Bipolar Disorder / Manic Depression / Post Partum Depression / SAD
Most of us will suffer from depression at some point in our lives. In most cases, it’s a passing malaise, associated with a particular event or cause. But for some, depression is a longterm visitor. Women suffer from depression twice as often as men do. It can affect your ability to function and cope in society and lead to illness, substance abuse, and other problems. Some common symptoms of depression include:
- Constant feelings of low self image, guilt, failure, hopelessness, or shame
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing, lack of motivation, indecisive
- Lack of energy, lethargy, excess sleeping
- Nervous energy, buzzing without direction or focus
- Unusual weight gain or loss
- Lack of perspective, making things larger or more important than they are
- Thoughts of suicide
- Alcohol or other substance abuse
- Lack of interest in sex
Types of Depression
Although the symptoms are similar, depression comes in several different forms. Here’s a quick review:
- Transitory Depression: Depression related to a specific event, such as a death or broken relationship, can be intense, but usually passes within a few months.
- Chronic Depression: Longterm depression, lasting four months or more, is a chronic condition. Chronic depression may be intense or mild.
- Manic Depression / Bipolar disorder: Alternating mood swings between depressed and overly positive moods
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: Depression that occurs primarily during winter months
- PostPartum Depression: Depression that occurs after childbirth
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Depression that occurs after a traumatic event, such as an auto accident. This can also occur after a “positive” but traumatic event, such as a major performance.
Causes of Depression
While many factors can trigger depression (events, memories, repressed emotions, etc.), there are really only a couple of possible causes:
- Mental & Emotional Causes: Abuse, both emotional and physical, is a common cause of depression (often latent) in adults and children. Emotional trauma may also cause depression, as in the death of loved ones, relationship issues, bankruptcy or financial troubles, or other traumatic events. Repression of emotions can also result in depression.
- Chemical Causes: Recent studies have shown the chemical imbalances in the body are associated with depression, including faulty neurotransmitters, hormonal imbalances, and other chemical secretions in the body. No one is yet sure if these imbalances are the causes or the symptoms of depression.
Treatments for Depression
Here are the keys to treating depression naturally:
- Foods: Dark chocolate or pure cocoa contains nutrients (theabroma, a methylxanthine) that are beneficial for depression, and the less sweetened darks have nice antioxidizing properties as a bonus. Consume plenty of fruit (it’s difficult to be depressed while eating an apple or mango), as these supply the body with antioxidants and vitamins. Foods to avoid include dairy products, starchy foods, excessive sugar and fructose, and processed foods. Also minimize alcohol (stay off the booze, byebye blues). Research suggests that alcohol robs the brain of precious omega3 fatty acids.
- Vitamins & Supplements: You likely won’t need pharmaceutical antidepressants if you take this simple nutritional formula for depression: dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), phosphatidylserine, choline, inositol, St. Johns wort, glutamic acid (or glutamine powder), phenylalanine, theanine, Sadenosylmethionine (SAMe), 5HTP and tyrosine. Play with the combinations of these supplements for best results. Many people feel incredible in days.
- Herbs & Essential Oils: Some good antidepressant herbs include bergamot, mint, rose, geranium, pine, and rosemary oils. You can also use geranium and rosemary oils on your body (diluted with a splash of water or with almond oil).
- Lifestyle: Exercise! Body movement helps stimulate circulation and the lymphatic system, which reduce depression. It also helps the brain produce more serotonin and endorphins, two “feelgood” brain chemicals. Treat yourself to relaxing saunas or baths with healing herbs and aromas. Use those listed above, or other essential oil scents that make you feel more energized and happy.
DHEA, an omega3 fatty acid, may be one of the most important supplements to relieve your depression. DHEA determines the fluidity of brain cell membranes, making it extremely important for both thought processes and mood control. Studies show that omega3 fatty acid supplements improve depression and may even stabilize mood fluctuations associated with bipolar disorder, making DHEA much like lithium, but without the side effects. Try taking 1,000 mg of omega3 in supplement form per day with breakfast.
Caution: If you are taking or have taken an antidepressant MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor), DO NOT take nutritional supplement formulas until six weeks after you stop taking the MAOI. It takes that long for the drug to get out of your system. Additionally, certain foods and drinks contain tyramine, an amino acid that reacts adversely with MAOI drugs. Do not eat or drink any of the following if you are on an MAOI drug: Chianti and vermouth (other red wines, white wines, and port wines may be tolerated at an amount less than 120 ml), beer and ale, whiskey and liqueurs, nonalcoholic beers and wines (may contain tyramine, so it’s best to avoid them), bananas and their peels.