What is Post Natal Depression?
A health article about Post Natal Depression fromYour Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her.
Post Natal Depression is a common but serious illness, and most who experience it need treatment to get better.
Most women feel 'blue' and weepy a few days or so after they have a baby. This is due to all the changes in their bodies and lives and it goes away before long. All women, after they have babies, have some bad days when they feel really down - due to tiredness, being constantly on call, not being able to keep their homes as well as they did, losing their old lifestyle and so on. This is normal. Women need extra help and support when they are caring for a new baby - this is the time to accept offers of help and ask for what you need.
For some women, however, it is more than just having a bad day or days. The bad feelings become so strong that they take over and make it very difficult for the woman to cope with the demands of her life - this is called postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can occur soon after birth or come several weeks or months down the track. It is very distressing and can make life very difficult for the woman and her family but it can be helped and it is important to get support and help as soon as possible. This topic is about post natal depression - when the bad feelings take over.
Post natal depression is not your fault. It happens just like any other illness for a variety of reasons and it will get better.
On this page we are focusing on Post Natal Depression but including the material on depression generally as the issues can overlap and things that are relevant to depression generally can cross over to be supportive information in the special case of Post Natal Depression.
Signs & Symptoms
These are some of the things that could be happening to you that can be symptoms of postnatal depression.
How you feel and think
• Mood changes - feeling anxious, depressed, tearful for a lot of the time.
• Thought changes - having gloomy, hopeless thoughts in your head.
• Obsessional - always seem to be worried. Worrying about your feelings for the baby. Not being able to stop the worries going round and round in your mind.
• Behaviour changes - not being able to get going, sitting around all the time, not taking an interest in how you look or taking care of yourself.
• Problems with organising routines and activities.
• Physical changes - lacking energy, poor concentration, always tired (most new mothers might say this), sleep difficulty (lying awake after feeding the baby). Sometimes there can be excessive sleep, poor appetite or excessive eating for comfort. You don't feel like sex (many new mothers feel this at least for a time), crying a lot.
Getting on with others
• Every little thing makes you cross and irritable.
• Getting angry with people a lot (there may be other reasons for this such as changes in family life).
• Finding it hard to love the baby (many women feel this at first but with depression it hangs around - feeling you can't relate to the baby, then feeling guilty about it and so on).
• Feeling angry with other family members such as other children.
• Problems with friends.
If you have post natal depression these things are not your fault, you can't just 'pull yourself out of it'. You need help.
Signs of Depression include:
. feeling sad, anxious, or empty mood
. Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
. Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being "slowed down"
. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
. Restlessness or irritability
. Sleeping too much, or can't sleep
. Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
. Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
. Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.
A manic depressive will definitely have 5 of these symptoms. This is truly the worst time for a manic depressive, this is where the most support and help is needed.
Types of Post Natal Depression
(The following information is sourced from the National Institute of Health reference site at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/Post Natal Depression/introduction.shtml)
Women’s experience with Post Natal Depression,
Post Natal Depression is more common among women than among men. Biological, life cycle, hormonal and psychosocial factors unique to women may be linked to women's higher Post Natal Depression rate. Researchers have shown that hormones directly affect brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood. For example, women are particularly vulnerable to Post Natal Depression after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes, along with the new responsibility of caring for a newborn, can be overwhelming. Many new mothers experience a brief episode of the "baby blues," but some will develop postpartum Depression, a much more serious condition that requires active treatment and emotional support for the new mother. Some studies suggest that women who experience postpartum Depression often have had prior depressive episodes.
Some women may also be susceptible to a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), sometimes called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition resulting from the hormonal changes that typically occur around ovulation and before menstruation begins. During the transition into menopause, some women experience an increased risk for Post Natal Depression. Scientists are exploring how the cyclical rise and fall of estrogen and other hormones may affect the brain chemistry that is associated with depressive illness.
Finally, many women face the additional stresses of work and home responsibilities, caring for children and aging parents, abuse, poverty, and relationship strains. It remains unclear why some women faced with enormous challenges develop Post Natal Depression, while others with similar challenges do not.
Men’s experience of Depression.
