There are several levels of depression ranging from mild to severe. The most severe level of depression is commonly known as clinical depression. Unlike with other forms, clinical depression is not usually the result of loss or an associated chronic medical condition such as diabetes, arthritis, or thyroid issues. A diagnosis of clinical depression includes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anger, insomnia, exhaustion, suicidal thoughts and sometimes physical pain.
Sufferers are often unable to function without the assistance of doctor-prescribed medications and therapies. However, several natural remedies when used in conjunction have been known to help ease depression symptoms:
1. Omega-3 fatty acids
The human brain is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which play an important role in controlling mood and emotions. Research has shown that an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is associated with symptoms of depression. A regular intake of omega-3 through diet or dietary supplements may ease depression symptoms. This is a generally safe treatment option which only reacts with other medications in high doses. It is also good for the heart which can help a perceived improvement in health as well as mood.
2. St. John’s wort
Hypericum perforatum, more commonly known as St. John’s Wort, has been shown to be as effective as a number of prescription antidepressants in incidents of mild to moderate depression. It is, however, suggested that St. John’s should not be taken with prescription medications as there are a number of potential drug interactions. As a stand-alone depression treatment it may have some positive effects but it should not be used if antidepressants are already being taken.
3. Dehydroepiandrosterone (or DHEA)
The steroidal hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone, commonly known as DHEA, has shown promise as a mood stabilizer. A naturally occurring hormone in the human body, DHEA deficiency has been shown to have some correlation with symptoms of depression. The addition of DHEA dietary supplements may help increase levels in the body and decrease depression symptoms naturally.
Those who suffer from clinical depression may find it difficult to find the energy or desire to exercise. It is however a beneficial way to help alleviate some symptoms of depression. Working out releases endorphins which are the natural feel good chemicals in the brain. The act of exercising also helps to focus the mind on another activity giving a level of distraction which can also be beneficial. The longer term effects of physical activity can be a general feeling of better physical health, increased confidence and potential social interaction.
S-adenosylmethionine, more commonly known as SAMe, is a natural chemical found in the human body. Used for many decades in Europe, it has shown promise in alleviating depression symptoms. Abnormal levels in the body have been linked to incidents of depression. Several trials of the chemical for treating depression have taken place, all of which have indicated positive results. These trials were on small sample groups, however. It is also suggested that sufferers of bipolar disorder do not use this supplement as it may increase mania.