Depression Help

8 Tips for Surviving Depression and Anxiety during the Holidays

Image courtesy of cescassawin/freedigitalphotos.net

Most people feel a sense of anticipation and joy as we approach the holidays. However, a considerable amount of people, including those in therapy, can feel depressed, frustrated, and anxious. What can these people do to make the holidays more enjoyable?

Try to schedule a theater or dance performance either the night before or the day of the holiday. In major cities, many shows are on or near Thanksgiving and Christmas. If there is no live theater go to a movie and invite someone so you don’t have to spend the day alone.

Go on a trip out of town. There are many cruises or day trips during this season. If you want to stay in a location where a Thanksgiving dinner was had before, do this. It can link an image of the holidays with a past experience and could boost the spirits quickly.

Join a community group like the YMCA, or take a photography or art class. You can take a class taking pictures of trees and turning those into holiday cards or presents.

Organize a hike into the countryside or a park tour with a group. In New York City and Los Angeles, there are tours every day of the week.

Go to a yoga retreat or a spa resort. Many hotels and spas have special weekend activities and rates at Thanksgiving and Christmastime.

Plan an intensive exercise routine. Exercise increases certain chemicals in the nervous system that fight depression and anxiety.

Help others who are less fortunate by volunteering at a soup kitchen. One of the best ways to forget your own loneliness is to help others at shelters or hospitals. Getting “outside of ourselves” and helping others in need helps take the focus off our own situations and feelings, and often delivers an emotional boost.

Try an AA meeting if you find yourself drinking too much. AA meetings on the holidays are immediate communities that help people deal with alcohol or drug abuse, which may be covering up negative feelings during the holidays.

 

Resource: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-w-berman-md/depression-holidays_b_4241200.html

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Nov 22, 2013
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Top Five Natural Remedies for Depression

A common treatment for depression is prescription antidepressant drugs, which are effective for many people; however, for some, the prescription drugs have little effect. Regardless, for people who are skeptical about taking medication or want to discover other options, the following five natural remedies are worth considering:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is said to be one of the most underrated nutrients. Deficiency of this vitamin is linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. In 2006, a study on 80 elderly people showed that those who lacked Vitamin D were 11 times more prone to depression. Safe sun exposure may help raise Vitamin D levels.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Researchers have noted that depression is increasingly prevalent in people who consume less omega 3 fatty acids and more processed foods. A Columbus University study analyzed 59 patients diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, 18 of which also suffered from Cormobid Anxiety Disorder. Not only is depression affected by the amount of omega 3 fatty acids consumed, but also anxiety.

Sam-e

Sam-e is a naturally occurring compound found in almost every element of the body. It helps the immune system, maintains cell membranes, and supports chemicals in the brain.

Research indicates that Sam-e treatment is more effective than placebo in treating mild to moderate depression. It works more quickly and can be just as effective as prescription medications without the side effects. Unfortunately, Sam-e can only be prescribed if you consult with your healthcare provider.

Heavy Metal Detox

Heavy metal toxicity can disturb brain chemistry, which may cause anxiety and depression and can also weaken your immunity. Heavy metals, like mercury, lead, arsenic, and aluminum interfere with various chemicals in your brain that are associated with depression.

Ridding the body of excess heavy metals that harm vital brain chemistry involves balancing mineral antagonists. It is best to work with an experienced health practitioner on a detox plan.

Amino Acid Therapy

Depression and anxiety can occur when there is an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters. In amino acid therapy, amino acids are used in place of antidepressants. They don’t have as many harsh side effects, and with a doctor’s supervision, it can be a powerful method for overcoming depression.

 

Resource: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2013/11/top-five-natural-supplements-for-depression/

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Nov 11, 2013
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8 Decisions That Will Make You Happier and Healthier

We can create health and happiness by choice. Those choices are made in how we think and respond to the things we cannot control. The decisions outlined below can lead to a happier and healthier life, no matter what may come our way.