Men often experience Depression differently than women and may have different ways of coping with the symptoms. Men are more likely to acknowledge having fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in once–pleasurable activities, and sleep disturbances, whereas women are more likely to admit to feelings of sadness, worthlessness and/or excessive guilt.
Men are more likely than women to turn to alcohol or drugs when they are depressed, or become frustrated, discouraged, irritable, angry and sometimes abusive. Some men throw themselves into their work to avoid talking about their Depression with family or friends, or engage in reckless, risky behavior. And even though more women attempt suicide, many more men die by suicide in the United States
Children’s experience of Depression.
Scientists and doctors have begun to take seriously the risk of Depression in children. Research has shown that childhood Depression often persists, recurs and continues into adulthood, especially if it goes untreated. The presence of childhood Depression also tends to be a predictor of more severe illnesses in adulthood.
A child with Depression may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die. Older children may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative and irritable, and feel misunderstood. Because these signs may be viewed as normal mood swings typical of children as they move through developmental stages, it may be difficult to accurately diagnose a young person with Depression.
Before puberty, boys and girls are equally likely to develop depressive disorders. By age 15, however, girls are twice as likely as boys to have experienced a major depressive episode.
Depression in adolescence comes at a time of great personal change–when boys and girls are forming an identity distinct from their parents, grappling with gender issues and emerging sexuality, and making decisions for the first time in their lives. Depression in adolescence frequently co–occurs with other disorders such as anxiety, disruptive behavior, eating disorders or substance abuse. It can also lead to increased risk for suicide.
An NIMH–funded clinical trial of 439 adolescents with major Depression found that a combination of medication and psychotherapy was the most effective treatment option. Other NIMH–funded researchers are developing and testing ways to prevent suicide in children and adolescents, including early diagnosis and treatment, and a better understanding of suicidal thinking.
Older people’s experience of Depression.
Depression is not a normal part of aging, and studies show that most seniors feel satisfied with their lives, despite increased physical ailments. However, when older adults do have Depression, it may be overlooked because seniors may show different, less obvious symptoms, and may be less inclined to experience or acknowledge feelings of sadness or grief.
In addition, older adults may have more medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke or cancer, which may cause depressive symptoms, or they may be taking medications with side effects that contribute to Depression. Some older adults may experience what some doctors call vascular Depression, also called arteriosclerotic Depression or subcortical ischemic Depression. Vascular Depression may result when blood vessels become less flexible and harden over time, becoming constricted. Such hardening of vessels prevents normal blood flow to the body's organs, including the brain. Those with vascular Depression may have, or be at risk for, a co–existing cardiovascular illness or stroke.
Although many people assume that the highest rates of suicide are among the young, older white males age 85 and older actually have the highest suicide rate. Many have a depressive illness that their doctors may not detect, despite the fact that these suicide victims often visit their doctors within one month of their deaths.
The majority of older adults with Depression improve when they receive treatment with an antidepressant, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Research has shown that medication alone and combination treatment are both effective in reducing the rate of depressive recurrences in older adults. Psychotherapy alone also can be effective in prolonging periods free of Depression, especially for older adults with minor Depression, and it is particularly useful for those who are unable or unwilling to take antidepressant medication.
Other types of depressive disorders.
Here we are talking about Depression. There are a range of medical disorders that are reviewed in more depth elsewhere on this site.
For example: Manic Depression - Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function.
What Causes Depression?
There is no single known cause of Depression. Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.
Research indicates that depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. Brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have shown that the brains of people who have Depression look different than those of people without Depression. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior appear to function abnormally. In addition, important neurotransmitters–chemicals that brain cells use to communicate–appear to be out of balance. But these images do not reveal why the Depression has occurred.
Some types of Depression tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. However, Depression can occur in people without family histories of Depression as well.9 Genetics research indicates that risk for Depression results from the influence of multiple genes acting together with environmental or other factors.
In addition, trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. Subsequent depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger.
How you know when more help is needed with Post Natal Deperssion?
• If you feel bad enough to ask for help - but often mothers can feel really bad and not ask for help so don't rely on this.
