The stigma associated with mental illness is still a powerful one, this despite around 30% of the population experiencing symptoms every yearly.
One of the barriers that prevent people with depression seeking help is the assumption that any treatment automatically means medication. There are many ways to combat depression, especially in its mildest form, without the need for antidepressants.
Mild changes in mood are normal
While a fluctuating mood can be a sign of a more serious depression, it is important to note that everyone from time to time experiences low mood. Feeling down on occasion is not necessarily a sign of depression.
Exercise can help on many different levels, releasing endorphins, breaking negative thought patterns and giving the sufferer a sense of purpose and control over their lives.
Just three hours of exercise a week can be sufficient in improving mood, while physical health has a strong association with a healthy mind.
These are some of the most effective treatments for depression, with several options available.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a powerful tool in breaking negative thought patterns, retraining the brain to avoid destructive rumination.
Counseling is a terrific way for an individual to talk through feelings which may have been bottled up for a long time. In particular, counselling is very effective for those living with grief.
Psychotherapy, on the other hand, involves a trained therapist, which can also involve the arts as means of expression.
Despite the misinformation which surrounds them, most people find taking them is extremely helpful in coping with the worst symptoms associated with depression.
It is important to note that they do not cure depression, rather they provide an important safety net for those who need it and with, for most, very few (if any) side-effects.
There are many different kinds of antidepressants available.
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are the most prescribed. The most commonly known is Fluoxetine (Prozac) but there are many other variations.
SNRIs (Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) are similar to SSRIs. First launched as an improvement on SSRIs, in reality, the results are highly individual. This is true with most antidepressant medications.
TCAs (Tricyclic Antidepressants) are a much older type of antidepressant. These are generally not prescribed as a first-line treatment. Much more dangerous when overdosed, and with much more severe side-effects, TCAs are mostly prescribed when other medication has not worked.
Another older type of medication is MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors). Much like TCAs, these are mostly prescribed when other medications have not worked. Along with a wide range of side-effects, they also interact badly with certain foods and alcohol.
Aside from simple lifestyle choices in diet, sleep and exercise, many find meditation a huge help with depression. Mindfulness CBT (MBCT) has shown very positive results and feedback from those who practise it.
Natural antidepressants like St John’s Wort have been found to be very helpful for some, though it is important to note that it should not be taken with other antidepressants. It is also not recommended for those who suffer with bipolar disorders.
There are many treatments available to those who suffer from depression. Certainly no one need feel hopeless or trapped by this illness. The hardest step for many is asking for help, these are just a few of many options available.
Susan writes for BioBalance a treatment center for depression using only natural methods.