By Claire Galea
I often get asked about natural remedies for depression. Depression is something that over 1 million Australian’s suffer from in any one year and it comes in many forms. It's often ignored by the sufferer, either because of the stigma attached to it or because it’s misunderstood. Some don’t realise that, just because they have happy days too, it doesn’t mean they’re not suffering from depression. Others don’t feel that anyone can help.
Like anxiety, depression can come and go and can be acute or mild. Some days it might be perfectly manageable, while other days may be quite debilitating. If your confidence has taken a blow, you’re quieter than normal, feeling guilty, irritable, flat or lethargic, these are all symptoms of depression which, if left to continue for a long period can seriously affect your physical and mental health. If the periods of relief in between the downs are becoming shorter and life feels as if it’s nothing but
In the same way that depression affects different people in different ways, the remedies also have different effects, and what works for one might not work for another. There’s a bit of trial and error until you find the most effective solution for you. Below I discuss a variety of supports for both mild and stronger forms of depression.
There are a number of supports you can consider doing or taking on a daily basis, some of which are quick and easy while others require making healthy lifestyle choices. If making a decision or an effort is too much for you at the moment, start out with the easy options and incorporate the others as and when you feel able to. In this
Evening Primrose Oil Capsules
Put two cups in your bath with two drops of lavender essential oil.
It is estimated that around 43% of people with anxiety and stress use some form of alternative therapy to help reduce symptoms. The chemicals in essential oils can interact with the body by being absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream or by stimulating areas of the brain through inhalation. When specialised nerve cells in the upper part of the nose detect smells, they send an impulse to the brain along the olfactory nerve to an area called the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb processes the impulse and delivers the information about the smell to other neighbouring areas of the brain. These other areas are known as the limbic system. The limbic system is a set of brain structures that are thought to play an essential role in controlling behaviour, emotions, memory, and mood.
If your depression is mild or comes and goes, then Lavender Essential Oil is a good and an affordable place to start. Lavender oil has long been used for peace and calm and to promote restful sleep. Simply diffuse four drops in an ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser, put one drop on your pillow or dilute with fractionated coconut oil and rub into your skin.
Ylang Ylangessential oil, one of my favourites, and Vetiver are both mild sedatives which cross the blood-brain barrier and can also help reduce anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed. Balanceis a very popular and cost-effective blend which is popular with both men and women for its pine-tree smell. It is a very grounding blend which promotes clear thinking. doTERRA also offers specifically targeted blends called Cheer and Elevationto uplift and support your mood. Frankincense also falls into all of the above categories but it’s a bit more expensive.
When depression is caused by external factors, such as stress at work or relationship problems at home, then trying some or all of the above obviously won’t cure the way you’re feeling, but could provide enough lift to support you through it.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine, such as Sunny Pills, may be a solution for a depression that’s more persistent nature and difficult to shake. The formula is based on the concept that our emotions are linked to specific organs and parts of the body and that there is a two-way relationship between them. For example, while long-term anger can adversely affect the liver, a deficient or excessive liver can also exacerbate or cause feelings of anger and frustration. The aim of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to bring the body, the emotions and the flow of energy back into balance and to address any deficiencies, excesses or blocks in the flow. Although TCM is usually tailored to an individual’s symptoms, through years of clinical experience it was discovered that there are common factors between depression and symptoms in the body. Sunny Pills are the result of that discovery and
If your depression is more of a long-term issue and a bit harder to shake, then it may be worth considering that the cause may be physical or genetic rather than just inside your mind. Serious depression can make it difficult to get out of bed, and if left unchecked can turn into agoraphobia. If it feels like you’re surrounded by an eternal stretch of grey nothingness, that there’s no hope for change and that you feel like you just don’t know if you can do this anymore, just remember that NOTHING lasts forever – the law of probability dictates that change will come, you just have to hang in there. It could be your body that’s causing it.
Our bodies can work against our sense of wellbeing, and there are clinically diagnosed genetic conditions that can cause severe, anxiety, depression and emotional imbalance. Pyrrole Disorder and MTHFR are two such conditions. Not often recognised my mainstream doctors, they are, however, familiar conditions to integrative GPs and Naturopaths and the good news is that both are easily remedied by taking natural supplements to get the body back into balance.
Although Pyroluria, or pyrrole disorder, is usually genetic, it is also a condition that can be caused by stress, which depletes certain vitamins and minerals before they are able to be absorbed. In short, there are three main nutrients that are not properly absorbed in the
Deficiencies of B6 and zinc are associated with a wide range of emotional and psychiatric problems. Nervousness, extreme irritability, anxiety, depression, short-term memory problems, and explosive anger have all been linked to
In addition, zinc deficiencies have been associated with a number of physiological disorders, including poor immune function, poor growth, and delayed sexual development. Because zinc and B6 are so important to both our overall physical and mental health, identifying and treating this devastating condition is critical. BioCeuticals has recently released this ready-to-order supplement called Pyrrole Protect which is available through your practitioner at a fraction of the normal price, $39.95 for 60 tablets – previously, you would have had to get the supplements compounded for especially for you, which was incredibly expensive.
MTHFR is a gene mutation discovered during the completion of the Human Genome Project. It is passed down from parent to child and if both parents have it, the child will have both mutations. It affects the methylation process where methyl compounds are used in the critical functions of the body – immune function, energy production, mood inflammation, nerve function, detoxification and even DNA – all of which are challenges in chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Methylation helps you process toxins, make hormones, and even helps in the production of neurotransmitters such as melatonin, serotonin, dopamine an GABA (a calming brain chemical). If this process is inhibited, then it can have a detrimental
Vitamin B12, B6 and folate are essential in this process, but those with MTHFR are more likely to be lacking all three which can lead to poor methylation and a variety of chronic conditions including certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, digestive upset, mood and psychiatric disorders and chronic fatigue. Interestingly, researchers have also made the connection between people with this type of inherited mutation and ADHD, Alzheimer’s, and autism.
Taking supplements is essential to get the body, and your mood, back on track but there are other measures you can also try.
Of course, never underestimate the benefits of having an early night. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, meditation, a healthy diet may require more effort, but all have been proven to lift the spirits and spark a chemical change in the brain.
It is vitally important to acknowledge depression. Don’t ignore it or struggle through it on your own, because there are many solutions and supports available. It’s also such a common problem now, that you are definitely NOT alone. The solution may be much simpler than you think.
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