According to the Canadian statistics 1 in 4 Canadians are struggling with some kind of mental health condition. However, this is not only the case in Canada; it is everywhere all around the world, the rate of people suffering from anxiety and depression is constantly on the rise.
Many people do not have the knowledge how to fight against these mood issues, and because of that very easily turn to antidepressants and medications which incorporate many adverse effects. On the other hand, the naturopathic doctors deal with this issue through the relation of the body and mind.
The scientific confirmation of the link between the digestive system and mood, has been long ago determined and it is known as “Gut-Brain Connection” and as well as the relation between the mind, mental health, and the immune system. The scientific term “psychoneuroimmunology” stands for the influence of the depression to inflammation in the brain and body.
The conventional medicine regards the mental issues as separate part from the rest of the body; meanwhile depression is treated as a brain chemical imbalance.
Depression is treated with antidepressants because it is considered to occur due to shortage of “happy” chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which influence the mood of a person. Because of that doctors commonly prescribe drugs which artificially change neurotransmitter levels.
The commonly prescribed antidepressants such as selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs and SNRIs) offer better results than placebo (proven in around 40 to 60percent of the cases).
Once the patient has in its system SSRI and SNRI drug, the neurotransmitter levels in the brain increase, yet in two to four weeks there are visible changes in the mood.
The Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews released a paper that challenges the low-serotonin theory of depression, stating that the improvement that SSRI offers may not be because of the drug itself, but it may be that the body is overcoming its effects. In fact, this could be a reasonable explanation why patients in the first few weeks upon taking the anti-depressant medication are in worse state than before. According to the authors of this paper these drugs may make it harder for patients to recover in the short-term period.
Due to the strong relation of the digestive and immune system to the mood and overall functioning of the body, an efficient way needs to be found in order to aid the body digestion, decrease the level of stress, boost the brain, and balance inflammation.
These mental disorders are not a sign of weakness, but health conditions that need to be treated, once this is acknowledged the healing process will be quicker and more efficient.
Effective Ways in the Treatment of Depression and Mental Health Issues
- Mind and Body Medicine
This medicine does not involve the use of any chemicals to improve your mental state of mind, but in fact uses the natural energetic healing abilities of the body to heal itself where emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations are involved.
It includes meditation, homeopathy, visualizations and acupuncture. Although some consider these methods as pseudoscientific; many studies prove their positive effects.
Likewise, it is confirmed that acupuncture can be as effective as meditation in lowering depression which was revealed in a 6-week study released by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
The Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation has shown that it is extremely helpful against depression, relapse in major depressive disorder, mood disorders, and as well as in managing stress.
JAMA released a study where a form of secular mindfulness meditation known as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), is as effective as the used medication in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.
The method of mindfulness incites the feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations in a non-judgemental manner. Furthermore, it boosts mood by helping people to manage their emotional state in a positive way.
One of the founders of MBCT, Jon Kabat-Zinn, maintains, quoting:
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”
- Healing the gut
The digestive system is otherwise known as the “second brain “because it contains the Enteric Nervous System, which is a collection of millions of nerve cells that control digestive function and are in direct contact with the brain.
For that reason, experiencing irritation in the digestive system, like bacterial overgrowth, gut inflammation, and various other issues, can cause substantial changes to mood.
It is a crucial link since 30 to 40 percent of the population is experiencing some kind of digestive symptoms, including IBD, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, GERD, and IBS.
According to conducted studies certain probiotics can produce neurotransmitters thus improving the mood and mental health. The naturopathic medicine a long time ago has determined the connection between the gut and brain, stating that conditions such as IBS are worsened by depression, stress, and anxiety.
Conclusively, gut proper function ensures regulation of the nervous system; on the other hand a healthy digestive system secures an adequate absorption of the amino acids and micronutrients, which are of great essence for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters.
- Healing the adrenals
According to the alternative health fields a collection of symptoms caused by prolonged chronic stress are called “adrenal fatigue”. This condition is manifested by food cravings or loss of appetite, insomnia, high levels of prolonged mental, fatigue, emotional and physical stress, poor mood, apathy, lack of enjoyment in previously enjoyed activities, weight fluctuations, and sleep and energy changes.
No matter what the cause of depression is, there is often a significant stressor that worsens the symptoms.
You can successfully manage low mood and promote mental health, if you choose some interesting stress-reduction techniques, as well as make some healthy dietary habits, and start using beneficial herbs.
- Fish oil
According to the findings of a meta-analysis performed in 2014 fish oils are of great assistance in the treatment of low mood and major depressive disorder.
The content of fatty acids like DHA and EPA are needed for the proper function of the brain, and their ratio is very important. Fish oil contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which are extremely important as conducted studies have revealed that depression may be correlated with low levels of brain inflammation.
- Essential nutrients and proper nutrition
The use of SSRI medication maintains the serotonin levels in the brain elevated, but it also depletes the vitamins and minerals accountable for its production. Therefore, always use high-quality supplements and correct doses of protein, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B12 and folate, so that you can successfully treat mental health conditions and mood.
Magnesium is a mineral highly important for the production of hormones and neurotransmitters, and lack of this mineral may trigger numerous symptoms, from low mood and muscle pain to insomnia and fatigue.
For optimal results, combine therapies with medications. Namely, counseling is the best treatment for depression and other mood disorders, and offers positive health results.
The key therapeutic modality for depression is the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), based on changing ingrained and habitual thoughts, behaviors and beliefs that may attribute to the occurrence of low mood. The Motivational Interviewing is another efficient method of counseling. The positive results of both these methods are confirmed by various studies.
Do not forget the use of the naturopathic medicine since it is a great option as a preventive measure for people who are constantly exposed to stress, and for those people who have been recently diagnosed with a mood disorder. Moreover, it provides excellent effects as a complement to other kinds of therapies.
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