Depression is a major health problem in today's troubled world. One is four women will suffer from depression during their lifetime. It is the most freguent health problem a women may experience. Thousands of women each day struggle to get up, go to work, and take care of themselves and their children. Antidepressant drugs are prescribed by the thousands each day. What is contributing to the climbing rate of depression in this country? What can you do to overcome your depression?
There have been a number of research studies focused on trying to understand the factors responsible for the increased cases of serious depression. One group of researchers studied 92, 539 postmenopausal women from different income, cultural, and religious backgrounds. They published their findings in the Women's Health Initiative. Another research study conducted by Michel Lucas, Harvard School of Public Health, Nurse's Health Study, followed 49.821 women by questionnaires from 1993 until 2000. These women were depression-free when the research project began. These and other research studies point to several factors that increase the risk for women to develop depression.
Women lack support in modern times: During times past, women supported each other in times of stress and trial. Now women are working so many hours, they have little time to socialize with friends. Often family members add to their stress. People live thousands of miles from loved ones. Our hectic lifestyle has led to the breakdown of social support nets that women used to have. In the old days, women got together to sew quilts or cook. They received support during these activities. It helped them to see through their current troubles. They helped each other get through bad marriages, rough economic times, and death. Most modern women have no support network.
Obesity and poor diet choices: Excessive sugar, empty foods, and junk food adds to metabolic disturbances that contribute to depression and its severity.
Lack of Exercise: Exercise lessens the risk for depression. The longer you exercise, the better it is to prevent or lessen depression. This was so even when taking into account smoking, weight, and certain illnesses.
Insufficient quality sleep: Insomnia and other sleep disturbances contribute to depression. This is a serious problem in pre-menopause and post-menopause health problems.
Sedentary lifestyle habits: Watching more than 21 hours of television per week added a 13% higher risk for depression. Women who watch one hour or less had the least depression. With all the sad economic news, deaths and natural disasters, should that surprise you?
Alcohol, illegal drugs, and Prescription Drug Abuse: The development of depression associated with self-destructive lifestyle habits such as alcohol and prescription drugs are well established. Many drugs directly cause depression or make it worse in some cases.
Hormonal Imbalances: Women's hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and the thyroid, directly affect mood and emotions. When your hormones are out of balance, you may experience depression, sadness, anxiety, and lack of energy.
Endocrine Imbalances: Hypothyroidism is a major endocrine imbalance that affects every function of the body including mental stability. Thyroid hormones affect overall hormonal balance. Depression can be the direct result from low thyroid function. Other endocrine glands too may be underactive.
Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and other Autoimmune Diseases: Certain diseases with constant chronic pain lead to depression. These diseases affect a woman both mentally and physically. The drugs used to control that chronic pain often make it worse.
Brain Chemistry: In depression, neurotransmitters located in your brain do not communicate normally. Your brain chemistry must be balanced correctly to be mentally healthy. These neurotransmitters, when imbalanced, may cause you to be more agitated, more emotional, more angry or sad.
Genetics: This is a major risk factor in the development of depression. If you have close family members who suffer from depression, you have a greater risk factor for depression.
What does attitude have to do with it? Even with depression in your genetic background, some women never experience debilitating depression. They may be down but they keep fighting. Researchers are not sure why some women get depressed and other women do not, given the same adverse life situations. That answer may involve your attitude toward life and circumstances. It involves the principle of the glass half full versus the glass half empty. Every woman sees trouble in her life but some manage to smile through it. Some women keep a positive attitude despite it all. They know their life will get better with time. You can control how you react to life's troubles. You must choose joy over a negative outlook. This may be one of the hardest changes to make. Even in the middle of trouble, there are blessings and joys. You must learn to focus on those positive blessings. Focusing on others who are in worse circumstances may help you to realize how blessed you really are. Volunteering at a shelter for homeless women is good medicine when you are feeling bad. Helping others has shown to benefit the person helping as well as the one being helped.
Does religious association help? According to the findings from several studies, women that attend church services are happier and deal better with adverse circumstances. They are 27% less likely to suffer from depression. Church groups offer needed support during bad times and good; offers counseling services to its member for free; and have numerous individual groups for activity, fun, and support.
Steps To Overcome Depression:
Admit you are depressed: You cannot solve any problem without acknowleding that problem first. Depression happens to most women at one point or another in their life, so it isn't something to be ashamed about. It is a health problem like many others that is serious and needs attention for you to feel happy about your life again.
Seek Help for your depression: Most people are not able to defeat depression by themselves. They need some help in the beginning at least. If you are experiencing serious depression, get some help first through counseling before using prescription drugs. There are churches who offer free counseling. There are some county and state programs that offer low-cost counseling services. Research your options first. There are self help groups that will add support to your life.
Change Your Diet: Get rid of the sugar, junk food, fast food, alcohol, and excessive caffeine. A diet filled with junk foods contributes to the breakdown of your body which affects your mental state and increases depression. The more you eat junk, the worse you feel. Throw out the food. Don't rely on self control in the beginning. Stay away from the areas of the store that contain those food items. Avoid fast food restaurants. Make a rewards system for avoiding those foods. Put down the reasons you want to stop eating those foods and put it up on the refrig door and kitchen doors. If overeating is contributing to your depression, begin a program such as Weightwatchers that will give you support to eat less and with more quality. Get your kids involved. Get the dog involved. Get your friends to joing you. There are other women in your circle who are experiencing the same problems, reach out to them. In reaching out to others, you will help yourself crawl out of that depression pit.
Exercise: Start out with walking. Walk a block, then three, then more, take it one step at a time. Don't make your goals too hard to achieve. If you fail one day, start again the next day without condemning yourself. If you persist, you will have more steps forward than backward.
Visit Your Doctor and Get a Physical Checkup: Depression can be caused by metabolic problems such as thyroid or adrenal problems. You need to identify those problems to feel better.
Copyright: Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin; All rights are protected on this article. You do not have permission to use this article or its contents without my express permission.
Published by Kate Freer
Herbalist, Freelance Writer, Medical Researcher
http://www.moringa4healing.com My website
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Disclaimer: The FDA and AMA have not approved the contents of this article. This article is for education only. It is not meant to be used to prevent, treat, or prescribe for any illness. Get the permission from your doctor for any supplement that you take. There are interactions between herbs and drugs so be aware of that.