Depression, for those who have suffered from it, would seem to have had its origins in sin and past life guilt and, for those who have been treated and have gotten better, would seem like any other illness worth taking a chance with the doctor and having benefited from it.
psychological problem are so hard to have someone be convinced for treatment primarily because these problems are so subjective and therefore difficult to detect, except for the experienced psychiatrist or psychologist, and also there are no numbers to give these illnesses some amount of objectivity.
Treatment of depression is therefore challenging to say the least and to say that they are not insurmountable would be an understatement, especially with the plethora of remedies we currently have for treating depression.
Before we start off on a journey of knowing what to do when a person is depressed, we need to know what depression is.
Depression is a clinical syndrome of a cluster of symptoms including but not limited to sadness of mood, loss in interest in things or activities that were previously cherished, feelings of guilt that are not necessarily real, loss of energy or lethargy, difficulties in concentration, difficulties in appetite and sleep, and suicidal ideations.
Are there Natural remedies?
There are many natural remedies for depression that are described in medical textbooks as well.
We all know about the importance of exercise for physical health; however, we seldom consider it as important for mental health as it should be.
A daily routine of exercises, mild to moderate, or at regular intervals if the exercise is strenuous for example ever 2-3 days a week.
There is no set regimen, which means that you are at your own will to choose what is comfortable for you. The bottom-line being that, you need to do it without fail.
An example of an exercise routine for someone going to the gym would be 40 minutes of exercise involving initial stretching and 20 minutes each of isometric and isotonic exercise.
This would involve both weights and cardio training.
The science behind exercising is that it releases hormones in the brain called endorphins.
Endorphins are opiate receptor binding hormones that cause pain relief as well as happiness.
Food has been related to health in general and again people would mostly think about food for physical health.
Although food is helpful when a diet is maintained for physical health it is also very beneficial with regards to mental health.
As such foods that are rich in multivitamins and multi-mineral micronutrients are helpful for depression.
Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids are recommended. Evidence also suggests that foods that contain these substances for example certain kinds of fish are good to include in the diet plan of depressed people since it alleviates depressive symptoms.
Antioxidant rich foods (i.e. foods rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin C and beta carotene) are helpful in depression and other psychological problem .
Complex carbohydrate rich food is also recommended in depression. The Mediterranean diet is a balanced, healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and fish.
Calcium and Vitamin D is also linked to better mental health especially in those who do not have enough sunlight exposure either because of sunlight being deficient or for those who cover themselves while outside due to cultural or seasonal necessities.
Selenium rich foods such as nuts in limited amounts are also known to treat depression.
Making lifestyle changes may also help in symptom relief for depressed persons.
If one is in the habit of a regular substance use such as alcohol or other drugs, this in itself may contribute to depression.
It is highly recommended that you go off of alcohol or substances if that is the case.
Sometimes combination of these addictive substances along with medications for depression given by a psychiatrist may render the antidepressants useless. Certain other foods like caffeine when taken in excess and closer to bedtime may interfere with sleep and precipitate depressive features as well as anxiety.
In such cases cutting down on caffeinated beverages especially the one closer to the bedtime or decreasing the total amount of caffeine consumed per day may be beneficial.
Are there medications to help depressed patients?
There are many medications in the armamentarium of a psychiatrist that can help alleviate the depressive symptoms.
Many of these medications have evidence with regards to their being better than nothing at all for treatment of depression.
Hence, if a person is suffering from depressive symptoms despite taking up non-medication measures to help with depression, medications are a sure way to seek help.
All medications should be taken under the supervision of a qualified psychiatrist.
Medications for depression, like the medications for any other illnesses, have side effects and these side effects differ for different people.
Therefore a good judge of the kind of medication one needs for their depression would be a psychiatrist.
Please consult a psychiatrist for a thorough evaluation and medication management for depression.
A common question that patients in particular and people in general have about medications for depression, especially and for psychological problems broadly is that of efficacy and effectiveness.
Another question is about the possibility of “addiction” to these medications.
To allay any anxiety about antidepressant medications – these mood elevator medications are not addictive and they have proven efficacy and a lot of evidence for their effectiveness.
Different people need different medications for depression and these medications may need to be titrated over time to help optimize their dosages for good response.
The ideal goal of treatment is - remission, which is to say that the aim of treatment is to completely rid the patient of all symptoms of depression and have the patients come back to baseline in terms of their functionality.
How about talk therapy?
Yes, psychotherapy or counseling as it is otherwise called is one of the treatments of depression.
There are various kinds of psychotherapy for example Inter-Personal Therapy (IPT), Cognitive Therapy (CT), Behavioral therapy (BT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic psychotherapy, etc.
Evidence exists in literature that a combination of psychotherapy and medication management for depression is better than either of these modalities on their own.