Depression can make it difficult to get out of bed, and it can wreck your health. There are the peaks and valleys of regular human emotion – grief, fear, loss, loneliness, and of course joy – and then there’s feeling “down in the dumps” for a long time, for no obvious reason.
If you fall into the latter category, by all means, get professional help.
But beware of the doctors who’ll hand out prescriptions, no matter what kind of bad mood you’re in. That’s because the number of people taking antidepressants are rising fast. According to a report recently published by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that a little more than one in 10 adults are taking some kind of anti-psychotic drug.
What’s more disturbing is that these doctors appear to be prescribing these drugs for all kinds of “off-label” uses – because 25 per cent of elderly patients aged 60 to 85 turn out to be on them.
Pain? Take an antidepressant. Side effects of menopause? Take an antidepressant. Stressed over diabetes? Take an antidepressant.
And it’s not just antidepressants, but also anti-anxiety and sleep drugs.
If your doctor has already whipped out his prescription pad to try and help you manage stress, anxiety, or depression, you may need to switch to go for a second opinion in order to avoid the risks that come with these drugs.
A holistic approach is a safer alternative, without the side effects and risks (which include anything from falls to suicidal thoughts). And it’s not likely to zone you out and just “cover up” whatever is really bothering you.
Mood-boosters that you can try on your own include:
- Exercise: Physical activity has been proven to improve mood – and not just because getting a little exercise will help you sleep better. If you can get up and move any amount, the influx of endorphins can boost your mood and even relieve pain naturally.
- Soak up the sun: Your body converts UV rays to vitamin D, one of nature’s best mood-boosters. If you can’t get the real stuff during the winter, invest in a specialized light box and supplement with vitamin D.
- Make your gut happy: Probiotic supplements have been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, AND depression. They can even improve memory – and it only takes about four weeks to see major results.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of talking it out with another living, breathing person who’ll listen without judging you. Whether it’s a friend, barber, or carers at the elderly care centre, making a connection – and feeling a little less alone – can make a world of difference.Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
1 in 6 U.S. Adults Use Psychiatric Drugs in a Year, medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/GeneralPsychiatry/62018?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2016-12-13&eun=g1024616d0r&pos=11