Depression and Alternative Treatments

While everyone has experienced  depression  in one form or another, with clinical or other forms of major  depression , sadness and other symptoms that present themselves are intense and last for longer than what is considered normal.

There are roughly 19 million American adults living with major  depression . Because  depression  can become a serious medical illness, it requires professional care. Although  depression  can be mild, it is highly complex in nature, and one that should not be taken lightly. If one is feeling the symptoms of  depression  for longer than two weeks, speaking to a doctor or online doctor and/or setting up an online medical consultation and/or appointment is recommended.

There are several forms of  depression , which include major  depression , mild  depression , dysthymia, bipolar disorder (manic  depression ), and postpartum  depression . While there are online doctor consultation services available for patients to discuss  depression  or symptoms of  depression , seeing a certified doctor or psychiatrist in person is by far the best way to find the right solution for the specific condition. However, there are several online doctors who can offer insight into the causes and methods of temporary  depression  treatment that may be beneficial to one until he or she is able to consult with an offline medical professional.

The symptoms of  depression  vary – one may experience five or more of the following for at least a two-week period:

o Persistent sadness, pessimism

o Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness

o Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex

o Difficulty concentrating and complaints of poor memory

o Worsening of co-existing chronic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes

o Insomnia or oversleeping

o Weight gain or loss

o Fatigue, lack of energy

o Anxiety, agitation, irritability

o Thoughts of suicide or death

o Slow speech; slow movements

o Headache, stomachache, and digestive problems

Qualified online doctors will inform that traditional forms of treatment for  depression  include antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy. While these forms of treatment have proven effective, there are several successful alternative methods that treat  depression  as well. Some of these alternatives include:

o Acupuncture – Acupuncture has been found to dramatically reduce the symptoms of  depression , especially in those who have not found antidepressant medications too helpful.

o Biofeedback – This is a technique used that encourages people to watch the signs that their own bodies give them, such as blood pressure, weight, etc. in order for the people to learn about what they can and cannot control about their bodies. This technique is known for its calming effects on the mind and body of the depressed individual.

o Homeopathy – Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is based on treating the individual with highly diluted substances – typically in pill form – that triggers the body’s natural system of healing. Trained homeopaths will match the most appropriate medicine to the patient.

o Dietary monitoring – This is a proven way to reduce the effects and symptoms of  depression  by following the belief that “you are what you eat.” By changing diets and eating better, people, in turn, generally feel better and see a difference in their daily lives. A combination of a healthy diet and exercise has an incredible effect on  depression .

o Aromatherapy – This form of alternative medicine dates back thousands of years ago. Different scents are formulated to calm or soothe the depressed individual.

o Natural vitamin supplements – these have been known to work in reducing the effects of  depression  by balancing out the body naturally.

o Color therapy – Similar to aromatherapy, this form of therapy focuses on sight rather than smell, and has been proven to reduce stress and bring a sense of comfort to depressed people.

Online doctors and other physicians are knowledgeable about the several ways to go about reducing the effects of  depression , and suppressing the symptoms through simple changes at home. Watching diet and eating healthier, along with taking the proper vitamins can make a tremendous difference in attitude, drive, and happiness. With the combination of diet, exercise, and vitamins, aromatherapy and/or color therapy can account for an even bigger improvement in the lifestyle of the depressed individual. Additionally, the availability of online doctor consultations to discuss such conditions is also extremely beneficial.

Acupuncture, homeopathy and aromatherapy typically require the expertise of a professional – but are nonetheless easily accessible in this day and age of modern medicine.

Clinical Depression

Depression is common and can strike any one of us at any time. According to the Mental Health Foundation 10% of the population in the UK and USA will experience some form of depression every year. There are several different types of depression ranging from mild to severe, and within each type, the symptoms, their intensity and duration, will all vary from person to person. Milder forms of depression may have little impact on someone’s life and will often spontaneously disappear after a relatively short period of time, Bipolar Depression is characterised by intense fluctuations between mania and depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of depression occurring during the winter months and is believed to be related to a lack of sunlight, Post Natal Depression can affect a woman after the birth of a baby, but the most common form of depression is Clinical Depression, sometimes called Unipolar depression or major depression.

