Depression

Girl standing on the beach at sunset her arms wide free from depression.

DEPRESSION

SYMPTOMS

Decreased energy and appetite, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches, backaches, weight loss, slowed movement, purposeless thinking, irritability, quickness to temper and feeling like doing nothing.

CAUSES

Depression may be caused by :

  • A traumatic event – loss of a loved one or job
  • food allergies
  • Long term inflammation
  • Toxins and chemical brain imbalance
  • hypoglycemia
  • environmental stressors
  • post menstrual syndrome
  • anything that disrupts a person’s sense of worth, stability, security or effectiveness

Forty percent of those with this problem have one or both of their parents who suffered from depression which suggest a strong genetic factor.  depression during the dark, dreary winter months is called seasonal affective disorder.  Individuals with severe viral illness, for example hepatitis, endocrine problems or a stroke are more at risk.  An alternate type is bipolar depression also called manic depression.  In this type of depression the person varies between episodes of depression and mania, over excitement.  Depression is twice as common in women as in men.

NATURAL REMEDIES

Diet

  • Eat meals on a regular schedule and stick to nourishing food
  • Low blood sugar can induce depression and eating a high sugar diet can also cause depression. Learn to eat nourishing fruits,, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes.  All are fiber rich foods which  help reduce depression.  They are also filled with nutrients.
  • Eating complex carbohydrates increases the amount of the amino acid, tryptophan, that is ingested .  This in turn increases the amount of serotonin made by the brain.  Serotonin keeps us calm and relaxes the whole system.
  • In contrast , high protein foods promote the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, which increases alertness.
  • Increase your intake of fiber rich foods
  • Omega 3 helps reduce depression.  The richest plant source is flaxseed oil ( 2-4 tsp daily)
  • Take vitamin C (1000mg) vitamin E (400IU) and calcium (1000mg)
  • The B complex vitamins fights depression.  Take B12 (1000mg) deficiencies and cause severe depression especially is you are following a low protein diet.  It may that you need B12 injections even in the absence of anemia.
  • Take folic acid ( 5 mg daily). Many depressed people are low on folic acid.
  • Niacinamide  (2000 mg) daily.  It is a form of vitamin B3 or niacin and helps reduce depression.
  • Vitamin B6 (20mg twice a day) helps reduce depression.
  • Remember to take a supplement break, a good suggestion is to take supplements of week days and skip weekends.  This helps the body to find balance and not become dependant on supplements.  The body needs to get its nourishment from natural food sources.

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid processed and junk foods.  They are a source of emotional depression.  They give a quick high and then a long downward spiral begins.
  • Caffeine and tobacco both are known to induce depression.
  • Food allergies are very significant, far more than most people realize.  Test yourself for things like gluten and lactose intolerance.  It’s really easy, cut it out completely for 2 weeks and see if you notice a difference.
  • Over 200 different commonly used medicinal drugs list severe depression as a side effect.  Be aware and take care.
  • Antidepressant drugs, they lead to a wide variety of physical and mental damage in the long term and are only effective for about 20% of people.  If they help you use them, but plan to get get off them in the long term.  They only mask the symptoms by suppressing emotions, they do not treat the cause.  If they did people would only use them for a short period of time.  Ask around, you will find that more people are addicted to them than any other drug.
  • Shopping and eating binges cause depression and do not bring solutions.
  • Birth control pills are hard to avoid if you are in a relationship but it may be worth trying alternatives.  They are well documented to cause mood responses including depression.  It may even be the reason women are more likely to suffer from depression.
  • Corticosteroids;  they can produce severe depression.  They are used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and severe asthma.
  • Diet pills initially boost mood, but later depress it.

Herbs hanging on a black background.  Herbs that brings healing to depression

Natural Help

  • Gotu kola reduces mental fatigue, which is common in depression
  • Ginseng stimulates the entire body, counteracting depression
  • St John’s wort taken regularly in capsules, tablets or tinctures will usually improve sleep, appetite, energy levels and physical well being within a week.  By the end of the second week, anxiety and stress levels should reduce.  Start with 300mg a day, a few days later increase to 600 mg.  A few days later increase to the maximum of 900 mg daily.  Always divide the doses into thirds, taking them morning , noon and night.  ( St John’s wort is powerful so be aware that it may counter many types of medication)
  • Ginkgo biloba helps strengthen the mind.
  • Valerian root reduces depression caused by anxiety; but it  makes you sleepy.
  • Siberian ginseng consistently increases a sense of well being during depression and neurosis
  • 5-HTP the supplement 5-hydroxytryptophan increases levels of serotonin, a brain chemical which fights depression. Othniel Seiden, M.D. recommends this.  Start with 100mg at bedtime.  If you are not feeling better in 3 days, increase it to 100mg in the morning and 100mg at night.  If still depressed after 3 more days increase it to 200 mg in the morning and 200mg at night.  If still depressed, stop taking it entirely, for it will not help you.  If you are being helped, continue the dosage for several weeks; then taper off gradually and stop taking it.  Tryptophan and amino acid, helps produce serotonin a neurotransmitter which helps you feel more positive.  A diet rich in corn and low in other protein sources will increase depression in some people.  This is because corn is extremely low in tryptophan
  • Tyrosine, an amino acid, also significantly reduces depression.  Take 7 grams daily for 12 weeks.  It converts into norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that affects mood.  Women taking oral contraceptives have lower levels of tyrosine
  • L-phenylalanine, an amino acid, converts to positive mood affecting substances.  Take 3-4 grams per day for one month.  Even low doses (75-200 mg) are helpful.
  • Go to bed on time.  At night it is important to maintain regularity in your schedule.
  • Maintain a regular exercise program in order to increase feelings of well-being and cheerfulness.  Purposeful outdoor exercise, such as gardening is ideal.  Practice deep breathing outdoors, twice a day for 5 minutes.  Hold your breath for 4 counts on the full and empty positions.   It reduces the sense of gloom.
  • Sunlight is beneficial for depression, it supplements serotonin production and vitamin D3.
  • Being overweight often leads to depression and eating disorders are usually caused by depression a vicious cycle, both intensify and aggravate each other.
  • Forget yourself and find happiness service to others.  Do something worthwhile that helps others.  It may be washing the dishes, it may be going out and helping a sick person.
  • Talk it out, find that person who will listen.
  • Get out into nature, avoid those close doors and windows, hiding in dark corners.
  • Crying is good in these situations, it releases tension and worry.
  • Making others miserable will only cause more misery, being helpful and kind even if you have to fake it, helps you in the long term.

ENCOURAGEMENT

If you would have broad views, noble thoughts and aspirations, choose associations that will strengthen right principles.  Let every thought and the purpose of every action bend to the securing of the moment you are in.  Remember right NOW you are perfectly alive, the past is gone – the future is in Gods hands.

Small girl sharing with small boy living in the present moment of now.