Depression and how to treat it

Depression 

Depression is the common cold of mental disorders most people will be affected by depression in their lives either directly or indirectly, through a friend or family member. Confusion is commonplace about depression, for example, about what depression exactly is and what makes it different from just feeling down. There is also confusion surrounding the many types of depression (e.g., unipolar depression, biological depression, manic depression, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, etc.) that people may experience. There have been so many terms used to describe this set of feelings we've all felt at one time or another in our lives, to one degree or another, that it is time to set the record straight.

Depression is characterized by a number of common symptoms. These include a persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood, and feelings of hopelessness or pessimism. A person who is depressed also often has feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness. They no longer take interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed; this may include things like going out with friends or even sex. Insomnia, early-morning awakening, and oversleeping are all common.



Appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain may be symptoms of depression in some people. Many others experience decreased energy, fatigue, and a constant feeling of being "slowed down." Thoughts of death or suicide are not uncommon in those suffering from severe depression. Restlessness and irritability among those who have depression is common. A person who is depressed also has difficulty concentrating, remembering, and trouble making decisions. And sometimes, persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to traditional treatments such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain may be signs of a depressive illness.

Symptoms

  • Feelings of Helplessness and Hopelessness: A bleak outlook nothing will ever get better and there's nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of Interest in Daily Activities: No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You've lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or Weight Changes: Significant weight loss or weight gain a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep Changes: Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or Irritability: Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of Energy: Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing: Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless Behavior: You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration Problems: Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained Aches and Pains: An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

How can I know if I have Depression?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won't go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
  • you can't sleep or you sleep too much.
  • you can't concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult.
  • you feel hopeless and helpless.
  • you can't control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try.
  • you have lost your appetite or you can't stop eating.
  • you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual.
  • you're consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior.
  • you have thoughts that life is not worth living (seek help immediately if this is the case).

Food That Cure Depression

Replace refined sweets with nutrient-packed foods, such as fresh fruit, crunchy vegetables, whole grain bagels, or low-fat yogurt.
Aim for several servings daily of chicken, legumes, fish, bananas, avocados, and dark green leafy vegetables. Also, include at least two folic acid-rich foods in the diet, such as spinach, broccoli, orange juice, or chard.

Fish Oils: Contain omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that depressed people often lack a fatty acid known as EPA. Participants in a 2002 study featured in the Archives of General Psychiatry took just a gram of fish oil each day and noticed a 50 percent decrease in symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive. Omega-3 fatty acids can also lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health. Get omega-3s through walnuts, flaxseed and oily fish like salmon or tuna.

Brown Rice: Contains vitamins B1 and B3, and folic acid. Brown rice is also a low-glycemic food, which means it releases glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventing sugar lows and mood swings. Brown rice also provides many of the trace minerals we need to function properly, as well as being a high-fiber food that can keep the digestive system healthy and lower cholesterol. Instant varieties of rice do not offer these benefits. Any time you see "instant" on a food label, avoid it. 

Brewer's Yeast: Contains vitamins B1, B2 and B3. Brewer's yeast should be avoided if you do not tolerate yeast well, but if you do, mix a thimbleful into any smoothie for your daily dose. This superfood packs a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals in a small package, including 16 amino acids and 14 minerals. Amino acids are vital for the nervous system, which makes brewer's yeast a no brainer for treating depression. 

Cabbage: Contains vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage protects against stress, infection and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. There are numerous ways to get cabbage into your diet; toss it in a salad instead of lettuce, use cabbage in place of lettuce wraps, stir fry it in your favorite Asian dish, make some classic cabbage soup or juice it. To avoid gas after eating cabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cumin seeds before cooking. Cabbage is also a good source of blood-sugar stabilizing fiber, and the raw juice of cabbage is a known cure for stomach ulcers.

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