Yes, most cases of depression go unidentified and undetected due to the stigma attached with it. However, while many dismiss the symptoms as just ‘one of those days’ or ‘feeling under the weather’, depression if untreated can have serious health and social repercussions.
One major effect of depression is how it affects the sufferer’s brain. A recent international study revealed that chronic and repeated episodes of depression can shrink the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory and emotion.
The study which collated data from 15 research institutes from across the world, examined data of 8,927 people, 1,728 of whom had major depression and the rest of whom were healthy, the Guardian reported. The researchers found that 65 percent of the depressed participants had recurrent depression and it was these people who had a smaller hippocampus.
The study comes in the wake of the increasing number of teenagers suffering from this condition and highlights an urgent need to find means to treat it. Emphasizing the importance of finding effective treatment options the authors quoted that treatment shouldn’t be limited to only medicines. Social interventions are just as important.
While antidepressants can have a protective effect, psychotherapy does hold a valid promise as the first line of treatment.
Here are four natural antidepressants that will cheer you up:
- St. John’s Wort: It is believed that this herb exhibits its antidepressant properties by inhibiting the re-uptake of serotonin by the nerve cells, thereby making more of the neurotransmitter available to the brain.
- Saffron: Clinical studies have equated the antidepressant effects of this herb with Prozac and Imipramine. It also has fewer side effects as compared to its medical counterparts.
- Essential Oils: Aromatherapy oils such as frankincense, lemon, lavender, sandalwood, basil, sage and chamomile are effective in enhancing moods by calming the nerves and stimulating the production of endorphins in the body.
- Fish Oil: Research has shown that supplemental omega-3 fatty acids can regulate the mood and reduce the likelihood of recurrent depression episodes.
With inputs from IANS.