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Depression - Depression 2010
Written by Frank Mangano   
Sunday, 07 November 2010 16:22

Depressed State

If there’s anything that this country is suffering from, it’s depression.  The country’s economic state is depressed (9.6 unemployment), the value of the dollar is depressed (one American dollar is equal to 0.70 Euros, the lowest the dollar’s been worth in nine months) and the cost of gold is within 1 percent of being as expensive as it’s ever been ($1,387 per ounce).

With news like this, where good news is hard to come by, it comes as no surprise that the news on emotional depression is just as bleak.

Approximately 21 million Americans are affected by depression, which is characterized by a number of physical, mental and emotional manifestations expressed over a prolonged period of time, like despondency, hopelessness, dejection and sadness.  And according to a new study out of Duke University, people afflicted with it have a really hard time kicking it.

That’s not to say that people with depression can’t get better.  Certainly they can, but according to Duke University’s John Curry, they’ll likely relapse into the same depressed state in less than five years.

Curry and his colleagues came to this conclusion after recruiting approximately 200 adolescent males and females (between the ages of 12 and 17) and then splitting the group into four smaller groups.  Each group underwent a prescribed treatment plan: a daily Prozac, cognitive behavioral therapy, a combination of both, or a daily placebo.

At the study’s conclusion, there was no single treatment – or combination of treatments – that proved better than the other; virtually all of the participants showed at least some improvement in their mood and general outlook on life within the five-year study period (95 percent).  But what was so interesting – alarming, even – was that nearly half of the participants had another significant bout with depression within two years of their initial recovery.

Duke researchers also found that women (57 percent) were much more likely to have a relapse than men (33 percent).

In a statement, Curry said, “We need to learn why females in this age range have higher chances of descending into another major depression after they have made a recovery.”

But there’s something else that ought to spark Curry’s curiosity:  Why weren’t any of the participants treated naturally?

Naturally Treating Depression:  Pseudo-Science?

Thankfully, natural and holistic healing for physical and emotional issues doesn’t carry the same pseudo-science moniker it once did.  Nevertheless, I’m not naïve enough to believe that the majority of professors and doctors don’t still roll their eyes when it’s mentioned.  They don’t.  After all, if they considered it a legitimate option, Duke researchers would have added a natural treatment approach to the ones already in place.

Look, I’m not one to judge how anyone goes about treating depression.  As far as I’m concerned, if one treatment works best for you, by all means continue using it.  But the fact that there was no significant difference in recovery between those that took a placebo and those that took a Prozac speaks to the uncertainty of treatments and their effectiveness.

Therefore, why not opt for treating depression naturally?  You’ll avoid the costs of prescription medications and the documented side effects that virtually everyone who’s ever been on an antidepressant experiences (e.g. nausea, fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, decreased libido, etc.).

Alternative Options for Treating Depression

There’s no question that depression is a serious problem that needs to be taken seriously and treated effectively.  But there’s also no question that depression is often a function of a nutritional deficiency.  Thus, taking a daily multivitamin is probably the easiest thing to do to make sure you’re giving your body – and your mind – the nutrients it needs (e.g. Vitamin B Complex, an essential vitamin for mental and emotional well-being, is drained from the body when one’s diet is rife with refined sugars and simple carbohydrates).

Another easy way that may help treat depression is through the use of fish oil.  In a study of approximately 400 participants with either mild depression or another anxiety disorder, people with mild depression experienced improvements in their mood.  It’s important to note here, though, that the fish oil was specialized (i.e. the doctors made their own) and that the participants that experienced improvements had mild depression, not severe.

Aside from the potential benefits fish oil has in improving one’s mood, it’s just plain smart to take fish oil for the sheer number of health benefits they provide.

Something else to consider for treating mild depression is starting a regular exercise regimen. Exercise releases endorphins that help to naturally improve one’s mood.  You may have found this to be the case in your own experience after exercising.  Well, you feel that way not simply because you got it out of the way, but also because exercise stimulates the brain to produce large amounts of endorphins.

Exercise also improves one’s sense of confidence, it takes your mind off of life’s daily stresses, and it increases social interaction – all things that help counter depressive symptoms.

Finally there’s the use of herbal supplements.  There are many worthwhile supplements to consider taking – like ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root and oat straw - but St. John’s wort is perhaps the most effective of them all.  And the reason St. John’s wort is so effective is because it acts as monoamine oxidase inhibitors do (MAOIs), which is to say that they prevent the brain’s neurotransmitters from being metabolized.  But it does it without the side effects that MAOIs carry.

It’s been a depressing last few years for the country.  No question we’re experiencing tough times. But just as the economy will bounce back – and it will – you can bounce back from your own personal depression by employing these strategies in your recovery efforts.


Sources

goldalert.com
depression.about.com
naturalhealthontheweb.com
mayoclinic.com
mayoclinic.com
Balch, Phyllis A.  “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.”  4th Edition.  Avery:  2006.

  

 

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