Natural Treatments for Depression
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There are a lot of options available right now for those with depression. However, due to various constraints (time and money, for example), the most common treatments of medications and therapy are not always viable options. There are also some natural ways that can help to minimize depression. The following article will help you to understand some of these natural strategies that are available.
St. John’s Wort is one natural supplement that may help. For cases of minor depression, the effects of St. John’s Wort are similar to those of antidepressants. The supplement appears to contain substances which interact and help to increase the brain’s level of serotonin, thus helping to increase mood. However, St. John’s Wort has shown no more efficacy (in comparison to a placebo) when treating more severe cases of depression, so precaution should be used if trying this supplement as a sole treatment for depression.
Keeping a mood diary is something that can also help, and it does not depend on supplements or medications. By keeping track of your mood each day, you can begin to identify triggers which make your depression worse. You may also begin to notice patterns of when you’re happiest. By knowing what impacts your mood, you can begin to avoid those things that trigger a bad mood and incorporate more of what increases your mood.
One of the most common causes of depression is the changes in temperature, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. The primary cause for this is not necessarily because the temperature is getting colder, but because the days are getting shorter and people are spending less time outdoors. Absorbing some rays from the sun have been shown to be effective in improving one’s mood. If you’re feeling a little down, try going outside and relaxing in the sun. Just be sure to take necessary precautions against UV damage by wearing sunblock.
As mentioned previously, serotonin levels appear to be linked to mood. When serotonin levels in the brain are low, the mood generally becomes depressed. There are some foods that help to boost serotonin levels, and if you incorporate these into your diet, they can help you to effective treat minor cases of depression. Carbohydrates are an example of foods that provide this; when you consume a carbohydrate (like bread), serotonin is quickly released. But this is only a quick fix and will not have the long-term effects you’re looking for. Better options are to consume foods that contain tryptophan, which stimulate serotonin release over longer periods of time. Ever wonder why you feel pleasant and sleepy after consuming holiday turkey? It’s not just the good cheer around you, it’s because the turkey meat (and many other proteins) contain tryptophan. Eating more of these foods will help to keep your mood boosted for longer periods of time.
These were just a few examples of how natural treatments can help to improve your mood. If you do not feel that your depression is serious enough to warrant medications or therapy (or if you do not have the means to these treatment options), you can try these natural strategies and determine if you are able to effectively treat your depression with them alone.