Depression is an extremely common condition. A sudden loss of interest in life combined with a feeling of worthlessness may be associated with depression. Normally joy, sadness and grief are parts of everyday life.
Long periods of depression and sadness is our response to defeat and is not normal. The tendency to develop depression can also run in the family. Depression can be managed, if you are a sufferer then seek professional help.
Depression may be associated with a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Persistent sadness and pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest or enjoyment in nearly every aspect of life
- Diminished ability to think or lack of concentration
- Insomnia or oversleeping (excessive sleeping habits)
- Poor appetite associated with either weight gain or loss
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Physical hyperactivity or inactivity
- Loss of interest in sex
- Physical symptoms such as headache, backaches, stomach troubles, constipation and blurred vision
- Anxiety, agitation, irritability
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Slow speech; slow movements
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- A drop in school performance
Most depressive episodes are triggered by a personal event such as loss of a loved one or change of circumstances, and over a short period are a normal coping mechanism.
Depression can also be due to many other factors such as underlying disease, hormonal imbalance, food allergy and adverse reaction to medications, and so should always be assessed by your healthcare professional.
- St john's wort is indicated for the treatment of depression, anxiety, nervous tension, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), menopause-related anxiety, and may also be beneficial in restoring normal sleeping patterns. Numerous clinical trials have shown that St john's wort is comparable in efficacy to prescription drugs for the treatment of mild to moderate depression, but with fewer side-effects when taken in doses equivalent to 300mg extract (it should not be used in conjunction with any other antidepressant medication unless prescribed by your healthcare professional)
- Vitamin B complex, particularly when taken in conjunction with magnesium, helps your body to deal with the physical and emotional stress associated with depression
Communication with your healthcare professional is vital to help you overcome your depression. Your healthcare professional speaks to people every day who are depressed and is able to offer you strategies to help you cope and resolve the problem.
Learning new approaches to dealing with stress, talking through unresolved issues from the past, and changing the way you handle problems may all be valuable tools to help you deal with depression. Your healthcare professional can refer you to a specialist in these areas.
Exercise is an invaluable addition to your treatment plan for depression. During exercise, chemicals called endorphins are released from the brain and have the effect of raising your mood. Research has shown that over a period of several months, regular exercise is able to significantly improve the symptoms of depression.
It is easy to neglect diet when we are depressed, but the body's requirement for vitamins and minerals increases, so it is important to eat a well-balanced diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, and avoid sugar, caffeine, fried and processed foods.