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Friday, October 20, 2006

Natural Treatment for Depression – It IS Possible!

Depression is one of the most common psychological and emotional problems American adults encounter. A study reports that about 13 to 20 percent of American adults have some form of depressive symptoms. Unfortunately, many severe cases of depression can ultimately lead to suicide.

Are there any solutions and treatments available to stem this unfortunate tide? Fortunately, the answer to this is yes. Unfortunately again, many of these treatments involves a soup of medicines that may have some form or side effect. As we discussed previously psychotherapy is another solution that is gaining popularity due to the favorable results they have exhibited.

For some people, the question that remains is if there are any “natural” depression treatments available that do not involve some cocktail of hard-to-spell medications that can be taken as a preventive and beneficial alternative to mainstream treatments. The answer is yes. Although it is recommended that any form of depression should be consulted with a doctor let’s take a look at a list of natural supplements that may help alleviate symptoms of depression.

It Starts with the Diet

Depression can be treated with better nutrition. Studies have shown that such treatment not only has a beneficial effect on the person’s physical health, but also a favorable effect on the person’s mental and emotional health. This nutritional treatment includes modification of diet, vitamins and minerals, and the addition of some amino acid supplements.

The amino acid supplements are essential elements that are precursors to neurotransmitters. The amino acids D, L-pheylalanine and L-tyrosine are a viable alternative to antidepressant drugs.

A deficiency in vitamins and minerals in the body can also cause depression. If this condition is corrected, depression owing to this cause can be alleviated. Even if you are not sure if you lack vitamins and minerals, supplementing your diet with them will often improve symptoms related to depression and will contribute to better overall health.

Some Very Useful Herbs

The herb St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) in an extracted standardized form is being used in Germany and other European countries to treat depression in its mild and moderate forms. It is also known to alleviate anxiety and sleep disorders.

This herb claims many benefits – among them are its anti-depressive and antiviral properties.

The Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba) extract, while not a primary treatment for major cases of depression, is an excellent supplement to any depression-related syndrome. Studies are beginning to show that Ginkgo can be used to treat some forms of depression that are not responsive to antidepressant agents. In cases of resistant depression, Ginkgo Biloba is beginning to appear attractive to the medical world.

Cut Back on Those Soft Drinks

Many practitioners advocate a nutrition oriented approach to treating depression. They believe that the answer to the depression question can be found in the diet of a person. Studies show that a decrease in the intake of sugars and refined carbohydrates can produce relief from symptoms of depression.

This diet will entail cutting out sugary drinks, pasta, white bread, and other processed foods. For your carbohydrate needs, it would be better to stick to grains, whole wheat, and other natural plant based carbohydrates. Also, cutting down on these kinds of food can do wonders for one’s overall health.

This treatment is recommended for those who feel depressed and languid during the late hours of the morning and the afternoon. For these people, eating sugary foods will induce a temporary feeling of alleviation from depression. However, this is only for a few minutes, and the body automatically reverts to languid depression.

Depression is one serious disorder that should not be taken for granted. Some people will equate depression with other natural feelings such as anger, happiness, and sadness. However, depression is much more complicated than that. It is a disorder and an ailment that can be treated by natural or medical means. It would do well to consult your doctor for more information on dealing with depression.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression

People often speak of feeling “depressed.” Indeed, it is normal to feel occasional sadness due to life’s disappointments. Clinical depression, on the other hand, is very different from those occasions when we experience sadness or despair. Clinical depression is a serious illness caused by a brain disorder and its effects on the individual’s ability to function in everyday situations is profound. The condition could affect moods, thoughts, behaviors, and physical well-being.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression strikes about 17 million American adults every year. This is even more than the number of cases related to cancer, AIDS, or coronary heart disease. What makes it even worse is that an estimated 15 percent of people suffering from depression end in suicide.

Dealing with depression may seem like a daunting task. Some people don’t even understand the real nature of the illness.

“A lot of people still believe that depression is a character flaw or caused by bad parenting,” says Mary Rappaport, a spokeswoman for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
It should be noted that dealing with depression does not merely involve willpower. It requires proper medical attention.

The good news is that depression is treatable. In fact, one of the first steps of dealing with depression consists of using either of the two major treatment options available – medication or therapy.

But first, an accurate diagnosis must be obtained before one can go ahead with dealing with depression. When diagnosing and dealing with depression, it is important to note that that there are three main categories of the condition. These are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar depression (otherwise known as manic depression).

The symptoms for each category of depression can vary, depending on the individual. And there are several factors that serve to increase the risk of depression. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the following are the common symptoms of depression as listed in the DSM-IV:

* Depressed mood

* Loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities

* Changes in appetite or weight

* Disturbed sleeping patterns

* Slowed or restless movements

* Fatigue, loss of energy

* Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

* Trouble in thinking, concentrating or making decisions

* Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Antidepressant drugs are often prescribed as a step in dealing with depression. These drugs, such as tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, work by altering certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. This results in improved symptoms of depression and can help in dealing with depression.
Alternatively, persons suffering from severe depressive episodes may not be responsive to medications alone. In order to provide long term relief, psychotherapy is needed.

Depression During Pregnancy

Depression During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting period in most women’s life where many obvious changes occur everyday throughout the entire pregnancy, like the bulging of tummy and those that only pregnant women feel, depression included. The overwhelming feeling of an infant growing in pregnancy is a huge source of happiness and anticipation to most women. But for a few, that particular feeling could be a source of certain type of depression.

Depression during pregnancy is a subject that is not commonly discussed. Although pregnancy depression can be triggered by pregnancy itself, it can be a previous condition of other forms of depression. This is why depression during pregnancy should be given immediate attention.
It has been known that hormones of pregnant women are raging throughout pregnancy causing mood swings and the tendency to cry easily. Serious feelings of being down should never be taken lightly. It is important that pregnant women be open about their feelings to their partners and doctors. Previous miscarriage, fertility treatments, family history of depression, and stressful events are some of the risk factors of depression during pregnancy.

If you feel depression during pregnancy, refer to the following symptoms to see if you have one or more to confirm:

* Continuous feeling of sadness that you can’t easily shake out

* Have trouble going to sleep

* Loss of interest on things you once enjoy doing

* Always feeling tired

* Negative thoughts of causing harm to yourself and/or to others

Always remember that the above mentioned symptoms of possible depression during pregnancy could be a normal phase of being pregnant. However, if what you’re feeling becomes overwhelming, it could mean a more serious condition. Therefore, seeing your doctor will be a good idea even if it was just a suspicion in the first place.

Even if it is still mild, depression during pregnancy can be prevented such as talking to your partner and/or your doctor. Exercising regularly with close supervision of your doctor plus a healthy eating habit has a great effect in keeping you healthy all the time. Lastly, have as much time as possible to relax and get errand assistance from your family or friends, and most importantly keep a positive thinking, are some of the things that can greatly help you avoid depression during pregnancy. Keep in mind that your health and the health of the tiny little angel inside you is a real blessing not every woman has the opportunity of having, are the most important of all.