• If the problems have been there without improving for at least two weeks.
• If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby.
• If you don't feel able to love the baby and it isn't getting better (it often takes a bit of time at the start).
• If there are ongoing problems with getting to sleep, or waking up early or wanting to sleep most of the time.
• If you are not able to do the everyday things that make your home work - get dressed, bath yourself and the baby, get meals etc.
• Problems with your relationship with your partner, friends or family starting or getting worse.
• You have had depressive illness before.
• You or others are really worried about what is happening.
What you can do?
• Talk it over right now with someone supportive, e.g. your partner, mother, sister, other relation, girlfriend.
• Talk it over as soon as possible with your family doctor, obstetrician, pastor or other trusted person.
Information for partners
• Postnatal depression is not something your partner can help, and her being angry and irritable with you is part of the illness. Try to let it pass by you rather than reacting. Avoid responding to anger with anger.
• Postnatal depression takes a long time to heal - don't expect too much too soon.
• Try to understand your partner's feelings. Even though it does not seem reasonable to you, it is real for her at the time.
• Spend time with your baby. Making a close relationship with your baby and doing lots of caring for him or her will help the baby to be able to relate to your partner when she is better and help the baby to not miss out while she is not well.
• At the same time reassure your partner that you are wanting to support her, not take her place.
• When women are depressed and tired sexual intercourse may seem like just another demand. With patience and understanding things will get better.
• Things that won't help your partner are:
o telling her to pull herself together
o telling her to be grateful that she has a lovely baby
o telling her she will get through it, everyone feels bad sometimes
o telling her to relax and she will feel better.
• Take care of yourself. Make sure you have some breaks because you will probably be your partner's best support and you need to ensure you can stay in there for the long haul.
• Let your family and friends know what is happening. Support from those close to you will be a big help at this time.
• Don't be too proud to accept help. Everyone needs help sometimes.
• It can be very hard for partners to keep coming home to an unhappy house but it is important to hang in there - getting better takes a long time.
• Most women with PND will eventually feel better and more able to do things they enjoy but that can take many months and sometimes years.
• Anti depressant medication may speed up this recovery time and help mothers to manage, especially to sleep better.
• Some medications can be used safely while breastfeeding but occasionally breastfeeding needs to stop.
• Talk to your doctor about medication. Depression, like other illnesses, often needs specific treatment, not only 'support.'
Other factors that may contribute to Depression and exacerbate Post Natal Depression.
Depression can affect anyone at anytime. While certain risk factors are associated with increased risk for Depression, people suffering from Depression may suffer from different types of Depression and even display different signs and symptoms depending on the gender, age, and ethnic and cultural groups. Understanding these differences is essential to seeking treatment and ending the pain.
While Depression can strike anyone at any time, research has identified several factors associated with an increased risk for Depression:
Family History — Having an immediate family member with Depression increases the risk of developing Depression. Other mental illnesses, such as alcoholism in family members, can also increase the risk for Depression.
Early Childhood Experience – Early childhood trauma, such as loss of a parent before adolescence, child neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and parental divorce are all linked to increased risk for adult Depression.
Stress — Negative life events, such as divorce, loss of a loved one or loss of employment are associated with increased Depression. Research shows that chronic stresses (such as illness, lack of social support and numerous “daily hassles”) are also linked to Depression.
Alcohol — Depression and alcoholism is often seen in the same patients at the same time. Alcohol is a depressant drug and its presence in a depressed person has serious implications on treatment outcome.
Residence — Depression seems to be higher in urban residents than in rural residents. In fact, one study found that Depression was twice as common among city dwellers than among those who lived in rural settings.
Marital Status – Depression is highest among divorced, separated, or co-habitating persons. It is lowest among single and married persons. People living alone have higher rates of Depression than those living with others do.
Work Status — Research shows that people unemployed for six months or more in the last five years had a rate of Depression three times that of the general population.
Physical Illness — Certain physical illnesses are associated with Depression such as thyroid disorder, hormonal imbalances, chronic viral infections, cancer and heart diseases.
