World Mental Health Day: Scientific techniques to fight depression
New Delhi , Oct 9 : Is the loss of a loved one taking a toll on your health or are you often feeling guilty and miserable because of your own actions?The feeling of being deprived, losing hard-earned money on the stock markets, constant health issues, moving to a new city, retirement and several such stressful life events can leave a person vulnerable to depression.
"As per WHO estimates, nearly five crore Indians are suffering from depression and over 300 million people are living with it globally. The figures show an increase of more than 18% in cases of depression as compared with the last decade and account for over two-thirds of global suicides in low- and middle-income countries like India," says Mahesh Jayaraman, co-founder of health platform Sepalika.com.
While there are numerous ways to deal with depression, most often, people resort to prescription antidepressants, and, in some severe cases, Electroconvulsive Therapy.
Managing depression or coping with depression symptoms can be quite challenging and can take a toll on your body as a whole. That's why one needs to explore safe, alternative coping strategies to reverse depression without having to resort to antidepressants.
This World Mental Health Day, here are four scientific ways to deal with depression.
- Eat a Balanced Diet, Rich in High Quality Fats: A balanced and nutritious diet helps promote good health and works effectively on the body to fight depression. The brain tends to rely on a combination of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, especially Omega 3 and Omega 6, vitamins and water to function efficiently.
While good fats- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated - are known to enhance mental calm, trans-fats and saturated fats are bad and can adversely affect brain health. The low supply of essential nutrients could seriously hamper the body's production of amino acids, which are key drivers of psychological health.
Incorporate nutrient-dense animal fats in your daily diet, to provide your body with Vitamin A, arachidonic acid, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and Vitamin K. These nutrients will not only prevent or mitigate depression and anxiety but lead to improved concentration levels, enhanced moods and will result in better focus.
- Conduct Thyroid Function Tests: Abnormal thyroid hormone levels can result in mood swings, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, insomnia and depression. Most of the times, patients with hypothyroidism report these symptoms, but receive diagnosis of major depression, general anxiety or bipolar disorder.
They are prescribed with antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sedatives, or all three, leaving the underlying illness untreated. As per research, a sizeable number of patients with depression may have early hypothyroidism, the cases of about half of which are detected only by thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) testing.
Therefore, if you are detected with hypothyroidism and depression, then dietary supplements that support thyroid function and natural desiccated thyroid hormone can come to your rescue. Remember, as thyroid function improves, depression goes away naturally.
- Consume adequate B Vitamins: Often, low levels of Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins and folate can trigger depression. These vitamins play an important role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions.
Several studies have found that patients with mental disorders are nutrition deficient and lack omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in compelling mental health problems.
Lack of this vitamin can impair cognitive function and negatively affect the brain in several ways. Therefore, the first step is to ensure that your body is getting an adequate amount of B12 from your diet. Vitamin B12 is found in abundance in animal products such as fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, and grass fed dairy products like milk and cheese. Fortified breakfast cereals also are a good source of B12 and other B vitamins.
- Practice Yoga and Meditation: Yoga and meditation can be two most effective ways to fight depression and its symptoms. Yoga and meditation have demonstrated therapeutic effectiveness on many patients dealing with depression, mental and emotional problems.
Regular practice of yoga and meditation can combat depression and help in improving overall well-being. Instead of popping prescription antidepressants that can have serious side effects, especially after prolonged use, practice yoga and meditation as a treatment for depression, and, as an effective alternative to medication that can have serious side-effects.