  1. I am going to be nicer to myself. Negative, self-blaming thoughts bring us down. Stop trying to label yourself and simply accept who you are. Always treat yourself with the same kindness, respect and compassion you would show a friend.
  2. I am going to find out what I love to do and do it. We spend time in jobs and other situations that we just do not like. It is important to find the things that bring us joy and spend our time doing them. Think about what you wanted to be when you were young, about your perfect job and about the skills and talents you want to utilize.
  3. I can be strong on my own and leave a bad relationship. Many people stay in a relationship in order to be happy, complete and whole. Being happy on your own first and then having a relationship is a much better alternative. When we turn to another person for our sole source of security, we are not in love, we are addicted. When you are strong and whole, you always have the freedom to leave.
  4. I am willing to give up the belief I can control what happens and will let go of the outcome. Don’t waste your energy on trying to control everything. Let things go and become unattached to the outcome. We have little control over what others think, how they feel or how they act. We have no idea what will happen in the next month or week or day.
  5. I will identify and face my fears. The biggest reason we don’t change is due to fear. It stops us from doing what we want. Whatever the fear may be, own it, replace it with positive self-talk and move forward despite it.
  6. I am going to see failures, mistakes, traumatic events and shortcomings as an opportunity to learn and grow. There is a saying that there is no such thing as failure, only opportunities to learn. Failure can be a message, a signal that you’re off track and heading in a wrong direction. It is in our weaknesses that we become creative, innovative problem solvers.
  7. I will live my un-lived life and do something bold. It is never too late to do anything in your life. Sometimes you just have to go for it and stop making excuses. No matter the age you can accomplish activities that you always dreamed about.
  8. I am going to give up the need to be perfect and define success differently. There is no way we can be perfect.  We need to define our worth and our success differently by giving things our best shot, having an impact on the world, or being able to use our skills and talents.

 

Resource: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisabeth-saunders-medlock-phd/happiness-tips_b_4205834.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

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Nov 05, 2013
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How to deal with depression in your 20s

The band Blink 182 said it best: Nobody likes you when you’re 23.

The period between ages 18 and 29 is the best ever: Many of us are developing a sense of independence in college, starting new jobs, scouting out the dating scene, or heading off to form new communities in new cities. On the other hand, this period is often characterized by financial woes, romantic misadventures, loneliness, and a sense of uncertainty about who we are and why we’re here. So it’s little surprise that people in their 20s and late teens are especially vulnerable to feelings of depression.

Terrible 20s

At one time, most people didn’t experience their first depressive episode until their late 40s or 50s; today, depression typically first appears around age 25.

Today’s 20-somethings are going through a number of psychosocial and biological experiences that make them especially vulnerable to depression. Depression is often triggered by loss and the period between 18 and 29 is filled with many potential losses: break ups with a significant other, losing friends, losing a job, failing school or not getting into an academic program.

Biological factors also come into play. Scientists have noted that the frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for planning and reasoning, doesn’t fully develop until mid-20s. This means 20-somethings are faced with making some huge decisions when their brains haven’t reached full cognitive capacity.

In some cases, 20-somethings might not realize certain lifestyle factors that may contribute to depressive symptoms. Binge drinking tends to be most common and intense in people ages 18 to 24.

Your action plan

There’s a range of practical ways to alleviate feelings of depression. This list certainly doesn’t include every way, but it does highlight some of the most effective strategies for people of any age.

  • Phone a friend or family member
  • Get a move on with exercise
  • Hit the hay
  • Zen out with some yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, or Qigong
  • Try some herbal supplements
  • Chow down on a number of nutrients and food groups
  • Talk it out and try psychotherapy
  • Take antidepressants if the situation is appropriate

The Takeaway

Despite the pain it may cause, depression can actually be a useful signal that something in our lives needs to change; whether it’s a relationship, job, or some other aspect. Though it may be difficult to admit that we’re depressed, there are plenty of people, resources, and actions that we can take in order to help us live healthy, happy lives long after our 20s are over.

 

Resource: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2013/10/22/deal-depression-in-your-20s/3149485/

 

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Oct 31, 2013
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7 Things You Should Know About Depression

With Mental Health Awareness Week just passing, it is crucial to understand depression, one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Learn the answers to these pressing depression questions from everydayhealth.com:

What are some signs that I may be depressed?

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and/or making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

When should I talk to my doctor?

When the symptoms hinder everyday life, you should seek help. A person who suffers from a major depressive episode has a depressed mood or loss of interest in daily activities consistently for at least two weeks and experiences five or more of the symptoms listed above. It is important to see a doctor sooner rather than later because depression can get worse without treatment.

Can diet impact mental health?

Absolutely. What you put into your body can give you a boost in mood or worsen it. Brain foods contain omega 2 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and amino acids. Fatty fish or walnuts are a great source of the fatty acids, which affect brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. You can acquire the recommended daily dose of B vitamins by eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes. Eating the right carbohydrates and staying away from refined sugar and processed foods will keep your blood glucose levels from spiking which should aid in relief from depression. Try eating complex carbohydrates such as those in whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

How can depression affect other aspects of my overall health?

Depression can have numerous physical symptoms: joint aches, backache, digestive problems, chest pain, and/or headaches. Left unaddressed, these symptoms may worsen the depression, complicate treatment, and lead to chronic pain.

What tips do you have for feeling better on a day-to-day basis with depression?

Exercise is crucial. Additionally, practicing mindfulness and staying in the present moment are the most beneficial forms of meditation to address depression. Everyone should get adequate sleep. If you have mood patterns you should take note of it in a journal.

What lifestyle adjustments can be made to help better manage depression?

