Depression is a major health issue in this country, impacting 20% of Americans at some point in their lives. What’s interesting, though, is that it appears many cases may be avoided, or at least limited, by making lifestyle changes.
As the factors of depression are examined more closely, increasing amounts of preventative measures are coming to light. Providing therapeutic opportunities existing beyond pharmaceutical and psychological treatments, these factors can play a big role in natural self-treatment.
Sometimes you can feel depressed and have no idea why. You look around, and there is nothing really wrong with your life. You’ve got a partner, a roof over your head, and all the things you’ve been told add up to happiness. But these things can have little relevance when it comes to how you really feel.
A recent study published in the online journal PLoS ONE, for example, showed how having a partner can actually lead to increased depression. People with unsupportive and critical spouses were twice as likely to suffer depression as those with positive relationships. Initially, this might not come as a surprise, but think of how common it is to chalk up an unsupportive spouse’s behavior to “having a bad day,” or “being tired,” or any other excuse you can think of. The research shows it has a big effect on how someone feels.
Now, I’m not recommending you run out and file for divorce if you’re feeling depressed. But if your relationship is playing a factor in how you feel, consider talking to someone about it. There are counselors that can help rebuild relationships and improve their strength.
Depression does more than just make a person feel down. It can also increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Therefore, effective treatment requires more than just medication.
We live in a world where health problems are often treated with Band-Aids. The root problems of why you feel a certain way are rarely addressed, but are often the most important factors for effective treatment. While it may be a surprise to some, diet can both contribute heavily to depression and be used as a treatment. Diet addresses the cause of the problem, not just its symptoms.
According to nutritional healing advocate and family practitioner, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, diet plays a key role in depression, he explained in a webinar as part of the Food Revolution Summit. He says people with low levels of fatty acids in their brain are often predisposed to depression, so a diet with limited EPA and DHA fats can contribute to the problem. He also points out that a poor diet lacking nutrients can lead to increased waste production and more free radicals in the brain, which can contribute to depression.
A study cited on Mental Health U.K.’s web site shows nearly two-thirds of people who eat fresh fruit or drink fresh fruit juice every day do not report mental health problems. Based on Dr. Fuhrman’s assessment, we can see that the antioxidants and other nutritional value derived from fruit works to control free radicals. The same study showed identical results with vegetable consumption, while illustrating that depressed people tend to eat less healthy foods, opting for foods like chips, candy, take-out and ready-made meals instead.
I’d like to point out that improving your relationship or diet alone may not cure depression, but evidence seems to indicate that it definitely helps. The key to their effectiveness, however, is your ability to stick with the program. You won’t feel better instantly; it takes time. A salad isn’t going to cure you. But by sticking with it for a few days, weeks, and into the future, you’re likely to experience a myriad of benefits.
Livin’ Life eXponentially!