18 Natural Ways To Treat Depression NowOctober 1, 2020
Treat Depression Naturally
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from depression in any given year. Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their life.
Depression can occur at many different times in someone’s life, and it can come and go in waves. Triggers for depression are large life changes, trauma, and loss.
Depression can have a devastating effect on not only the person being affected, but also their loved ones. For those of you who suffer from depression, or know someone who suffers from depression, you will understand that the illness is an unpredictable and emotional journey. Although it can be challenging to see at the time, being diagnosed with a condition of this nature can be a beautiful wake up call to re-evaluate your life: your purpose, lifestyle, support circle, diet and environment. It’s important to treat all aspects of the illness, and not just the low mood.
The common approach for conventional medicine is for medical doctors to treat this condition with pharmaceutical medications. However, 30% of patients do not respond to medications and the remaining 70% fail to receive complete remission, while many patients suffer from unwanted adverse side effects. This is why more and more people are turning to alternative and natural methods for treatment. These treatments have been found to be just as or more effective than conventional medications. They can also be used in combination.
A Different Approach
These ancient healing modalities are so powerfully effective because they treat the root cause of the condition, not just the symptoms. This may vary from person to person, but a combination of simple solutions such as overcoming nutritional deficiencies, balancing brain biochemicals through natural supplements, and making space for a restorative emotional practice, can be incredibly effective. It is also important to understand that a person’s level of depression can vary from mild to severe. No matter where you are at, there is always hope to heal and feel better.
Here are some of the common factors that can contribute to the cause of depression: emotional trauma, loss of a loved one, lack of a supportive circle, prolonged stress, lack of purpose, an unhealthy lifestyle, poor diet, biochemical imbalances, medication side effects, prolonged medication use, imbalanced gut health, excessive alcohol or drug intake, and hormonal imbalances.
- Low mood or sadness
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Sleep excessively or feel pessimistic when you wake
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling irritable or intolerant of others
- Having no interest in things you used to love
- Feeling anxious or worried
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Loss of appetite or excessive fluctuation in weight
- Low libido and energy levels
- Drinking more alcohol than usual
Treatments For Depression
Add omega-3 rich foods to your diet
Often, when suffering from depression, you may be deficient in this essential nutrient. Consume wild-caught fish such as salmon, three times per week and also plant-based forms such as, flax and chia seeds.
It is possible to have your Omega-3 levels tested via specialized testing.
Get plenty of good quality protein
Include more wild-caught fish, eggs, organic turkey, nuts and seeds in your diet. Foods rich in the amino acid L-tryptophan, help to build serotonin, essential for overcoming depression and insomnia.
Drink fresh juice daily
Have a fresh organic, cold pressed vegetable juice daily. Try 4 stems of kale, 1 lemon, ½ beetroot, 1 cucumber, and 1 apple. This will give you a quick nutrient hit, also rich in antioxidants.
Drink green tea daily and enjoy berries as a snack. These foods are rich in antioxidants, which help to counteract free radicals. This is important as emotional distress releases free radicals in the body which can damage cells.
Enjoy herbal tea
Drink chamomile, lemon balm or passionflower tea before bed each night. These herbs have calming effects on the body and can help to reduce activity of depression-inducing brain cells. These herbs are incredibly helpful in reducing insomnia and anxiety.
*Check with your physician before taking any herbal teas if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Drink at least 2L of water every day. Our brains are over 70% water, and therefore, dehydration can very quickly have a significant impact on brain function. If you are drinking pop or juice, switch it out for a refreshing sparkling water with lemon or lime.
*Check with your physician before increasing your water intake if you have any suspected kidney dysfunction.
Herbal, Superfood and Supplement Therapy
*Check with your physician before adding in any supplementation, as they may interact with your current medications.
Essential Fatty Acids
These fatty acids are essential because the body cannot make them on its own. These help to reduce symptoms of depression as they play an important role in building brain structure, as messengers, and also in the creation and function of brain neurotransmitters. Fatty acids can be taken as capsules or liquid.
*Check with your physician before adding in essential fatty acids, as in high doses they act as blood thinners.
Niacin is vitamin B-3, one of the water-soluble B-vitamins. Niacin’s feature is its ability to greatly reduce anxiety and depression. There are different forms of niacin, so check with your physician before adding it in to your diet.
Supplementation with magnesium helps to replenish magnesium levels in the brain. This is important as depression is associated with lower levels of brain magnesium and is further depleted by the action of antidepressant medication. Studies have found that higher concentrations of brain magnesium is accompanied by higher levels of serotonin, which is a mood-boosting happy hormone.
*Check with your physician to see if you should add magnesium, and in which form.
Curcumin is the primary active component in turmeric, containing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been found to have the ability to modulate the release of serotonin and dopamine in the body, which are responsible for feelings of relaxation and happiness. To increase the bioavailability of curcumin, it is important to combine it with black pepper and a quality oil like coconut oil.
According to Dr. High Riodan, vitamin C supplementation has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression.
Take a Sunbath
Spend 15 minutes in the sun daily during the early morning and late afternoon. Sunlight provides vitamin D, which is important for many brain processes and encourages the production of mood-boosting hormones, such as serotonin.
Practice a 10-minute mindfulness meditation twice daily. This can be effective in reducing negative thoughts and controlling dysfunctional beliefs.
Take a walk in nature daily or get in the garden! Spending time outdoors has been found to boost positive well-being. This is a great time to focus on feelings of gratitude by being able to appreciate the simple things around you.
Practice light therapy for 20 minutes each morning. Light therapy is simply the practice of sitting in front of a device called a light-box. This device emits 10,000 lux, which is 20 times stronger than typical indoor light. This therapy helps to activate serotonin, which is one of the hormones responsible for feelings of happiness.
Find Something You Love
Try something new like art, music, gardening, creative writing, dancing, or tai chi. These activities are a great way to open up a new avenue for emotional expression. In fact, these activities have been shown to be effective in reducing adverse psychological and physiological outcomes in patients with depression.
Get Extra Support
Consider beginning counselling or therapy, join a group of like-minded individuals for extra support.
No Fear Counselling is a great option with counsellors and practicum student’s in the Fraser Valley.