As per World Health Organization (WHO) estimation, around 350 million people of various ages all over the world are suffering from depression. Shocking? Isn’t it? If they left untreated, the final result is suicide (ending their life).
Although, it is quite normal to feel down whenever we face challenges in our daily life and these feeling will be reduced with the time and should not alter the life negatively and leads to ending the life.
Depression is a mental or mood disorder that characterized by anxiety, loss of appetite, lack of interest in life, chronic sadness, anger, stress, significant changes in abdominal weight, difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep pattern, unexplained pains and aches in the body, etc. are some signs and symptoms of depression.
Social isolation, financial strain, alcohol or drug abuse, relationship problems, stress, family history of depression, certain chronic health problems, etc. are some risk factors for depression.
Ignorance and flippancy are the two main reasons that cause more harm to the depression patients and makes them depressed even more. Lack of trained medical professions, poor or wrong diagnoses, lack of information is some of the factors that half of the depressed people unable to get proper treatment for their problem.
The main step to combat any disorder is to identify the symptoms and having some general awareness about that particular problem. So, first, we will discuss the warning signs of depression.
Warning Signs of Depression:
Here are some of the warning signs of depression. If you or anyone around you are suffering from these signs, then immediate diagnose and treatment should be done without getting worse.
Low Self-Esteem and Hopelessness – Lack of self – confidence, a feeling of guilt and empty vision of the future are main symptoms of depression patients. Some people blame themselves for their past mistakes (self – blame) and some blame others or express negative feelings towards them.
Fatigue – Serotonin (a neurotransmitter creating happiness) and epinephrine (a neurotransmitter creating energy). Depression suppresses these neurotransmitters and thus causes chronic fatigue. Depressed people will feel tired (both physical and mental) even without any physical activity or having adequate sleep.
Anxiety – Anxiety disorder interferes with the person’s peace of mind and thereby makes it obsess over small things to the point of paranoia. This problem will make the depressed person even to get into darkness, as they unable to distract themselves and get panic with sweating and palpitations.
Insomnia – People suffering from depression will get a disturbance in both homeostasis process (maintaining constant internal environment) and circadian process (sleep – wake up cycle) and thereby results in insomnia and affect the quality of their life. Insomnia will worsen the depression problem.
Anger and Irritability – Prolonged anger and irritability is another emotion as an initial stage of depression. Even they burst for tiny and harmless things without any feel of shy in front of their friends and family members. They also maintain anger internally, if they are not verbally expressive and trigger other disorders.
Short Term Memory Loss – Due to constant miserable feeling, you’re unable to concentrate on a single small thing for a longer time. They also unable to recollect the information properly and thereby results in less productive in their work and forget important things like documents, keys, etc. easily.
Reckless Behavior – People suffering from depression will behave in such a way that they not used to be in the past like getting interested in alcoholism, substance abuse, gambling, risky sexual behavior, etc. and make themselves a way of escaping unpleasant feelings.
Changes in Body Weight – Most people suffer from appetite loss and a thought of consuming meal will make them queasy and thereby lose their weight in an unhealthy way. Contrarily, some begin to gain their body weight (mainly abdominal weight) due to binge eating to make themselves comfortable.
Not Interested in Pleasurable Activities – Depressed people will show less interest in any social activity or contact and thereby unable to experience pleasure. They isolate themselves and spend most of the time alone without doing anything, as they can’t seem to get pleasure from any activity.
Getting Thought of Suicide and Death – It is quite common to get the thought of suicide or death. This should be addressed urgently, as they associated with mood disorders. Clinical depression will make them harm themselves in such a way that they unable to live in this world.
Are you one among those who suffer from these signs and symptoms of depression? Then make yourself strong and get some medical help along with your family support to get rid of this problem.
Do you know at certain times, nutritional deficiency can also contribute to this depression? Shocking! Isn’t it? Yes, it’s true and many researchers have told that mood disorders or depression in people are a result of a deficiency in several nutrients.
Remember that what we eat (food) will feed the brain and body and how we balance all the nutrients will depend on their functionality. So, the next topic we will discuss is the nutritional deficiency that causes depression.
Nutritional Deficiencies Causing Depression:
Have a look at these nutrients and include them more in your diet to prevent yourself getting depressed.
1. Omega – 3 Fatty Acids:
Omega – 3 fatty acids will help for the proper development and functionality of the central nervous system. Omega – 3 DHA (crucial for brain cell structure) and EPA (helps with neuron function and reduces inflammation). It is also essential to lower your bad cholesterol levels and thereby contribute to overall heart health.
In a study, it is found that proper intake of omega – 3 fatty acids will help you to treat and prevent depression. It also reported that the deficiency of this nutrient is due to the interaction between diet and a genetically determined abnormality in phospholipid metabolism.
So, include an adequate amount of omega – 3 fatty acids into your diet. Consume fatty fish (like salmon, tuna), walnuts, flaxseeds, omega – 3 fortified eggs, etc. Also, consult your doctor to take an omega – 3 fatty acid supplements.
