Sunday, March 31, 2013

7 Natural Life Hacks Against Depression

If you've been feeling intensely depressed for several weeks, there's a chance you may suffer from clinical depression. In this case, you should seek the help of a professional therapist, since that's the most reliable strategy to deal with your problem - just as seeking the help of a MD would be the best strategy to deal with a physical sickness.

Regardless, even if you're already getting some theraphy -- there are simple life hacks that you should consider using, that will help improve your odds of a fast and seamless recovery. Your therapist has probably pointed out some of the following advice, but that's of no use until you start taking action. Here are simple tactics that you should embrace as part of your daily routine:

Move around more

Leading a sedentary lifestyle drastically increases your chances of suffering from depression, as well as the intensity of your depressive moods. You have to try to get some physical activity into your routine, since that will bring up some natural endorphin into your body, helping regulate your moods. Maybe you can't bring yourself to take up jogging on joining a gym all of a sudden, so you should take it (literally) one step at a time. Start by taking some walks, start doing some basic exercises at home, then expand on your exercise program as you feel ready for it.

Get out in the Sun

Something as apparently trivial as getting out in the sun can do wonders to help regulate your mood. Lack of natural sunlight will disturb your mental processes and make you prone to entering moody states. Snapping out of it can sometimes be as simple as taking a couple of ours to leisurely get some air and walk in the sun. Even during the Winter, you should seize any available opportunities to catch a bit of sunlight whenever it's peeking from between the clouds. It will make a difference.

Clean up your surroundings

A cluttered working space will induce a cluttered mental state. Conversely, tidying up your office, living room or whatever spaces you tend to linger at will positively impact your mental attitude. Even when you don't feel like cleaning (especially then), try to push yourself to doing so, and you'll notice that once your surroundings are cleaned up, your inner turmoil will also tend to settled down.

Talk it out

Even if you're already seeing a therapist, you may want to consider finding a close friend or relative with whom you can confide your problems over depression. This will help bridge the gap between your inner world and the outside reality, putting your issues in perspective and making them feel as less of an ominous problem.

Write it down

Since you won't always have someone around to confide in (and also because you shouldn't become dependent on external support), it's a great idea to start a journal where you will write down your struggles against depression, your feelings and progress along the way. When you feel down in the dumps, writing in your journal will help exorcise those dark inner clouds, especially if you make it a habit.

Drink uplifting teas

There are plenty of herbal infusions that will help to bring your spirits up and lift those sorrowful moods you probably get caught up in every now and the, as a depression patient. St. John's Wort is universally recognized as one of the most effective herbs for treating depression, but even something as trivial as green tea can be helpful. If you're taking anti depressants, you should consult your therapist about this, since some natural remedies may react adversely to some prescription drugs.

Sparkle your passions

Finding something that makes you feel passionate will be tremendously useful in dealing with depression. Maybe you can look up a new hobby or get involved in an activity you've always loved, or learn a new craft for the sake of self-expression. For the effect of treating depression it's best to focus on activities that make you feel passionate rather than seeking romantic passion - because should the latter happen to back-fire or go unappreciated, it could make you feel worse than ever.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Depression Could be Caused By Miscommunication

How's this for an innovative perspective on the bio medical causes of Depression: according to a group of researchers from the University of Maryland, on a neurological level depression may stem from lack of communication between brain cells. This is an interesting perspective that could shed light on new treatments, since it suggests there could be an unapparent causality behind this disease.

Whereas the conventional medical research of depression suggests (somewhat vaguely) it is likely caused by a chemical and hormonal imbalance in the body, the study published by Dr. Stott M. Thomson and his team suggests further insight: that such imbalance may be caused, at base level, by diminishing effectiveness in the communication of brain cells. You can ready more about this study here, whose main points we'll summarize in this article.

How antidepressants work... and why they lack effectiveness.

Typical antidepressants (like Prozac, Celexa or Zoloft) help prevent the absorption of serotonin (the brain's natural feel-good chemical), as to bring its concentration levels on the brain to acceptable levels. However, this new research suggests such treatment may amount to nothing more than a "patch", thereby explaining why antidepressants are only effective in about half of all prescribed patients. One of the key findings here is that one of the previously undetected functions of serotonin may be to amplify communication signals between the brain cells, which actually helps the antidepressants do their work.

