Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Are There Alternative Treatments for Depression?"

As you may have heard, the standard treatment for depression is usually a combination of CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) with anti-depressants. The medications make it easier for you to cope, while the CBT teaches you how to adapt your lifestyle to minimize the influence of depression, as well as to change how you relate with depression to keep it from getting so intense and dramatic.

Even so, many people wonder... "Are there alternative treatments for depression, or maybe complimentary therapies I can use?" There certainly are; you may ask your therapist not to prescribe any anti-depressants to begin with, and instead rely on natural remedies such as Kava Kava or St. John's Wort. Some of these herbs can be very effective in helping you deal with depressive states, but they shouldn't be mixed with antidepressants, since there could be a counter-reaction.

All Positive Experiences Can Be a Complimentary Treatment

In any case, the medicine or herbs you settle for will only be the tip of the iceberg. The real treatment involves you adjusting your behaviors and life outlooks; to that effect, there are many complimentary therapies you can pursue in parallel to your therapeutic treatment. Some ideas you should consider include:

Start doing Yoga or any collaborative sport, look for a new hobby that you find really interesting, learn to rely on other people for emotional support (not any person in particular though, since that could lead to attachment issues; instead, the idea here is to improve your ability to express your feelings to anyone who cares to listen, which means that joining a support group can be a great option). Seek a more active lifestyle, and you'll improve your health even as you work on your depression.

Do your best to work on improving your relationship with yourself, either by doing meditation, by changing how you look, or any other way that seems appropriate to you. Generally speaking -- try find new ways to get involved in life, that somehow help re-kindle your appreciation for being alive.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Testimony From a Survivor of Major Depression

If you still haven't realized how depression is a sickness that affects all kinds of people, from all walks of life, in all age groups... this post will offer you some perspective. To begin with, we'd like to invite you to watch this video testimony from a brave man who's endured a major breakdown and lived through major depressive disorder: As you can see, no one is free from the threat of depression. Granted, some risk factors have been documented... but even if none of those apply to you, this is something that can just happen at any stage in your life. And this is really not meant to scare you, but rather to ensure you're effectively prepared to deal with it, if it ever happens.

When it’s more than just a depressive mood …

Sure enough, there is likely no human being who's never tasted a depressive mood. But when we're talking about major depression, it means a patient has endured such feelings exponentially over weeks, months or years... to the point where they lose all prospects of happiness, and get caught up in a vicious cycle of misery and lethargy. As you can see from the video testimony above, coming out of major depression can be challenging even once you’ve looked for the help of a therapist. For many, suicide or madness seem like the only way out -- that’s really how tough the going gets. So what can you do when it looks as though there is no way out for your suffering? We recommend looking for the support of someone who’s lived through the same problem. Get committed to improving your understanding of what depression is and how it can be managed. Get involved with people who are currently struggling with depression, and seek comfort in relating with their experience. Look for ways to improve your lifestyle habits, since that will help minimize the effects of depression, on the long run.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Can You Relapse Back Into Depression After Being Cured?"

Many people who are getting treated for depression will wonder... "Once I am finally able to get cured, what are the chances that I'd relapse and get depressed again, later in life?" This is a very natural concern, and while there isn't a straight answer (since many factors are at play), this article will aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the question.

It's easier to relapse if you've followed shortcuts

To begin with, you should realize that any shortcuts you decide to take during your treatment will increase the likelihood of a relapse, further along. This is especially true for anti-depressants, which many people still regard as a quick fix for depression. Yes, taking these meds can make you feel better rather quickly... but your well-being will be a function of the medication, ever since.

For one, you'll stand a good chance of becoming addicted to those anti-depressants (which will effectively just exchange your current problem for another problem), or at very least develop tolerance to them - meaning they will get less and less of an effective solution as time goes on. Two, basing your recovery exclusively on drugs will teach you not about managing depression - which is what you should learn to make sure there will be no relapses, ever again.

Not to say that using pharmaceuticals to treat depression is wrong; in extreme cases, they are a necessary part of the process. But they should be regarded as a temporary aid to support treatment, rather than a quick and comprehensive fix.

Effective treatments will teach you how to cope

The only way to ensure you won't ever relapse back into depression is to develop understanding and coping skills. This process can be time-consuming, exhausting, and at times frustrating... but it's the only way to ensure permanent success. Once you treat your depression by learning how to deal with it, you'll be better prepared to keep it from surfacnig again. And even if that happens, you'll know what to do to keep depression from taking over your life the second time around. It's all about learning how to cope, as opposed to looking for a quick fix!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Scientists Unveil the Bright Side of Depression

Now, that's what we call being able to look at the bright side of life! Two scientists recently published a study that suggests depression may actually be an adaptive process rather than a malfunction of the brain - meaning that even though depression is admittedly uncomfortable and crippling, it could serve a role in the evolutionary process, as well as indirectly contributing towards the overarching advancements of society. Does that sound far-fetched? Feel free to read the full article here, whose main points we'll reflect in this post.

