Depression is not without reason considered one of the main misfortunes of our century: for scientific and technical progress, speeding up the pace of life and the availability of information flows, we pay with constant stresses and weakening of the body’s defenses. As a result, there are widespread conditions characterized by increased anxiety, lack of interest in life, spiritual and physical discomfort.
However, pharmacology does not stand still, and today there are a number of drugs that help get rid of the symptoms of depression. It may seem that the problem is solved, but many drugs have very unpleasant side effects: they may cause addiction, sleep disturbances, inhibition, etc. In addition, depression, cured medically, has the property of returning. That’s why experienced doctors advise to apply non-medicament methods in the initial stages of depression. There are many such efficient methods. Let’s have a closer look at them.
- Method number 1: Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Method number 2: Physical exercises
- Method number 3: Massage
- Method number 4: Acupuncture
- Method number 5: Light Therapy
- Method number 6: Herbal remedies
- Method number 7: Products containing amino acid tryptophan
Method number 1: Cognitive-behavioral therapy
The foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CPT) was laid by the outstanding psychologist Albert Ellis and psychotherapist Aaron Beck. Originating in the sixties of the last century, this technique is recognized in academic communities as one of the most effective methods of psychotherapeutic treatment. The essence of the method is that the patient under the guidance of a specialist learns to identify and analyze his or her own negative thoughts and emotions, to understand the causes of their occurrence. This helps reduce anxiety, find real ways to solve life problems. If depression has an easy form, 10-20 consultations, as a rule, allow you to completely get rid of it. In the future, the patient can practice the method independently, using the acquired skills.
An important basic point in the cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is the consideration of thoughts, feelings and behavior in the complex, as interrelated, and, accordingly, strongly influencing each other. Relieving tension, which comes from thoughts, by itself facilitates the tension in feelings and in deeds. As a rule, people easily manage to apply the skills of cognitive-behavioral therapy in practice. In a sense, this area of psychotherapy is something like training / coaching, which aims to improve the person’s condition here, now and in the future.
Typical and general stages of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy:
- Psychological enlightenment.
- Work on beliefs that contribute to the maintenance of the problem.
- Exposition, experiments in life and in the imagination to test beliefs.
- Prevent relapse to the future.
- Within these stages, various methods are used: cognitive restructuring, ABC method, Socratic dialogue, continuum of thinking, evaluation of benefits and costs, falling arrow method, homework, etc.
Cognitive behavioral therapy showed great results in the treatment of a variety of neurotic and psychotic disorders. Methods of CPT are used in the treatment of affective and anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, intimate problems, food anomalies.
Important: KPT techniques bring excellent results in the treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, psychological dependencies.
Method number 2: Physical exercises
Everyone knows about the benefits of sports. Basically – in terms of improving the appearance and physical performance. But few people are aware of the impact on the psyche. Meanwhile, physical activity is necessary for the normal course of mental processes. Regular exercise activates the work of the body’s defenses, promotes normalization of appetite and sleep, and increases self-esteem. In addition, with moderate physical exertion, serotonin is produced, which is a natural remedy for depression.
Especially beneficial to the psyche:
- walking on the fresh air,
- outdoor games,
- skiing and swimming.
The central nervous system and the human musculoskeletal system are closely related. Many functions of the nervous system depend on the activity of the muscles. For example, during walking, a person finds it easier to concentrate and memorize.
Scientific research has proved that regular physical activities have a positive effect on the psyche of people of all ages, they allow you to achieve psychological well-being. If you still feel the need to play sports unpleasant and imposed, then it’s time to change your position. Sports fans are familiar with the feeling of peace after training. When practicing sports, endorphins, natural antidepressants, are secreted into the blood. The mood improves naturally. According to science, the state of euphoria appears from running. This condition is described as ease, satisfaction, lack of pain and discomfort, a sense of liberation and connection to nature.
Most people consider fatigue from physical activity pleasant. This is not an illusion: the level of anxiety after the session really decreases and remains reduced to six hours. Neuromuscular tension is also removed. In short, if you are concerned about anything, training will greatly ease your condition. What kind of physical activity is best for getting rid of anxiety? As studies have shown, these are any loads that develop flexibility, strength or endurance.
