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Depression is characterized by the loss of interest or pleasure in most previously enjoyed activities, as well as a depressed or sad mood felt most of the day, nearly every day over a period and not for a few days. It can be felt as hopelessness, feeling empty, or tearful. Along with this, signs of depression usually include other physical or mental problems . These are often the result of depression rather than the cause.

Depression is a serious medical condition involving a delicate balance of brain chemicals. Unlike a bad mood that you can simply snap out of, depression can severely disrupt the ability to function properly and can extend through every aspect of your life with serious consequences. One typical characteristic is a preoccupation of past activities and a lack of concern for future prospects- whereas anxiety is often  an over-concern or preoccupation with future events.

Although those suffering, or concerned with likely depression, should consult their medical practitioner there are complementary approaches that can help. It has been shown that low Vitamin D levels can result in SAD or seasonal affect  depression and checking your Vitamin D level should be a first consideration. Vitamin D taken with high levels of the fatty acid DHA have proved beneficial and would seem to reduce inflammatory cellular conditions which affect neurological transmitters. These have been taken alongside proprietary medication for depression. In some cases medication (particularly some antibiotics) is a cause for depression especially in the elderly and its correction requires the rebalancing of certain nutrients-particularly B Vitamins.

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Regardless of the cause of depression, the following situations can result:

  • Brain chemistry –Depression often occurs when the delicate balance of brain chemistry is disturbed resulting in a general imbalance in neurotransmitters. Serotonin is the brain transmitter needed for relaxation (and sleep) and is usually addressed but depletion of other transmitters (e.g. Dopamine or GABA) can be relevant and significant.

  • Stressful life events: A stressful life event can trigger an over production in cortisol resulting in depletion of neurotransmitters. Removing the stressful trigger is as necessary as other treatment. Ideas are often learnt and make us more vulnerable to developing depression. Nutritional support for the adrenals may be helpful. Rhodiola  or L-theanine or elevated Vitamin B5 are possible considerations.

    Therapeutic measures and lifestyle changes are just as important when it comes to treating depression, so if you decide to pursue this route, it’s very important to use psychological and wellness treatment in conjunction.

    Post natal depression may be helped by taking essential fatty acid supplements during pregnancy and afterwards in order to partly compensate for foetal ‘robbery’ of these compounds. Folate rather than folic acid might reduce any depression as some individuals do not absorb or convert folic acid to the final folate form.