Home Remedies for Depression
Some of the home remedies for depression include yoga, regular exercise, laughter, and the intake of food that is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and tryptophan. The home remedies will help you to deal with depression in a healthy way.
Depression is a common mood disorder that affects millions of people around the world. It is an all-encompassing illness that affects your day-to-day life, body, mood, and thoughts. Unfortunately, depression is a treatable condition that often goes untreated.
Forms of Depression
There are several forms of depression and some of them include the following:
Major depressive disorder: It affects how you think, feel, and behave. This type of depression disables the person and hampers normal functioning.
Dysthymic disorder or dysthymia: This type of depression is long term, but may not be disabling to a person suffering from it. People suffering from dysthymia may also experience major depression in their lives.
Bipolar disorder: This is a manic depressive illness wherein one sees cyclic mood changes from extreme highs to extreme lows.
There are other forms of depression, including psychotic depression, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder. People suffering from psychotic depression also normally have some form of psychosis. Postpartum depression is experienced by women after giving birth, while seasonal affective disorder usually begins during the winter when there is less natural sunlight.
What Causes Depression?
Many factors are linked to depression. They include hereditary, biological, and environmental factors, as well as significant life events, such as physical illness, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job. Also linked to depression are certain medications, alcohol, drug abuse, diet, or having a baby (as well as other hormonal fluctuations). These biological causes of depression may be attributed to disturbances in neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in the brain, although much about the biochemical causes is yet to be learned.
Hormones in the body are also the reasons for depression in young adults. The hormonal changes due to menopause, thyroid problems, or a number of other medical conditions may trigger depression.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression can vary for different people. Some of the common symptoms include the loss of interest in performing normal day-to-today activities, insomnia, or excessive sleeping. Depressed people become easily irritable and burst out regularly. Increases or decreases in appetite have also been found in cases of depression. According to Dr. Chris Iliades, one of the early signs of depression is the loss of your appetite for more than 2 weeks.
Depressed people often seem to be restless and agitated. Reduced sex drive has also been observed in some cases. Sadness and empty feelings for prolonged periods of time are some other symptoms of depression. Slow speaking, slow body movements, slow thinking, and a reduction in concentration has also been observed in the majority of depression cases. Depressed people find it difficult to make even the simplest decisions. Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain and headaches might also be seen.
Other symptoms of depression include an oppressive feeling of despair and despondency that simply will not go away. One may also experience a sense of hopelessness, feelings of guilt, low energy, sleep disturbances, and negative thoughts. Depressed people may also have difficulty in maintaining normal relationships. Proper treatment can offer relief for most people who suffer from this potentially debilitating condition.
Depression is a psychological disorder that can be managed. Here are a few home remedies that might help you:
Yoga & Meditation: Practicing yoga and meditation may also give some relief from depression. According to Dharma S. K a board-certified anesthesiologist specializing in anti-aging medicine, yoga, and meditation are known to alter the biochemistry of the brain very efficiently. While you stretch yourself when you do yoga, you are actually sending a message to the brain through your spinal cord. This message changes the brain chemistry. The perfect balance of stimulation and relaxation that you are providing to your brain enhances the ‘feel-good’ sensation after the yoga practice. The true union of energy and relaxation makes you feel better. Practicing some easy asanas and pranayamas makes you healthy and stay away from illnesses such as depression. Practice yoga regularly.
Laughter: “Laughter is the best medicine” is a famous quote, and is indeed true, especially in cases where a person is suffering from depression or has at least few of the symptoms of depression. A research study led by L Fonzi et al. shows that laughter can improve mood and has a favourable impact on social relationships and health. It may also help in counteracting symptoms of depression.
Exercise: Regular exercising helps to relax, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood and sense of well being. It also helps in preventing chronic diseases and other illnesses. Experts suggest that 150 minutes of physical activity per week with moderately intense physical activity per week is good for both physical and mental health.
