One of the most common remedies used nowadays for anxiety and depression is medication. But are the drugs really helping relieve the cause or just the symptoms? According to many scientists and naturopaths, there may be alternative forms of treatment that individuals can come by naturally.
Cloudy with a Chance of More Clouds
Americans are no strangers to anxiety or depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), over 15 million adults are affected each year. (That’s a little over 6 percent of the population.)
Other data reveals that approximately 11 percent of Americans regularly take antidepressants.
Those two sets of numbers don’t make logical sense. That’s because there’s a tremendous number of adults who are prescribed antidepressant meds who haven’t been given a clinical diagnosis of anxiety or depressive-related disorders. That suggests, logically, that there are far more people medicated than need to be.
Even then, what about the efficacy of antidepressants? They may alter challenging symptoms, but are they healing the mind? A report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama) explained that imaging studies have revealed the same changes in brain activity when patients took an antidepressant as when they took a placebo. There has been research questioning the medications’ effectiveness beyond the placebo effect.
Getting to the Core
Symptoms of fatigue, moodiness, despair, disinterest in enjoyable activities, and apathy are just a few examples of what depression may look like. Those symptoms are noticeable and troubling results of something other than just a mental health challenge. And many researchers and naturopaths believe it’s more than just a chemical brain imbalance.
Many health experts suggest that depression is linked to inflammation—in the brain—and in the body.
There has been a deluge of material lately that points to our gut being our “2nd brain.” Our Enteric Nervous system is an assemblage of millions of nerve cells that communicate directly with the brain in our head. If our digestive system is unhealthy, it would follow suit that our mind would be as well.
Wellness for the Gut is Health for the Mind
Any type of treatment that your medical practitioner suggests may be helpful to your condition. Ultimately, however, it is your choice on how you handle your health. Antidepressants may be right for you. Counseling and/or Cognitive Behavior Therapy may also be beneficial. Any of the following suggestions are merely that. They are offerings of natural ways that may assist with relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression, or may even help cure.
Almost 40% of Americans suffer from constipation, diarrhea, chronic gas, GERD, IBS, and other gastrointestinal conditions. No wonder almost half the population is depressed or in a bad mood! Because of the connection between the gut and the brain, one of the goals is to boost health in your gut microbiome.
One way to achieve re-balance is to increase intake of PREBIOTICS.
Getting Friendly with Prebiotics
We’re all getting pretty familiar with probiotics these days. Those are the “good” bacteria that live in our digestive system. Prebiotics are actually non-digestible. They can be defined as a fiber compound.
Prebiotics don’t get broken down by stomach acids or digestive enzymes. They continue to make their way through the system and actually become food for the probiotics. Prebiotics stimulate good bacteria growth. When prebiotics and probiotics are combined, together they can help decrease inflammation.
Some examples of prebiotic foods are:
– raw dandelion greens
– kombucha, and other fermented foods
Boosting Your Adrenals
When we’re under a great deal of stress, especially over long durations, we can create burnout in our adrenal system. Weakened adrenals often accompany an individual suffering from clinical anxiety or depression. Adrenals are endocrine glands that produce many hormones including adrenaline and cortisol.
Anxiety and stress create an unwelcomed supply of cortisol into our system. That and adrenaline are our “fight or flight” natural rescuers, but those hormones weren’t meant to run through our bodies constantly. One way to help restore balance is to boost your adrenals.
Some examples of foods to improve your adrenal health are:
- broccoli, cauliflower
- nuts (almonds and walnuts)
- chi, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds
- fatty fish
- matcha green tea
Besides these natural suggestions for improved body, mind, and spirit, there are, of course, the other tried-and-true recommendations. They are: reduce stress, practice yoga and/or meditation, exercise, and get a good night’s sleep, every night.