiencies, balancing blood sugar levels, and improving the overall diet can significantly help to lift depression. The role of certain amino acids, tryptophan and D, L-phenylalanine (DLPA) may also be significant.



Just when a balanced, wholesome diet is needed most, women who are suffering form server depression neglect their body’s needs. The illness is quite distinct from a normal, reactive response to disappointment and often leaves some people with no appetite at all, while others go on binges or develop cravings for carbohydrates.



As a result, victims of depression may often suffer form nutritional deficiencies or imbalances – particularly a lack of B vitamins and vitamin C, and of the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. The precise relationship between different nutrients and the brain’s chemistry is still unclear but malnourishment or weight problems clearly contribute to morale spiraling downwards.


Eat Plenty of

  • Whole grains, peas, lentils and other types of pulses

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Learn meat, poultry and offal

  • Fish and shellfish

Cut Down On

  • Alcohol

  • Caffeine, in tea, coffee or colas

If you are taking certain antidepressants, avoid:

  • Canned and processed meats

  • Calves or chicken liver

  • Beer, red wine and liqueurs

  • Processed or ripe cheese

  • Sugar, honey, sweets



Plenty of whole grains and pulses, and regular amounts of lean meat, offal, oily fish, shellfish and eggs, will supply B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc. A high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables (such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, melon, oranges and berries) will supply ample Vitamin C. Dark green leafy vegetables will improve levels of calcium, magnesium and iron; while dairy produce (preferably low fat) will boost reserves of calcium .


Too much caffeine (more than four cups of coffee or six cups of tea a day) can exacerbate depression. Since caffeine also contributes to sleeplessness, and insomnia is one of the symptoms of depression, sufferers should avoid drinking tea of coffee before going to bed. People should be aware that the headaches and lethargy, which are symptoms of sudden caffeine withdrawal, can last from one to three days before real improvements are felt.



If you suspect that there is a link between a food sensitivity and your state of mind, try eliminating the culprit foods from your diet to see if this brings relief.



Acupuncture
 

Traditional acupuncture treatment or electro-acupuncture can ease depression. Some studies found it superior to anti-depressant drugs and with less side-effects. Research has shown that acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins in the brain. These chemicals affect various body systems, reduce pain and make you feel good. Traditionally it is thought that acupuncture removes blockages and promotes the flow of Qi energy on the meridians. This is believed to improve the functioning of the internal organs.


Women need to be aware that weight gain is one of the side-effects of ant-depressants, and should be accompanied with exercise and caloric restriction. For long-term therapy, [bupropion] is less likely than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) to cause weight gain, click here for more.


 

Dated 05 April 2014

 

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