Women’s Health- Dealing with Depression
Depression is a critical mental state of mind that seems to affect more women than men.In our everyday life, we go through many ups and downs. Stressful life events, loneliness and significant periods of change can cause anyone to feel down and depressed. Many times we are able to bounce back, but in some cases bouncing back isn’t as easy as it sounds. A lot of people give little concern to this though, but when found in this situation it can affect the mental and physical state of the individual.
Depression symptoms involve more than just a bad mood or feelings of sadness. The National Institute of Mental Health in the United Stateshas reported that about 12 million women are affected by a depressive disorder each year compared to about 6 million men. Some people describe depression as a black, enveloping cloud that descends into their lives, making everyday activities seem overwhelming and pointless. They may feel sad and hopeless or tense and restless. Depression symptoms vary from person to person. Sleep and appetite are often disturbed. Once a person suffers one depressive episode, they are quite likely to have subsequent episodes. Depression can impact a person’s ability to earn a living, study or maintain important relationships. Dorree Lynn, a psychologist and author of Getting Sane without Going Crazy, says women need a connection with others in their lives. “They need that sustenance,” she added. “If they don’t have it, they tend to get depressed.”
Hormonal changes can sometimes also trigger the condition, particularly after pregnancy (postpartum) or around menopause.
Some risk factors for depression may include:
- A previous depressive episode
- Family history of depression
- History of heart problems
- Serious chronic illness
- Marital problems
- Substance abuse
- Use of drugs that could trigger depression, such as medicines for high blood pressure or seizures
- A stressful life event, such as job loss or death of a loved one
- Diseases that could trigger depression, such as vitamin deficiency and thyroid disease
- Recent serious illness or surgery
- Childhood history of physical or sexual abuse
- Being a worrier or being overly anxious
- Having an eating disorder or an anxiety disorder
To help reduce risk of depression, Lynn also recommended finding a reason to get up in the morning. She says things such as work, love, pets, and volunteering can be good reasons.
“Statistically, the healthiest adults, both in women and men, are people in significant caring relationships,” she says. According to her, adults who are not in nurturing relationships can reduce their risk of depression by making efforts to reach out into the community.
Ways to Manage Depression Naturally
Change in Diet: Many dietary changes can help reduce symptoms of depression. Foods that are high in refined sugars, simple carbohydrates (like white cereals and pastries) cause spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. This can lead to rapid mood changes, lower energy levels, and can worsen depressive symptoms. Since we know this, it is then better to avoid those foods that you know can lead to feeling so depressed.
Acupuncture: Research has shown that acupuncture is very effective in relieving depressions in people. When considering acupuncture, remember to go to an experienced and licensed practitioner who has treated patients with depression before. Study further shows that acupuncture has shown a greater reduction in depression symptoms compared topatients only receiving usual care. In acupuncture, a practitioner inserts needles into the skin at points of the body thought to correspond with specific organs. Research says that the needle may activate natural painkiller in the brain. This is mostly done in Asian countries and other parts of the world.
Vitamins:Vitamins, especially B vitamins play a critical role in energy and mood. Vitamin B6 is a cofactor required in synthesizing neurotransmitters like serotonin that are responsible for mood and depression. Bananas and avocados are a great source of this powerful vitamin. You can also discuss taking an additional supplement with your doctor.
Depression should not be seen as a minor health problem. Severe depression can lead to suicide and other health related issues. If depression is affecting your daily life, you areadvised to visit your personal doctor for a detailed evaluation and other treatment options.