Holistic Medicine as Alternative Treatment for Depression

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By Paige Arden

Depression is a very serious illness that affects more than 6.1 million American adults. As will all other illnesses- mental or physical- it is always strongly advised that professional aid is sought by means of a doctor or another licensed healthcare practitioner. It has been clinically proven that modern medicine can do wonders to help treat many individuals, and while not everyone’s body will react as positively to pharmaceutical drugs, talking to a professional of some kind cannot be recommended enough.

That being said, there are approaches to mental illnesses such as depression that have had positive results on those who have tried them. Holistic medicine has been shown to be an alternative treatment method through its unique healing mannerisms.

Mainstream medicine regularly hones its focus on getting rid of or masking symptoms to make them manageable until they heal. Holistic medicine, on the other hand, sets out to empower patients and help them heal themselves. Improvements in the flow of their life force energy, it is thought, allows the patient to heal from the inside out. This can be a large component in the treatment of depression, because it puts power in the patient’s hands.

Holistic medicine is a way to heal the body and mind all at once, thus fully treating any underlying illnesses such as depression or anxiety. The fact is that those who suffer with depression often have or develop other medical conditions, physical in nature, such as diabetes or heart disease. This makes treating the body as a whole necessary. Rather than treating the depression separately from the exemplar diabetes, a full-body treatment could be the answer to recovery.

In a large, nationwide survey done in the US a few years back, results came back indicating that only 22% of people who have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder ever receive sufficient treatment. This is alarming. It is also why a rise in popularity in holistic medicine would be beneficial to the nation as a whole.

Some of the most mundane methods can be the most effective. Some holistic approaches that can be easily incorporated into a person’s daily life are as follows:

– Exercise, when it is an option, is one of the best approaches for dealing with depression. Studies have shown that regular exercise can deter and even reduce the severity of the illness.

– Maintaining a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and minerals and healthy fats can be essential. Depression has been shown to affect more readily those with a dietary deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids, tryptophan, folic acid, vitamin D and vitamin B12. This means that those who follow specialized diets such as a vegetarian or vegan-based lifestyle, who are statistically at a higher risk for deficiency, must ensure that they are taking adequate supplements.

– Keeping up, to the best of one’s ability, good sleeping habits is crucial. It is a notorious fact that either over or undersleeping are linked with depression, and while there are pharmaceutical drugs that can be taken to help, sometimes a natural approach is best when it comes to sleep patterns. Poor sleep may be a result of depression, but it can also contribute to it. Taking care not to eat a heavy meal before bedtime as well as exercising earlier in the day can significantly improve the odds of a good night’s rest.

– Try essential oils. Either make the investment and purchase a diffuser and some relaxing essential oils to use as you work, clean, or just spend time in your home can truly make all the difference. If a diffuser is not an option, even just placing a drop or two of some soothing essential oils on your pillow before you sleep can serve to improve ultimately help treat the illness where it is often strongest: in the night as you lay awake in bed.

Mental illness, in any form, needs serious attention. That is why, through the unassuming and natural approach of the most simple forms of holistic medicine, the healing of the whole body- physical, mental and emotional, can be sought. It is never easy and support is always recommended, but by slowly but surely altering one’s lifestyle to include techniques that serve to nurture the body and mind, it is possible to find peace.

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