Have you ever had one of those days, weeks or months when it seems like happiness is an unreachable goal? Did you know depression affects more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year? Depression accounts for more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA in 1999. With those stats it would leave you to believe that depression must be treatable only with the help of a doctor and pharmaceutical medications. Is there anything else out there to treat this mental epidemic? Below we will talk about the different types of depression and 12 natural ways to fight the blues.
What is this illness and is it all in your head? No, it is absolutely not.
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. It can be caused by a chemical imbalance or outside stressors. Knowing which type of depression that is affecting you is certainly key. Here are the 9 different types of depression commonly seen in America.
Major depressive disorder, also known as simply depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across any situation. It lasts longer than two weeks or more.
- Loss of interest in everyday “normal”activities
- Weight loss or gain
- Low energy
- Feeling of worthlessness and guilt
- Trouble concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide
-Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder is widely known as dysthymia. Sometimes called neurotic depression, dysthymic disorder, or chronic depression, it is a mood disorder consisting of the same cognitive and physical problems as in depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms.
- Change in your appetite (not eating enough or overeating)
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Inflated self-esteem
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unusual talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Risky behavior (shopping sprees, promiscuity etc.)
- Increased goal directed activity
- Increased irritability
- Increased chance of violence during a manic episode
-Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a period of major depression that most often happens during the winter months, when the days grow short and you get less and less sunlight.
Symptoms mimic major depression but is usually exclusive to winter months or times of the year where sun exposure is decreased.
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Delusions (false beliefs)
- Paranoia (wrongly believing that others are trying to harm you)
This type of depression has not been treated naturally and should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
-Postpartum Depression (Baby Blues)
Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have postpartum depression, also called “baby blues”. It is due to hormone levels fluctuation after childbirth and also a chemical imbalance in serotonin. It has also been noted that the stress and lack of sleep after the birth of a child can also mimic post partum depression symptoms but is considered situational depression.
- Mood swings
- Reduced Concentration
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Loss of appetite
- Over Eating
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
- Increased appetite
- Sleeping more than usual
- Feeling of heaviness in your arms and legs
- Oversensitive to criticism
Now that we’ve covered the types of depression, below we will talk about natural treatments and which remedy might help the type of depression afflicting you.
12 Ways To Conquer Depression Naturally
We will break this up into 4 groups: Foods, Essential Oils, Exercise and Herbs.
3 Foods that will help you conquer depression symptoms:
- Dark chocolate- Although milk chocolate might actually contribute to depression, dark chocolate can aid in your fight against it, as long as you eat it in moderation, of course. The reason it can help fight depression? It contains a large amount of antioxidants, as well as it’s ability to boost endorphins and serotonin.
- Walnuts– Walnuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that has been proven an awesome nutrient (and supplement) for those battling depression. Because walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3s, it can help lower depression and support overall brain health.
- Dark leafy greens– Dark leafy greens are probably the healthiest, most nutrient-dense food around. Spinach, kale and Swiss chard can help prevent cancer, boost your immune system and, of course, fight depression and anxiety.
3 Essential Oils That Fight Depression:
- Bergamot– Bergamot oil is a great antidepressant because it’s highly stimulating properties. Bergamot can create a feeling of joy, freshness and energy by improving the circulation of your blood. It’s also shown the ability to work as a natural reedy for anxiety and depression, as a 2011 study in Thailand found that bergamot lowered the anxiety response in rats.
- Lavender– Lavender oil boosts your mood and has long been used to help battle depression. A study published by the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice reported that 80-milligram capsules of lavender essential oil can help alleviate anxiety and depression. It also helps boosts endorphins in the brain and create an overall sense of well being. You can get organic lavender essential oil here.
- Chamomile– Chamomile helps support and balance your emotions by providing soothing qualities to help with depression. According to research from Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and Pharmacognosy Review, inhaling chamomile vapors using chamomile oil is often recommended as a natural remedy for anxiety and general depression.
3 Exercise Routines That Fight Depression
- 30 min of walking– 30 minutes of walking can not only help boost circulation, but it helps boost brain activity. You are also being exposed to the sun which means you are getting a nice dose of Vitamin D.
- 30 min of jumping rope– Jumping rope also helps boost circulation and brain activity which aids in dissipating depression symptoms. I know jumping rope may seem impossible on those days when all you want to so is stay in bed but keeping your body moving is essential to fighting this mental battle.
- Showering– Now we know this is not an exercise but it has some amazing effectives on the body. A nice warm shower promotes relaxation, boosts circulation and honestly just makes you feel a little more “human” when you are feeling down. It can also help you feel productive in your day and when you are majorly depressed, any accomplishment is worth praising. Even a simple shower.
3 Herbs That Fight Depression
- St. John’s Wort- St. John’s Wort has been shown to help naturally alleviate sleep disorders, promote relaxation, and boost energy levels caused by depression. St. John’s Wort is considered to be a safe, inexpensive herbal remedy that can help promote improved overall mental health. You can get St. John’s Wort here.
- Camu Camu– Dr. Gary Null, Ph.D., critically-acclaimed nutritionist and researcher, lists Camu Camu as the second most potent known plant for containing natural antidepressant compounds. It is high in vitamin c an nutrients that help aide in fighting off symptoms of depression. You can get organic camu camu here.
- Maca– Maca, also known as “Peruvian ginseng,” is a root vegetable that is packed with amino acids, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It has long been used in traditional medicine to increase energy and stamina, enhance libido, and boost the immune, adrenal, and endocrine systems. You can get organic Maca here.
Depression does not have to be the end of the road or take over your life. The great news is now you have a choice to fight your depression with medication or to take the natural, side-effect free route. The resources are there, the information is available and at your disposal. You know your mental state better than anyone and now you can choose between taking the natural course for treatment or going with medication. Either way, I wish everyone the best of luck in their journey with depression. Just know you are not alone and you can get past it. Others have, and you can too.
Take life day by day and you will be ok!