What is Depression?
Major depressive disorder, or major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.
Episodes of depression often follow stressful events such as marital problems or the death of a loved one. The exact causes of depression still are not clear. What we do know is that both genetics and a stressful environment, or life situation, contribute to its cause or sudden onset. (www.nimh.nih.gov)
Sadness is only one small part of depression and some people with depression may not feel sadness at all.
Signs of Depression:
- Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
- Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
- Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
- Pessimism, indifference
- Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
- Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
- Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (re:Mind)
Are you depressed? Answer the following questions.
Do you feel sad, empty, and hopeless most of the day, nearly every day? Have you lost interest or pleasure in your hobbies or being with friends and family? Are you having trouble sleeping, eating, and functioning? If you have felt this way for at least 2 weeks, you may have depression, a serious but treatable mood disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health).
Natural treatments for Depression:
- Eat Serotonin-enhancing foods, to increase the level of serotonin in your brain.
The following foods are good at enhancing the serotonin in the brain:
- Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel)
- Healthy fats like coconut oil
- Eat a high protein diet, like free range turkey
- Avoid caffeine, which reduces serotonin levels.
- Expose yourself to sunlight, which can boost mood and increase Vitamin D levels. If you live somewhere that gets little sun, invest in a therapeutic light box.
- Pray/Meditation: Praying can boost your mood and settles your mind.
- Talk it out. See a therapist, psychiatrist, or life coach and express how you feel. Sometimes just finding someone you trust who will help you work through your feelings can make all the difference in the world. ( Lissa Rankin, Psychology Today)