5 ways to fight depression

Did you know that an estimated one in six South Africans have, or will suffer from, depression? As such, this all too regular affliction is often referred to as the ‘common cold of mental illness ‘ .

But how do you know whether you ‘ re depressed or simply having a bad day?

Well, if you ‘ re clinically depressed, you ‘ ve likely encountered some of the following symptoms over an extended period:

  • Persistently depressed and hopeless mood
  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Frequent teariness, irritability or aggression
  • Poor or excessive appetite, with unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Low energy and fatigue

Decreased interest in daily activities and pleasure in activities previously enjoyed.

Beating the blues

It is important to deal with depression and find ways to cope with it to prevent it from escalating. How do you overcome an affliction which by its very nature is almost intangible? Here are a few key steps to follow to deal with depression:

1. Find the right medication

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group ‘ s Cathy Amoore explains that many people avoid taking medication because they think it ‘ s toxic or addictive. This is simply not true. In some cases, medication is necessary to stabilise brain chemicals, which aren ‘ t functioning correctly in depression, so that you have the strength to get into therapy and get well. Treating depression is a many-pronged ‘attack ‘ , though. Medication just forms one of these prongs.”

2. Food for thought

It can be hard to eat correctly when suffering from depression. You may crave carbohydrates and sweets or lose your appetite. But irregular eating habits only worsen things. It ‘ s essential to keep your blood sugar levels stable, and take care of yourself by eating to nourish your brain and nervous system. Supplements like Vital Maxi B, Vital Omega 3 Concentrate and Vital Salmon Oil are integral to maintaining and forming a healthy brain and nervous system function.

3. A friend indeed

Depression sufferers often withdraw, fearing they may burden loved ones. But people who love you, really do care and want to help – they often just don ‘ t know how to. Don ‘ t be afraid to tell them what they can do to help – even if it means leaving you alone – by communicating your feelings more clearly, you ‘ ll be better placed to deal with them, and be more readily able to call on support when you need it.

4. Keep moving

Whether it ‘ s a hot shower, scented body lotion, tasty breakfast food, yoga or exercise – set things up so you ‘ re tempted to get out of bed. Once you ‘ re washed, dressed and have eaten something, you ‘ ll invariably feel better.

5. Important safety note

If you or a loved one feel depressed or are having suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor immediately. Never discontinue any antidepressant without the assistance of a qualified medical practitioner. Sudden cessation of the medicine can cause a shock to the system which will worsen the condition and/or make you feel very ill. Instead, work with your doctor to taper off medication if necessary and find an alternative solution where possible. Nutritional, homeopathic and herbal supplements generally work well alongside allopathic medication.