Treating Mild to Moderate Depression
Even mild depression needs to be taken seriously. Since Depression can lead to subsequent depressions and since depression can lead to suicide, it’s important to start counteracting the loss of zest for life as soon as you notice Symptoms: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175/DSECTION=symptoms. Seek a professional consultation immediately to determine the underlying cause of your depression and take the following steps.
Non Pharmacological Treatment for Depression: (1) Move! Do something, even if it’s walking around the block. Exercise breaks down stress chemicals & boosts neurotransmitters that make you feel good. (2) Meditate or do yoga. Being still & breathing deeply slowly shifts things. (3) Eat Healthy & Include Protein in each meal & snacks. Food affects your Mood. (4) Avoid foods that can lead to sugar crashes & mood swings like sugar, coffee, excessive tea drinking, & excess salt. (5) Avoid Addictive chemicals, including Alcohol and marijuana (depressants). (6) Monitor Self-Talk, depression likes to talk trash, so take it out. (7) Problem Solve: Make a list of 3 goals every day and do them. (8) Call friends. Women Stress Manage by Tending & Befriending. (9) Consult your naturopath about supplements. There are a lot of new supplements designed to assist with mood regulation, but it is important that you use one that suits your needs so that you don’t wind up feeling worse.
If you have trouble doing the first 9 steps or don’t experience relief from doing them, see a psychiatrist or prescribing psychiatric nurse for a diagnosis and prescription. Depression due to bipolar disorder is treated differently than major depression. Depression can develop in reaction to severe or chronic excess stress of any kind. The source of the stress can be from a number of sources, including chronic pain, economic stress, physical illnesses, old traumas that have not resolved – posttraumatic stress disorder, intense grief, emotionally abusive relationships, poor stress management, etc. Diseases of the endocrine system also tend to cause depression and should be ruled out by seeing a doctor or naturopath.
Reducing the source of the stress is a key to healing depression without relapsing again. It is important to identify and treat the underlying cause. An important step in treating any depression is getting an assessment of the underlying cause.
Treating Complex, Resistent Depression due to Childhood Abuse and/or Neglect
Healing depression related to childhood abuse and/or neglect is more complicated, tends to be of greater duration & subject to relapse, which causes greater damage to the mindbody. Due to these factors, it is Important to find a therapist trained in a variety of trauma specific therapies and to stick with a program of recovery for a sustained length of time. Adult child abuse victims often leave counseling prematurely. Knowing that it takes sustained effort can prevent impatience with the process that leads to despair or dropping out because you start to feel better. Just because you are feeling better does not necessarily mean that the underlying issues are resolved.
Treating Moderate to Severe Depression
If you have Moderate to Severe Depression, consult your doctor about medication. There is medical evidence that SSRIs (class of anti-depressants related to Prozac) help regenerate a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which shrinks in volume when depressed. Taking the drugs will help you recover the energy and the desire to adopt the above mental health regimen. As you feel better, you can gradually phase out the medication with the guidance of your doctor. Abruptly ending medication complicates the healing process. Research has shown that the best overall treatment for depression is a combination of therapy and medication.
The sooner you begin recovery, the better prognosis for long-term health and overall well-being. Most age related disease is stress related disease. I believe that treating depression comprehensively can put you on a track for life-time health.
©Noreen Wedman 2011