Depression is one of our leading health concerns today. It is estimated that nearly 25% of our population will suffer from a depressive episode at some time during their life. 60% of these people will plan, attempt, or commit suicide. Those who experience depression may have various symptoms that include sadness, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, excessive appetite or loss of appetite, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable, unexplained aches & pains, self-loathing and an inability to control negative thoughts.
If you find yourself thinking about suicide Please seek help immediately!
These symptoms are particularly worrisome when they vary from what is typical for you. New symptoms are often a cause for concern and always should be checked out by a professional as they may indicate the need to make adjustments in lifestyle before a significant imbalance occurs. In this article I’ll discuss factors believed to be the causes of depression, and offer natural remedies that can be very helpful at re-balancing your system. Some of these recommendations may not be remedies you have heard of in the past, but they are all very helpful.
Two Types of Depression
Generally speaking depression is a result of your brain chemistry gone awry. This happens for many reasons, although there are two main categories. The first of these is bio-physical. Bio-physical depression includes genetics, certain medications, some illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, and substance abuse.
The second category is situational. Situational depression is a result of abuse, conflict, grief, stress, & social isolation. Both categories can lead to the same dark place and our ability to recover is better if we take action to heal our brain as opposed to waiting it out in the hopes we will just “get over it.”
With either type of depression your nervous system is having difficulty managing the chemical messengers of mood called neurotransmitters. These messengers include serotonin, epinephrine, nor-epinephrine, GABA, dopamine, & certain hormones including cortisol, insulin, Vitamin D, & DHEA. Your levels of these neurotransmitters and hormones can be tested by specialized labs. It is helpful to do so prior to beginning any type of treatment as it will give you a more reliable measure of what will be helpful.
Fortunately, depression is very responsive to natural treatment. One key to treating depression is balancing out insulin levels. New research indicates that low insulin levels can be a common cause of depression and trials of insulin therapy for depression are looking hopeful. While there hasn’t yet been enough research done to completely say this is the case, consuming a diet that will maintain good blood sugar levels is certainly an appropriate part of recovery.
I always recommend a diet that is composed of whole organic plant based foods. The fewer additives and toxins we expose ourselves to the healthier we will be, especially when we are having any type of physical or emotional challenges. This means we avoid pre-packaged processed foods as they contain few living nutrients. To balance out insulin levels it is best to consume a diet that is high in fiber, fresh vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Avoid sugars and common allergens such as dairy and wheat. Find good sources of protein that are organic and preferably plant based.
Proper balance of Omega 3’s is also important for proper brain function. While you can get enough by eating a diet high in fish, due to concerns regarding exposure to mercury and other toxins, it may be better to supplement with Fish Oil. Remember, we are trying to limit our exposure to environmental toxins.
Another supplement that I recommend is a good quality Whey Powder to begin your day. Whey has a complete amino acid profile, thus providing all of the proteins necessary to maintain a healthy balance of neurotransmitters. Having a smoothie first thing every morning is one of the simplest ways to start your day feeling good!
Ayurveda is a centuries old system of healing that translates as The Science of Life. It includes Yoga and meditation, as well as massage, herbal medication, and various cleansing & detoxification practices. Often various herbs are blended together into an harmonious remedy that balances the vital energies or doshas in order to re-establish health.
Homeopathy is a science based on the discovery that like cures like. If we use a small amount of a substance that in large amounts causes the symptoms, we can teach the body to heal itself. Tissue salts work the same way. By providing the subtle essences of the symptom our system, which naturally wants to move in the direction of health and wholeness, will readjust itself.
Essential Oils and Flower Essences
Essential oils and flower essences also work on a subtle level to realign your body towards health. While at first it is difficult to understand why these would be effective if we remember that our bodies are made up of the same universal energy that is found in nature, we realize that these plant healers were created to heal and nurture us. Common EO’s that are used for depression include Clary Sage, Vetiver, & Neroli.
Salt has long been known as a natural antidepressant. Soaking in an epson salt bath can quickly raise ones spirit while eliminating aches and pains. Making certain that your body is properly hydrated while doing so is essential, but you will emerge from the bath feeling revitalized and at ease. Another way to use salt is by having salt lamps in your home or office. These beautiful lamps increase the flow of oxygen to your brain, thus improving your mood and sense of well being.
I hope that you have found something in the course of this article that will help you with depression. Please feel free to contact me at my website if you would like more information on any products or if I can be of further help to you.