Clinical depression can be defined as a depression so severe as to require the intervention of a health professional. It is much more than feeling down, or fed up, something that all of us experience at times. Someone who is clinically depressed can’t just escape from it, and can’t switch it off so if the symptoms of depression persist for more than a couple of weeks and they interfere with a person’s normal routines on a daily basis, perhaps affecting their eating and sleeping patterns, their work, relationships or their ability to take pleasure in activities they once enjoyed, and it cannot be attributed to an obvious cause such as bereavement, or alcohol or substance abuse, then clinical depression could be diagnosed. Intervention is necessary in order to help someone with clinical depression get back to normal as without treatment, it could go on indefinitely.

Symptoms of clinical depression

There are numerous symptoms associated with clinical depression but the most common include:

o Low moods and sadness for most of the time

o Disinterest and lack of pleasure in most activities including sex

o Weight gain or loss with associated increased or diminished appetite

o Sleep disturbances – both insomnia and hypersomnia

o Feeling exhausted when waking up

o Irritability, agitation and restlessness

o Feeling guilty, worthless and/or helpless

o Inability to concentrate and focus

o Indecisiveness

o Fatigue and loss of energy

o Physical aches and pains or digestive problems

o Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and they will vary with each individual. In other words, there is not a single identifiable set of symptoms that indicate clinical depression and the only way to ensure a correct diagnosis is to seek the expert help of a GP or other health professional who will ask about the symptoms, their duration and severity, personal circumstances and medical history, and any cases of depression recurring in the family. The most appropriate treatment options can then be considered.

Treatment Options

Clinical depression will normally require the use of anti-depressants for a period of time, usually for six months or so and sometimes longer. It can take several weeks for any medication to take effect so it is important to persevere with them even if there is no initial improvement. There are several different types of antidepressants and the effect of any medication, both positive and negative, will vary but as a general guideline, if there is no improvement after six weeks or so, or if there are significant side effects, then the GP may prescribe another medication until one is found that suits the individual. Antidepressants should never be stopped suddenly as this can be harmful, it is necessary to reduce the dose slowly over a period of time under the guidance of a qualified physician.

Talking therapies and counselling may also be an option for mild to moderate depression. These types of therapies can be helpful in changing negative thinking patterns and behaviours that contribute to the state of depression. Talking through problems and looking at issues in more depth can offer new insights and possible coping strategies.

For extremely severe and persistent depression that hasn’t responded to other treatments, ECT is a possibility, which involves giving short electrical shocks to the brain.

Conclusion

There is no one single cause of clinical depression and no way of knowing who will develop it. Certainly, some groups of people appear more at risk of becoming clinically depressed than others, such as the socially isolated, the long term sick and disabled, single parents, and the unemployed. Low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and essential fatty acids are found in people who are depressed suggesting biological factors can be involved and depressive disorders appear to run in families indicating that genetics could play a part. Sometimes, even the way we view the world or how we think about ourselves can cloud our perception and trigger depression. The important thing is to seek advice if it begins to affect your daily life because regardless of its cause, help is available, depression can be treated and life can return to normal.

What is Manic Depression?

Manic  depression  is that state of  depression  in which the patient suffers from mood swings which go between extreme elation and  depression . So while one minute the patient may feel on top of the world the other minute there will be feelings of despair and helplessness. Although there are many factors that cause this kind of  depression  genetic reasons are the most prominent ones. This means that two thirds of the people suffering from manic  depression  have someone in their family also suffering from the same.

It is not only the moods of the person that get affected by this but there are also physiological changes, there will be heightened activity at some time, sleeplessness at another and it also impacts once social rhythms and thinking abilities.

Varying forms of Manic  Depression 

Bipolar  Depression 

There are varying degrees of manic  depression  which means in some cases the ratio of a person being depressed may be 3:1 while in other cases it could be as great as 37:1. What this means is that a person who has a ration of 3:1 will spend three times as much time depressed than elated. Researchers are also if the opinion that the condition of  depression  that the patients of Manic  depression  feel is quite more than that of normal  depression  and indeed the chances of a person committing suicide is twice as much as someone who is suffering from only  depression  or unipolar  depression  as it is called.

Mixed Mania

Manic  depression  is also known to manifest itself in a Mixed state, this means that the people suffering from it will experience mania and  depression  at the same time. So they may experience agitation, anxiety, fatigue, guilt, impulsiveness, insomnia, irritability, morbid and/or suicidal ideation, panic, paranoia, pressured speech and rage all at the same time. A typical example would be someone tearful or even crying even when seemingly appearing very cheerful or excited. Such states are the most dangerous and are prone to induce the maximum chances of drug abuse and even suicides.