Magnesium helps to activate certain enzymes which are essential for the production of dopamine and serotonin. The deficiency of this nutrient will influence several systems which are associated with increasing depression. It helps to maintain healthy bones, lower blood pressure levels, reduce your anxiety, etc.
In a study, it is proved that magnesium deficiency will result in major depression and other related mental health problems. So, include magnesium rich foods like almonds, seaweed, pumpkin seeds, banana, soy milk (tofu), avocado, beans, bran, whole grains, leafy greens, etc. in your diet.
Make sure to limit your intake of salt, soda, alcohol, sugar, coffee, etc. which lowers the body absorption of magnesium. Consult your doctor for its supplements.
Zinc is required for the body to reduce the risk of depression, as it plays a major role in neuronal functions. It helps to boost the production and functioning of neurotransmitter to prevent you from getting depressed.
In a study, it is showed that zinc plays a major role in neurodegenerative inflammatory pathways in depression and low levels of zinc in peripheral blood will result in causing depression.
To prevent zinc deficiency, you can include foods like eggs, legumes, red meat, shellfish, pulses, whole grain cereals, nuts, dairy products, seeds, etc. in your diet. Consult your doctor for its supplements.
4. Vitamin D:
Vitamin D helps in producing serotonin (a brain hormone) used to elevate your mood and happiness. An ample level of this brain hormone will help you to prevent and treat depression along with strengthening your immunity and bone health.
In a study, it is stated that there is a connection between seasonal affective disorder and lack of sunlight (vitamin D). So, people who are having a deficiency of vitamin D will be a higher risk for depression. Also, this vitamin is involved in the production of dopamine and serotonin within the brain and thereby prevents you from depressed.
Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, so spend at least 15 – 20 minutes of time by walking in the morning sunrise and in the evening sunset. You can also consult your doctor to know about vitamin D supplements and dosage before taking it.
Selenium is an essential nutrient used for proper brain functioning and to enhance your mood and thereby to get rid of depression. It also aids in proper functioning of your thyroid which in turn enhance proper mental health.
The antioxidant and selenoproteins content in this nutrient will help to manage the depression. In a study, it is stated that intake of less selenium will raise the risk of depressive disorder and thus results in negative moods.
Get more of selenium from dietary sources like seafood, peas, turkey, Brazil nuts, beans, lean meats, eggs, shellfish, chicken, etc.
6. Vitamin B12:
Vitamin B 12 is essential for forming red blood cells and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Intake of B vitamins will help for the maintenance of both physical and mental health.
This vitamin B12 helps a lot in lowering the homocysteine (a byproduct of protein metabolism) levels, which in turn reduces the risk of getting depressed. In a study, it is published that deficiency of vitamin B12 will cause a major depressive disorder. People showed an improvement in their depressive symptoms when taking this vitamin B12 along with antidepressants.
Consume foods such as eggs, lean meats, nutritional yeasts, fish, dairy products, poultry, soy milk, fortified cereals, etc. as a part of your diet. Consult your doctor to take vitamin B supplements daily to get relief from your depression.
The deficiency of iron will cause an insufficient number of red blood cells and thereby leads to symptoms like brain fog, loss of appetite, fatigue, and irritability. It also results in social-emotional development and functioning.
Its deficiency will increase the risk of unipolar depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, ADHD, bipolar disorder, mental retardation, delay in their mental development, etc. Also, remember that for better absorption of iron, you have to consume vitamin C rich foods.
Consume foods that are rich in iron such as beetroots, oatmeal, spinach, red meat, fish, peanut butter, eggs, soybeans, beans, pomegranates, etc. to strengthen you from depression.
Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is essential for the proper biosynthesis of neurotransmitters like dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin. So, if you won’t get enough folate in the diet then it affects your mental health and even results in depression.
Do you know that low level of folate in the body will slow down the effect of antidepressant medicines? It also controls the effect of birth defects, cancer, blood disorder medicines affect in the body. A study suggests that the intake of both vitamin B12 and folic acid will improve the depression treatment and heals quickly.
So, consume folate – rich foods like citrus fruits, dark & leafy green vegetables, legumes, beans, etc. in your diet to get rid of the problem.
9. Vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 helps to create neurotransmitters and brain chemicals, which in turn helps to influence your mood. This vitamin helps the body to absorb vitamin B12 effectively and thereby to prevent depression.
Excellent sources of vitamin B6 include poultry, cottage cheese, meat, potatoes, fish, spinach, legumes, watermelon, sunflower seeds, bananas, etc.
10. Amino Acids:
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are used by the brain to manufacture neurotransmitters needed for the optimal functioning. So, its deficiency will result in a variety of mood disorders.
In general, there are 9 essential amino acids that aids in various functions in the body, including the rise of serotonin levels in the body to improve your mood and keep you away from getting depressed.
The good source of amino acids will include seeds, beans, eggs, fish, nuts, etc. which has to be added to your diet.
Remember that nothing is important than a life. So, it’s in your hands to make your life beautiful and colorful. Anxiety and depression is a part of your life and takes it positively to achieve your desired goals. Strengthen yourself with best nutritional diet, water, medical help and family support to beat this awful problem.