Depression is affecting almost 120-million people all over the world. The disease which can be the root cause of other severe problems like bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts is taking over a serious platform for concern because the rates of suicides are increasing every year in India and internationally, hence every Government and society is changing their attitudes towards mental health issues.
Depression is a common problem these days and counselling experts are trying hard to fight with this problem globally.
In modern times, depression can have several factors-
- Hectic life-style
- Sleeping problems
- Expectation failure
- Hormonal imbalances
- Inflammation in the body and brain
- Nutrient and healthy oil deficiency
- Toxic environment and pollution
Sometimes, we feel low in mood without any practical reason because of the strange weather conditions around these days. Hence global warming can be termed as a causative too.
While medical treatment for depression is available, we can always support it with home remedies. In not-so-serious cases we can avoid medication. We can try natural treatments but we must always inform our consulting psychaitrist about them if you are on medication.
While most of us want to keep ourselves free from invasion of foreign elements and avoid visiting doctors, what are the natural options that you can try and achieve a perfect mental health balance along with your body? For every illness, we search for home remedies on the web; imbibing naturals glorify your body; organic foods make you healthy. So let’s discuss some of the organic formulas which can act as Natural Antidepressants-
Get to the basics first.
- Exercise- working out in fresh environment everyday can always cure depression by uplifting the mood. Since exercising regulates the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin secretion in the brain, hormones and chemicals responsible for mood and other emotions reactions. Experts and doctors suggest working out at least two to three times a week for 20-30 minutes for better recovery. High cardio-vascular movements can be extremely effective like speed-walking, jogging or cycling, however a moderate rate of exercising will also help rather than being idle.
- Light Therapy- Darkness is dissipated with light. Sitting or lying down under a brightly illuminated box or chamber can give relieve you from the pain of depression though it cannot completely cure it. The created chamber poses of giving natural light which strikes the senses of satisfaction immediately.
- Acupuncture- Though it is a medical treatment applied by experts with a clean single-use needle, it is natural and dissuades usage of drugs. In Latin acus means needle and punctura means puncture or disable the area of pain. This Chinese medication technique was applied on three females in a research organized by Kurland, suffering from severe mood disorders. They were treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and electro-acupuncture therapy (EAT). EAT is a form of acupuncture in which 1 or more pairs of needles are stimulated by applying small electrical currents. All 3 patients had severe depression and had not responded to multiple trials of different psychotropic medications and psychotherapies. ECT reduced depressive symptoms but was associated with profound memory loss, confusion, and disorientation. Acupuncture administered with EAT resulted in significant remission of depression and was better tolerated by all 3 patients.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy- This is a form of counselling called CBT which means “sophisticated education” for people with depression. When you are aware of the feelings or thoughts that trigger the respective emotions, you can learn how to control and channelize them.
- Talk to friends- If you are depressed, join groups and friends who are really caring and concerned. Good friends often enliven your mood with other talks and stories which are inspiring. You can also share your problem with them, and we have already discussed in our article on Anxiety, that talking out loud can cure.
- Meditate- Mindfulness always calms your senses by letting your weary thoughts pass off.
These were the preventive measures you can take for depression and mood swings, or practise to reduce the symptoms. Let us now know something more about the natural remedies which actually serve as powerful medicines for your depressed mind-What you eat everyday affects your mood a lot.
- Fish oil- Natural oil from fish contain Omega 3 fatty acid, which is good fat and is very much essential for an active brain. Fishes like salmon, cod, mackerel and shelled fish which are also containers of Vitamin B, can check the levels of serotonin without adding to your weight.
- Magnesium- It is the 4rth most abundant mineral in the body that is supplemented through diet, and is a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems that regulate a wide range of biomechanical functions in the body; it regulates heart beats and DNA functioning. We do not produce it automatically; we have to eat them as a nutrient. Banana, soybean, spinach, cashews and almonds are rich in magnesium. Increase amount of it in your diet.
- Green tea- there are various beneficial effects of this light green liquid. It speeds up metabolism, reduce cholesterol and helps you attain a slim belly and glowing skin as suggested by Shraddha Kapoor in favour of #LiptonGreenTea right? Beyond these advantages, green tea is a positive stress reducer as it is caffeine-free and the bearer of L-theanine which holds psychoactive properties, and reduce stress as well as boost dopamine and the brain inhibitory transmitter GABA.
- Natural herbs and chemicals- Different kinds of herbs have different medicinal values. Since ages, Ayurveda uses herbs and natural chemicals to treat various physical ailments naturally. A few herbs can be strong antidepressants.
- St. John’s wort- Mostly available in Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, this weed is scientific name Hypericum perforatum and is popularly known as “ghost plant”, because in ancient times it was used for exorcism of spirits. Researches have shown that depression sufferers who have a long-term chronic type of depression called dysthymia often do the best with this herb. For regular depression disorders with symptoms like fatigue, loss of energy and low mood in work-life, this can be a great emotional balancer for regaining a positive spirit and self-esteem.
- Saffron- Oh my God! Now you know why these red strands are no expensive all over the world. If you love the rich aroma of #MughlaiCuisines and the lightly crimson desserts, you are doing your best, because the dried portions of Crocus flower have been found to reduce moderate stress and depression.
- Zinc- Besides magnesium, zinc is also an important mineral for the body. Zinc is a nutrient linked with mental functions like learning and behaviour. Low levels of blood zinc are more associated with depression, according to Biological Psychiatry. According to Nutrition Neuroscience, taking a 25 mg zinc supplement daily for 12 weeks can help reduce depression symptoms. Taking zinc supplements can also increase the amount of available omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
- Sunflower seeds- Rich in folate, these help enrich the body and brain with antidepressant treatment. Taking 500 mcg of folic acid has been linked with improving the effectiveness of other antidepressants medications. Lentils, fortified cereals, beans, avocado and dark leafy vegetables can be alternate supplements.
While some herbs and minerals are helpful, not all of them are valuable for your body and mind. The following are often believed to act positively with stress and depression but according to a report published in BJPsych Advances, it is completely a myth.
- Crataegus oxyacantha (hawthorn)
- Eschscholzia californica (California poppy)
- Ginkgo biloba
- Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)
- Matricaria recutita (chamomile)
- Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)
- Passiflora incarnate (maypop, or purple passionflower)
- Piper methysticum (kava)
- Valeriana officinalis (valerian)
Better to stay away from them, as they have been proven ineffective and are often misused in doses.
You can consult a doctor or an expert for advice on how much to consume, of the above.
eWellness expert is also there to help you on these issues.
Staying natural is the best way to stay healthy, so you can follow the above remedies for mental wellness too.