Avoid alcohol as much as possible and limit caffeine. Having a daily routine and bed time can greatly improve your mood. Surround yourself with other people and make sure you reach out for support if you’re ever feeling down whether that be through a friendship, support group, therapy, or an online forum.

I have a loved one with depression. How can I help?

Educate yourself. Try not to judge nor preach. Put away your own health philosophies. Contribute resources that might help your loved one: books, websites, articles, support groups or forums. Listen and simply be there. As much as you can, offer hope. That’s the most powerful tool in combatting depression.

 

Resource: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/mental-health-awareness-week-8-things-you-should-know-about-depression/

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Oct 29, 2013
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8 Simple Pleasures You’re Forgetting to Enjoy

Taking only a minute to enjoy something simple, can make all the difference between having an okay day and an extraordinary one. In our busy routines and overstimulating world, it’s easy to overlook the simple joys. The Huffington Post shares with us a few simple pleasures that could become the best parts of the day:

Your Morning Cup

Whether you have coffee or tea, that first morning sip can be a wonderful wakeup call. As the warmth fills and awakens you, take time to think of something you’re looking forward to that day.

Your Commute

The commute can be a time for you to clear your mind so you’re ready to be productive in the morning or it can be seen as the time to leave work stress behind as you head home.

Laughter

Don’t underestimate the power of a good laugh, you know, the kind that leaves your stomach hurting. In one feel-good action you can relieve stress, help your sleeping habits and even build up your immune system.

A Quiet Place To Sit

You are constantly walking through public spaces without even noticing. A park bench or building steps can be the most relaxing areas to really stop and just watch the world go by for a moment.

Your Favorite Tunes

Has someone ever told you to snap out of it? Listening to your tunes can instantly put you in a cheerful mood and boost your productivity. So turn up the beat and dance out those negative thoughts

The Ease At Which You Can Connect With Family And Friends

Put your technology to a good use. Connecting with people with a phone call can help when you need comfort from a friend or family member.

Your Favorite Treat

Be it ice cream, chocolate, gummies or all the above, it’s OK to indulge yourself once in a while. Instead of feeling guilty, savor and love every bite! You deserve it.

The Sunset

There is something about a sunset that gives us peace. While so many of us are rushing to finish work or get dinner on the table, the earth is giving us a great gift, a moment of pure beauty.

 

Resource: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/07/small-things-to-enjoy_n_4037723.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

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Oct 24, 2013
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How To Keep Job-Assoicated Grumpiness To A Minimum

After being asked, “How was your day?” you might be tempted in the moment, to unload all of your workday woes onto the inquirer. This kind of reaction is a product of stress, the toll of a long day of ups and downs and your mindless response to these fluctuations. However, as Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor of Psychology says, “Stress isn’t an event. Stress is the view you take of events.”

There are several things you can do to reframe the inevitable twists and turns of a day:

Start the day with a realistic (and positive) frame of mind.

Your day is bound to fluctuate from good and bad. The way you feel at the end of the day is going to largely depend on how you frame your day from the moment you wake up. You need to start framing your day as something where some things will fall your way and some not. This means having realistic level-headed expectations.

Breathe

More than likely, there’s been a moment at your desk today when you’ve forgotten to breathe. An alarming email came through your inbox, and in a moment of panic, you neglected to exhale. Practicing some conscious, deep breathing can lower your stress levels, blood pressure, and keep anxiety at bay. In turn, you’ll come home less anxious.

Ritualize your transition from work to off-duty.

This might not work for everyone, but some people benefit from more consciously recognizing they’re not working. For some, it might be changing from dress shoes to sneakers. For others, it might be loosening hair ties and throwing on a baseball cap. These action-based rituals make coming home and letting go of work stress more manageable.

Make a conscious decision about what you do bring home.

As much as we’d like our work and work day to have a synchronistic end, this isn’t often the case. In these instances, it’s best to make a decision about how to manage your overflow. Ask yourself if it is smarter to take the work home or spend some time at the office finishing up. If you’ll be more productive with an extra hour under your belt at the office, maybe that’s the best decision for you.

Be responsive, not reactive.

Once you see other peoples’ behavior from their perspective, don’t attach negative labels to the person. Being mindful means not judging the actions of others as one intentionally aimed to affect you. This enlightened perspective will better equip you to handle those ups and downs of the day.

Don’t just keep a tally of your disappointments.

While more positive than negative events may occur throughout the day, the negative ones are the ones we grasp to. Make a point to document your wins. This might mean writing down the good and the bad, which could stand as perspective-actualizing reminders. For everything that you tell your loved one about what bugged you, you should include one thing you’re happy about.

 

Resource: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/26/how-not-to-be-the-grumpie_n_3769516.html

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Oct 15, 2013
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The Habits Of Supremely Happy People

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that while 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us.

