10 Non-Medication Ways To Heal From Depression
Modern society and standards of living have changed the way we sleep, work, travel, eat, and interact with one another.
While some enjoy the challenges and drawbacks, others may become susceptible to isolation, sleep-deprivation, stress, or unhealthy eating habits. These can all be symptoms of depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is used to refer to a range of moods—from low spirits to a serious mental health problem seemingly disrupting a person’s everyday life. It’s a psychological disorder characterised by intense sadness and lack of enthusiasm. It influences how a person thinks and behaves, which can result in various emotional and physical problems.
Clinical depression isn’t just about feeling sad or upset. It’s an overwhelming feeling that makes a person feel hopeless. It’s not a situation one can easily snap out of, and there might be a need for long-term treatment for those having it.
Diagnosis of Depression
When diagnosing if a person has depression, professionals often look for key symptoms such as frequent irritability, lack of interest, weight and appetite changes, difficulty in sleeping, agitation, extreme exhaustion, guilt, worthlessness, difficulty in concentrating, and having suicidal thoughts.
If a person experiences at least five of these signs over a two-week timeframe, they may likely be depressed. However, the most crucial symptom is having a distressed and troubled mood almost every day or a lack of enjoyment or satisfaction in previously interesting activities.
If the state of depression seems to be minor, it is still essential to manage it as early as possible.
Types of Depression
People with depression experience different periods of sadness, loss of enthusiasm, and negative energy on things they initially love doing.
A person's experience of depression may vary significantly. There are types of depression and each has its corresponding symptoms and effects:
- Major Depressive Disorder
This type of depression is believed to be more frequent in women compared to men. Its symptoms include bemusement, guilt, uselessness, hopelessness, sleeping problems, loss of appetite, frequent exhaustion, irritability, emptiness, and suicidal thoughts.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder is said to often last for two or more years. The magnitude of low moods isn’t as severe as it is on the previous type, but it tends to last longer. People with this type of depression may have the ability to function every day, but they seldom feel joyr. Aside from this, sleep, appetite, esteem, and energy could also be affected.
- Postpartum & Perinatal Depression
For the first year after giving birth, mothers experience postpartum depression. This is distinct from the condition known as 'baby blues,' which manifests as signs of slight agitation, nausea, and depression usually only lasting for a few days.
- Psychotic Disorder
A psychotic disorder may develop along with psychosis. People who have this may experience visions or hear or see things not even occurring. Symptoms of psychotic disorder often have a theme such as shame, sickness, or poverty hallucinations.
- Seasonal Disorder
This type of depression is thought to occur in the winter season, and it appears to affect people who are deprived of natural light. Anxiety, weight gain, and nausea are a few of its symptoms. In addition, a less common condition known as Summer-Onset Affective Disorder may also develop during the spring and summertime.
- Situational Depression
Situational depression, also known as adjustment disorder, affects certain individuals who've been through a stressful or life-changing occurrence. It's most often diagnosed in kids and teenagers. Instances of such circumstances involve:
- Separation and divorce
- Being a victim of a heinous crime
- Loss of employment
- Death of a family member
- Serious illnesses
- Depressive Disorder With Atypical Features
Atypical depression is a type of depression distinguished by features varying from the usual signs of depression. One distinguishing characteristic of this is the person's mood momentarily improves after something good occurs. This is referred to by doctors as 'mood reactivity'.
Non-Medicative Ways To Treat Depression
For some people, anti-depressants are a way to heal from depression. However, it can also have varying effects on people. Some individuals may experience no side effects, while others may experience one or more severe side effects.
There are still plenty of ways to counter the signs of depression without using anti-depressants. Here are natural ways of managing it:
Some experts seem to suggest increasing physical exercise to alleviate depression since exercising has been shown to change the chemical equilibrium of the brain and to regulate one’s mood. Exercise can also induce the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, which have a mood-boosting effect.
However, starting a habit of exercising when a person is depressed could be a challenge. If a person lacks interest or low in spirit, this task may make them feel too tired to get started. Here are a few things you could do:
- Ask for support with a loved one or a friend. Having the encouragement of a friend might help a depressed individual to not only get into a routine and also be backed by a social support system.
- Start small. Start walking for just a few minutes every day. Then little by little, gradually increase the time.
- Be constantly reminded of the gains. Beginning this habit can be tough, however by practicing gratitude, a person's mindset can slowly shift into that of greater self-awareness.
