Depression is a major health condition affecting millions of people worldwide. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. More locally, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 16 million American adults suffered from at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That equates to almost 7% of the world’s population. Many people who suffer from this condition turn to their doctors to give them anti-depressants. However, some people prefer a more holistic or alternative approach.
If this is you, there are some natural remedies that may help you overcome or cope with your depression. Try some of these all-natural treatments.
Serotonin imbalance is one of the causes of depression. Prozac, a leading treatment for depression works by inhibiting serotonin reuptake inhibitors, increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain. Some foods help to raise serotonin levels naturally, especially those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like:
- Fish oil
- Coconut oil
- Flaxseed Oil
- Sour Cherries
Also, increasing folic acid has also been shown to help ease the symptoms of depression. Spinach and avocado are rich in folic acid. You can also get your nutrient levels checked with a blood test and see if you’re deficient in anything.
Meditation, when used as a part of mindfulness therapy, has been shown to help lower depression. Also, it helps those taking conventional therapy from relapsing. In two separate studies, people were treated with antidepressants until their symptoms subsided. One group continued taking medication while another group went on a regimen of meditation therapy. While relapse rates compared to those taking medication were the same at around 30%, it was lower than the group given a placebo, with a 70% relapse rate. The second study found that with meditation therapy, only 47% of the group relapsed while 60% taking antidepressants alone relapsed.
Meditation is best practiced with a bit of guidance at first. There’s more to it than just sitting, closing your eyes, and watching the breath. There are numerous techniques and numerous ways to handle the obstacles that come up. A good book or teacher can be a big help getting started.
Using cannabis to treat depression is no new thing. An English clergyman by the name of Robert Burton recommended the use of cannabis in his book The Anatomy of Melancholy back in 1621. Doctors in India were actively using it to treat depression in patients during the same period. In fact, a 2006 study found that active cannabis users have lower levels of depressive symptoms than non-users. Additionally, researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that THC in low doses can serve as an antidepressant and increase serotonin levels.
In fact, both THC and CBD have been known to have sedative, antidepressant and antipsychotic effects on those who consume the plant. Look beyond THC content to get the most mood-boosting effects and choose a strain high in the terpene limonene. Pineapple Express and Harlequin are two strains that are recommended for battling depression.
There are different methods of ingestion like: edibles, dry herb vaporizers, drinkables, tinctures etc. Some take longer to take effect and some are quick to hit and provide the relief needed. It’s individual and based on tolerance level, so always go for a smaller dose to see how does your body react to it.
You’ve probably been told before what exercise can do for mood and brushed it off. You don’t need to go for a 30-minute jog to reap the benefits that exercise can have on mood. A simple 15-minute walk through the neighborhood can do enough to increase endorphin levels and endorphins are what makes us feel happy.
Exercising just a few times a week can encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways. Not feeling up to walking or have physical disabilities that may prevent it? Try yoga. While additional studies need to be completed, some studies have shown that practicing yoga reduces stress, hostility, anxiety, and depression. It may also improve energy and quality of sleep.
5. Light Therapy
This particular natural remedy is especially effective for those suffering from a kind of depression called seasonal affective disorder. In this type of depression, a person’s mood is affected by the shortened days brought about by the winter season. Getting a specialized light that is made to mimic sunlight and basking in its glow for 15 minutes a day to start and spending up to two hours daily depending on the severity of symptoms may help. This particular type of therapy might help reset natural circadian rhythms, because depression and sleep cycles may be tied together.
These are just a few natural remedies that can help overcome and treat depression. Most of these are holistic and a few, like exercise and meditation, are virtually free. Trying these remedies might just help you feel better, boost your mood, and put you on the road to being depression-free.
Michael Jacobs is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined with healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points.
Also check out this article on Depression: What Is Depression And How Can We Help?