Medications — Many medications can cause Depression-like symptoms, including sedatives such as Valium (diazepam) and pain medications such as Percocet and Demerol (meperidine).
Gender — It is estimated that one out of every four women and one out of every 10 men experience some type of Depression during their lifetime. While women suffer from Depression more often and attempt suicide more frequently, men are more successful in their suicide attempts. Women also suffer from unique forms of Depression related to their unique biology and life experiences.
Age – Most people experience their first episode of Depression between the ages of 20 and 40. In fact, the average age of onset for Depression is the mid-20s. Alarmingly, recent research shows that the average age of onset is decreasing with each generation. Children, adolescents and elderly persons often display unique symptoms of Depression and have specific stressful events that predispose them to Depression.
Ethnic and cultural groups — The World Health Organization named Depression the fourth most devastating illness in the world today and predicts that it will become the second ranked illness by 2020. No ethnic or cultural group is immune. While Depression occurs at about the same rate in different groups, ethnic and cultural differences often impact the ways in which their members express their feelings and their willingness to seek treatment.
Tobacco – Increased tobacco use has been noted in depressed persons and individuals with underlying or current depressive symptoms are likely to experience mood disturbances when they attempt to quit.
Depression, even the most severe cases, is a highly treatable disorder. As with many illnesses, the earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is and the greater the likelihood that recurrence can be prevented.
The first step to getting appropriate treatment is to visit a doctor. Certain medications, and some medical conditions such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as Depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by conducting a physical examination, interview and lab tests. If the doctor can eliminate a medical condition as a cause, he or she should conduct a psychological evaluation or refer the patient to a mental health professional.
The doctor or mental health professional will conduct a complete diagnostic evaluation. He or she should discuss any family history of Depression, and get a complete history of symptoms, e.g., when they started, how long they have lasted, their severity, and whether they have occurred before and if so, how they were treated. He or she should also ask if the patient is using alcohol or drugs, and whether the patient is thinking about death or suicide.
Once diagnosed, a person with Depression can be treated with a number of methods. The most common treatments are medication and psychotherapy.
Antidepressants work to normalize naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, notably serotonin and norepinephrine. Other antidepressants work on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Scientists studying Depression have found that these particular chemicals are involved in regulating mood, but they are unsure of the exact ways in which they work.
The newest and most popular types of antidepressant medications are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft) and several others. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are similar to SSRIs and include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta). SSRIs and SNRIs are more popular than the older classes of antidepressants, such as tricyclics–named for their chemical structure–and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) because they tend to have fewer side effects. However, medications affect everyone differently–no one–size–fits–all approach to medication exists. Therefore, for some people, tricyclics or MAOIs may be the best choice.
People taking MAOIs must adhere to significant food and medicinal restrictions to avoid potentially serious interactions. They must avoid certain foods that contain high levels of the chemical tyramine, which is found in many cheeses, wines and pickles, and some medications including decongestants. MAOIs interact with tyramine in such a way that may cause a sharp increase in blood pressure, which could lead to a stroke. A doctor should give a patient taking an MAOI a complete list of prohibited foods, medicines and substances.
For all classes of antidepressants, patients must take regular doses for at least three to four weeks before they are likely to experience a full therapeutic effect. They should continue taking the medication for the time specified by their doctor, even if they are feeling better, in order to prevent a relapse of the Depression. Medication should be stopped only under a doctor's supervision. Some medications need to be gradually stopped to give the body time to adjust. Although antidepressants are not habit–forming or addictive, abruptly ending an antidepressant can cause withdrawal symptoms or lead to a relapse. Some individuals, such as those with chronic or recurrent Depression, may need to stay on the medication indefinitely.
In addition, if one medication does not work, patients should be open to trying another. National Institutes of Mental Health funded research has shown that patients who did not get well after taking a first medication increased their chances of becoming symptom–free after they switched to a different medication or added another medication to their existing one.
Sometimes stimulants, anti–anxiety medications, or other medications are used in conjunction with an antidepressant, especially if the patient has a co–existing mental or physical disorder. However, neither anti–anxiety medications nor stimulants are effective against Depression when taken alone, and both should be taken only under a doctor's close supervision.
