Depression is a very real issue. Anyone feels depressed from time to time, but some people experience chronic depression and others go through emotionally exhausting highs and lows. These conditions receive labels such as major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. Watch television or glance through a glossy entertainment magazine and you are hit with advertising telling you to “ask your doctor” about drugs you can take for these conditions – then you hear a partial list of side effects or you may read several pages of fine print describing these side effects in headache-inducing medical jargon.
Commonly prescribed for depression are drugs called antidepressants. Side effects for these and other psychotropic drugs include sexual dysfunction, nausea, nervousness, insomnia, and agitation. Antidepressants are also packaged with a BLACK BOX WARNING stating they increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults.
Other Depression Facts
Another salient fact is that these drugs are often prescribed in combination. A person can be put on one drug, then prescribed another to offset the effects of the first, to the point of being strung-out on several drugs simultaneously – all while the patient or his insurance carrier shells out good money to fuel dependency on these chemicals. Why is this? One answer is that the marketing, distribution, and prescription of these drugs is highly remunerative for multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical corporations. Whatever your view, a look at alternatives to psycho-pharmaceuticals is highly advisable.
What Causes Depression?
Emotions are a normal and healthy part of being human. Such things as sadness, fear, anger, boredom, and elation are all part and parcel to something called LIFE. It is also true that a person can become consumed with sadness and gloom. Life events can contribute to emotional ups and downs. Financial problems, career setbacks, failures, bullying, and ridicule can all be a factor – as well as severely traumatic events like serious illness, injury, or the death of a friend or family member. Even reading the paper or watching the news can contribute to a generally depressed state of mind.
Labeling depression as a “disease” or “disorder” due to a “chemical imbalance in the brain” is simply a hypothesis or theory – not a scientific or medical fact. One could deem this theory harmless were it not for the fact that it is the exact theory pushed in conjunction with the extensive drug marketing described above.
From a holistic standpoint, there are a number of physical and mental factors known to contribute to depression, including:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Other addictive behavior (sexual addictions, even cigarettes could qualify)
- Excessive consumption of foods that have little to no nutritional value, like fast food, junk food, and products containing large quantities of chemicals, additives, preservatives, pesticides, fats, and sugar
- Hormonal imbalances
- Lack of activity or exercise
- In our society, excessive TV watching
Holistic Solutions to Depression
A fundamental tenant in holistic methodologies is that each person is unique and requires individual attention. Tailoring a program to a person’s specific situation is advised. This could be as simple as formulating and writing down your plan, to forming a support group to help the person through a difficult time. Help from friends and family, nutritional assessment, spiritual guidance, and other therapies are all part of the holistic approach.
Some Steps to Combat Depression
- If you need help getting off drugs or alcohol, seek out a rehabilitation center. We recommend holistic, drug-free methods but everyone is different.
- You can likewise get assistance for other addictive behaviors.
- Eat better! Try organic and natural ingredients. Balanced meals that include protein, fresh fruits, and vegetables will go a long way to improving your state of mind.
- Take walks and/or exercise. Depending on your level of fitness, you may need to start slow, but any activity is better than none. Walk or bike instead of ride. When you walk, look around your environment and notice things; this helps extrovert your attention. Rigorous exercise will also release endorphins; these are hormones released in the brain and nervous system that increase one’s sense of well-being and even relieve pain.
- Hormonal problems can include deficiencies in testosterone in men and estrogen or progesterone in women. You may need to see a professional. Again, we recommend the natural approach.
- Turn off the TV and work on your goals. If you don’t have goals anymore, rekindle them. What have you always wanted to do that you never did? Get out and start doing them.
- Communicate! Talk to friends, relatives, or a pastor – people you can trust. Have some of the conversations you’ve been putting off. Just talking about it can help alleviate the burden. When you’re done discussing the bad stuff, talk about things you enjoy and what you’re doing to reach your goals.
That was a short summary of lifestyle changes you can make. Even if you do only some of them, you should feel positive results in your state of mind. If you do them all, depression may be a thing of the past!