Important:It is necessary to monitor the intensity of the sport classes. It should be 70% of the maximum heart rate. A smaller or greater intensity was found to be ineffective in dealing with anxiety.
Method number 3: Massage
Scientists from the Florida Research Institute have confirmed that massage plays a big role in reducing the level of stress and depression. They divided fifty people into two groups. Members of one group twice a week for five weeks used massage chairs for their intended purpose, another group at the same time just relaxed in ordinary chairs. After five weeks, the stress levels of both groups decreased, but the figures for the half of the group that used the massage chairs were better.
Muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments – medical massage uses almost all body systems. With the help of pressing and sliding movements, the so-called clamps are removed – the result of chronic stress. It is proved that therapeutic massage has a calming effect on our hormonal system. The level of stress hormones decreases – cortisol and adrenaline.
Massage is used as a remedy for depression taking in case of nervous breakdowns and a depressed mental state. It is of no small importance what specific problem the patient has:
- If he/she is overstrained, nervous or agitated, a classic relaxing massage will suit best.
- Weakness, numbness, forgetfulness, inability to focus on a specific task is a list of problems in which a strengthening, toning massage comes to the aid. Point massage is very effective as well. An energetic sports massage can also help.
- Melancholy, despondency and apathy are treated by combining different types of massage. It is very beneficial to combine classical massage with aromatherapy and stone therapy.
Bioactive points are located on the entire surface of our body, they are scattered along it, like stars in the sky. And just like the stars, they have their own clusters, but there are separate, distant from others, very important points-luminaries. Some of them are available only to specialists, others are know literally to everyone – it’s so easy to “work” with them and so quickly you can achieve a noticeable improvement in your well-being. In addition, it is worth learning the basic principles of acupressure. A bioactive point is determined by simply pressing the finger pad on the desired area. Thus, there are slightly painful sensations. Where they are maximum, and even with a certain “electric” tint, and there is a point you need.
Important: Note that the massage of the same active points in a clockwise direction has a toning effect, counterclockwise – inhibitory. Usually for stimulating massage, it is necessary to use 6-8 points: each one needs to be massaged for 30-40 seconds. For the opposite effect, 2-4 points are enough, but they will have to work for 1-3 minutes.
Method number 4: Acupuncture
Acupuncture can be an equally effective remedy for clinical depression, as well as psychological counseling. This conclusion was reached by scientists from York University, who, they claim, conducted the most ambitious study of the effect of acupuncture on depression from all that have been carried out so far.
Since acupuncture uses the internal resources of the body itself, this method simply does not have side effects, which makes it possible to apply acupuncture to women during pregnancy. After all, except for pain and nausea, many pregnant women experience emotional stress, panic, depression. To treat this condition, you can not use medication because you can harm an unborn baby, so many future moms agree to treating depression with acupuncture. But not only pregnant women use acupuncture to overcome depression because this type of procedure is an excellent alternative to medical treatment of pathologies such as sleep, attention, appetite, mental disorders and stress.
Unlike antidepressant medications, acupuncture is aimed at activating the body’s potential, that’s why you won’t suffer from:
- Weight changes,
- problems with vision,
- dry mouth,
- allergic reactions,
- sedation effect,
- weakening of the sexual function,
- lack of addiction.
Important: With the help of acupuncture, it is possible to cope with narcotic and other kinds of dependence. After using acupuncture, the patient not only undergoes a depressive state, but also has a number of positive points in improving overall health. For example, the concentration of attention increases, sleep and memory improves.
Method 5: Light Therapy
With the onset of autumn, the number of people who are prone to bouts of depression is increasing. Patients complain of retardation, drowsiness, a sense of melancholy and hopelessness. The reason is the lack of sunlight, which is necessary for the production of melatonin by the body. Deficiency of this hormone leads to a bad mood and loss of motivation to active pastime. Such conditions are successfully treated with light therapy. Several sessions of irradiation with bright light on the strength of the impact are analogous to the antidepressant course: they normalize the sleep regime and return the joy of life without giving any side effects. The method has practically no contraindications and can be used to treat any type of depression (including seasonal).