In other words, this research suggests that maybe serotonin actually makes antidepressants effective, as much as the other way around. If supported by subsequent research, these findings could lead to the development of a new generation of anti depressants which are drastically more efficient because they attack the very root of the problem (from a bio-chemical standpoint, that is): ineffective communication of brain cells, which may account to why depressive patients often have memory problems and concentration difficulties.

The future of of anti-depressant drugs

A new generation of anti depressant pharmaceuticals may be devised to mimic the function of serotonin rather that just maintain is natural levels without bringing about further imbalances to the brain. Such drugs would not only help minimize the effects of depression, but it would actually help improve the concentration and attention levels of anyone. Likewise, this research suggests that all medicines or even natural remedies that help improve concentration levels may be a powerful tool for anyone struggling with depression.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogger - Start!

This blogger account will be used to publish posts and information about depression.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Is Depression a Mental Illness?"

In my experience dealing with depressive patients, a question that frequently arises - especially from people who have just got started with their treatment - related to whether depression is a mental illness. The simply and short answer is "Yes", but the REAL question that should arise here is... why should this be a concern, in the first place?

So what if depression is a mental illness?

Even though we're in broad XXI century and despite the fact we live in a supposedly advanced society, it's appalling just how we're still infantile in our beliefs, and held back by inexplicable peer pressure at social-wide levels. Did you know that many people suffering from depresson refuse to seek treatment for depression because they're afraid to admit they have a problem? And generally when someone wants to keep this kind of problem a secret, it's because they're afraid to admit they may have a mental sickness... as though it would imply they're no longer capable of holding up to their past accomplishments and present responsibilities. You may not quite understand this from your current point of view... but that reasoning is just as silly as being afraid to see a MD because people might criticize you, or look at you funny, for being physically sick. Wouldn't that be a lot crazier than looking for a cure?

Important things to consider about this illness

You must keep in mind that depression IS a mental illness, and a serious one at that. It could keep getting worse until you're fully deprived of your ability to enjoy life or function normally. Further, you must keep in mind that being a sickness, it's a medical problem -- not a fault in character. Finally, you should know that as many as 10% of the people in the USA has already admitted to having problems with depression, and sought treatment for it. And quite likely the actual percentage of people who silently suffer from this illness is much, much higher... but many people are still too afraid to admit they're having this problem, which only adds to their personal drama. What's the point of that, really?

A Change in Scenery Helps (Cartoon)

Not to take this cartoon at face value (for obvious reasons), but there is actually a gem of an advice lurking in this funny picture. Even though it's clearly satirized here, the concept does work - and you should keep this in mind whenever you realize you're feeling depressed or anxious out of the blue. Change your surroundings! Well, don't just change your surroundings like in the cartoon here... make sure to go somewhere that makes you feel better inside: that is the key to making this advice work. 

As general rule, find a place that contrasts your current location - if you're indoors go outdoors, if you're in a well-lit place try stepping into the shade, if you're alone get some company, if you're in a hectic place find some solitude. But all the while, pay attention to how a place makes you feel, and find somewhere that makes you feel comfortable. It may sound too simple to be effective, but this advice will help you crawl out from that dark hole where depression keeps trying to sink you into. 

Remember, you don't have to be a victim of depression... unless you make that choice. And you can always choose differently at any given moment, and usually you enact the right to choose by taking some kind of action. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Testimony From a Real Person Struggling With Depression

We've told you before and we'll say it again, since this is a key aspect of all depression treatments: reach out for help and support! Refuse to succumb to the tendency towards isolation, because that will only make your problems seem harder to deal with. Do not shut yourself out from the world. Consider joining a support group where people like you gather to share their stories and difficulties. If you don't feel you're ready to take that step, at least open up to someone that feels trustworthy, and express what you're going through. It may seem absolutely inconsequential, but just voicing your emotions will help you in more ways than you can imagine. For one, it will help you see your troubles in a different perspective. Two, there's a good chance your confidant will admit they've experienced similar troubles at some point in their lives, and even suggest some coping strategies of their own. Some statistics suggest that the majority of people in modern societies have either dealt with depression and anxiety problems, or they know someone who's been there. This realization is often all it takes to shift your from being a passive victim of depression, to someone who's actively started on the way to recovery. A problem shared is a problem halved! And once you resolve to be honest regarding your depression, rather than trying to play out your "normality" and pretending nothing is going on, you'll find comfort in the sense that it happens to just about anyone, and also that anyone can recover from it - provided the right mindset, to begin with. Today, we'd like to invite you to watch a video from an apparently normal, adjusted girl. Britney is a strikingly beautiful girl inside and out -- who has had a lifetime of problems with depression. Here, she shares her difficulties with her viewers, and in doing so she is helping more people than she can imagine. We want to congratulate this brave girl for sharing her true feelings to the world, and hopefully this will inspire others to do the same. It's actually the first step to recovery... after all, you have to admit you have a problem before you can get started dealing with it! So watch this amazing testimony and consider sharing your problems with someone, even if it's just a random stranger on the bus. You may be surprised to notice a warm and kind reaction, when you open yourself up to others!

