- by Medikoe Health Expert
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- Feb 13 2017
Depression affects untold millions of people each year and, is a serious psychological disorder. Unfortunately, many people who are suffering from depression do not seek treatment for it, apprehensive about what the society may think of them.
They might be unwilling to face change on their own as they lack the courage to do so. Depression treatment still suffers from a lot of misconceptions – how long it takes for treatment to be effective, and whether it is actually worth it.
Depression – What is it?
The occasional bouts of sadness that all of us experience from time to time is not depression. Instead, it is an unrelenting feeling of immense sadness for at least two weeks and longer. It is characterized by the inability to take pleasure from almost any of life’s activities, and feeling broken or lacking the normal energy levels that you had before the depression set in.
People diagnosed with clinical depression find it difficult to maintain normal sleeping and eating patterns. These are physical symptoms that accompany depression. There is also an immense feeling of hopelessness for most of the people who suffer from depression. As if nothing will ever get better again.
Thus it is no wonder that a person with depression does not see the light at the end of the tunnel. A sense of hopelessness prevails. You become a pessimist and become negative towards everyone including yourself. It is not just the blues; it seems as if someone has greyed out the entire world altogether.
Are You Suffering From Depression?
What do you find when you switch on your television to view the evening news?
• The murder count
• The rapes
• The troubled economy,
• Lying politicians
• Extreme oppression
The list goes on. All of it is depressing news no matter which angle you look at it from.
We internalize all this information and begin feeling bad ourselves whether we realize it or not. This negative way of looking at the world obscures our view of the reality of the world with a metaphorical ‘black cloud’ blocking out the horizon.
Whether you realize it or not, this type of thinking leads to depression. More often than not we lie awake worrying about our own state of affairs; we end up feeling down and out, we make poor dietary choices, harmful living methods and our state of mind goes into even more depression.
Symptoms of Depression
• The clearly visible decline of interest or pleasure in almost all kinds of daily activities. Examples being – no interest in sports, hobbies or other things that the person used to enjoy taking part in.
• Considerable weight loss or weight gain (changes of say more than 5 percent of total body weight inside a month). Increase or decrease in appetite almost every day.
• Insomnia characterized by the inability to get sleep or difficulty in staying asleep or hypersomnia characterized by sleeping too much almost every day.
• Psychomotor agitation (inability to sit still, restlessness, pulling at clothes, pacing) or retardation (slowed movements, speech, quiet talking) almost all the time.
• Loss of liveliness, fatigue or tiredness nearly every day. Even the nominal tasks, like dressing or going to the bathroom, seem difficult and take far longer than normal.
• Reduced ability to concentrate or think, or indecisiveness, almost every day (appears to be easily distracted, complaints of weak memory).
• Feelings of excessive or inappropriate guilt or worthlessness.
• Constantly recurring thoughts of death and not just fear of dying, recurrent ideas of committing suicide without any specific plan, or an attempt at suicide or having a specific plan to commit suicide.
• Having a depressed mood most of the time.
The Science Behind It All
Research says that when you are feeling depressed your levels of serotonin go lower. Serotonin is the happy hormone.
Serotonin helps to curb anxiety, regulate moods, and combat depression. It also assists sleep, aggression, appetite, and sex drive. In fact, most of the anti-depressants available on the market aim to increase the levels of serotonin in the patient.
Increase Serotonin Naturally
Serotonin plays a vital role when it comes to feeling happy. There are many natural ways to boost levels of serotonin which shall improve your mood and which does not require a prescription.
According to research, acts of kindness, such as contributing to or volunteering in charities raise not only your own serotonin levels but also of the people being helped and anyone who happens to witness this act of kindness.
• Exercise -When you exercise your body naturally produces more serotonin and other kinds of neuropeptides that increase your feeling of happiness. If you are not exercising already then now is a good time to start. Go for a bike ride, a run, or hit the gym and also find a partner to do it with because working out is more fun when you have a friend.
• Eat Healthy Fats -Nearly 60% of our brain is composed of fat. So in case you want to boost your mood and have balanced hormones try Omega-3 fats. Sardines, salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are all packed with this nutrient that helps in brain building and in improving happiness.
• Find Your Purpose – Mother Teresa spent most of her life dedicated to the poor, orphaned, sick, and dying. She found that her purpose was to help the Indian people and she made it the work of her life. Rick Warren in his life-changing and inspirational book, Purpose Driven Life, says that if we want to experience happiness and joy on a daily basis, it is vital to have a purpose in life.
Cognitive therapy has its basis on the principle that there are certain ways of thinking that can trigger particular health problems and this therapy can be very useful in countering depression.
The counsellor helps you understand the pattern of your current thoughts and identify any false or harmful ideas and thoughts that you might be having which can trigger depression or worsen it. The aim here is to change your way of thinking in order to avoid these ideas. It also helps to make your thought process to be more realistic and helpful.
Connect With Your Friends
While this can be one of the toughest things to do when you are feeling depressed, it also happens to be one of the most rewarding. Go out – force yourself if need be. Isolating yourself from everyone might seem to be a good idea but limit it and get out there once again. This can put you in a very positive mood.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping and the state of your mind are closely connected. Inadequate sleep causes stress and irritability, while healthy sleep enhances the well-being of the mind and body. Research has shown that even partial sleep deprivation significantly affects the mood.
Taking steps to ensure that you get adequate sleep will lead to an improved mood. Your quality of sleep directly affects your waking life and its quality. This includes your productivity, mental sharpness, creativity, emotional balance, physical vitality, and also your weight. No other activity can give you so many benefits while requiring so little effort. So you should aim for between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.
Write in a Journal
A journal works in two ways. You can use it to note down your fears and worries. By having an outlet of this manner, you can soothe and ease your mind. The second great way to use a journal is to write down at least five different things every day that you think you are grateful for.
This enables us to think more positive thoughts and helps to remind us that things are never quite that bad. With a gratitude journal, you can write about anything that made you feel appreciative that day. The sun shining, a stranger smiling at you, anything positive will do very well!
Do Not Give Up
Depression makes you want to hide from the world and want to disappear. It is okay to take out some time but make sure to set a time limit and then engage in something productive in order to improve your mental state. Depression can be managed properly, and there is a wonderful life beyond depression. Hang tight and keep your faith.
Ultimately you need to keep your chin up. All of us have had not such wise influences throughout the entirety of our upbringing and within the society in general. This means that we all need to learn and relearn in various phases of our life.
While it might take a while to implement the sustained and habitual changes which are valuable to our overall health, but with sufficient commitment, creativity, and courage, it is achievable by all of us. We also need to respect the emotional journey that we call life and navigate our way through the pathways of life with as much peace as we can.
If the above practices do not yield the desired result, you may get in touch with PORTEA’s counselling services and get back to life without further delay.
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