8 Signs of Depression

depressionDepression is one of the most common diseases in the planet today. According to studies, approximately 14 million Americans have some form of depression and more than 80% of this number does not get any treatment for their illness. Because depression is common most people would think that spotting its symptoms would be easier. Fact is, many people do not like to talk about depression. According to Dave Galson of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, people do not like to talk about it because of the stigma attached to depression. Unlike fractures and other diseases there is no straightforward test for depression. This is why it is important to learn about the symptoms of this disease.

  • Weight Loss/Gain

Weight loss/gain is a sign of depression because depressed people either lose an interest in food or use it to fill an emotional hole.

  • Too Much/Too Little Sleep

Depressed people either spend the majority of the day sleeping while others cannot get a wink of sleep.

  • Body Aches

Contrary to popular belief, depressed people actually have physical symptoms. Various aches and pains in the body can signify depression. People who are suffering from depression and arthritis will usually find their pain magnified because of the former.

  • Anger/Irritability

This is perhaps one of the more common symptoms of depression. Though people get angry or irritable for many different reasons, depressed people will suddenly find that things that do not usually bother them will suddenly become bothersome and annoying.

  • Alcoholism

According to the experts, depressed people will usually manifest alcoholism. This is ironic in the sense that alcoholism contributes to depression, not the other way around.

  • Lack or No Sex Drive

A lack of interest in sex is a classic symptom of depression. When a person is in a relationship, they will find that they will force themselves to have sex with their partners in order to not feel guilty. This in turn will push them deeper into depression.

  • Problems At Work

Depression can have a serious impact on your work or career. Many depressed people find it difficult to get out of bed in the mornings and go to work. Most of the time they will feel many of the above symptoms while at work such as irritability, sleepiness and our last symptom lack of concentration.

  • Little or No Concentration

Depressed people often find themselves in a world of their own. When this happens they will have trouble concentrating. This in turn can affect their work and relationships.

The most important thing to remember is that help is available. While depression can be taboo with some people, there are professionals who are ready to help. The first step is to admitting that you need help.

Depression Symptoms in Kids

depressionDepression is not just an adult disease. Kids can get depressed too for various reasons. While it is normal for kids to be sad from time to time, depression is an all together different illness because it is not emotional but mental. Parents should look out for kids who are always sad. When this sadness becomes disruptive or hinders them from performing day to day activities, perhaps it is time to consult a specialist or to have a talk with your child. Always remember that while depression is an illness, it is also a very treatable one.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Irritability/Anger
  • Sleeplessness or too much sleep
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Withdrawal from society
  • Guilt or feeling worthless
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Outbursts
  • Continuous feelings of sadness

Not all children exhibit these symptoms; in fact different children can manifest a different symptom which is why pinpointing depression can be difficult. According to research around 2.5% of children in the United States suffer from depression. Depression is common in boys aged 10 and below while girls usually have bouts of depression at around 16. More girls are diagnosed with depression compared to boys.

Kids with a family history of depression are also more likely to become depressed. Children who have chaotic family lives are also more prone to depression. Teenagers who abuse alcohol and drugs are also more likely to become depressed.

Psychotherapy and medication are some of the most common ways of treating depression in kids. Family and the child’s environment also play a great role in treating depression in children. Studies have shown that the anti-depressant Prozac is effective in treating depression in children and teenagers. This drug is approved by the FDA to treat depression in children ages 8-18.

Mood Boosting Foods That Fight Depression

depressionEating is sometimes the last thing in a depressed person’s mind. However, eating depression fighting foods is a good incentive to eat delicious food. People who feel depressed usually reach out for familiar comfort foods like chocolate, ice cream or junk food. But Beth Reardon, Director of Nutrition at Duke University says that depressed people should eat food that can stabilize blood sugar, eliminate mood swings and boost neurotransmitters in the brain instead. So say goodbye to your salty and sweet treats. Eat these mood boosting foods instead.

  • Eggs

Eggs are rich in mood lifting Vitamin B. When you eat egg, don’t forget to eat the yolk as well as this is where the Vitamin B can be found. Vitamin B can help improve neural function and thereby lessen depression symptoms. In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine a 12-year study found that people who had high intake of Vitamin B had a lower risk of being depressed. Aside from eggs, foods rich in Vitamin B include lean beef, wheat germ, poultry and fish.

  • Nuts And Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain lots of magnesium which is needed to boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a feel good hormone and is also responsible for energy production. Nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds and peanuts are also good sources of protein and healthy fats.

  • Green Tea

Green tea is rich in amino acid L-theanine. This amino acid is known to boost alpha brain waves during an EEG. It can improve brain function. Green tea is also low on caffeine so it has a calming effect. According to Ms Reardon, green tea’s L-thanine is easily absorbed by the body which makes it more effective in alleviating symptoms of depression.

  • Ancient Grains

Quinoa, spelth, barley and teff are some examples of ancient grain. These contain complex carbohydrates which are harder to breakdown and help stabilize blood sugar levels. Processed foods on the other hand are digested by the body quickly which causes a spike in blood sugar levels and an over secretion of insulin. Fluctuating sugar levels are known to cause mood swings in lots of people.


Chocolate And Berries Can Fight Depression

depressionGood news for those who love berries, tea and chocolate. According to new research, the chemicals found in these foods have the same mood stabilizing properties as those found in anti-depressants. Molecules in chocolates and berries and foods that have high omega 3 fatty acids have shown to affect moods positively.

Karina Martinez-Mayorga, Ph.D leader of the group that studied the foods said that their studies showed that these foods contained components of the foods had some similarities with vosporic acid. This acid is present in medications used to treat people with bipolar disorder. Dr. Martinez-Mayorga conducted her studies among patients who never substituted food for prescription medicine.

For your dose of omega 3 fatty acids, eat some salmon. This fish contains the good kind of fat and can also reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels. The fat in salmon is good for the nervous system and the brain.

Aside from berries, tea and chocolates patients should also eat foods rich in iron, zinc and selenium. These vitamins and minerals are crucial in the health of the thyroid glands. Eat lots of oysters as it stimulates the release of certain properties that can help improve the mood.

Other foods to consider include red beans. Many people do not like beans because they can cause flatulence. However red beans contain anti-oxidants and is rich in iron, amino acids and protein that can help fight brain disorders.

Beetroots contain magnesium, folate and uridine that can help enhance the mood as they work like neurotransmitters.

Stay happy and positive with a banana. Bananas is rich in potassium and vitamin B which can help you keep your good mood.


Massage Therapy and Depression

DepressionMassage therapy can help people suffering from depression. It is a good compliment to medication used by people to cope with the ailment. Many people already know that injuries like back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and many more can be easily managed with the help of massage therapy. What many do not know is that massage can help people deal with emotional and mental issues.

Massage therapy stimulates nerve receptors in the body. When these are stimulated, they release mood enhancing chemicals serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals affect brain cells which also affect mood, memory, sexual desire, temperature and social behavior. Since massage therapy can help release the chemicals, it can make big changes in how a depressed person feels and behaves.

Aside from mood altering chemicals, massage therapy also lowers levels of cortisol in to body. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Constantly having high cortilsol levels can affect blood pressure and sugar levels. It also suppresses the immune system which in turn leads to depression. Therefore massage therapy lowers cortilsol levels making it easier for people to handle stressful situations in life.

Lastly, massage therapy increases alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves are brain activity seen when people are relaxed yet focused and conscious. This is commonly seen in people meditating or athletes competing. By improving alpha wave activity people can function better and handle stressful events more successfully.