Treating Depression and Anxiety – You Do Have Choices

Depression knows no limit when it comes to gender, race, or social class.

People who suffer from depression commonly report feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and may lose interest in things they formerly enjoyed. Major changes in appetite and weight may also occur.

Medication may be life-saving when depression is severe, especially if it interferes with the ability to function. Some people shy away from medication due to the serious side effects that are being reported. Medication does not help many people. It is very dangerous to discontinue medication abruptly without first discussing the matter with your physician or therapist.

Many people know how it feels to have an anxiety attack. A feeling of dread is a common experience. Your heart starts pounding, and your palms become sweaty. For others, the only signs are problems concentrating. Some people may feel jumpy or tense. They may be irritable when they feel anxious. Paranoia may set in for some people experiencing a severe attack of anxiety.

Anxiety is not always a bad thing. It is the natural response of the body to external stress and pressure. Some people may ignore the signs and symptoms of anxiety for years with no adverse effect. Others might need to seek treatment early, especially if anxiety starts to interfere with their daily lives.

While the treatments for depression and anxiety are numerous, many people today are moving away from the standard treatment of prescription medication due to the length of time it takes to see symptoms improve. Most prescription medications for depression stimulate the release of serotonin in the brain. Unfortunately, there are no tests to perform to measure the amount of serotonin in the brain of a living human being, so there is no way to know what is a high, low or normal level of serotonin. Treatments other than medication are meditation and herbal remedies.

Herbal remedies for depression include St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, and Gingko Biloba. St. John’s Wort has the most evidence for depression relief. Studies in over twenty clinical trials show that it is an effective means for relief and works just as well as prescription medication without the side effects, but only if the extract contains 3-5% of hyperforin.

Ginseng and Gingko Biloba help reduce stress; therefore, some people may choose to include them in their herbal regimen. People under the age of 50 have experienced many benefits from using Gingko Biloba, but the group that experiences the most benefit are those over 50. It is very important when choosing herbal remedies that the herbs used are of high quality and in the correct dosage amounts.

Meditation can be another effective treatment for depression and anxiety. Meditation is a practice that teaches you how to slow down the thought processes that could trigger an anxiety attack. The goal of meditation is to stop the mind from thinking as much as possible and to relax the body.

When one meditates body movement is minimal. There is no need to purchase special clothing or equipment to meditate, which makes it a more economical treatment over prescription medication. Loose clothing and a quiet environment with no distractions are all that is needed.

The positive effects of meditation are apparent much sooner than with prescription medication. Meditation does require more time and effort, but it has the advantage in that it elevates the mood without the possible adverse side effects that may occur with medication, making it a highly popular treatment of choice.

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