What are the side effects of antidepressants?
Antidepressants may cause mild and often temporary side effects in some people, but they are usually not long–term. However, any unusual reactions or side effects that interfere with normal functioning should be reported to a doctor immediately.
The most common side effects associated with SSRIs and SNRIs include:
• Headache–usually temporary and will subside.
• Nausea–temporary and usually short–lived.
• Insomnia and nervousness (trouble falling asleep or waking often during the night)–may occur during the first few weeks but often subside over time or if the dose is reduced.
• Agitation (feeling jittery).
• Sexual problems–both men and women can experience sexual problems including reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, or inability to have an orgasm.
Tricyclic antidepressants also can cause side effects including:
• Dry mouth-it is helpful to drink plenty of water, chew gum, and clean teeth daily.
• Constipation-it is helpful to eat more bran cereals, prunes, fruits, and vegetables.
• Bladder problems–emptying the bladder may be difficult, and the urine stream may not be as strong as usual. Older men with enlarged prostate conditions may be more affected. The doctor should be notified if it is painful to urinate.
• Sexual problems–sexual functioning may change, and side effects are similar to those from SSRIs.
• Blurred vision–often passes soon and usually will not require a new corrective lenses prescription.
• Drowsiness during the day–usually passes soon, but driving or operating heavy machinery should be avoided while drowsiness occurs. The more sedating antidepressants are generally taken at bedtime to help sleep and minimize daytime drowsiness.
FDA Warning on antidepressants
Despite the relative safety and popularity of SSRIs and other antidepressants, some studies have suggested that they may have unintentional effects on some people, especially adolescents and young adults. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a thorough review of published and unpublished controlled clinical trials of antidepressants that involved nearly 4,400 children and adolescents. The review revealed that 4% of those taking antidepressants thought about or attempted suicide (although no suicides occurred), compared to 2% of those receiving placebos.
This information prompted the FDA, in 2005, to adopt a "black box" warning label on all antidepressant medications to alert the public about the potential increased risk of suicidal thinking or attempts in children and adolescents taking antidepressants. In 2007, the FDA proposed that makers of all antidepressant medications extend the warning to include young adults up through age 24. A "black box" warning is the most serious type of warning on prescription drug labeling.
The warning emphasizes that children, adolescents and young adults taking antidepressants should be closely monitored, especially during the initial weeks of treatment. Possible side effects to look for are worsening Depression, suicidal thinking or behavior, or any unusual changes in behavior such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations.
Results of a comprehensive review of pediatric trials conducted between 1988 and 2006 suggested that the benefits of antidepressant medications likely outweigh their risks to children and adolescents with major Depression and anxiety disorders. The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health.
What about St. John's wort?
The extract from St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), a bushy, wild-growing plant with yellow flowers, has been used for centuries in many folk and herbal remedies. Today in Europe, it is used extensively to treat mild to moderate Depression. In the United States, it is one of the top–selling botanical products.
To address increasing American interests in St. John's wort, the National Institutes of Health conducted a clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of the herb in treating adults who have major Depression. Involving 340 patients diagnosed with major Depression, the eight–week trial randomly assigned one-third of them to a uniform dose of St. John's wort, one–third to a commonly prescribed SSRI, and one–third to a placebo. The trial found that St. John's wort was no more effective than the placebo in treating major Depression. Another study is looking at the effectiveness of St. John's wort for treating mild or minor Depression.
Other research has shown that St. John's wort can interact unfavorably with other medications, including those used to control HIV infection. On February 10, 2000, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory letter stating that the herb appears to interfere with certain medications used to treat heart disease, Depression, seizures, certain cancers, and organ transplant rejection. The herb also may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Because of these potential interactions, patients should always consult with their doctors before taking any herbal supplement.
Several types of psychotherapy–or "talk therapy"–can help people with Depression.
Some regimens are short–term (10 to 20 weeks) and other regimens are longer–term, depending on the needs of the individual. Two main types of psychotherapies–cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT)-have been shown to be effective in treating Depression. By teaching new ways of thinking and behaving, CBT helps people change negative styles of thinking and behaving that may contribute to their Depression. IPT helps people understand and work through troubled personal relationships that may cause their Depression or make it worse.
