Many people don’t like the idea of turning to anti-depressant medication when faced with a diagnosis of depression or anxiety.
Choosing a more holistic approach of treating the causes and symptoms of mental illness can be an empowering and successful option for some people, for others a combination approach of lifestyle changes and supervised medical intervention produces the best outcomes.
It is essential to be mindful that depression is a form of mental illness that can affect anyone at any stage in life regardless of age, gender or status.
We as a society have been working hard to any remove any negative stigmas surrounding mental health and to reach out to support those in need.
If you feel you may be suffering from any form of depression or know someone who is, please don’t hesitate to contact your personal health care provider or any of the many support networks available and discuss your feelings or concerns.
Natural treatments can work upon the same principals as medications, which is to restore normal levels of chemicals in the brain (serotonin and nor epinephrine) or to enhance the body’s natural ability to control and regulate moods.
Changes in behaviour, lifestyle and diet, combined with regular therapy and professional supervision can work to achieve or restore a positive healthy mental state.
When seeking to treat depression naturally, certain factors are fundamental.
Below are some natural ways that may help with depression:
- Ensuring you get enough sleep is vital for regulation of many body processes including hormone production.
- Eating a nutritionally balanced diet too and maintaining a healthy weight is also necessary for optimum metabolic regulation and thyroid function, both believed to play a significant role in the incidence of depression.
- One method of combatting depressive disorders is to increase the natural levels of endorphins in the body; endorphins are responsible for relieving stress and are often referred to as the body’s very own natural antidepressants. Regular physical exercise (particularly aerobic), meditation, laughter, spicy foods, music and positive social interactions will all produce various levels of these hormones proven to positively enhance moods and emotions.
- Certain foods, natural herbs, vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements have also been identified as essential or beneficial; St. John’s wort, Folic acid, Omega-3 fatty acids, B group vitamins, magnesium, beta-carotene and probiotic’s are all recommended.
- Of equal benefit is avoiding certain foods and substances such as sugar, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol. Selecting a diet rich in organic, nutrient dense, whole foods and free from artificial additives, colours and preservatives is also popular.
- Other natural holistic approaches which may be considered for reducing stress and in turn treating depression include seeking and participating in support groups, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, yoga, massage therapy and light therapy. Identifying and removing or avoiding stressors and developing stress management techniques can further diffuse potential depressive episodes.
- Talk therapies or psychological therapy is still widely believed to be the primary and most successful treatment of major depression.
It is important to remember mental illness is a serious health condition with varying severities and all treatments regardless of type will take time.
Seeking help is essential and selecting the right combination of natural remedies and traditional interventions including pharmaceutical medication is best undertaken with professional guidance.
If you feel you need more information there are a number of national networks available to assist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Caring for our mental wellbeing and that of our loved ones is just as important as our physical health, knowing when, where and how to seek the appropriate help can make the world of difference.
Below are some organisations that can help:
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- MindSpot Clinic – 1800 61 44 34
- Relationships Australia – 1300 364 277
- SANE Australia Helpline – 1800 18 7263
- Black Dog institute