Natural Treatment for Clinical Depression
One of the byproducts of our contemporary isolated life is depression. Depression can have devastating effects on our mind and body, the activities that we used to enjoy with friends and family could become lifeless.
Taking anti-depressants such as Prozac can be a mental and physical roller coaster. There are three problems with the anti-depressant drugs currently available on the market.
First, they fail to correct the behaviors that contribute to depression, or even show direction towards behavioral modifications, so the disorder recurs. Second, they do not improve the body’s own mechanisms for rectifying such disorders; rather, they temporarily force a change that gives symptomatic relief. Third, for some the severe side effects of these drugs can create major implications.
Worse yet, studies show for many people there are no drugs that can help. It is truly sad to hear about how many people commit suicide even when they are taking drugs regularly. Below you will find four natural ways to overcome depression without the use of any drugs.
1. Simple Brain Shift
One of the best techniques neuroscience research and brain mapping have developed is Brainswitching. Brainswitching is a power cognitive behavioral therapy that can be just as effective as anti-depressants.
Depression exists in the emotional part of the brain. Brainswitching uses basic mental exercises to switch the neuronal activity from the emotional part of the brain (the subcortex) to the thinking part of the brain (the neocortex) which does not have the capacity for depression.
Here’s an example of Brainswitching that you can try for yourself. Lets say you find yourself being depressed, instead of thinking “I am so down and depressed” make yourself busy with some trivial logical exercises or games. At such a time you can play games that involve logical thinking (chess, soduku, online puzzles, etc) or simply close your eyes and in your mind start singing your favorite song with full concentration. Refuse to think that you are depressed.
Concentrating your mind on some thought or song will block the cognitive awareness of the depression going on in the subcortex, the emotional part of your brain. This technique will increase the neuronal activity in the neocortex and decrease it in the subcortex, thus correcting the chemical imbalance that feeds depression.
2. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3’s aid in the brain’s neuron connectivity and are important components of nerve cell membranes. People who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet may be at an increased risk for depression. They help nerve cells communicate with each other, which is a vital step in maintaining good mental health.
Studies show that people who ate a healthy diet consisting of fatty fish 2-to-3 times per week for 5 years experienced a significant reduction in feelings of depression and hostility. If fish is not a regular part of your diet you can also take omega 3 fatty acids in a vitamin pill form (1000mg daily dosage).
Omega-3 Fatty acids are not only helpful for overcoming depression, but they are also used as treatment in diabetes, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, High Blood Pressure, Arthritis, and many more.
3. Aerobic Exercise
“A lot of what passes for depression these days is nothing more than a body saying that it needs work.” – Geoffrey Norman
“Scientists recently discovered that exercise is as effective in fighting depression as Prozac and Xanax. Ask your doctor if getting off your ass is right for you.” – Bill Maher
Exercise and fresh air play a big part in keeping depression and mood swings at bay. By aiming to get outside and jogging at least three times a week for half an hour at a time helps you clear your hear, think straight and aids concentration. It also gives you that ‘runner’s high’ by releasing your endorphins that can instantly cheer you up.
Exercising is a good way to work through and release stress as well. It does not have to be fast paced jogging or running, just get your heart rate up to120 to 160 beats per minute depending on your age and condition.
Now an expanding body of research shows that exercise can improve the performance of the brain by boosting memory and cognitive processing speed. Exercise can, in fact, create a stronger, faster brain. This is possible because researchers believe that exercise can help the brain produce more seratonin which could prompt new neurons to grow. Low levels of seratonin have been associated with clinical depression.
Most antidepressant medications, such as Prozac, enhance the effectiveness of serotonin. Interestingly, these drugs take three to four weeks to begin working — about the same time required for new neurons to form and mature. So the reason these drugs could be effective during depression is because they increase neurogenesis. Just as exercise does.
Improper sleeping patterns are both the cause and consequence of depression. So why does depression cause insomnia? The answer lies in the fact that people suffering from depression have a difficult time controlling the different mood and sleep hormones. The hormones you need to improve mood and energy are not the same ones you need to help you sleep.
Our body needs serotonin to be active and energetic during the day, and it needs melatonin to help us pull back and sleep. So if the body starts producing melatonin in the daytime it can cause us to feel dull, unstable, irritable and moody. Oftentimes, depression is the result of your body producing the wrong hormones at the wrong time of day.
This imbalance in the body clock can be caused from lack of sleep, stress, trauma, lack of light, or number of other factors. In scientific terms this is referred to as the Circadian Rhythm Disorder. Medical journals now report that depression is closely tied to circadian rhythm disorders. Being out in the sunlight for 30 minutes a day helps keep your internal body clock set. This daily rhythm helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycle and insures a good night’s sleep that helps our mental and physical health.
In addition to going out in the sun light here are some good sleeping habits you can follow to readjust the body clock.
No activities before going to sleep – You should strictly avoid adrenaline before going to sleep. Stay away from anything that is exciting or stressful and yes that includes exercise, TV, or even reading before going to sleep.
Follow a steady sleep routine – Try going to bed at the same time every night. We all know how working in shifts and jet-lag affect sleep: do not emulate them by going to bed at random times each day!
Go to bed early – By going to bed early you wake up naturally instead of being forced by an alarm clock, and it also prevents you from being out of sync with the solar cycle. Going to bed early allows your body to slow crash down and fall asleep.
Only use your bedroom for sleeping – Dedicate a seperate room for sleeping where you don’t do any work or stressful activities. This subconciously tells your body this is the place to sleep and your body slowly forms a habit of it.
Turn these tips in to a routine like brushing your teeth, so that they become a part of your daily life. You don’t think about them, you just do them!
If you take these natural steps everyday it can be very effective in overcoming depression. In fact, studies have shown these to be as effective (or even more so) than traditional therapies. Incorporating these natural steps in your daily life will not only help you overcome depression but also improve the general quality of your life.
Courtesy of Depression Treatment Center