Looking at the bright side of depression

Anyone who's ever suffered from depression will easily attest to its many challenges: how it will curb your focus, diminish your well-being, bring down your energy levels and enjoyment of life. There are hundreds of unfortunate side effects of depression, so... how can these scientists possibly claim that depression may actually be preserved by natural selection as a vital function of the brain?

Well, according to them - the unapparent blessing of depression is how it forces us to think hard on our their life and the inadequacies they perceive in themselves. To overcome depression we actually have to become mentally stronger, and that will ultimately work to our advantage. This forced analytic process may actually help the brain improve its capacity for extensive and dedicated problem solving. In other words, people who endure through the handicap of depression may actually resurface with increased intelligence, focus and all-around increased problem solving capabilities.

Will depression actually make you smarter?

According to these researchers, that may very well be the case -- with the old adage what doesn't kill you makes you stronger effectively applying to anyone suffering from depression: "The analytical rumination hypothesis proposes that depression is an evolved response to complex problems, whose function is to minimize disruption and sustain analysis of those problems". In short, this research maintains that depression may actually have some usefulness to the evolution of man, by helping him improve on his ability to deconstruct and overcome challenging problems in life!

Without this overspread mental imbalance, it could be that our society would simply not progress as quickly. Does that sound crazy to you? Even if it does, this is proper scientific research we're talking about! How does this whole concept make you feel, that's what we're interested in knowing? Please share your thoughts by writing in your comments below.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Depression Erases Your Vitality (Cartoon)

Do you know why it's so hard to deal with depression, or even to find treatment? Because this sickness works in a way that completely robs you of all vitality and mental energy. When depression is in full, dark bloom, you will find it very hard to summon the will to do anything but moping. You will get drawn deeper and deeper into a lethargic state, and eventually you'll get so drained that no one or nothing will even tickle your fancy, let alone sparkle your will to leave.

Depression is a vicious cycle that drags you further into inaction. The more you settle, the harder it will be to react. But if you look at it the other way around...

The more you take action to confront your depression, the easier it will get every day. The cycle of depression can be reversed, but it takes commitment, effort, and patient. It's like you've gotten into this deep hole of negativity, and the only way to get out is little by little, day by day... by feeling that well with positive thoughts and actions, that slowly and gradually restore your faith in life, and your enjoyment to be alive. Depression can be cured, and it's not really that hard. It's more about consistency than intensity, you know?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why Depression Is The Worst Disease You Can Get

Even though most people seem to look at depression lightly (until they've actually experienced it) or play down its implications,truth of the matter is that depression is one of the worst sicknesses you can experience. Mind yourself, we're talking about clinical depression - the kind that envelops you in inexplicable, unending sadness that does not seem to have a cause, and never seems to go really go away, not even after years or decades of suffering. Today, we'd like to invite you to watch the above video lecture from Mr. Robert Sapolsky, a renowned Stanford teacher who, in this inspirational speaking, makes an argument for why depression is the worst disease you can get. For your reference, here's an overview of the main points he makes: - Depression often goes undiagnosed until after it's completely wrecked the patient's life - From a biological standpoint, depressed patients actually get physical limitations that hinders their ability to function - Most people who haven't experienced it don't even think of it as a sickness, but merely as a fleeting emotional slump - Depression can evolve until it emotionally cripples the patient, bringing their vitality down to zero - Patients suffering from depression are often misunderstood, and their suffering tends to be completely underestimated - When you have a serious sickness everyone tries to help, but when you have depression they just tell you "shake if off" - Many patients will suffer a lifetime of depression, with no one around realizing it's a sickness that can be treated All in all, the reason why depression is the worst disease you can get is because, even in our modern day and age, it's utterly underestimated. Often, it's not even recognized as a "proper" disease! Not only that, but there is much social stigma surrounding major depression episodes, which makes people who experience these problems to grow fearful of reaching out for help. Make no mistake: even for those brave souls who admit they have problems with depression, the treatment is slow and painstaking. It involves a mixture of physiological and psychological treatments that often span months. It's not something that can be treated with just a set of pills, like so many other sicknesses! Unfortunately, most people just don't realize this. We feel that before depression can be effectively treated, our society must evolve towards widespread understanding of the implications of this disease.