Letís Talk about Depression

Published: 14th February 2012
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Most of us will, at some point in our lives, suffer from depression. For the majority of us this condition will be situational and temporary, the result of some traumatic event which will leave us feeling temporarily devastated.

For others, the depression will be chronic, a chemical imbalance in the brain which will affect them regardless of their life situation, leading to an almost constant sense of hopelessness and despair.

The good news is, there are treatments, very effective treatments, for both types of depression. Anti-depressant medication has come a very long way in the last few decades, leading to very effective treatment for many who might otherwise live in a downward spiral of emotional emptiness. To augment these treatments, we offer a list of wonderfully effective, holistic practices which will enhance the treatment of depression with anti-depressant medications, and which may allow you to eventually reduce or even eliminate the use of meds entirely.

Exercise

Physical activity may be the most effective and beneficial natural anti-depressant we can employ. A bit of exercise, even as little as 15-20 minutes a few times a week, will help the body make itself feel better. Exercise releases endorphins throughout the body which are natural mood elevators. The more you exercise, the more endorphins you release, accounting for the so-called ďrunnerís highĒ that long distance runners experience.

Nutrition

Proper diet and nutrition are also critical to reducing the symptoms of depression. The food we choose to eat has a direct impact on brain chemistry. Certain foods, such as fatty foods or foods that are high in sugars can make you feel sluggish. This will add to the depressive feelings of lack of motivation and may cause your depression to deepen. Leafy green vegetables and foods high in fish oils are great brain foods.

Sleep

Proper rest is essential if you suffer from depression. Too little sleep and the brain will not function properly, while too much sleep is just as harmful. If your sleeping patterns have changed dramatically, you may need help to bring them under control. Exercise and improved nutrition will help with either problem. If you have trouble getting to sleep, daily exercise will help calm the mind and wear you out, making it easier to sleep. If youíre sleeping too much, daily exercise will energize you and help to make your days more productive, while still allowing you to sleep well at night.

Attitude

Of course, changing your attitude is important to dealing with depression. A positive mindset is critical to handling the feelings of hopelessness and listlessness caused by depression. A spiritual connection may also improve your outlook. What was it that you enjoyed doing before your depression got the better of you? Music, yoga, meditation, prayer; whatever it takes to get out of your own negative thoughts and into a more positive mindset.

Therapy

Talking helps. You may need to see a therapist to help you implement some of the steps weíve shared here. Studies have shown that that talking with a good counselor or therapist is one of the most beneficial treatments for depression. Especially in conjunction with the steps outlined above, therapeutic talking can do wonders for depression, whether situational or chronic

If you suffer from depression, employ these strategies consistently and you will be off your medication and moving on before you know it. Please though, remember; do not make changes to your own treatment without the advice of your doctor. Your doctor can assess your condition and make recommendations on the best schedule for discontinuing your meds.

Having said all this, it is incumbent upon us to remind you that you should never discontinue the use of anti-depressants without first consulting your doctor. The side effects of stopping anti-depressants on your own, abruptly, can be substantial and serious. The best practice would be to begin using the steps outlined here while continuing your medication and, in consultation with your primary care physician, to wean yourself from the meds on a predetermined schedule.

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About the Author:

Cheryl Hitchcock is an Author, Therapist, Coach, and Public Speaker. She works with the mind and the behaviours to overcome some of the most debilitating, negative, blocking behaviours that cause stress and stress related illnesses. Learn more at http://www.integritycounsellingservices.com.

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