Along with the excitement of the holidays, depression can often sneak in. These episodes may range from mild melancholy to suicidal tendencies. There are wonderful Christian counselors, psychiatrists, and prescription medications that can be used in treating this debilitating condition.
If you are experiencing depression or receiving treatment from a health care professional, it is extremely important that you follow their counsel.
Our lifestyle choices may play a part as well. A few of those triggers as well as some natural options to assist with prevention and treatment are noted below.
Possible Triggers for Depression
1) Chronic Inflammation – Researchers have found that melancholic depression, bipolar disorder, and postpartum depression are associated with elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines as well as a decreased cortisol sensitivity (cortisol helps buffer inflammation).
2) Deficient intake of Vitamin D
3) Hormonal Changes (pregnancy, menopause, thyroid, endocrine disorders)
4) Sugar – Sugar is one of the most causative agents of inflammation. It suppresses BDNF levels (brain derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is a growth hormone that promotes heathy brain neurons, and it has been noted to be low in patients with schizophrenia and depression. Sugar also decreases the good bacteria in the gut.
5) Possible Genetic Component
6) Emotional Triggers from Life-changing Events – These may include the death of a loved one, divorce, major job loss, life-threatening illness, etc.
1) Friendship – Meaningful friendships have been shown to help in prevention and recovery of depression.
2) Improved Dietary Choices – Replace processed foods with whole foods that have been grown locally and/or organically. Food ingredients that have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides have the ability to disrupt chemical balances, alter gut flora, and cause toxic effects.
3) Optimizing Gut Flora – Immune health is very important in the function of our bodies and brains. Probiotics are essential for optimal immune health.
4) Omega-3’s – Our brain needs healthy fats to function properly. Flax seeds, walnuts, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, krill, and calamarine oil from calamari (squid) are excellent sources of Omega-3’s. One Vienna Omega-3 study showed that participants taking this supplement for twelve weeks had a reduced risk of developing a psychotic disorder in the future.
As much as possible, avoid high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, GMO foods (corn, soy, and sugar beets are very likely to be genetically engineered), and artificial sweeteners.
A Merry Heart
For those experiencing depression, telling them to “just get over it” is not helpful.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 / KJV)
If your heart is broken, run to Jesus. Talk to Him. He is more than able to comfort and heal.
** CRISIS INTERVENTION: If you feel desperate, hopeless, or have thoughts of suicide:
1) Dial 911 or go directly to your local hospital’s Emergency Department
2) Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
3) Call your physician, therapist, or counselor
4) Call someone – anyone! Reach out. There are people who love you.