How to Treat Depression Without Medications
Depressive disorder, often simply called depression, is much more than feeling sad or going through a bad patch. Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that causes you to experience persistent sadness or a lack of interest in life. Called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, depression affects the way you feel, think, and act, and it can cause many emotional and physical problems.
Depression is a also a common symptom of bipolar disorder, and studies have shown that those who suffer from this condition can experience symptoms about half the time. Another mood disorder, bipolar disorder involves one or more episodes of abnormally high mood, cognitive, and energy levels, but it can also include one or more episodes of depression.
During low periods, people with bipolar disorder may experience symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad or hopeless, or feeling energy-deficient. People with depressive psychosis also may have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and irritability. Depression With Psychosis Some people diagnosed with severe depression may also experience symptoms of another mental health condition called psychosis.
7 Common Ways to Treat Depression Without Medications
Exercise helps release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that make us feel good. Endorphins help reduce depression symptoms by increasing serotonin levels in the body. Exercise also releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes people feel happy. Dopamine increases the feeling of pleasure and reward, while serotonin reduces anxiety.
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress and get rid of negative thoughts. When we meditate, our brains release oxytocin, which causes us to feel calm and relaxed. Oxytocin also triggers the release of serotonin, which relieves depression.
Getting enough sleep each night is important for maintaining a healthy mood. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a warm bath before bedtime. A hot bath relaxes muscles and eases tension, which may help you fall asleep faster. Also, avoid caffeine after noon, since caffeine stimulates activity in the body, making it harder to fall asleep at night.
4. Social Support
Having friends and family around you can help lift your spirits. Try going out with them, calling someone, or joining a social group. Having positive relationships with others can boost your mood and give you something else to look forward to.
A nutritious diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, and seeds can improve your mental outlook. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed) have been shown to lower inflammation in the body, which can lead to depression. Omega-3s also promote the production of serotonin, a chemical that’s involved in regulating mood.
6. Herbal Supplements
Herbs and supplements can be helpful in treating depression. St. John’s wort contains hyperforin, a chemical that boosts the amount of serotonin in the brain. Other herbs that can help treat depression include ginkgo biloba, kava kava, valerian root, and SAMe.
7. Light Therapy
Light therapy uses bright lights to stimulate the brain. Exposure to bright light in the morning can help regulate circadian rhythms, which affect how our bodies respond to hormones and other substances. Bright light therapy can also increase the amount of melatonin produced by the pineal gland, which helps regulate sleep cycles.
It is always recommended to take medications for depression. These common ways to treat depression without using medications can be done while on medications or off medications. You can also check out the video below to learn more ways to treat depression without using medications.