For many people living with depression, prescription medications may be the solution, usually antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline). But these medications can often have side effects and can be expensive depending on your health insurance coverage.
If you have depression, you can try to control it naturally, without medication, or supplement your antidepressant with other tactics. If so, check out these natural alternatives, and then talk to your doctor about which one might make sense as part of your treatment regimen.
Always take symptoms of depression seriously, as depression does not go away on its own.
While there are many things you can do to support your mental health, don’t try to manage symptoms alone. talk to your doctor and discusses some of the self-help strategies that can support treatment.
Sleep and mood go hand in hand. If you get little sleep, your mood will surely weaken (whether you have depression or not). Make sure you have what sleep experts call «good sleep hygiene.»
This means that you maintain consistent bedtime and wake times, and that your bedroom is set up for deep sleep (it’s dark, quiet, and uncluttered), plus you need to have a relaxing bedtime routine that doesn’t involve, for example, sit in front of a screen.
The relationship between sleep and depression can be complex. Not only is lack of sleep thought to contribute to the onset of depression, but depression can cause poor-quality sleep.
If you can’t seem to sleep or can’t get out of sleep, there are steps you can take to try to improve the quality of your sleep:
Take some time to relax before going to bed; do something relaxing and avoid stressful tasks or thoughts.
Go to bed at the same time each night and set an alarm to wake you up at the same time each morning.
Have a consistent bedtime routine.
Turn off the devices and try reading a book for a few minutes.
Also, try to spend some time outside every day, even on days when you’re tempted to close the curtains and hide inside. Light plays an important role in regulating sleep cycles and circadian rhythms, so a lack of sunlight can make it more difficult to sleep at night.
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and even chocolate contain caffeine. It’s fine to consume a reasonable amount of caffeine in the morning, but if you do, don’t consume caffeine later in the afternoon so it doesn’t interfere with sleep.
If you tend to become dependent on caffeine, try gradually reducing the number of cups you drink to avoid unpleasant caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
When you fancy a soda or cup of coffee, try taking a short walk to shift your focus.
Get more vitamin D
There is some evidence that a deficiency of this important nutrient could play a role in depression.
If you don’t get enough vitamin D through your diet and lifestyle (such as sun exposure), ask your doctor if you should try taking a supplement.
Certain nutrient deficiencies can influence symptoms of depression. If you have difficulty spending enough time outdoors or if cloudy weather conditions make it difficult to get out into the sun, a supplement may be helpful.
To treat mild to moderate depression, dietary supplements such as St. John’s wort, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) are worth trying. 4
Research has shown that St. John’s wort is more effective than placebo in relieving symptoms in people with mild to moderate depression.
However, be careful with these substances. Do not take any of them without first consulting your doctor. The fact that they are available without a prescription and are promoted as natural does not mean that they are always safe.
For example, mixing St. John’s wort with an SSRI like Prozac can lead to a complication called serotonin syndrome.
Additionally, SAM-e carries a risk of hypomania/mania in bipolar disorder.
Connect with your spirituality
It’s not necessary to join a church, synagogue, or mosque (although certainly for many people dealing with depression, religion can be a powerful source of support). But simple daily practices, like meditation or adding to a list of things you’re grateful for, can help improve your mood and overall well-being.
Meditation can have a variety of beneficial effects, including lowering stress levels and helping people become more aware of their thoughts and reactions.
Research indicates that an intervention called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness meditation, may be helpful in treating depression and preventing future relapses of depression. symptom. 7
Studies also suggest that different types of mindfulness meditative practices may also be effective in treating depression.
There are many different types of meditation, but you can start with a simple meditation exercise:
- sit comfortably
- Close your eyes
- breathe naturally
- Focus on how your body feels as you breathe
- When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath.
do more exercise
This doesn’t mean training for a marathon, but it does mean getting a half hour or so of low-intensity activity each day, which has been shown to be effective in improving mood and quality of life.
Even better, go outdoors. Fresh air and sunlight are especially healing for people dealing with a special form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
While research has shown that regular physical activity can be effective in both preventing and treating depression, it can be difficult to start an exercise habit when you’re depressed. Lack of energy and low mood may mean you’re simply too fatigued to get up and be active.
Some things you can try to keep the habit:
Recruit a friend: Ask a loved one to walk with you or do another form of exercise at least a few times a week. Having the support of a friend can not only help establish a routine, but it can also help maintain those social connections when you’re feeling down.
Remember the benefits: Getting started is hard, but doing it is something that will help you feel better in the long run.
Start small: Try to walk just a few minutes each day, then work on gradually increasing your walks.
the alcohol itself is a depressant. Interestingly, drinking can interfere with sleep, and quality sleep is the key to fighting the blues. While alcohol may seem like a quick fix to escape what you’re feeling, it can actually make many of the symptoms of depression worse.
Not only that, but it can lower inhibitions and potentially lead to risky behaviors and poor decisions that can have long-term consequences.
If you are taking any type of antidepressant, you really shouldn’t drink anything. The alcohol does not interact well with medications.
If you have been abusing alcohol or other substances and need help quitting, talk to your doctor.
You may also have an alcohol or substance use disorder. withdrawal symptoms pMay temporarily worsen symptoms of depressionso you may need additional help as you go through this process.
eat balanced food
What you put in your mouth can have a direct effect on how you think and feel.
Make sure you eat a well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients and low in saturated fat. A nutritionist or dietitian can help you analyze your eating habits and spot possible nutrient deficiencies that could contribute to depression.
Some foods that can be beneficial when you have depression:
Fish: Research has found that people who ate a diet rich in fish were less likely to have symptoms of depression. Fish is high in omega-3 fats, which help neurotransmitters like serotonin work in the brain.
Walnuts: Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fats, and one study indicated that people who ate walnuts were 26% less likely to have symptoms of depression.
probiotics: Research increasingly points to a connection between gut and brain health. 14 Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha.
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change your thoughts
As obvious as it may seem, having good thoughts can help you feel good. Your thoughts really do have a direct relationship to your mood. If you’re struggling with negativity, consider seeing a therapist to help you learn ways to counter it.
One of the most popular and effective treatments used in the treatment of depression is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 15 This form of psychotherapy focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and then replacing them with more positive ones. There are different ways you can practice some of these ideas on your own.
Learn to recognize negative thinking
Sometimes these thoughts can be obvious, such as times when you berate or criticize yourself. Other times, they can be more subtle. You may find yourself involved in things like catastrophism or thought of all or nothing.
Catastrophizing always implies anticipating negative results. To think all or nothing it means you think of things as successes or failures. Once you improve your recognition of these cognitive patterns, you can start working on some healthier replacements.
reframe your thoughts
When you catch yourself having a negative thought, consciously reframe it in a positive way. For example, you can replace something like «This will never work» with something more positive like «Here are some things I can try that will help me get started.» Shifting your focus to your strengths and abilities can help you maintain a more positive mindset.
By the wayI leave you these: POSITIVE THINKING TIPS: Change your negativity to see life and combat stress
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