Depression • Natural Home Treatment

Depression is more than just the blues. There are many kinds of depression, some that last for short periods and some that will not ease without treatment.  

Depression - Image of a girl with head down, sitting on a bench alone

Clinical depression causes symptoms that affect your daily activities and persist for two weeks or more. Persistent depressive disorder is a depression that lasts for two years or more.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Some or all of these might be present

  • Appetite changes
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in one’s personal hobbies
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Physical aches
  • Self-loathing
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Weight changes

PREVALENCE

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) affects about 3.3 million American adults, according to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) but there are other anxiety and depression-related disorders affecting many more.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Depression is usually treated with medications or psychotherapy. Other options are brain stimulation therapies. Medications and brain stimulation therapies often have side effects.

SELF TREATMENT

If you are receiving any kind of treatment from a doctor for depression, check with the physician before trying any alternative therapies.  It’s safe to change your diet to a healthier one, add a little exercise or talk to a friend, but taking herbs along with medicines can be dangerous.

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against physiological disorders. Hormones off-kilter are often the cause for depression. A study by Felice Jacka PhD and reported by the BMC Medicine journal on January 2017, showed that people with moderate to severe depression can improve their mood by eating a healthier diet.

It is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point. When you’re in the Zone, you have balanced hormones, blood sugar that is neither too high nor too low, you are alert and NOT hungry.

FOODS THAT PROMOTE HEALING

  • Bone broth
  • Foods with tryptophan (like free-range turkey and pumpkin seeds)
  • Healthy fats (olives, nuts, avocado, etc)
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Quality protein
  • Raw nuts
  • Whole fresh fruits and vegetables

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods of all kinds
  • Smoking
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Chamomile
  • Green
  • Lemon Balm
  • Passionflower
  • Peppermint
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Rose
  • St. Johns Wort

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Borage
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Hawthorn berries
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Licorice
  • Nutmeg
  • Passionflower
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron– Saffron might increase serotonin levels in the brain.  One study found it as effective as Prozac in reducing symptoms of depression (Jouranl of Ethnopharmacology).
  • Skullcap
  • St. John’s Wort – may interact with medications
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Vervain

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath.

  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary Sage
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Jasmine
  • Kava kava
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Patchouli
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Turmeric
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • 5-HTP
  • Omega 3’s
  • SAMe- S-adenosylmethionine is a supplement which affects the sythesis of neurotransmitters in the brain and is shown to have fewer side effects than many antidepressants (which suggests there are some).
  • Theanine
  • Vitamin B-complex
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12

HYDRATION

Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. It may be difficult to get yourself up and about when you are feeling low, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can and tomorrow maybe you can do a little more. The more you move around, breathe in fresh air, stimulate the production of endorphins, the better you are likely to feel.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines physical health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend, join a support group. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Get plenty of sunlight.  If you live in a dreary, sun-challenged environment, get a therapeutic light box.
  • If you are depressed from caring for a loved one who is ill, or for any other identifiable reason, look for a support group.  It’s very helpful to share with others who are experiencing the same challenges you are.  You may find unexpected solutions there, as well.
  • It may help to do a little bit of inspirational reading each day…something positive and upbeat.
  • Set some goals and try to get into a routine
  • Try to do something you enjoy for a little while every day.  Or something that you used to enjoy when you weren’t depressed.
  • Try to get good rest.  Don’t watch TV or the computer screen for an hour before bedtime.  Use blue-blocking sunglasses if you do. Keep lights out in the bedroom, including digital alarm clocks.
  • You may not know why you are depressed.  It may be situational, hormonal, or both, since anxiety from life’s challenges often throw our biology out of whack.  However, try to determine if there is an adjustable cause, like your terrible job, or a negative person who just won’t give you any peace.  If the cause is identifiable, look for ways to make an adjustment, even if it is to give up a friend or find a new job.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • If you are on medications, consider the possibility that your meds may have something to do with your depression.
  • The longer you suffer from depression without taking action to address the underlying causes, the more difficult it may be to recover. If you are depressed for more than a couple weeks, seek help to find and address the cause.
  • If you have turned to drugs or alcohol to ease your suffering, get help now! You do not need an addiction to partner with your depression. Each will feed the other.
  • If others who know you begin to show signs of concern for your safety and well-being, it may be time to consider that you are in denial.

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep
  • Social contact
  • Pleasurable activities

 

 

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