Depression is one of the most common emotional disorders. It may be manifested in varying degrees: from feelings of slight sadness to utter misery and dejection. Depression is a very unpleasant malady and is far more difficult to cope with than a physical ailment. The growing complexities of modern life and its resultant crisis as well as the mental stress and strain of day to day life usually leads to this disorder.
It is probably the most common mental health complaint and also the most common psychological problem that accompanies the disease process. Much of depression is cultural and has reached almost epidemic proportions today.
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Depression often results from grief. The most striking symptoms of depression are an acute sense of loss, inexplicable sadness, loss of energy, lack of interest in the world around and fatigue. A disturbed sleep is a frequent occurrence. Other symptoms of depression are loss of appetite, giddiness, itching, nausea, irritability, constipation, aches and pains all over body, lack of concentration and indecisiveness. Cases of severe depression may be characterized by low body temperature, low blood pressure, hot flushes and shivering.
Prolonged periods of anxiety and tension can cause mental depression. The excessive and indiscriminate use of drugs also leads to faulty assimilation of vitamins and minerals by the body and ultimately causes depression. Depression often follows stress, overwork, over exertion and trauma particularly adrenal fatigue. It sometimes indicates a low immune function.
The diet of a person suffering from depression should completely exclude tea, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, sugar, food colorings, chemical additives, processed and canned foods, strong condiments and junk food items. His diet should comprise more of fruits, boiled vegetables, milk and whole grains and cereals. His diet should be a balanced one.
A person suffering from depression can overcome it by being more active and diverting his attention towards other people and things. The pleasure of achieving something overcomes distress and misery. Exercise also plays a very important role in treating depression. It not only keeps the body physically and mentally fit, but also provides recreation and mental relaxation. It is nature's best tranquilizer. Exercise also tones up the body, provides a feeling of accomplishment and reduces the sense of helplessness.
The patient must also learn the art of relaxation and meditation which will go a long way in curing depression. He must gain control over his nervous system and channelise his mental and emotional energies into restful activities. This can be achieved by ensuring sufficient rest and sleep under quiet conditions. Meditation will help create a balance in the nervous system. This will enable the hormonal glands to return to a correct state of hormonal balance and thereby overcome the feeling of depression.
The commonly prescribed medicaments are anti depressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, paroxetine and citalopram. Tricyclic antidepressants are rarely prescribed.
Many people today are on anti-depressant drugs. While natural therapies do work they should be brought in over time, gradually reducing these medications as it becomes possible. The first treatment principle in depression is to initiate change and encourage activity on any level to arouse the patient's interest and enthusiasm in life. Positive association is an important factor.
The diet should be light and stimulating and there should be an effort to restore a sense of taste and relish in food. Lack of desire to eat itself is a sign of possible depression.