Eat Foods Enhancing Good Mood
What a person consumes invariably influences how they think or feel. Stay healthy by consuming a well-balanced diet high in nutrients and low in saturated fat. A nutritionist or dietitian may assist in analysing dietary patterns and identifying possible food deficits contributing to depression.
Any of these foods are helpful if you’re suffering from depression:
- Fish: People who consume a high-fish diet is said to be less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms. Fish consists of omega-3 fats, which could aid in neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain.
- Probiotics: It’s said there’s a link between a person’s gut and brain health. Therefore, it might be wise to eat foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha.
- Nuts: Nuts seem to be high in omega-3 fats, and it’s said individuals who consume walnuts are 26% less likely to suffer from depressive symptoms.
Change Your Mindset
Positive thinking might help people with depression feel better since thoughts seem to have a direct bearing on a person's mood. Here are two ways to help achieve improved mental health through a person's mindset:
- Recognise negative thinking. Negative feelings can be evident when people criticise themselves. Some may even attempt to indulge in catastrophising or all-or-nothing thinking. Catastrophising entails always expecting bad things to happen - if individuals can master understanding specific learning trends, they might be able to focus on healthier options.
- Reframe your thoughts. If you find yourself having negative thinking about things, make a conscious decision to reframe them in a positive light. This might include focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
Cope With Stress
Stress can increase levels of a chemical in the brain called cortisol, which has been linked to depression. Managing and coping with stress may take time and much practice, but there are stress-relieving methods anyone might want to incorporate in their everyday life:
- Take deep breaths. A few moments of slowing breathing patterns and focusing on mind and body in the present moment might help to control a person’s troubles and worries.
- Exercise. Daily physical exercise might be an excellent way to relieve stress.
- Relax the muscles. This method entails purposefully contracting muscles in the body, maintaining the tension for multiple counts, and relaxing the pressure until the muscles are fully relaxed. Through consistent practice, a person might consciously calm their body while you're feeling tense.
Attend To Your Social Life
When a person is depressed, making time to be social can be difficult - but necessary. Reach out to friends and family, make arrangements with loved ones, join clubs or enrol in a social sport such as a nearby sporting team or course. Other options include:
- Participate in a support team. Conversing with other people who are going through similar situations and struggles can be both insightful and beneficial.
- Plan meeting friends and loved ones. Routines can be beneficial when dealing with depression. Make a routine incorporating time spent with others. If it's a planned thing, you're more likely to stick to it.
- Become a volunteer. Joining a cause you find meaningful and relevant can be an excellent way of meeting people and broadening your social network.
Set Goals For Yourself
You might prefer to procrastinate or even do nothing if you have a long to-do list. Instead of making a lengthy list of projects, try focusing on one or two smaller objectives. When you've completed one little task, go on to the next, and then the next. In this way, you'll have a list of concrete accomplishments.
Being spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean joining a religion. This only means practicing meditation or realising things you’re grateful for. Meditation is believed to have various positive benefits, including stress reduction and making individuals more mindful of their feelings and responses.
Here are ways to get started in meditation:
- Take a seat and relax.
- Close your eyes
- Breathe normally.
- Consider what your body is feeling as you breathe.
- When your thoughts drift, get back to your breathing.
Moderate Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is used in coffee, tea, soda, and even chocolate. To avoid disruption of sleep, try limiting your caffeine consumption and avoid it completely in the late afternoons and evenings.
If you are reliant on your coffee, consider reducing the intake progressively to prevent painful caffeine symptoms of withdrawal. Instead of having a cup of coffee, take a quick stroll instead to reduce sleepiness.
Discourage Consumption of Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant and can affect sleep - something vital for overcoming the blues. Although it can seem to be an easy escape from sadness, it can also exacerbate many depressive symptoms. It may also lower the capacity to think clearly, ultimately leading to risky habits and poor choices with long-term effects.
Cultivate a Grateful Attitude
Gratitude and empathy assist in shifting fear-based emotional signs of depression and anxiety to more positive and proactive mentalities. Start by writing down a few happy experiences per day for a week. This may result in higher levels of satisfaction, lasting in increasingly longer periods over time.
Some people don’t get the help they need to manage their grief. Having the necessary knowledge about depression may be beneficial in overcoming it. Depression is a distressing occurrence, but there are several means of assistance, support and information available.