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Are Natural Remedies Useful for Depression?

Depression is a serious mental disease that is characterized by the persistent, overpowering feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and apathy. According to the World Health Organization, depression is considered a global epidemic, affecting around 5% of the world population. There is no one definitive cause of depression, but rather, it is a disorder that develops over time and can be triggered by stress, unhealthy lifestyle, hormonal fluctuations, and other factors. While there are many treatments for depression out there, this article will highlight the best natural remedies for depression and compare them to other treatments.

Natural remedies can decrease the physical and emotional symptoms of depression

Depression

Depression symptoms can be physical, emotional, or both. Physical symptoms of depression include fatigue, insomnia, changes in appetite, body aches, cramps, and headaches. Emotional symptoms include thoughts of suicide, irritability, loss of interest in hobbies, and feelings of helplessness, guilt, and worry.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies may be helpful for treating mild depression. These include:

1

Yoga or tai chi

Studies suggest that yoga can reduce the impact of excessive stress and may be helpful for treating depression. By reducing stress and anxiety, yoga and tai chi appear to lessen stress response systems. This consequently lowers the heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and eases respiration. Yoga has also been shown to release serotonin, which is the "feel-good" neurotransmitter that is secreted during exercise.

2

Exercise

Exercising regularly releases serotonin and endorphins in the brain, which promote good feelings. Exercising also offers other health benefits, such as lifting mood, improving sleep quality, increasing energy, and reducing stress. The general recommendation is to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five times a week. Cycling, swimming, and walking are all good low-impact exercises.

3

Herbal remedies

There are certain herbs that have been used traditionally to help reduce depression symptoms. St. John's wort is widely used for treating depression. Kava root is also known to help ease anxiety symptoms by promoting relaxation and easing tension.

4

Support groups

Knowing you are not alone is a big part of fighting depression. Going to support groups can be very beneficial because you meet people who are experiencing similar things, and they can offer helpful advice.

Other Treatments

There are many treatments for depression available, and natural remedies may not always be enough. However, they can be used to complement the following treatment methods:

1

Psychotherapy

There are many types of psychotherapy, but they essentially involve examining and talking about your past in order to treat present problems. Psychotherapy aims to help you learn more about yourself and improve interpersonal relationships by promoting positive thinking.

2

Medication

Doctors can prescribe appropriate medication for depression relative to your condition. Typically, a combination of antidepressants and talk therapy is recommended.

Depression affects nearly 10% of American adults on average. Unlike the occasional sad mood, depression is a constant psychological state that can interfere with daily life. Natural remedies - like herbal supplements and exercise - can be very useful in treating depression. It is important to consider all of the different treatment options out there in order to find which one (or combination) works best given your symptoms. Read complete approaches for treating depression.

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Sources:
  • Harvard Health Publications. (2009). Yoga for anxiety and depression. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/April/Yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression
  • National Health Service UK. (2014). Treating clinical depression. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Treatment.aspx
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d). What Is Depression? Retrieved November 24, 2014, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml