It seems that depression is in the headlines more and more these days. The World Health Organization says that there are over 300 million people in the world who have been struggling with depression. That’s an 18% increase between 2005 and 2015. And this makes people out there search the world wide web think: what’s the best treatment for depression?
We would often hear about famous people who are or have been struggling with depression. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Adele, Dolly Parton, and Brooke Shields have opened up about their battle with depression. And they all described their experience as something that brought them pain, trauma, and shame.
Fortunately, most have finally recovered from it. Others are not so lucky. Perhaps we have heard about people with severe depression resorting to suicide. And yes, even the most successful, talented individuals cannot escape. Take for example “successful” personalities like Kurt Cobain or Marilyn Monroe. Even the funniest guy in the world, Robin Williams, can fall victim.
But yes, it happens.
However, despite the number of people who have been affected by it as well as the alarming increase every year, most people choose to ignore or not seek medical help. Why? Because of the stigma attached to depression.
What is the stigma attached to depression?
Lewis Wolpert, a depression patient himself, wrote a paper called “Stigma of Depression – A Personal View” which was published in British Medical Bulletin. And he wrote:
“Depression is a serious illness of which I and other patients should not be ashamed but this is hard to avoid. The stigma of depression is different from that of other mental illnesses and largely due to the negative nature of the illness that makes depressives seem unattractive and unreliable. Self stigmatisation makes patients shameful and secretive and can prevent proper treatment.
“Stigma may also cause somatic symptoms as it is more acceptable to talk of stomach ache and fatigue than mental problems. A major contributing factor is that depression for those who have not had it is very hard to understand and so can be seen as a sign of weakness. Openness by depressives and education in schools could help.”
Indeed this stigma is alive even today when most people have become more open to talking about mental illness.
If you are someone who has been through depression, you will probably agree that sometimes, it is more convenient to just hide your depression and pretend that everything’s okay. Why? Because people who haven’t experienced depression cannot really understand what’s going on with a depressed individual. When you’re outside looking in, it is really hard to comprehend depression and its effects. That’s why people who haven’t experienced depression would often say, “That person is just weak.” Or “His mental capacity simply cannot handle life.”
What can be done to reduce the stigma of depression?
According to Wolpert, there is no easy way to reduce the stigma of depression. He even admits that acutely ill depressives are not attractive company. But he said spreading awareness about this disease can be the key:
“Perhaps the most important aim would be to publicise just how wide-spread depression is and that it is a serious illness. Most important is that it can be cured. It could help a great deal if those individuals with depression who are well known public figures were to support such a campaign.”
And we agree to this. Public figures can surely help spread awareness. Read our article on Celebrities Who Have Become Mental Health Advocates.
What is Depression?
If you are a person suffering from depression, it is very important to understand that what you’re going through is not something you’re experiencing because you’re weak. Instead, it is a mental health issue which definitely has a cure.
If you haven’t experienced depression, understanding depression and anxiety is your first step, you will need to understand before you will know how to help those people who are struggling with depression.
WebMD listed signs of clinical depression. And this can include:
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
- Pessimism and hopelessness
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
- Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
What Causes Depression?
For a long time, doctors have told us that the cause of depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It has been advertised that depression occurs when the happy chemical called serotonin is absent and that depression can be cured by taking a prescription drug or antidepressant … the most popular ones being Prozac and Zoloft.
And most Americans who have struggled with depression have done just that. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 Americans aged 12 and over take antidepressant medication. Females are more likely to take antidepressants than males.
However, recent studies are pointing to a new direction especially that according to recent studies, antidepressants don’t work most of the time.
This is supported by a 2009 review article by psychiatrist, Michael Gaitlin of the University of California, Los Angeles, as cited in Scientific American, which reported that one-third of people who are taking antidepressants are NOT showing any signs of improvement. A significant number, though, somehow got a little better in the short term after taking anti-depressants but still remain depressed.
And this means one thing: “If antidepressants correct a chemical imbalance that underlies depression, all or most depressed people should get better after taking them. That they do not suggests that we have only barely begun to understand the disorder at a molecular level.”
Matthew J. Edlund M.D. wrote in Psychology Today:
“Depression is a systemic, whole body illness — its causes are multiple, its manifestions endless, and its treatment multi-faceted. As Jonathan Himmelhoch and others have argued, depression represents an overall failure of the human body to adapt.”
Similarly, Dr. Kelly Brogan, a holistic psychiatrist says that depression is often “an inflammatory condition, a manifestation of irregularities in the body that can start far away from the brain and are not associated with the simplistic model of so-called ‘chemical imbalances’.” What’s more, she says that depression is an opportunity. “It is a sign for us to stop and figure out what’s causing our imbalance.”
Scientific American agrees with this concept. It suggests considering other non-chemical leads as a form of treatment for depression. These are probably the best treatment for depression.
Since antidepressants are not working as best as they ought to be, here are some of the best natural treatments for depression according to Psychology Today and WebMD:
Get into a routine
When you’re depressed, you’ll have a tendency to lose the structure in your life and therefore, you will feel lost or mixed up. Establishing a daily routine by scheduling your activities daily will somehow help you go back on track.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can worsen your depression, so try to get as much sleep as your body normally requires. If you
find it hard to sleep, perhaps you want to consider changing your lifestyle.
When you’re depressed, negativity can eat you up and make you feel like you won’t be able to accomplish anything. What you can do is try to set certain goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself and aim for something that’s out of your comfort zone. Start with very simple things which are achievable.
When you exercise, your body is more likely to produce endorphins which makes you feel happier. These act as natural anti-depressants, so the more you move, the happier you’ll become. You can try simple exercise like running or walking.
Don’t skip a meal
Missing a meal will lower your blood sugar level, so you need to make sure not to skip a meal. Eating on time will stabilize your blood sugar level which will then reduce your mood swings.
The Real Cause of Depression and What’s the Best Natural Treatment for Depression
Again, let us stress the new findings from research that depression is not caused simply by the presence or absence of certain chemicals in the brain. Depression is more complex than that. Harvard Health says that there are several possible causes of depression including “faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.” Research says that depression comes about when several of these forces interact with each other.
So, what’s the best treatment for depression? Our advice for you is to take our happiness classes which are offered at the Delta Discovery Center. We understand that the same things that create happiness will lift depression, and we have programs to achieve this. Through our Manufacturing Happiness Class, participants will blueprint their happiness program and design a life that is full and fulfilling. If you are interested in joining our Happiness Class, visit our website for more information.