Friday, March 22, 2013

8 Self-Help Questions for Depression Patients

If you suffer from chronic depression, you may be so caught up in your gloomy feelings that most of the time you barely have energy or inclination to consider anything. However, in those brief moments of respite when you feel more in control, there are some key questions you should meditate on.

Just considering these questions will put you in the right frame of mind to find a suitable treatment, so we'd like to invite you to take a moment to reflect on each one of the following:

Am I ready to admit I have a problem?

It doesn't matter if you suffer from Depression or any other psychological issue: the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem, and to resolve dealing with it. If you aren't quite ready to come out to the world and admit you have a problem with depression, that will make it so much harder to deal with it.

Can I look at my condition objectively?

When you suffer from chronic depression, you will get caught up in a spiral of negative feelings that rob all your energy and willingness to live. This situation will make it really hard to look at your situation objectively; feeling depressed, you seldom have the mental clarity to realize you are depressed - i.e., subject to an ailment that is interfering with your normal functioning. Being able to look at your feelings of depression in perspective is most important, since only then will you manage to start looking for a solution.

Am I prepared to go see a therapist?

Having decided to find a solution for your depression related problems, you should prepare yourself to go and see a therapist. Many people still feel awkward about seeking help for dealing with mental problems, even though it it just as natural as seeking help from a doctor when you have a physical sickness. If you don't feel you are "ready" to see a therapist, you need to realize that dealing with depression on your own is needlessly troubling and challenging, because depression will hinder your judgment and coping abilities.

Do I have an action plan for recovery?

This is something you should work out in collaboration with your therapist: a blueprint for recovery, which will usually involve adjusting multiple lifestyle habits as well a committing to different treatments and complimentary therapies. Dealing with depression is not all that different from going on a diet or striving towards a personal accomplishment; it will take time, effort and thorough planning, to increase your odds of success.

Am I aware of which habits worsen depression?

From compulsive negative thinking to chronic self-doubt, from unbalanced relationships to diet choices and beyond... there are many habits you have picked up along the years, which are working together to fuel your depression. As part of your treatment, you'll have to realize which habits are harmful towards  your mental stability, so you will be able to change them - and thus change how your feel.

Do I know any tricks to manage my depression?

There are some key tactics that you can rely on to help appease your mood, whenever depression seems to take hold over your being. Something as simple as getting out in the sun or getting some physical exercise can   work wonders to improve your mental state. There are many other tips and tricks for you to consider adopting, which shall be covered in subsequent posts in this blog.

Am I ready to commit to treatment?

Just seeking professional help and learning all the do's and don'ts of depression treatment is not enough. You have to be able to commit yourself fully to treatment, since it will be a journey of months, with many ups and downs along the way. Unless you are really serious about following through on your treatment, you may stumble along the way.

Do I have someone I can rely on for support?

While you should ideally learn to rely on yourself for managing your own mental stability, it will be much easier if you have a close someone whom you can lean on for support. It can be an intimate friend, a lover or a family member, or even a support group for depression. Just remember that your ultimate goal is to be able to stand alone proudly as an adjusted and self-sufficient individual, so at some stage of your treatment you must learn how to rely on yourself for support.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Depression: It's NOT Your Fault!

Here's a wonderful video that we recommend to anyone struggling with depression issues. In this one-hour talk show, a group of specialists gather to discuss whether depression is an illness just like any other. Many points brought forward are worth noting, and we shall go over them further along in this article. Watch the video whenever you have a chance, and read below for an overview of the main points.

Depression: the underestimated illness

The main idea running the conversation above is that depression is an illness, and notably one that often goes unrecognized as such. For some reason, our society still regards any and all mental issues as a severe stigma  even when the sufferer is absolutely not to blame for his condition. Would anyone blame you if you came up with a physical sickness? Of course not. But when it comes to mental conditions... for some reason the reasoning shifts, and most people feel like they can't possibly admit to have such problems, otherwise they may get discriminated and looked down upon.

