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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
|Source: Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group|
Beating the blues
The term “depression” is often wrapped in confusion, particularly when people self-diagnose themselves with it. One the one hand, feeling depressed is equivalent to a state of low mood, making people feel sad, anxious, hopeless and worried, along with a raft of other unpleasant effects. It is not to be taken lightly, this state of mind, as it can severely effect a person’s actions and well-being. But, luckily for most, the effects are usually short-term.
Clinical depression, on the other hand, is a mood disorder that provokes these feelings to much higher degrees, to the point that they interfere with everyday life. What’s more, the effects are much longer-lasting and can have any number of causes, making it more difficult to treat.
For many, the answer is to speak to a psychiatrist and be prescribed a set of medications (usually antidepressants), but they do not work for everyone, leading many to look to more remedial solutions. For example, recent research has suggested that completing crosswords and Sudoku puzzles can help to alleviate the effects of depression. And there are plenty of other activities that can be undertaken in replacement of medication. We run through some of the most popular ways to treat depression.
There are many theories behind why exercise can help alleviate the effects of depression, though most agree with the two main ones. For one thing, exercise can alter the mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, and, for another, it can also cause the release of endorphins – the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals – providing what’s known as “runner’s high”.
Either way, it’s a proven method to help beat the effects of depression. Experts recommend exercising three to five times per week, taking 20 to 30 minute sessions each time. Aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming, is best, though any exercise is better than none.
Keeping a diary
Many doctors believe that keeping what’s known as a mood diary can help keep the effects of depression in check. It’s a way to keep track of both positive and negative things in life, and to put the negative ones in perspective. For example, a bad mood may have been caused by something very small and irrelevant, though that might not be obvious until it’s actually being written down. It also serves a safety net for when things are bad, as patients can look up the good things that are going on with them to remind them that the world isn’t totally against them.
While the idea might be a little cliché, support groups are used by so many people for a very good reason – they help alleviate the effects of depression. While they used to be very standard when treating depression, they’re used less now, but can still be very effective for many people.
Groups help to provide education on depression, plus the opportunity to learn from people who are going through similar feelings, providing a community of support. However, some people simply aren’t comfortable talking about their depression, and support groups could make them become even more introverted. In these cases, joining groups that reflect the person’s interests, such as yoga or hobby groups, can help to provide different kinds of support.
About a decade ago, the food industry cottoned on to the benefits of omega-3, a fatty acid that’s found in fish, and suddenly, masses of foods were advertised as containing omega-3. Studies on the benefits of the fatty acid are still inconclusive, but it is thought that an omega-3 deficiency can cause mood swings and depression, meaning that for those suffering from depression, fish oil tablets could provide some welcome relief. They might not be the most pleasant thing to swallow, but evidence suggests that, in areas where consumption of omega-3 is high, rates of depression are low.
There’s plenty of research that suggests that partaking in proper meditation can help to alleviate the effects of depression, as well as help to prevent a depression relapse. In one study, depressed patients were treated with antidepressants until their symptoms subsided. Afterwards, they were split into two groups, with one continuing to take antidepressants and the other instead opting for meditation.
The study found that the relapse rates for those partaking in meditation were around the same as those taking antidepressants. And those meditating had much lower relapse rates than those not taking any antidepressants or meditating. In another study, it was found that those who took both antidepressants and meditated were much less likely to relapse.
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