Currently there are 23 million American’s who suffer with depression. The World Health Organization predicts that only 70% of those who do have depression are being treated. And although these numbers seem sad for only those dealing with depression, the truth is that it effects every single one of us as Americans.
Not to mention those families members and friends who have to cope with individuals who suffer from depression, the society will negatively be effected by the large and growing number of individuals who suffer from depression. This is due to the fact that individuals suffering from un-treated depression have more sick days, cost more in medical bills and health care costs as well as effect the emotional health of those around them as we humans are relational people.
So what can be done about Depression? How do you know that you should be checked by your physician for it and how can you prevent it in your own life? Along with all of these questions, how about questions regarding those around you. When and how should you direct your loved ones to consider being examined and checked for depression?
In term of yourself, depression should be considered when you have long periods of sadness, anxiety and change of lifestyle in general. Sometimes these “blues” can be brought on an emotional and/or physical change. Situations for example may be, the death of a loved one, the diagnoses of a disease or sickness, or even the birth of a child. If you notice these same conditions in loved ones around you, gently bring up the topic without making them feel as if they are at fault or “sick”.
Once these symptoms/conditions are noticed, you can bring them up to your primary care doctor. Once he or she is aware of what is going on, they can either refer you to another practitioner or they can treat you themselves. Another option for individuals is to treat their mild (note the word mild) depression holistically ( hollistic medical approaches focus on may facors including but not limited to; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). This can be done in many ways, but please make sure that proper diagnosis as well as the permission from your primary care doctor is given.
- Natural Anti-Depressants: St. John’s Wart – this must be talked to with your physician as it can interfere with birth control pills.
- Food: A well balanced diet of healthy fats, fibrous carbohydrates and lean protein help to deliver all the nutrients the body needs. It is also important to know that our brains thrive and live off of carbohydrates (sugars), this means that carbohydrates are vital to healthy brain development as well as maintenance.
- Exercise: Exercise has many wonderful benefits which include the release of endorphin’s. Endorphin’s help to regulate hormone production as well as the lymphatic which directly correlate to diseases such as depression.
- Sleeping Behavior: New research has shown that the way you sleep effects you ability to process emotions throughout the day and your life. Sleeping with light seems to negatively affect this ability, as it does not allow the part of your brain that deals with this process to truly rest and shut down for it’s needed sleep. This also means that lack of proper sleep eventually will build up and not allow the amount of rest for your body to repair itself to happen.
- “You” Time: In our busy as chaotic world, time for individuals to relax and decompress is vital. This time should not include vices such as alcohol or other addictive substances, but instead should be something you enjoy as well
- Faith: No matter what faith group you belong to, studies have shown that having a connection with a greater being helps individuals to recognize stress in their life as well as deal with it.
Please note that I am not a doctor and that your doctor will have much more information about depression as well as how to treat it based on a persons health history, personality and natural abilities. Depression seems to be something so many people hide from. Know that depression does not change who you are just as diabetes does not make an individual any less than. If you are feeling any of these symptoms or are dealing with depression in your life or someone close to you, know that talking about it is the first step to dealing properly with the situation.