After exploring what accounts for ultimate happiness, Seligman says he was surprised. The pursuit of pleasure, research determined, has hardly any contribution to a lasting fulfillment. Instead, pleasure is “the whipped cream and the cherry” that adds a certain sweetness to satisfactory lives founded by the pursuit of meaning and engagement. Joyful people have certain tendencies that add to their pursuit of meaning and motivate them along the way.

  • They surround themselves with other happy people
  • They smile when they mean it
  • They cultivate resilience
  • They try to be happy
  • They are mindful of the good
  • They appreciate simple pleasures
  • They devote some of their time to giving
  • They let themselves lose track of time (sometimes they can’t help it)
  • They nix the small talk for deeper conversation
  • They spend money on other people
  • They make a point to listen
  • They uphold in-person connections
  • They look on the Brightside
  • They value a good mixtape
  • They unplug
  • They get spiritual
  • They make exercise a priority
  • They go outside
  • They spend some time on the pillow
  • They LOL
  • They Walk the Walk

Read the following article on what more you can do to find happiness.

 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/happiness-habits-of-exuberant-human-beings_n_3909772.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

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Oct 07, 2013
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Is it Depression or Bipolar?

A new brain scan just might have the answer! According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburg, a new type of brain scan that measures blood flow in the brain might be able to help better diagnose bipolar disorder at an early stage and further distinguish the disorder from depression. Researchers evaluated 44 females, with 18 of the participants having bipolar disorder, 18 with clinical depression and 18 who were healthy individuals who acted as the control group. The participants were all experiencing a depressive episode as they were being assessed for the study. The new imaging method that was used is known as arterial spin labeling, which was designed to non-invasively measure blood flow in brain regions associated with depression. The researchers also used a novel analytical method known as pattern recognition analysis that allowed them to individualize brain differences.

The researchers found that they could identify with over 80% accuracy which of the participants were depressed and which of them had bipolar depression. Finding a correct diagnosis can often be difficult for a variety of reasons, including miscommunication between the patient and the doctor. Such as, patients with bipolar disorder sometimes interpret their manic phases as normal and will not discuss them with their doctors. Their findings also suggest that researchers may be able to predict future bipolar behavior in younger adults who are still symptom free, allowing for earlier and more accurate treatment.

Earlier and more accurate diagnosis can make a major difference for patients and their families. It may even save lives. These promising findings reveal the importance of neuro-imaging and its ability to help identify biological markers that are associated with mental health disorders. More testing of these new technologies in a larger sample and in a multi-center study are underway to gather more information.

 

Resource: http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/09/29/is-it-bipolar-or-depression-new-brain-scan-may-have-the-answer/60060.html

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Oct 02, 2013
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5 Ways to Increase Your Confidence and Achieve Success

Schizophrenia negative symptoms are defined as a decline or absence in the traits needed for normal functioning. These include loss of interest in everyday activities, lack of emotion, social withdrawal, reduced ability to plan or carry out activities, neglect of personal hygiene, and loss of motivation.

If you or someone you know suffers from these negative symptoms, you should know ways to increase your motivation, and in turn, your successes.

Every successful person has encountered failure, but failure is just a temporary roadblock to success. You can get past any roadblock on your journey to success, but to do that you will need confidence.

Here are some surefire ways to increase your confidence until you know you will succeed—and you will!

  • Look the part

If you walk around unclean, you look like you don’t care about yourself, and you will feel the same way too. Stay clean and buy a few pieces of clothing that will keep you looking good.

  • Fake it!

Do you try to hide in the background? Do you hunch your shoulder over, hoping no one will notice you? This demonstrates a lack of confidence.  Walk tall, shoulder back, posture erect, head held high. Believe yourself to be a confident person and carry yourself as if you are!

  • Edit your internal dialog

We all have words running through our brains every day. Stop allowing yourself to subconsciously undermine your confidence. Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. When your find yourself being negative, edit them out. Practice saying positive things to yourself, either internally or out loud like “I can do this.”

  • Set small goals and achieve them

Sometimes a big goal can be overwhelming. Each small goal you achieve brings you closer to your large, exciting goal. But also, for every small goal you achieve, you will become more confident in your ability to achieve greater success.

  • Be happy… and grateful

None of us has a perfect life because there is no such thing, and if we did have a perfect life, we’d still find something we wanted to improve upon. Happiness is only 10 percent our circumstances. It is 90 percent the way we choose to view things. Choose every day to be thankful for everything you have in life. This doesn’t mean you have to be content with the way everything is, but there’s no reason to mope around about it. Work toward changing it if possible, and if not accept it and go on with life.

 

Resources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-d/confidence-boosters_b_3954248.html?ref=topbar

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx31.htm

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Oct 01, 2013
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