Rapid and utltradian cycles

Rapid cycling means that the individual tends to swing between one mood and the other quite frequently so while you may find them to be in a euphoric state at 10 in the morning as if the world belonged to them you can see them at 11 and feel that they are the most helpless people in this world, although such type of hour cycling is not known to afflict a lot of people there are fairly large number of cases who have greater cycles of a day or a month.

Famous people having manic  depression 

Although manic  depression  is a mental disorder and one must take all steps to ensure that one is treated of this condition there are several famous people who have had this kind of illness. And at the same time these people also attribute the reason for their creativity to having some sort of mania which helped them in the creative work they did. Indeed this is not to mean that you should not get yourself treated. If you were suffering from this disorder as it is a dangerous situation and many people like Kurt Cobain who was the lead singer of the rock band Nirvana have ended up committing suicide because they could not control it.

While most such celebrities have had turbulent life they were able to control it and live a more or less normal life. It would surprise most to know that it is thought that a large number of artists, writers and other celebrities like Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Twain, Axl Rose of Guns n Roses, Ozzy Ozbourne, Edgar Allen Poe, Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Jimmi Hendrix, Ralph Waldo Emerson and even Winston Churchill were suffering from it.

In the end with proper treatment this illness can be controlled and taken care of and the list of successful people who have gone through their lives with this disorder should give the patients comfort that not only are they alone, people suffering from similar disease have lived happy and successful lives as well.

Postpartum Depression After a C-Section

One of the things that concerns women when having a c-section is the topic of postpartum depression.  Postpartum depression is often triggered by hormones and women recovering from a c-section will often experience higher post-partum hormone levels than those who deliver vaginally, but why?

During a normal vaginal birth there is a bit more effort involved on the mother’s behalf than with a C-section. Through the pushing and breathing come lots of hormones that bombard your body in order to make your delivery possible; all of the actions that take place during birth are made possible by your hormones.

In the case of a C-Section, these hormones continue to flow but are often not used because of the relaxed state of your delivery. After birth the brain will once again become bombarded with elevated levels of hormones, most significantly Oxytocin which helps with the release of the placenta and after-birth, initiate lactation and start the bonding process between mother and baby as well as helping the mother to ‘forget’ the painful process she has just gone through as the bodies way of insuring that the female will once again desire procreation.

During the c-section procedure an epidural or spinal tap has a tendency to cease the flow of these imperative hormones, synthetic Oxytocin will be prescribed in your IV but many women experience elevated levels of post-partum hormones causing depression because of the later natural release of the hormone build-up in the body. It’s important to note that synthetic Oxytocin is meant to help aid in the natural birth progression but not necessarily to help the female adjust after-birth.

So what can you do? Other than the often repeated answer, “Ask your doctor”, there are other options for ways to help ease the stress of elevated post-partum hormone levels.

1. Nipple stimulation. Often used as a way to elevated Oxytocin levels to induce labor, can also help with a similar release post-partum.

After birth a nurse specializing in helping the new mother breast feed will come to help you as well, this is an important step in the after-birth period, do not turn away the help from this nurse especially if you just had a c-section. His or her aid will also help to stimulate the nipples allowing for a necessary release of hormones triggering lactation but also with creating a bond between you and your new baby.

This release is also helpful in easing some of the post-partum depression that seems to be increased in cesarean deliveries.

2. Scheduling your cesarean at no earlier than 39 weeks is preferred.  Many doctors don’t want women to go into labor pre-surgery if she has had a c-section previously because of possibility of tearing along the already existing scar tissues, but if this is your first c-section and your doctor does not express concerns, going in for your surgery as close to your expected delivery date is important; not only for you but also for your baby. The physical act of going into labor promotes the excretion of important hormones which will aid in your post-partum recovery.

3. Make sure that you keep active and monitor your hormone levels post delivery. Medical studies and statistics have indicated that cases of post-partum depression are higher among women who have a c-section than with a vaginal birth so keeping active is a   good way to keep from developing depression.  Some post-partum sadness is normal but full on depression is not and often requires medical attention.

If you are concerned about avoiding postpartum depression after having a c-section, look into what other mothers have done to counteract this very serious risk. You are not alone! Around 10-15% of women experience some sort of postpartum blues, ask around, search the forums and present all your questions to your doctor. If you already have issues with depression or mood-disorders take a pre-emptive strike and make an appointment with a psychologist or therapist before you deliver. 

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