Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world. Over 264 million people suffer from depression. In the US alone, the number of people struggling with depression tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a definitive end in sight, more people are trying to find ways to stay safe and cope with these symptoms. Thankfully, depression is treatable and you do have options!
What is Depression?Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder, is a debilitating mental illness that negatively affects a person's emotions and behavior. It is more than just 'sadness'. Depression can include:
- A lack of interest/pleasure in daily activities
- A lack of interest/pleasure in hobbies/social life
- Inability to focus
- Lack of energy/feeling exhausted
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Feeling worthiness
- An excessive amount of sleep, or insomnia/restlessness
- Changes in appetite (not eating or excessive)
Typically, depression is diagnosed as such after symptoms have lasted over 2 weeks and reflects a change in normal behavior and functioning.
Some holistic perspectives on depression include seeing the disorder as a call to 'deep rest'. Thought leaders that propose this definition of depression consider its symptoms as the body and mind relaying a need to recharge, rather than trying to push through life at a normal pace. One agreed upon thought is that depression is too widespread and something has to be done.
Common Treatments for Depression
There are many treatment options available for depression. The most common include taking anti-depressants and other psychotic drugs in combination with psychotherapy. These drugs are meant to help lift one's mood and decrease depressive feelings. While this combination can be helpful to some, the negative dependency they can create coupled with the emotional and physical risks reported by many lead some along a path to finding alternative ways to manage or eliminate their symptoms.
It is not surprising that depression is a common occurrence in today's time. With the pandemic, along with our excessively stimulated lifestyles, our minds and body's are overwhelmed. In addition, we are all faced with our own individual challenges that can impact how we cope with experiences.
Nature was one of my biggest healers. The use of herbs and natural modalities, rather than medication, supported me in successfully overcoming depression. I whole heartedly stand behind enlisting holistic methods whenever possible, as doing so not only helps to improve imbalances but also to nourishes the body and mind as well.
Here are a few supplements and activities that are helpful in improving depression:
The relationship between vitamin D and depression is a close one. People who suffer from vitamin D deficiency are more likely to also suffer from depression, and vice versa. Vitamin D3 is necessary for a host of bodily functions, including the improvement of serotonin levels, the same chemical targeted by many antidepressants. Because most depressed people spend much of their time indoors, they often do not get the sunlight necessary to promote healthy vitamin D levels. It is thus important to supplement with good quality vitamin D3, such as this one.
Zinc is an essential trace element well known for its role in preventing the common cold. However, zinc is also essential for many physiological and cellular processes. A little known benefit of zinc is its role in creating psychological homeostasis. Insufficient levels of zinc have been associated not only with depression, but also with a reduced ability to learn and overall cognition. Its importance is gaining notoriety in the psychiatric world, and rightfully so! Without zinc, at least 300 biological processes would be in disarray. Taking zinc regularly can thus improve a myriad of health issues, having a beneficial affect on the entire body, including the mind. A natural blend of zinc, like this one, is best for easy absorption.
Low levels of B Vitamins have been linked with depression in numerous studies. It's no surprise; B vitamins play an important role in the brain's function. A deficiency in B vitamins can lead to dementia, cognitive impairments, and depression. If you're deficient, you many notice tiredness, lack of focus, memory loss, and difficulty handling stress; all lingering symptoms in depressive disorders. Adding B vitamins will be a great improvement to your mood and energy levels. Our liquid B-Complex is easy to take, digest, and can result in noticeable differences in your mood.
Gingko is known as the 'brain herb'. It's been used for centuries for improving mental focus and acuity. For elderly patients taking antidepressants, gingko biloba was effective at improving symptoms of depressions.
There are several studies that validate gingko's beneficial effect on stress, anxiety, cognition, and other mental health challenges. If you suffer from depression, gingko is essential in supporting your ability to focus. A good quality certified organic ginkgo supplement, like this one, is what you should look for (your brain deserves the best!).
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Last, but not least, Omega 3 Fatty Acids are essential for overall health and well-being. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs which can exacerbate mental health issues over time and become addictive, omega 3 fatty acids are safe. In fact, diets rich in omega 3s are at lower risk for developing depression and related mental challenges. Healthy fat is necessary for healthy brain function, plain and simple. The low-fat craze has tarnished fat's reputation but having enough of the right fats nourishes the brain and supports proper cellular signaling. A plant-based option, such as hemp seed powder, can be taken as part of a healthy diet.
The above options are just a few of several holistic supplements you can use to help combat depression. Unlike pharmaceuticals, they are substances the human body easily recognize and utilize for the nourishment of both body and mind. They are non-habit-forming as well as a normal part of a healthy plant-based diet. Put simply, the above supplements should exist in abundance in your daily diet to support a health mental state. Couple this with healthy social and emotional support and you have many of the necessary component to uplifting your spirits naturally.
If you'd like help in learning what supplements work best for your personal situation, schedule a health consultation today!
If you or someone you love is suffering with suicidal thoughts as a result of depression, there is additional support for you. Reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline for 24/7 confidential support: 1-800-273-8255
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