DEPRESSION has hit us with a double blow. The regular emotional depression has come this year with daily news of an imminent financial depression. Maybe not looking at the news could be an antidepressant in itself.
Not only is there a financial imbalance, but also we hear the “chemical imbalance in the brain” mantras repeated. The major imbalance is in reasoning. How can one have an imbalance without some form of balance to calibrate it? Neither the financial markets, nor our brains have a naturally defined balance.
One way to correct the balance naturally is through diet and health supplements. There are many natural alternatives to medication, which can for some, be a cure, and for others make the depression less severe. There are supplements for major depression as well as for bipolar disorder.
There is an obvious disconnect between what we read in the West about depression. The conventional first choice depression drug treatment given by thousands of doctors, and reality. Once again there is talk in the media from psychiatry, linking depression and serotonin. this in spite of the depression - serotonin link, as described by the pharmaceutical industry, being a myth. Serotonin is important in depression treatment, but as a natural balance with products such as 5-HTP and L-tyrosine, not through distorting the body’s biochemistry.
Depression is a complex subject. This is the main reason science has still not understood the mechanism for depression. There are a number of different types of depressions which very likely have different causes. Sufferers can have a range of psychological, social and physical feelings. Then the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria
Then the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition) are often misunderstood as absolute. They are merely guidelines. These diagnostic criteria are mainly categorized lists of groupings of behaviors, subjective feelings and subjective experiences. The purpose is to be a guide for psychiatrists and psychologists to place their patients in some treatment category. It is not a definitive list of absolutes as unfortunately, some physician seem to think.
The various symptoms overlap and with a lack of objective diagnostic criteria, such as the physical presence of a malaria parasite, HIV virus or glucose level in the blood, the DSM-IV has to be interpreted with a good portion of wisdom.
Anxiety and depression share a number of symptoms:
Besides the problem of what depression is, there is the subject of antidepressant medication. They do not work much better than placebos, yet come with a string of unpleasant side effects. In fact one of the major reasons patients stop taking medication is because the side effects are more unpleasant than the condition itself.
The long-term side effects of anti depressants are only recently being taken notice of. Clinical trials are short, and long term effects are therefore not known when the drugs go on the market.
There are a few lights at the end of the depression tunnel. One of them is nutrition. As there are many causes of depression, so there are many solutions. By casting away from the “medication as the only solution” hypothesis, a healthy lifestyle should be the first option for depression. Rest and looking for Nature's health foods are a good combination to start with.
There is a caveat here. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to depression. Each case is individual. We have all different metabolisms and therefore different needs. One person may be fine on 2 grams/day omega-3 fatty acids per day, while another person suffering from depression needs more omega-3 fatty acids and the depression lifts at 9 grams/day. What works for one person may not work for the next.
Generally though, a laid back lifestyle and healthy food will do wonders for relieving depression. For some, this may seem impossible. For others a more laid back lifestyle, and loss of some staus, may be the price we pay for release from the bondage of depression.
We do not only have different metabolisms; we also have different personalities and are not necessarily suited to our courrent occupation or to the lifestyle we are living. A change in either is difficult. However if the change can bring peace to our souls, then it is worth it.
When it comes to making a lifestyle change, the least stressful and most value for effort is a healthy diet.