Battling Depression Without the Meds
Are you on Prozac? Zoloft? Paxil? Lexapro? Something else? According to the Center for Disease Control, more than one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 is on antidepressants, and most of them have not seen a mental health professional in the past year. That scary statistic proves just how easy it is for adolescents and adults to become dependent on drugs they may not really need.
While clinical depression should always be treated by trained professionals, many times problems leading to depression are simply ignored in favor of pills. If you need to make some positive changes in your life to help you gain control of your emotions, steps like these should never be overlooked.
1. Talk to a Counselor
At the very least, talk to someone. But if you can overcome the fear of asking for help from someone who has experience with depression as a disease, you might find that just opening up and being listened to makes a huge difference to your well-being. Productive counseling sessions help you bring to light things you never even knew were bothering you, and they can help you take a positive step forward in life.
2. Change Your Diet
It sounds trite, but it's been medically proven that certain kinds of foods can have negative affects on your mood. Overwhelming your body with junk food can cause chemical imbalances that manifest in other ways. And try cutting back on alcohol, too. Alcohol is a depressant that alters your neurotransmitters and increases dopamine levels - tricking you into a positive feeling while it's actually enhancing negative ones.
3. Be Creative
While statistically, naturally creative people might be more prone to mental illness and depression, creativity works wonders to treat these conditions. At, dance, drama, and music have all been used as successful therapy tools to aid patients in expressing their emotions and letting go of their inhibitions. Plus, a work of art like a painting or sculpture can often reveal hidden sides of your personality and teach you things about yourself you want to change. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with creating something tangible and unique.
4. Join a Group
You don't necessarily need a support group to combat depression, but a social group of like-minded individuals will help you constantly strive to get out of your shell. Religious or charitable groups are often great for this purpose because they allow you to both connect with new people and focus on a cause that's outside yourself and your own problems. Giving back to the community really is rewarding, and making new friends is not to be underestimated when it comes to things that vastly improve your quality of life.
The physical and mental benefits of meditating are extraordinary. Meditating performs nearly the same function as vacations, only it's a daily vacation from stress, anxiety, and too much thinking. Working on your deep breathing and relaxation techniques can lower blood pressure, improve your immune system, and even prevent cancer and heart disease. But the profound effects it has on your psychological state might be the greatest part of all.
Antidepressants have the power to change lives and should always be prescribed in cases where serious depression needs serious care. But there's no reason to neglect the parts of your life that can be causing your depression, which you don't need a pill to fix. Natural cures for a negative mental state abound, and before you shrug them off, have the courage to take the time to explore your own feelings. Effective change can mean you won't be dependent on those meds forever.
About the Author:
Writer Brett Davis is an avid health blogger. Click here to read his recent articles on earning online counseling degrees http://www.
topcounselingschools.org/most- affordable/masters-in- counseling-online-programs/.