Green Tea: The processing of green tea happens by steaming the leaves. Steaming the leaves preserves the antioxidant levels. A study was conducted by Dr. Kaijun Niu et al., of Tohoku University Graduate School in Sendai, on 1,058 community-dwelling elderly Japanese individuals aged over 70. The impact of green tea on depression symptoms using a 30-item Geriatric depression scale was studied. Research showed that drinking 3 – 4 cups of green tea every day decreases the chance of developing depressive symptoms. The amino acid that is present in tea has a tranquilizing effect on the brain that is associated with relaxation.
Cardamom: Cardamom is generally used as an herbal spice in many delicacies, and is also useful in the case of depression. It is often used to add aroma to tea. This aroma acts as a medicine in the treatment of depression. It activates the brain cells and gives a refreshing feeling.
Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy treatments are known to alter all the negative emotions, depression being one of them. This therapy works on a psycho-biological level and affects not just mental health, but physical health as well. Our sense of smell has the ability to influence our mood and also alter our emotions. This therapy can also be introduced into the body through the skin. Pamper yourself with aromatherapy and relieve your anxiety and stress.
Asparagus: Asparagus, a vegetable, is not just delicious but also nutritious and beneficial for your health. Asparagus has a diuretic effect on the body and is used as an herbal medicine for many mental disorders. The root of the asparagus plant is known to be the most beneficial in the treatment of depression. It activates the brain and nerves. One to two grams of dry powder can be used every day along with water.
Cabbage: According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the folic acid and Vitamin C present in cabbage protects against stress, heart disease, and other infections. Try a variety of ways to include cabbage in your diet. Toss up cabbage in a salad, make some cabbage soup, or make a steamed cabbage curry. Cabbage is also a good source of fiber and the juice from raw cabbage is known to cure stomach ulcers as well.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, is an herb that is of great importance in Ayurveda and it has been traditionally used extensively to treat many ailments. A recent study conducted by Bhattacharya et al, 2000, showed that root extracts from Ashwagandha displayed anti-depressant properties that were consistent with standard drugs administered in cases of depression.
Tryptophan: A depletion of tryptophan in your body may lead to symptoms of depression. Tryptophan is responsible for the production of an important neurotransmitter, serotonin. This helps to reduce the feelings of depression. Foods containing tryptophan include poultry products, fish, soy, tree nuts, peanut butter, peanuts, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Vitamin B and Folate: You can also fight the blues by eating food that is high in B vitamins. Vitamin B6 is essential for metabolizing tryptophan into serotonin. Levels of folate and vitamin B 12 are found to be lower in people who are depressed. The inclusion of food items rich in vitamin B and folate will help people suffering from depression. Some foods that contain vitamin B are beans, legumes, poultry, shell fish, whole grains, and citrus fruits.
Vitamin D and Minerals: The inclusion of foods rich in vitamin D and essential minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc also help in relieving symptoms of depression. Foods such as poultry products, green leafy vegetables, fish, almonds, meat products, and fortified cereals can be included in the diet.
Fish and Fish Oils: Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids like DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid). DHA is mainly important for the optimal functioning of the brain. A study that was featured in Archives of General Psychiatry (2002) showed that people who consumed one gram of fish oil each day had a 50% decrease in symptoms related to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and unexplained feelings of sadness. These fats are vital for optimal brain functioning and are linked to a reduced incidence of depression. Apart from this, fish oils are also known to lower cholesterol and improve overall cardiovascular health. Walnuts, flaxseeds, and oily fishes such as tuna or salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from fish oil, intake of fish is also a good remedy for depression. Findings of a research study suggests that fish consumption may be beneficial for women’s mental health and reduce risk of developing depression in women.
Other: Get sunshine for yourself. Natural early morning sunlight will help you relax. Engage in regular physical activity for at least three to four days per week. Having a good knowledge about yourself and your loved one’s medical condition is important. It will not only motivate you to stick to your treatment plan, but will also help you feel more empowered.
Following these home remedies, along with the medications prescribed by your doctor, will improve your condition multi-fold. However, if depression persists or makes you feel that life is not worth living, see a doctor promptly.