For mild to moderate Depression, psychotherapy may be the best treatment option. However, for major Depression or for certain people, psychotherapy may not be enough. Studies have indicated that for adolescents, a combination of medication and psychotherapy may be the most effective approach to treating major Depression and reducing the likelihood for recurrence. Similarly, a study examining Depression treatment among older adults found that patients who responded to initial treatment of medication and IPT were less likely to have recurring Depression if they continued their combination treatment for at least two years.
For cases in which medication and/or psychotherapy does not help alleviate a person's treatment–resistant Depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be useful. ECT, formerly known as "shock therapy," once had a bad reputation. But in recent years, it has greatly improved and can provide relief for people with severe Depression who have not been able to feel better with other treatments.
Before ECT is administered, a patient takes a muscle relaxant and is put under brief anesthesia. He or she does not consciously feel the electrical impulse administered in ECT. A patient typically will undergo ECT several times a week, and often will need to take an antidepressant or mood stabilizing medication to supplement the ECT treatments and prevent relapse. Although some patients will need only a few courses of ECT, others may need maintenance ECT, usually once a week at first, then gradually decreasing to monthly treatments for up to one year.
ECT may cause some short-term side effects, including confusion, disorientation and memory loss. But these side effects typically clear soon after treatment. Research has indicated that after one year of ECT treatments, patients showed no adverse cognitive effects.
Self Care strategies for Living with Depression
Here are nine natural and herbal remedies that are used for Depression.
1) St. John's Wort
The herb St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been used in folk medicine for sadness, worry, nervousness, and poor sleep.
Today, the results of over 20 clinical trials suggest that St. John's wort works better than a placebo and is as effective as antidepressants for mild to moderate Depression, with fewer side effects.
Studies suggest that St. John's wort is not effective for major Depression.
It's available at health food stores, drug stores, and online in the form of capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, or tea.
St. John's wort may take 4 to 6 weeks to notice the full effects. Side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, indigestion, and fatigue. St. John's wort increases photosensitivity, so extra caution should be taken to protect skin and eyes from sunlight.
Although St. John's wort appears to be reasonably safe when taken alone, it can interfere with the effectiveness of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as antidepressants, drugs to treat HIV infections and AIDs, drugs to prevent organ rejection for transplant patients, and oral contraceptives.
St. John's wort is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with bipolar disorder, liver or kidney disease.
2) Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of good fat needed for normal brain function. Our bodies can't make omega-3s on their own, so we must obtain them through our diet.
Studies have linked Depression with low dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids. In countries with higher fish consumption, such as Japan and Taiwan, the Depression rate is 10 times lower than in North American. Postpartum Depression is also less common.
Studies suggest that omega-3's together with antidepressants may be more effective than antidepressants alone.
Cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are the richest food source of omega-3 fatty acids. But instead of eating more fish which contain mercury, PCBs, and other chemicals, fish oil capsules are considered a cleaner source of omega-3 fatty acids. Many companies filter their fish oil so that these chemicals are removed.
Fish oil capsules are sold in health food stores, drug stores, and online. Most brands should be stored in the fridge to prevent the oil from going rancid. When comparing brands, the key active components for Depression are EPA and DHA.
Fish oil capsules may interact with blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin and aspirin. Side effects may include indigestion and bleeding. Fish oil should not be taken 2 weeks before or after surgery. Fish oil can also cause a fishy aftertaste. To prevent this, try taking the fish oil just before meals.
For more information on Omega 3 Fatty Acids review this University of Maryland Medical Center Study of Omega 3 fatty acid Clinical Trials
SAM-e, pronounced "sammy", is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine. It's a chemical that's found naturally in the human body and is believed to increase levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Several studies have found SAM-e is more effective than placebo.
In North America, SAM-e is available as an over-the-counter supplement in health food stores, drug stores, and online. It should be enteric-coated for maximum absorption. Although it's one of the more expensive supplements, it remains popular as a remedy for Depression and osteoarthritis.
