The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
In the United States, abouty 20-25% of women and 12% of men will experience a serious depression at least once in their lifetimes. Women are about as twice as likely as men to be diagnosed and treated for major depression. Depression can be a terminal illness. People commit suicide, caused by depression, every day.
Depression can be caused by hormonal imbalances, genetic disposition, and emotional trauma. However, depression can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies and toxic overload.
Some forms of depression are natural, normal and temporary - and some researchers believe that they serve an evolutionary purpose as one learns to adapt to a new situation. In these cases, pharmacological interventions may prohibit the body and mind from working through a needed struggle. Natural reasons for feeling down are:
- the death of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance
- health crises
- financial woes
- divorce or break-up
- losing a job or underemployment
- children leaving for college
- positive transitions laden with deep meaning, such as new jobs, weddings, births
Are antidepressants the solution?
Potential short-term side effects of antidepressants:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Increased sweating
Potential long-term side effects:
- Disruptions in sleep, digestion
- They can alter the biochemistry of the brain leading to addiction
- Neurological symptoms like tics, zapping and tingling sensations in their brains when patients try to decrease dosage.
Furthermore, a 2010 meta-analysis revealed minimal or nonexistent benefits as compared to placebo for mildly to moderately depressed people, although people suffering from severe depression showed more substantial benefits.
Long-term studies also indicate that of people with major depression, only about 15 percent that are treated with an antidepressant go into remission and stay well for a long period of time. The other 85 percent will suffer from continuing relapses.
Alternative Treatments / Solutions
- How Diet Affects Your Mood & Emotional Well-being
- One huge secret to fighting depression without drugs are endorphins -- these mood-enhancing hormones prevent nerve cells from releasing pain signals. These hormones are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during strenuous exercise, excitement, pain and death. Endorpines bind to your brain’s natural receptors and are responsible for the so-called runner’s high, which is described as a feeling of euphoria after you have been exercising for a while.
In the late 1990s, Duke University conducted a study dividing depressed patients into three treatment groups:
- Exercise only
- Exercise plus antidepressant
- Antidepressant drug only
After six weeks, the drug-only group was doing slightly better than the other two groups. However, after 10 months of follow-up, it was the exercise-only group that had the highest remission rate.
Exercise doesn't have to necessarily entail a gym membership. Gardening outside, nature walks, hiking and other recreational activities are just as effective.
Studies on exercise as a treatment for depression are also showing that there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity.
- Talk therapy / counseling
- Caniosacral therapy (CST), osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT), chiropractic
- Full-spectrum light therapy: A lack of natural daylight can impair our mood and well being in a very dramatic way.
- Massage treatments also cause the release of endorphins, which explains why people don't only feel less pain, but also feel so great after these treatments. Click here to learn more about the benefits of massage therapy.
- Phytotherapy from the Western herbal compendium, such as St. John’s wort, passionflower, valerian; or from other ancient traditional paradigms, such as, Oriental medicinal herbs, Ayurveda, aromatherapy
- Targeted amino acid support , such as SAM-e , 5-hydroxytryptophan, GABA
The "Feeding Minds" report found that British people now eat 34% fewer vegetables and 59% less fish than 60 years ago. Fast and processed foods are almost always low in critical brain-supporting components, such as vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, and, instead, contain refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and additives, all of which are linked to irritability, mood swings and other mental issues.
Depression is linked to low fish consumption, as well as deficiencies in B vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
Unbalanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 Ratio: Additionally, the above-referenced report points out that recent industrial farming have altered our food at the most basic level. Changes in feed have increased body fat composition of animals and farmed fish we eat -- as a result we now often take in a far higher ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s - a shift that has been linked with depression as well as deficits in memory and focus.
Iodine Deficiency: According to the World Health Organization, today's LEADING CAUSE of brain failure is iodine deficiency. Low iodine levels trigger fatique, depression, and brain damage. Even in the early stages, iodine deficient people forfeit 15 IQ points; and 43% of us are at serious risk.
An anti-hypoglycemic diet would consist of lean meat and lots of fresh vegetables. Another key is limiting sugars and starches.
- Hypoglycemia causes the brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk.
- In children, hypoglycemia often leads to hyperactivity.
- In both children and adults, it can cause violent and aggressive behavior.
- In older people, there can be mental confusion.
- Repeated hypoglycemic episodes increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS ).
Folate & Men: A Japanese Study of more than 500 men and women has found that men with the highest levels of folate were 50% less likely to suffer from depression than those with the lowest levels. No link between folate and symptoms were found in women (Nutrition epub 12/3/07)
Omega 3 fatty acids are known to improve mental function, mood, memory and concentration and have already demonstrated considerable success in the treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADD and ADHD.
- Cod Liver Oil: In numerous studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, stress response, immune response, allergies, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, including bipolar syndrome and manic-depression. "If you want to prevent learning disabilities in your children," said David Horrobin, distinguished medical and biochemical researcher, "feed them cod liver oil."
Lack of proper enzymes - Without the proper amount of digestion enzymes in our bodies, we are vulnerable to ill health conditions such as respiratory infection, colds, flu, high blood pressure, liver disease, indigestion, heartburn, diabetes, fibromyalgia, candida, migraines, PMS, hyperactivity, anxiety, lack of concentration, depression, weakened immune system, acid reflux, constipation, gas and many other health concerns.
Commonly described sleep drugs are linked to a wide range of undesirable and possibly dangerous side effects, including hallucinations, severe depression, anxiety and panic attacks, altered personality, loss of sexual inhibitions, paranoia, delusions, blackouts, amnesia, addiction, psychotic episodes and criminal behavior.
Diet & Stress:
Christopher Vasey, N.D. states: "Because of factors like diet and stress, many people in industrialized nations are too acidic, and so we are afflicted with health problems that run the gamut from minor skin irritations to depression, chronic fatigue and back pain to arthritis, ulcers, and osteoporosis."
Click here for informaton on alkalinizing foods will help you to balance your over-acidity:
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Extensive research has shown that lack of natural daylight can impair our mood, health and well being in a very dramatic way. The quality of our daily lives is greatly affected by the type of artificial illumination we use, at home or at work, where we spend a great deal of our days. Unfortunately, ordinary cool white fluorescent lamps, that most of us use, have an unbalanced spectral distribution, and throw a depressing greenish yellowish hue upon a room, distorting colors, stressing our eyes, and creating a very unpleasant atmosphere.
Environmental & Dietary Toxins:
Air Fresheners: According to a study published in New Scientist in 1999, in homes where aerosol sprays and air fresheners were used frequently:
- mothers experienced 25 percent more headaches;
- 19 percent more likely to suffer from depression
Aspartame: This sweetener has been linked to memory loss, impaired vision / vision loss, headaches, hearing loss, joint pain, asthma, coma, seizures, brain cancer, lymphoma, coma, and genotoxic effects. It also appears to worsen or mimic the symptoms of such conditions as fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue, and depression. conditions were reported by physicians and consumers.
Results from a Harvard Medical School - McLean Hospital study found that DHA / EPA supplements significantly reduced depression and mania in bipolar-disorder patients (200 mg to 2 grams daily - as recommended by your health practitioner).
Cod Liver Oil: In numerous studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, stress response, immune response, allergies, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, including bipolar syndrome and manic-depression. "If you want to prevent learning disabilities in your children," said David Horrobin, distinguished medical and biochemical researcher, "feed them cod liver oil."
Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.
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