What is Depression?
Depression is a mental illness characterized by a sad, empty or irritable mood that is persistent over time and can affect how you think, feel and act.
In broader terms, depression is a mental state that affects a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings, perception and mood. It is associated with feelings of sadness, despair, loneliness, guilt, anxiety and restlessness. People suffering from depression may have problems in sleeping, eating and concentration. It interferes with day to day life making work, social interactions and relationships difficult.
Symptoms of Depression
The signs of depression are a little different from the symptoms of other mental disorders. While everyone is bound to experience a feeling of sadness or melancholy every now and then, it is always accompanied by positive feelings such as hope and determination to overcome the problem.
If a person develops a depressive illness, he/she will withdraw from friends and loved ones and lose interest in all the activities he/she used to enjoy doing.
“Am I depressed?” Well, given below are some signs of depression that you should be vigilant about.
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in all activities
- Loss of energy or persistent lethargy
- Negative thoughts about oneself, others and the world in general
- Suicidal tendencies
- Change in sexual desires
- Paranoid thoughts that develop into delusions or hallucinations
- Withdrawal from others
- Persistent feelings of guilt or worthlessness and an overall negative attitude towards life
- A general sense of dissatisfaction and emptiness
- Loss of energy and fatigue that is not alleviated by rest
- Racing and sometimes uncontrollable thoughts and impulses such as dwelling on the past or worries about the future.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions.
- Irritability and mood swings are often related to work, family or other relationships.
Causes of Depression
Depression is a medical condition in which a person feels sad, anxious, or empty nearly every day for at least two weeks and shows no interest in activities once enjoyed.
Many possible causes of depression have been suggested. Most can be grouped into three main classifications: biological factors, psychological factors, and early childhood experiences.
Biological factors include heredity, viruses, poisons and illnesses, physical and/or mental trauma, birth control pills and other drugs, or hormone imbalances.
Common psychological causes of depression include:
- The loss of a loved one
- A troubling event, such as the end of a relationship
- The loss of one’s job
- Being overwhelmed by financial hardship
- Stressful life events
A traumatic experience can lead to long-term depression if the person doesn’t receive help for coping with the problem. Depression also can run in families.
How to Overcome Depression?
Mental health is something that is often taken lightly in today's age. We have come to an age where the only thing people need to do is buy the best medicine for depression and magically they are cured right? Well not really, depression is a form of mental illness and it occurs when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain and disrupts the normal functioning of nerve cells. Major depression is a serious illness that affects your mood, ability to think, sleep, eat, and feel pleasure. Depression can interfere with a person’s work, school, family, and social life. It can even lead to suicide.
The good news is that depression treatment is easily available either by consulting a therapist who can prescribe depression medicine specifically to treat your kind of depression. Studies have shown that antidepressant medicines can help most people with moderate to severe depression.
10 Herbs to Fight Depression
Depression is a mental disorder characterized by periods of low mood and a general loss of interest in activities. Depression is like a black hole, it completely engulfs you, making you feel as if you are never going to get out of this very state.
This mental disorder can occur at any age and has no specific cause or trigger. It can also occur in severe and mild forms. A severe form of depression is called clinical depression and it causes a person to feel very helpless and have suicidal thoughts and attempts.
A milder form of depression is called situational depression that occurs when an individual is under a lot of stress or is experiencing some events in their life that make them feel helpless.
When these things happen, you may start feeling isolated and hopeless with very low energy levels. This could cause you to develop depression.
Some studies have shown that few natural remedies like herbs are also useful to cure depression and related issues.
Herbs are considered healing plants that help in boosting your physical and mental health. Herbs are the parts of plants that are used to soothe and calm the human body, mind, and soul.
They come from various sources including trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses.
It is very important to know that there are certain herbs that help fight against depression. Although they do not have the same effect as the drugs prescribed by the doctors, they have a soothing and calming effect on you. These herbs can be found in any pharmacy and can be easily found in India.
Let's look at some of the herbs for depression.
1. Garlic: Garlic is one herb that has been used in the kitchen for years. It is known for its strong smell and pungent taste. Garlic can be used to prevent various health and mental disorders. It can strengthen the body's immune system and help fight depression and chronic diseases like cancer.
2. Turmeric: Turmeric is another herb that is popular for its medicinal values. It is derived from the rhizome or root of Curcuma longa plant.
3. Saffron: Saffron is a bright coloured spice that has antioxidant properties and compounds like carotenoids crocin and crocetin. A study suggested that saffron has shown promising results for treating depression.
4. Lavender: Lavender flower and its extracts have been used, both internally and by olfaction, for centuries as a treatment for depression and related issues.
5. St. John’s Wort: St. John’s Wort is a popular herb that has shown promise in reducing mild and moderate levels of depression.
6. Kava Kava: Kava is an effective herb with good tolerability for the treatment of generalized anxiety, with some evidence for stress, depression and insomnia.
7. Passionflower: The passionflower is a perennial plant with potential therapeutic properties. Studies suggest that the passionflower itself, as well as its preparations, helps reduce stress and can therefore be helpful in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
8. Ginseng: Ginseng has a neuroprotective effect that may be useful in the prevention of depression.
9. Rhodiola: Rhodiola herb has gazillion health benefits including reduced depressive symptoms and an improved stress response, which can help your body adapt to stressful situations.
10. Ginkgo Biloba: If ginkgo herb is taken before an unavoidable stressful situation can nullify the after-effects of the situation. Thereby preventing depression and related issues.
Depression in simple terms is a feeling of deep sadness and lack of interest in the activities that used to give you pleasure. Depression is a common mental illness that affects many people around the world. The result of this is the inability to perform certain tasks, lack of concentration, inability to think in a positive manner, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts to name a few. All these are signs of depression.
Depression needs a lot of time and energy to treat. As for now, there are many ways to fight depression, but many of them don’t seem to be effective. People who have tried all options they have and are still not able to fight depression can turn to herbal remedies, such as St. John's Wort, Kava Kava, Passionflower, etc. These herbs are very effective in fighting depression and as a result – people start feeling better.