Possible mechanisms of action of light therapy may be associated with the influence on melatonin synthesis (melatonin hypothesis), a key link in the synchronization of biorhythms with the “day-night” cycle:
- According to the Phase-Shift hypothesis, it is assumed that light therapy can shift biorhythm phases in animals and humans, as well as resynchronize disturbed biorhythms.
- According to the photochemical hypothesis, the light pulse, reaching the retina and turning into a nerve impulse, eventually causes certain biochemical changes in the hypothalamus, correcting disorders that occur in depressed patients.
In the neurotransmitter hypothesis, modulation, primarily modulation of the serotonergic system, as well as norepinephrine and dopamine, is the most important role in the mechanisms of action of light therapy. In addition, it is assumed that the antidepressant effect of light therapy can be realized through the regulation of the neuroendocrine and immune systems, especially since the relationship between depressive states and imbalance in the neuroindocrine and immune systems is well established.
Important: In accordance with the hypothesis of complex light therapy, it is believed that light therapy can cause positive shifts in several physiological systems, in particular, in systems regulating sleep, biorhythms, metabolic and sympathetic activity.
Method number 6: Herbal remedies
Many plants have a soothing and relaxing effect – their infusions and decoctions are used as antidepressants. The following 5 medicinal herbs will help in the fight against depression and anxiety.
The most famous herb in the treatment of mild and moderate depression is St. John’s Wort. Its effect is equal to the effect of antidepressants, only with fewer side effects. St. John’s Wort is successfully used in German clinics for the treatment of depression. It is also effective for anxiety. However, if you are taking other medications, then before the reception of St. John’s wort, consult a doctor to avoid negative reactions and side effects.
The lavender oil
Lavender oil is added to inhalers, sprays and lotions. The smell of lavender has a calming effect and speeds up falling asleep. Lavender oil can be effectively used for anxiety. You can use it regularly or as needed during an attack of anxiety.
L-theanine is an extract from the leaves of green tea. L-theanine calms, and also improves brain function without causing fatigue. In particular, concentration increases, memory and learning ability improves. L-theanine has no side effects. It can be used both regularly and as needed.
Unlike L-theanine, taking valerian you can tend to sleep. It is ideal for insomnia and as a sedative. It is better to use valerian in the evening, when you do not have to work anymore, or during difficult anxious periods. Valerian shouldn’t be combined with alcohol and other drugs against depression.
The extract of the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree reduces anxiety and improves brain activity, increasing concentration of attention. The Ginkgo Biloba tree contains flavonoids that protect brain cells from harmful radicals and accelerate blood circulation. Improves the flow of blood to the brain and limbs. Ginkgo Biloba extract can stabilize the mood in a stressful situation, for example, during an important speech or examinations.
Important: Phytotherapy can be effective if the depressive disorder is manifested only by transient symptoms of reduced mood, such as morning lethargy, irritability, persistent mood swings, tearfulness, sleep or appetite disorders, provided that other symptoms are absent.
Method number 7: Products containing amino acid tryptophan
Irreplaceable acid tryptophan is involved in the synthesis of serotonin and is a natural antidepressant. Deficiency of this substance in the body leads to disturbances in sleep, irritability, headaches, increased fatigue.
The greatest amount of tryptophan can be found in the following foods:
- sour-milk products (including cheese),
Tryptophan is involved in the development of two very important hormones – serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is also called the “hormone of happiness”, it is developed in the daytime. At night, melatonin is formed, the “sleep hormone”. Serotonin in the body is responsible for a sense of emotional comfort. If in the body this substance is produced in sufficient quantity, then the person adequately reacts to stressful situations because serotonin reduces anxiety, relieves stress, helps to relax.
Important: The daily need for an organism in tryptophan is 0.25 g. Under stress, the requirement of an organism in an amino acid increases and can reach 1 g.