Side effects can include nausea and constipation.
4) Folic Acid
Folic acid, also called folate, is a B vitamin that is often deficient in people who are depressed.
Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fruit, beans, and fortified grains. It's one of the most common vitamin deficiencies because of poor diet but also because chronic conditions and various medications such as aspirin and birth control pills can also lead to deficiency.
Besides food, folic acid is also available as a supplement or as part of a B-complex vitamin.
Researchers at Harvard University have found that depressed people with low folate levels don't respond as well to antidepressents, and taking folic acid in supplement form can improve the effectiveness of antidepressants.
5-HTP is short for 5-hydroxytryptophan. It's produced naturally in the body and is used to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Although taking 5-HTP in supplement form may theoretically boost the body's serotonin levels, many experts feel there is not enough evidence to determine the safety of 5-HTP. It should not be combined with antidepressants.
• Reduce your intake of sweets
Sweets temporarily make you feel good as blood sugar levels soar, but may worsen mood later on when they plummet.
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol both dampen mood. Alcohol temporarily relaxes us and caffeine boosts energy, but the effects of both are short-lived. Both can worsen mood swings, anxiety, Depression, and insomnia.
• Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is needed to produce the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, a borderline deficiency may occur in people taking oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and drugs for tuberculosis.
Most people do not get enough magnesium in their diets. Good sources of magnesium are legumes, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables. Like vitamin B6, magnesium is needed for serotonin production. Stress depletes magnesium.
Regular exercise is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to improve mood.
Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, releases mood-elevating chemicals in the brain and can decrease stress hormones.
One of the best options to bust the blues is taking a brisk walk outside each morning for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
But what's important is that you choose something you enjoy and will stick with, whether it's going to the gym, signing up for dance classes, playing tennis, or gardening.
8) Light Therapy
Getting enough sunlight has been shown to be effective for seasonal mood changes that happen in the darker winter months.
Exposure to light in the morning helps the body's sleep/wake cycle work properly. Production of serotonin, a brain chemical that key in influencing our mood, is turned on in the morning upon exposure to light. During the winter when there is less sunlight, serotonin levels can drop, making us feel tired and prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
One of the most simple ways to increase your exposure to light is to walk outdoors in the morning. Just be sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet light.
Another option is to use special lights that simulate natural daylight. Studies have found they are effective.
These lights can be found online. There are different types available, from light boxes to visors, that are typically used for 20-30 minutes a day. Look for lights with a minimum of 3,000 lux. many experts suggest 10,000 lux.
Although they are rather expensive ranging from $150 to $500, they may be covered by insurance.
9) Other Natural Remedies
• Flower remedies
This site offers a range of mediation tools - Meditation techniques and a set of Guided meditation videos
Vitamin & Nutrient Associations
Many of the pressure of life sneak under our guard and affect us in ways we do not recognize that the time. If we are going to build our ability to withstand stress over the longer term we need to get our bodies as healthy as we can.
You might find that this article helps to understand how easy it is to become run down and lacking energy. Rebuilding that core wellness is a very strong foundation for fighting against depressive episodes. nutrition
Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your Depression problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.
We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
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Below here are examples of Health Success Results other people have had with using a self care strategy for dealing with keyword:
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See below here what stories & resources have been contributed on this subject:
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So You Think You Are Depressed
Are you feeling a little down on yourself? Do you constantly have negative thoughts and lack motivation? If you think that you are experiencing depression …
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is entirely different from the “baby blues” that women often suffer from the first few weeks after giving birth. Women will often …
Fantastic Foods That Fight Depression
If you’re feeling depressed, there are plenty of natural ways to cope with it. Exercise, talking with friends, getting more sleep and buying a pet, are …
First Trimester Pregnancy Health Tips
What To Do About All Those Symptoms!
First trimester pregnancy health tips are always so varied thanks to the fact that everyone experiences pregnancy …
Post Partum Depression
Post partum depression is a type of depression that a woman can suffer during pregnancy or just after childbirth. In some cases a woman may begin to suffer …
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