Life is too short not to be happy… but unfortunately anxiety and depression inhibit many to fully enjoy life’s pleasures. People who have these neurobiological disturbances are often unable to live to their potential.
Unfortunately mental health disturbances such as anxiety and depression are increasing dramatically. Mental illnesses currently affect over 400 million people worldwide and in Australia one in five people will experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives.
The World Health Organisation acknowledges that depression is already a leading cause of disability, and predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second leading global disease burden (after heart disease).
The good news is Natural Health Care Practitioners can help.
Depressive disorder is when life experiences of loss, anger, sadness or frustration outweigh a person’s ability to effectively cope with daily experiences
- Lowered mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Diminished interest in everyday activities that are normally enjoyed
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Fatigue and apathy
- Feeling overwhelmed and neglecting responsibilties
- Sleep disturbances such as insomnia or excessive sleeping (sleep disturbance is experienced by at least 90% of people diagnosed with depression)
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feelings of inappropriate guilt
- Diminished ability to think, concentrate or make decisions
- Tendency to withdraw and become socially isolated
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Persistent suicidal thoughts
The causes of depression may be multi-factorial and the following may contribute:
- Chronic stress
- Neurotransmitter imbalance (eg low serotonin)
- Nutritional deficiencies (eg omega 3 fatty acids, folate, Vitamin D)
- Chronic pain or Illness (eg cancer, heart disease)
- Death of a spouse or family member or other traumatic event
- Family history of depression (you may have an increased risk if a family member suffered from depression)
- St John’s wort is highly regarded as a natural anti-depressant and has been clinically proven to be a safe and effective treatment for mild to moderate depression
- Melissa is a very gentle, relaxing herb which is great for stress, anxiety and depression (especially depression with weeping). It is a lovely herb to include if emotional disturbance, acute stress or lowered mood are causing insomnia
- Oats are very nutritive to the nervous system and act as a tonic to restore balance
- Vervain is a wonderful herb to use for depression especially as a result of stress, anxiety or overwork
Cautions and Contraindications
Herbal medicines should not be mixed with any prescribed anti-depressants unless under a professional healthcare practitioner. Please check for contraindications with our professional staff in-store.
- B-group vitamins are vital for support of the nervous system. The usefulness of B-vitamin supplementation for stress support has been known for so long it is almost legendary. B-group vitamins are traditionally given as a complex because they work together particularly in energy and neurotransmitter production – fundamental to the treatment of mental disorders.
- SAMe is required for the synthesis of neurotransmitters (including noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine) which play an important role in regulating normal mood
- Omega 3 fatty acids aid the transmission of nerve impulses needed for normal brain function
- Vitamin D: there is increasing evidence that Vitamin D deficiency plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy nervous system. Studies are now showing an association between reduced sun exposure and mental illness
Diet & Lifestyle
- Seek Help: talk to your doctor who will recommend appropriate counselling which may assist in restoring self-esteem, and coping with life stresses.
- Make Exercise a Priority: regular exercise is crucial for managing depression and lowered mood. It is a fantastic way to help deal with stress as it clears circulating cortisols and releases endorphins – those ‘feel good’ chemicals. By including 30-40mins of exercise most days will not only increase your energy levels but you will enhance your cognitive function, memory and learning and protect against mental health issues.
- Diet: our body needs certain nutrients every day to function optimally. We recommend a well balanced diet that includes 5/6 cups of vegetables and salad, 2/3 pieces of fruit, quality protein, whole grains and legumes, nuts, seeds and quality oils, Limit starchy carbohydrates to 2 small servings per day.
- Increase foods high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids such as oily fish, nuts and seeds. Oily fish (fresh salmon, tuna) should be eaten 3 times a week to boost Omega 3 fatty acids
- Include quality protein in every meal for healthy neurotransmitter production and to help regulate blood sugar and avoid sugar, simple carbohydrates and junk food.
- Eat Foods to Boost your Mood – foods rich in tryptophan (an amino acid), help your body produce serotonin (our feel-good neurotransmitter) Foods containing tryptophan include milk, chicken, turkey, beef, brown rice, fish, eggs, nuts, bananas and vegetables. Combining these with complex carbohydrates will help increase its absorption.
- Avoid alcohol consumption as it has a depressant effect on the brain
– See more at: http://mammothhealth.com.au/health-advice/energy/227-depression#sthash.G02GjOUO.dpuf