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Because of the hopelessness that depression fosters, some women who suffer from depression might believe there are no treatment options available. Fortunately, they would be wrong. Depression is a common symptom of menopause that's root cause is hormonal imbalance that's unavoidable prior to menopause. Up to 30% of women going through menopause will suffer from depression. Though depression may be unpleasant and affect nearly all aspects of a woman's life, it is important to remember that menopause, rather than being an illness, is a natural, normal change in a woman's body.
Fortunately, as depression is a consequence of fluctuations in hormones such as estrogen, it is possible to treat this imbalance. Though it used to be in vogue to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat this fundamental imbalance, persistent links to breast and ovarian cancer, along with heart disease and blood clots, have caused most healthcare professionals to rethink this drastic option. Many agree that the most effective approach in treating depression is to combine a few changes in lifestyle with alternative treatment options.
Three Approaches for Treating Depression
Three levels of approaches can be considered for treating depression. These are categorized as: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine and (3) Medications. It is recommended to begin with the least risky option, lifestyle changes, before progressing up to the next stage of treatment for depression. Medications should be used only in extreme cases. Read on to find out about key ways to fight depression.
1. Lifestyle Changes
This primary level of treatment for depression involves the least amount of risk, though conversely it requires the highest amount of self discipline. Simple changes in lifestyle can reap huge benefits in fighting depression. Fundamentally, regular exercise and an improved diet can do a woman great service.
It is vital for a woman suffering from depression to lead an active lifestyle. The physiological and physical benefits of regular exercise will help ease the symptoms of depression. Exercise is not a magic cure, but it can often relieve milder forms of depression. Often exercise is the last thing that a woman would want to do when she is feeling depressed. However, once the initial inertia has been overcome, it's not too difficult to stick to a weekly exercise regime. As little as three 30 minute sessions of exercise a week could improve symptoms of depression.
Increasing fitness and taking part in sporting activities such as swimming, walking, golf, biking, etc. Releases feel-good endorphins, relieves muscle tension, reduces stress and can aide sleeping patterns and improve body image.
It is common for women suffering from depression to become introverted, which can lead to isolation. Joining a gym or a sports club is a great way of meeting new people and of sustaining a healthy social life.
Even if regular exercise does not fully banish those negative thoughts, it is worth giving it a try as, after all, only positive health benefits can be gained.
Diet in particular is key to alleviating depression. Foods can significantly influence the brain's behavior. Many people do not consume an adequate diet, so simple additions or subtractions from the usual grocery shop can make a difference to a person's health. Studies have shown that diets rich in foods that promote estrogen production (such as soy, apples, alfalfa, cherries, potatoes, rice, wheat, and yams) go a long way in treating symptoms of depression.
As well as increasing the intake of foods rich in nutrients it is important to cut out certain foods that are thought to cause this symptom. It is common for depression to lead to a decrease in appetite and an increase in cravings for sugary foods and alcoholic drinks. Although alcohol is often used as a temporary escape and can initially make victims of depression feel good, it usually just leads to vitamin deficiencies and deeper depression. Similarly, sugary snacks and caffeine will give those suffering from depression a quick energy boost, but this will only leave them feeling down and anxious when the effects wear off.
Simple Lifestyle Changes for Depression
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Sleep 7 to 8 hours per night
Intake vitamins B, C, D and E
Practice breathing exercises
Eat a balanced diet
Making lifestyle changes is easier said than done, especially if one is accustomed to a certain routine. In addition, while these changes will help with depression, they do not address the problem directly at the hormonal source of this symptom, so further treatment may be necessary. Alternative medicine has proven to be excellent for treating depression in a safe and effective way.
2. Alternative Medicine
Alternative approaches involve little to no risk and can be an extremely effective way to treat depression. This level of approach can involve several different therapies. Herbal supplements are the most prominent, though in addition women may turn to such techniques as acupuncture, biofeedback, massage, aromatherapy, or hypnosis. All of these can be valid and effective options. Most women find that herbal supplements are the easiest alternative treatment for depression, as the others require a greater time and monetary commitment. In addition, these are the only viable option to treat the hormonal imbalance directly at its source.
In the case of herbal supplements, there are two types of herbs that can be used for treating depression: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements. Phytoestrogenic herbs (e.g. black cohosh) contain estrogenic components produced by plants. These herbs, at first, do treat the hormonal imbalance that causes depression by introducing these plant-based estrogens into the body. However, as a result of adding outside hormones, a woman's body may become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This causes a further decrease of the body's own hormone levels and puts her at risk of falling deeper into depression.
By contrast, hormone-regulating supplements don't contain any estrogen. These herbs stimulate a woman's hormone production by nourishing the pituitary and endocrine glands, causing them to more efficiently produce natural hormones. This ultimately results in balanced estrogen levels. These supplements (e.g. Macafem) can be considered the safest way to treat depression naturally as the body creates its own hormones and doesn't require any outside assistance.
From “Nature and Health Magazine”, Dr. Chacon says:
“Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production, by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands”. Click on the following link if you want to read and learn more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches is usually the most effective way to treat depression. Lifestyle changes combined with alternative medicine will most likely be the best way to alleviate depression. However, for some women their depression is so severe that a more drastic treatment is necessary. In taking the leap into pharmaceutical options, side effects are inevitable, yet sometimes they can be worth it if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Interventions at the third level involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. The most common drug therapy for treating menopausal depression in the United States is HRT. This may be a quick and strong way to combat hormonal imbalance; but, unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of different types of cancer among women, as the following study has proven.
In 1991 The National Institute of Health (NIH) launched the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the largest clinical trial ever undertaken in the United States. The WHI was designed to provide answers concerning possible benefits and risks associated with use of HRT. This study was canceled in July 2002, after it was proven that synthetic hormones increase risks of ovarian and breast cancer as well as heart disease, blood clots, and strokes. The findings were published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and to this date have not been disputed.
There are a large amount of antidepressant medications available if a doctor feels that treatment approach is warranted. If a woman's depression is so severe that she is still considering this final option, it is wise and necessary to speak to a healthcare professional for guidance.
These three levels of approaches are not mutually exclusive. A woman may use different approaches at different times or any combination of them, depending on the duration and severity of her depression. Today more and more women find that dealing with depression is best accomplished via a combination of healthy lifestyle and alternative treatments.
A Safe Way for Treating Depression
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements for treating hormonal imbalance, as seen in the second approach, are considered to be the most effective solution. Low costs and the non existence of side effects are only some of the reasons why this treatment option is preferred.
Macafem, for example, is an excellent hormone-regulating herbal supplement. It's simple: rather than putting hormones from the outside into the body artificially, Macafem stimulates your hormone glands into producing the necessary hormones naturally. This is what makes Macafem so unique. Click on the following link if you want to learn more about Macafem.
Yoga combines holding physical poses and controlled breathing. Yoga is an excellent practice for women suffering from depression during menopause. It not only accommodates all skill levels, but also offers a gentle aerobic exercise. Benefits of yoga include higher pain tolerance, reduced stress, improved mood, and increased flexibility.
Many sufferers of depression want to find a safe and effective solution to their illness, and are happier with the idea of taking natural vitamin supplements rather than synthetic antidepressants. This article considers whether or not vitamins are really a viable solution for treating depression.