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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Opposite of Depression is not Happiness, but Vitality

It is a shame there is a stigma attached to depression as being a form of weakness. As long as there is such a resistance in broaching the subject and bringing it out into the open, a great number of people shall continue to suffer, far more than we may realize.  There is usually little hesitation to go to a doctor for a physical ailment, yet observe any group gathering and often the topics of conversation are health issues. Yet rarely do you hear people answering the question "How are you feeling" with anything other than the usual "I'm fine".

There is a difference between being sad and being depressed.
According to Dr. Olivia I. Okereke, the academic director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, There are two core features of depression.
"To be diagnosed a person has to have at least one. The first is depressed mood. People are questioned if they sometimes feel sad. The second is anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure. People are asked if they still enjoy the things they previously enjoyed."

We all go through periods of sadness due to life circumstances. The difference between a bout of the blues and clinical depression depends on how things play out in time.  When something traumatizing or devastating happens, we go through the stages of shock, the denial, the anger, the sinking, and eventually we accept what is and can move on with our lives.
However, if a length of time passes and everyday normal activities become too much trouble and nothing in life seems to mean anything, it may be necessary to seek professional help. People suffering from depression are very aware that what is happening to them isn't normal and it may seem ridiculous that just getting dressed has become too much trouble.

Oftentimes, the response from friends and family to this kind of apathy is impatience, advice to "snap out of it", to "get with it", to "get motivated", and "stop being so lazy"; as if it were that simple. Depression is a very real disorder and until society realizes that and takes it seriously, it will continue to be what they call the "silent destroyer".

Below is a very enlightening video by speaker, Andrew Solomon, about his own experiences with this disease. He speaks on how he survived this period of his life and reflects on his observations through speaking to other people suffering from depression.
The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality
Andrew Solomon

The standard methods of treatment for depression include drug therapy, such as SSRI's, which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antidepressants and psychiatric therapy.
These may or may not be effective and usually involve side effects such as feeling like a zombie, mood swings, and even suicidal tendencies. Then should a patient try to wean himself off of the medication, there are serious withdrawal symptoms to consider, oftentimes causing a spiral downwards even more.

Home Remedies for Depression is an option that many believe has a far better success rate than conventional methods.
Taking a holistic approach involves a lot more than popping pills. It takes commitment and often lifestyle changes. Rather than the accepted view that depression is a biochemical imbalance in the brain caused by a lack of serotonin and a genetic flaw, the holistic viewpoint is that the biochemical imbalance is caused by toxic overload and nutritional deficiencies. It is these nutritional deficiences that result in a serotonin imbalance, which then affects mood.

A list of dietary supplements which have shown results are as follows:

L-Tyrosine use shows an improvement in mental alertness and memory retain ability.

L-Tryptophan is one of the strongest home remedies for depression there is. It is known as an "emotional stabilizer" in that it has a calming effect.

L-Phenylalanine is very stimulating to the nervous system and brain. It increases mental alertness and memory.

L-Glutamine is known as "brain fuel". It is an energy source for the brain and absorbs toxic ammonia and accumulated heavy metals.

Chromium and Vanadium help regulate blood sugar levels.

Magnesium may be the most important mineral as far as natural treatments are concerned. Magnesium deficiencies cause mood levels to plummet. There is a strong connection between a decrease of magnesium in our soil and the deficiency seen in the human population today.

 Other important nutrients your body needs to help combat depression include:
 Vitamin D, Folic acid, Vitamin B5, B6, B12, Vitamin C, Zinc, Iron, Lithium, Co Q10, and the full spectrum of trace minerals.

Herbal Home Remedies for Depression 

St. Johnswort can be very effective for mild depression. St. Johnswort is able to prevent the absorption of serotonin by the nerve cells in the brain, which helps to stabilize mood fluctuations.

Licorice Root acts on cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Licorice root is able to hinder production of cortisol in the body which eases symptoms of depression and stabilize mood.

Siberian Ginseng is considered an adaptogen in that it has a stabilizing effect and calms people in stressful situations.

Chamomile acts as a sedative and very popular taken in soothing tea form.

Ding Xin Wan is a Chinese herb and very helpful for insomnia and loss of appetite.

Saffron studies have shown it to be as effective as Prozac in treating depression.

Black Cohosh is extremely beneficial in the treatment of depression that is associated with menopause.

Lavender is very popular as an essential oil in aromatherapy. It calms the mind and induces sleep.

Valerian has a very calming effect on the nerves and helps with sleeplessness.

Ginko is popular because it does not interact with drugs and supplements.

Let's not forget the importance of physical activity for mental and physical health.
You will think better, sleep better, and feel better.

Taking the time for a relaxing bath is a luxury many people don't take advantage of. Allow yourself to rest. Your soul speaks to you in the quiet moments in between your thoughts. Utilize the benefits of plants through aromatherapy. Certain essences have an uplifting effect on the mind and emotions.

Uplift the Spirits Bath Oil