Depression as a condition is not the same as the feeling of being depressed from time to time due to certain circumstances. However, some people may already have a mental illness without recognizing it or even if they do, they may still remain in denial. Depression is said to be caused by various factors such as genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain, and stressful events or situations in life. Depression is also a condition that lasts for a long time which primarily differentiates it from occasional feelings of being depressed. It is also an illness, a mental one that needs professional help and should not be attempted to be handled alone without the advice of experts. Depression is a very sensitive condition and any wrong or inappropriate treatment or management applied may immediately worsen the condition or complicate the situation even more. This is the same reason why people who are not diagnosed properly or who do not recognize having this condition are terribly in danger.
There are certain activities and food or supplements, however, that can be done and taken to generally improve any person’s mood or state of mind. Basically, changes in mood are governed by the activities of certain chemicals in the brain. Chemicals that are mostly associated with depression are serotonin and norepinephrine. When these chemicals are minimally transmitted or absorbed during certain processes in the brain, a person usually feels negative feelings like sadness or stress. When a person’s brain frequently experiences this or when the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine are extremely lacking, this then results to the famous condition of depression. Certain activities can be done as well as food or supplements that can be consumed to increase the availability, transmission, or absorption of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain which consequently will cause improvement in a person’s mood. The activities mentioned earlier that aims to improve a person’s mood or state of mind are based on this principle of countering the lack of chemicals and their activities in the brain.
Sleep Modulation – Sleep deprivation is said to be associated with some cases of depression. However, oversleeping is also said to cause low levels of mood. It is, therefore, important to get just the right amount of sleep every time. This way, the right kind of mood is also generated. Knowing the right amount of sleep needed to have the right kind of mood is through observing the changes in one’s mood relative the length of hours asleep. In addition, it is said that waking up early is also important because the ultraviolet light of the sun at those hours cause positive effects to the chemistry within the brain.
Exercise and Sun Exposure – It is already well-recognized that exercise produces good outcomes for a person’s physical health. Little is known, however, of the positive effects of exercise to one’s mental health. According to some studies, exercise increases the amount of serotonin produced in the brain. The more serotonin, the better the mood a person has. Also, some research results indicate that lack of sun exposure does not only cause physical illnesses but also low emotional levels. This is the reason why during winter, when the sun exposure is very minimal, people usually feel fatigue, irritable, and sleepy. Activities that include greater sun exposure, therefore, causes positive effects to one’s mental health.
Food Intake and Supplementation – Nutrients needed by one’s body is contained in different kinds of food. This is the reason why since childhood, people are taught to eat food that are rich in nutrients like vegetables. For a more concentrated amount of nutrients, one can make use of supplements. There are various kinds of supplements already available nowadays in the market. The important information to remember, however, knows what kind of nutrient that is most needed by the body and what nutrients are directly related to mood enhancement. According to several studies, increasing the amount of vitamins E, B6, B12, and C, folic acid, and magnesium can help improve the state of mind of people with depression. Substances such as St. John’s Wort and Ginkgo are also observed to have mood enhancing properties.
Certain situations, however, cannot be managed simply by the techniques stated above. In those cases, use of medications is already inevitable. Well-known treatments for depression are Fluoxetine and Prozac which are only used upon the orders or prescriptions of doctors. Without proper prescription, this can be highly addictive and dangerous to any person. It is, therefore, never advisable to do any kind or form of self-medication and regulation.