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Depression: Symptoms and Treatment

Do you suffer from depression?

herbs for depression

herbs for depression

Depression is a mood disorder causing a ‘low’mood which will affect your thoughts, feelings, behavior and general sense of well-being. If you suffer from depression you may feel anxious, restless, irritable, guilty and or worthless. You may also feel helpless, hopeless , empty and sad. You may lose interest in things that you once found pleasurable and lose your appetite or start eating more. Other symptoms are difficulty in concentrating and remembering details, difficulty in making decisions and also either excessive tiredness and sleeping or insomnia. Aches and pains and digestive problems may also occur. If the depression is very bad you may contemplate or attempt to commit suicide.

Depression Statistics

According to the United Nations World Health Organization depression is a huge burden affecting people all across the world. It is estimated to affect up to 350 million people. A World Mental Health Survey conducted in 17 countries found that one out of twenty people had a depressive episode in the previous year.

Data on the economic costs of depression are not available worldwide but the following economic effects have been reported in America.

Depression’s annual toll on U.S. businesses amounts to about $70 billion in medical expenditures, lost productivity and other costs. Depression accounts for close to $12 billion in lost workdays each year. Additionally, more than $11 billion in other costs accrue from decreased productivity due to symptoms that sap energy, affect work habits, cause problems with concentration, memory, and decision-making.

The World Health Organization quotes the following statistics regarding depressions and suicide:

Almost 1 million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which translates to 3000 suicide deaths every day. For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end his or her life (WHO, 2012).

 Depression and your sex life

According to psychotherapist and life coach Christine Webber the action of depressive illness slows down and disturbs many bodily systems including the ability to enjoy sex. Research has shown that depression has an adverse effect on any activity that requires energy, spontaneity and good coordination – which includes sex.

Also many people who are suffering from depression lose interest in, or no longer find pleasurable, sex and sex related activities.

Antidepressants and sexual dysfunction

In addition to the above influences of depression on sex it has been found that many anti-depressants have physiological side effects that, especially with men, lead to sexual dysfunction.

Some of the most common and widely used anti-depressants have been found to have this effect. According to Healthline.com these include: Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa amongst others.

According to Clinical Pharmacist Sarah T. Melton:

Sexual dysfunction is a common adverse effect of antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction has been reported to be about 60% among patients taking SSRIs. Impaired sexual function includes decreased desire or libido, impaired arousal, erectile dysfunction, and delayed or absent orgasm. Sexual dysfunction is a common reason for nonadherence to and discontinuation of pharmacotherapy, which may lead to relapse of depressive symptoms.

Natural non-medicinal treatments

If you suspect that you are suffering from depression please visit your doctor in order to rule out any other medical causes. An example of this is hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) which is very common in women. Also if older people are taking many other pills their interaction may cause depressive symptoms.

Once you have visited your doctor he may put you on an anti-depressant. This should be seen as just a first step and one of many approaches to treatment the you should pursue together. Below is a summary of other non medical treatments that have been shown to have excellent results.

  1. Excercise – there has been extensive research showing the benefits of exercise in alleviating depression. Apart from boosting self-esteem it has been found that doing moderate exercise causes the body to produce endorphins. These chemicals react with receptors in the brain to lessen perception of pain and also produce a feeling similar to that produced by morphine. This effect is sometimes called the ‘runner’s high’. Exercise has also been proven to reduce stress, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleeping patterns. Examples of exercise that will help beat depression are walking, cycling, gardening, golf, swimming and yoga. Also if you can join an exercise group or do exercise with a partner or close friend then the feelings of loneliness and isolation that depressed people often suffer from will be reduced.
  2. Psychological treatments – these are sometimes refereed to as ‘talking cures’ to distinguish them from using prescription medicine. Most of the treatments focus on changing negative thought patterns and also learning coping skills to deal with life stress and preventive depression reoccurring. A very successful example of a talking cure is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). During CBT the depressed person works together with a therapist to identify negative and harmful ways of thinking and behaving. These dysfunctional thoughts and behaviours are then changed and replaced by more positive and rational habits.
  3. Diet, Vitamins and Supplements – Plants and herbs have been used to treat depression for thousands of years and are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to costly medication that often has serious and unpleasant side effects. Examples of very popular herbs used to treat anxiety and depression are Kava, Ginko Biloba and St. John’s Wort. Herbal Remedies International has recently released Enviga which is an excellent and affordable product containing a carefully researched blend of herbs and vitamins used to relieve symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety and tension.

Enviga natural remedy for depression and stress.

The main ingredients of Enviga are:

  1. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) – 5-HTP is a chemical that the body makes from L-tryptophan which is an amino acid (protein building block). 5-HTP is not found naturally in food but has to be produced by the body from tryptophan that can be found in chicken, milk, sunflower seeds, pumpkin and potato. 5-HTP has been found to increase the level of serotonin in the brain. This is a natural way to achieve what many of the most popular prescription anti-depressants do. In addition to treating depression, 5-HTP can help treat sleep disorders, ADHD, pre-menstrual syndrome and even Parkinson’s disease. The 5-HTP in Herbal Remedies’ Enviga is extracted from griffonia simplicifolia  a woody climbing shrub native to West Africa and Central Africa.
  2. Sceletium Tortuosum – This is a succulent herb found in South Africa. It is also called Kanna, Channa or Kougoed. It belongs to the Mesembryanthemum group of plants.  Use of sceletium as a mood elevator and to treat anxiety, stress and tension has been recorded since prehistoric times. It was first written about in 1662 by Jan van Riebeeck. It has been shown to enhance mood and reduce the effects of tension and stress.
  3. Vitamin B6 -B vitamins are a very important component of mental and physical health. Vitamin B6 is particularly important because helps to produce and control the chemicals that influence mood and other brain functions. Low levels of vitamin B6 and B12 have been linked to depression. Boosting your vitamin B6 level will help combat symptoms of depression. Vitamin B6 has been found to increase the effectiveness of both 5-HTP and Sceletium making Enviga the best natural anti-depressant and general mood enhancer available.