Major depression is a serious medical illness that affects approximately 21 million people in the world today. It is a medical disorder with a biological and chemical basis that impacts the body and mood as well as the mind. Depression can involve the person suffering from the disease as well as family, loved ones and even the community. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize that they have a major depression or that it is a treatable. They just don't realize that happiness and joy can be everyday feelings.
Depression has been described as a dangerous and debilitating disease, which can cause considerable suffering and even tragic loss of lives if left untreated. It affects just about every thing in a person's life -- the way one eats, sleeps, thinks works, plays and reacts to life in general.
Antidepressant medications, psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy are the standard treatments for caring for moderate to severe depression. However, more and more people are seeking alternative treatment methods which are less harsh and have fewer side effects. FDA reports have warned for some time now that prescription drugs can cause severe side effects, be addictive, and may not be very effective in treating the problems associated with depression.
Alternative Treatments For Major Depression
1. Herbal Therapy - St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is the most popular herb used for depression. It is used much more extensively in Europe than it is in this country. St. John's Wort has been the subject of many clinical trials, and has proven to be very helpful to millions of people in treating mild to moderate cases of depression. The British Medical Journal published a review stating that St. John's Wort works as well as many prescription medications for anti-depressants, but does not have the side effects.
Other herbs that have undergone many clinical and case studies include Kava Kava, Valerian Root, 5-HTP and SAM-e. The research has shown these herbs have demonstrated significant anti-depressive results in patients taking one, or some of these ingredients for periods ranging from one to twelve weeks.
Other less known herbs for treating depression include ephedra, gingko biloba, echinacea, and ginseng.
2. Acupressure helps to relieve many symptoms related to mild depression. It is a technique which uses the hands to apply steady, firm pressure on specific points of the body. These spots correspond to and affect other parts of the body. According to Chinese medicine, using anti-depression acupressure points can help release energy that is blocked which contributes to depression. When these energies have been freed, they can be examined and understood.
3. Acupuncture balances the flow of chi and blood throughout a person's body which helps resolve the underlying energetic imbalance contributing to depression. Stimulating acupuncture points has been shown to release endorphins and enkephalins, thereby having a calming, mood-elevating effect. You should consult a professional acupuncturist for this treatment.
4. Cognitive Behavior Therapy are programs which identify automatic thoughts, determine roots of core beliefs, and utilize coping techniques which have been decided upon when anxiety and stress conditions occur in a person's daily life. This type of therapy has helped millions to find long lasting relief from various forms of depression. Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been around for quite a while and can be found in the forms of books, CD's and online help sites. CBT has been clinically proven to be an effective treatment for certain levels of depression and is often used by psychiatrists and psychologists.
5. Aromatherapy uses aromatic essences extracted from plants and when used in bathing or massaging can help in mild depression to improve a person's health and well-being. In more severe cases, it works as complementary therapy. Some essential oils used for depression include basil, bergamot, cedar wood, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, jasmine, myrrh, neroli, rose, sandalwood, spruce, orange, and ylang ylang. Remember that essential oils are very potent and should be mixed with creams or oils, but not full strength directly on the skin. Even in the bath, start with only two or three drops.
Just recently, the University of Florida released a preliminary study which appeared in the July journal Biological Psychiatry, which suggests that magnetic stimulation may lead to safe, revolutionary treatment for patients with clinical depression who do not respond to standard medications. This could be a real important breakthrough for people who have major depression.
Shirley Peel is a successful webmaster and publisher of many articles about all aspects of depression and its treatment. Her years as a health care professional have increased her interest in the many facets of health care. She offers more information about depression care, symptoms and treatment at:
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