Depression is a serious illness that requires both attention and treatment. Depression can do more than make you feel sad--it can make it difficult for you to take care of your family, your responsibilities at work and even just get out of bed. Although depression can be treated with medications called antidepressants, there are alternative treatments for depression that can be just as effective without the use of medications.
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This is one of the best things you can do for yourself to help manage and deal with depression. Find a counselor or therapist to talk to about your feelings, what's stressing you in life and what's on your mind. Get to the bottom of what's causing your depression, and figure out how to resolve those problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy are two types of therapy often recommended to help manage depression. You may also find it beneficial to participate in group therapy sessions.
Eating the wrong foods can do more than wreck your diet, it can also wreck your mood. Make it a point to eat a healthy diet, low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables. Steer clear of greasy, heavy and fried foods laden with salt, fat and sugar. You'll feel better both mentally and physically with lighter, healthier fare. It's also important to avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs while you're dealing with depression, as they can affect your mood.
Exercise does more than help shed pounds and keep you fit--it also boosts your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that improve mood and just make you feel better. These natural antidepressants can help to alleviate depression, and you can give your body a natural endorphin boost just from a workout. Take a daily walk, jog or bike ride, take a yoga class or grab a friend for a game of tennis or golf. Just get moving to start improving mood and make exercise a consistent part of your daily routine.
St. John's Wort
One natural method of treating depression is through the use of the herbal supplement St. John's wort. Though some people who have mild depression may see some benefit from using the herb, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes that in studies, St. John's wort was not very effective against moderate to severe depression.
It's not uncommon for people to get depressed during the dark, dreary months of winter. Treating yourself to a change of weather, even if it's artificial, can help ease seasonal depression. Use of a special sun lamp can help boost mood and ease winter depression.