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Natural Approaches to Depression
A report by the World Health Organization states that by 2020, depression will be the second-most-common health problem in the world after heart disease. There are many traditional forms of depression therapy treatments, many involving some form of prescribed medication. If you feel you need this approach, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are also holistic approaches available for treating milder forms of depression.
Treat depression with herbs
There are some herbs and supplements that reportedly can be used in the holistic approach to treating depression. As of now, most medical research is inconclusive in regards to these herbal and supplemental remedies. It is best to consult your primary care physician before taking any of these herbs or supplements as some of them may conflict with other prescriptions you may be taking.
According to WebMD, a few herbal supplements and natural vitamins that may aid in slightly relieving depression symptoms include: Saint Johns Wort, Amino Acids, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, B vitamins and Valerian. All of the herbs and supplements can be found at your local health food grocer, but consulting your doctor before purchasing any of them would be strongly advisable.
Treat depression with diet
Although there is no direct evidence that diet can affect depression, there are dietary choices that can affect our moods. Healthy carbohydrates, for example, produce serotonin, a natural calming chemical in our bodies that can help our general mood. Essentially, a well-balanced diet will give your body the tools it needs to stay in balance. Good healthy foods can be found in health food stores or the organic section of your grocery store and may aid in a holistic approach to depression.
Treat depression with exercise
According the Mayo Clinic, exercise is known to release certain brain chemicals that may ease depression, reduce certain immune system chemicals which can increase depression and boost self-confidence. Exercise also creates more opportunities for social interaction and, often, simply gets a sufferer out of the house. The Mayo Clinic goes on to note that any form of exercise might be helpful, from weightlifting to walking to swimming. Adding an exercise program to your self-care regimen may be effective in treating your depression.
Treat depression with massage and yoga
According to a 1999 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, people suffering from depression have a lower level of gamma-aminobutyric chemicals in their brain as compared to people who do not suffer from depression. There are pharmaceutical drugs that can increase this chemical, however, medical research published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2007 showed that doing yoga for one hour a day created an increase of gamma-aminobutyrics in the brains of participants.
According to WebMD, massage may also be an effective depression treatment as it assists with relaxation and release. A 2005 review of the relevant research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience reported that massage therapy lowers the level of cortisol, a stress byproduct produced by the body, and increases the levels of both serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters affecting mood, in the brains of massage therapy clients.