Truth of the matter is depression is a complex sickness with many possible underlying causes: genetic, environmental, educational, and even cultural. The good news though, is that not only is depression now recognized as an illness, but we're getting much closer to realizing a definite methodical treatment to help sufferers of depression to overcome their difficulties.

Deconstruction the stigma of depression

The statistics are overwhelming; for example, about half of all Canadian parents state they would be ashamed to admit their children have problems related with depression. Most people who endure this problem tend to get caught in a spiral of fearfulness where they assume that society in general will look at them awkwardly for having raised a children who suffers from such issues. The reality of it though, is that depression has many concurrent causes, most of which really can't be pin pointed to any specific "fault" or "responsibility". Like any other sickness, depression is something that may just happen without the victim necessarily doing anything towards it.

Potential pitfalls of regarding depression as an illness

As one of the specialists that participate in the discussion points, out - there's a potential shortcoming in looking at depression as a mere sickness. This is worth noting, also: if we embrace this perspective, it could make us feel as though depression is something that "just happens"over a specific bio-medical scenario. However, that too is only part of the equation, that disregards there are mental causalities involved. How we relate to our depressive moods plays an important role in how we may overcome this condition. By choosing to discard all sense of responsibility and looking at it like something that can be managed with the right combination of pharmaceuticals is NOT a good approach.

Even though you're really NOT to blame for having depression, you CAN play an important part in your recovery. But understanding how the process works, and how you can change your lifestyle to minimize the influence of depression, you will stand a much better chance of coping with this problem and eventually growing free from its influence.

Monday, March 18, 2013

"How Long Does it Take to Cure Depression?"

This is a very common question being asked by patients struggling with depression, and understandably so. However... there is a hint of misunderstanding behind this question, in the first place. You see, depression is a complex condition with many concurrent causes, and to overcome the condition you will usually have to change those causes. How long that takes is entirely up to you, but there's a good chance it won't be an overnight process. That's now how it works, sorry... in fact, if would be better for you to simply not worry about the time it will take, and to  simply stay focused on the process.

Not Getting Treated for Depression Takes Much Longer

Since you're concerned about the timing of a possible cure, you should consider the alternative scenario: what if you were to choose not to get treatment for your depression? Then it could worsen and linger for years, or even for a lifetime. Once you start getting treated, several seasons could pass until you're completely recovered -- but it won't take long at all before you start feeling so much better.

You may very well think of your treatment for depression as a long journey leading to a place where you'll feel happy and ready to embrace reality; maybe it could take months (or years) until you get there, but once you've started on this journey, life will get a little sweeter every day. Because you know what's waiting for you when you reach your destination: contentment and self-realization.

As you thread the ropes of recovery, you'll go from being caught up in a negative cycle of depression, to ascending towards a new, positive cycle in your life. With that in mind, it's actually better to stay focused on the actual course of treatment, rather than worry about how far you've come and how long it'll take to get where you want to be.

The Reasonable Time-frames for Anxiety Management

Having said the above, we should point out for the sake of clarity: depending on how severe your depression is and which treatment methods you pursue, it can take a full year until you feel absolutely depression-free and renewed as a human individual.

But the good news is that it will likely only be a matter of weeks after you start treatment, until you start feeling so much better than you are now. In fact, just deciding to get up and find treatment will make a huge difference in you emotions, shifting you from a victim's mindset to that of someone who's in charge of their fate.

Why not make this choice at the earliest, and be unconcerned with how long it will take?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nothing Seems Funny Anymore (Cartoon)

And that's just how depression works! It doesn't matter whether you have a sense of humor or not. It doesn't care if you're a positive person or an objective person... when depression strikes (and we mean Capital, Clinical Depression, of course), it will make you feel that nothing is funny anymore. Under the influence of depression, you'll have a really hard time enjoying any activities that you used to love, or even to function in a productive and balanced manner.

 So what can you do when you realize you're stuck in the unfortunate, crippling web of Depression with a major D? To begin with, you should keep in mind this is just a sickness, and one that's very much treatable. You should consider seeking professional help that will offer such treatment, since that will be a major help. If for some reason you can't afford it or aren't ready to take that step, you should at least get to know your enemy. 

Read about depression, understand its causes, learn to cope with it by making adjustments to your diet and schedule... there are many treatment avenues that you can pursue simultaneously, to overcome this problem as soon as possible. Whether or not you get on the way to recovery... that's entirely up to you, though!