Anxiety, Panic disorder, Depression
There is a difference between feeling unhappy and suffering from depression. Read on to see if you need to take action
The Mental Health Foundation says mixed anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Britain, affecting around nine percent of the population. By 2020, the World Healh Organization (WHO) predicts depression will be the second largest global disease. That explains why antidepressant use is on the rise. In 2005, UK doctors wrote 29,4 million prescriptions for antidepressants, some four million more than in 2004.
However, while there's no doubt the pressures of modern life are sending depression levels soaring, this crippling condition has been around for hundreds of years. "Depression is common to all cultures and has been around for centuries, but what has changed is our understanding of it," says Sophie Corlett, policy director for Mind, the mental health charity. "The symptoms of depression and anxiety certainly existed in the past, but in the UK these would have been called things like 'nerves' and 'melancholy'." Winston Churchill famously called his depression "black dog".
"Depression" can describe a range of moods from low spirits to severe problems that interfere with everyday life. If you have five or more of the following symptoms that last for more than a few weeks, you should speak to your GP as this could be more than just a touch of the blues:
* Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
* Difficulty sleeping
* No energy and feeling tired
* Feeling anxious or restless
* Not eating properly, losing or gaining weight
* Lack of interest in sex
* Crying a lot
* Lack of confidence feeling nothing is right
* Unexplained aches
There is no single cause, but depression is triggered by different things in different people. Traumatic experiences such as a death, redundancy or a divorce can trigger depression, as can major life changes such as retirement. Some people will be more affected than others, but if you don't tackle your feelings at the time, they can fester and make the depression worse. A poor diet and lack of exercise can also leave us feeling down.
If you're just had a baby and you're feeling blue, it could be post-natal depression (PND). Around one in ten new mums suffers this in the first six months after the birth. If your symptoms get worse in the winter, this could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The symptoms are similar to ordinary depression, but you feel particularly drained in the darker months. Very occasionally, depression could be caused by a thyroid problem. An under-active thyroid can make you feel tired, depressed and put on weight, while an over-active thyroid can make you lose weight and feel "maniac". See your doctor if you think you may have any of these conditions.
A leading psychiatrist recently wrote in the British Medical Journal that too many people were diagnosed with depression when they were really just unhappy. Professor Gordon Parker said this led to over-prescribing antidepressants, which may not help the patient as they were not clinically depressed.
"One problem with depression is that everyone experiences it differently, which can make identifying it a tricky issue, It shouldn’t be necessary to secure a medical diagnosis before you get support for your mental well-being, but it can help people het the most appropriate treatment," argues Corlett.
What can help?
Many doctors prescribe antidepressants but you can ask if there are any suitable alternatives. Your GP could arrange for you to have cognitive behavioural therapy or they may even prescribe exercise! Several studies have found exercise raises endorphins in a similar way to antidepressants, giving you a natural boost.
If someone you know is depressed, try not to tell them to "pull themselves together". Depressed people often feel hopeless and worthless and this only reinforces their feelings. Showing them you care and supporting them will be much more effective.
RHODIOLA ROSEA (Golden root)
This is a perennial plant with red, pink, or yellowish flowers. It is no biological relation of the "common" rose, but due to its similar fragrance it has been used as a substitute for Attar of Roses. One of the greatest things Rhodiola does is enhance mental and physical performance. It has been widely used by Russian athletes to increase energy. Rhodiola is cardio-protective, normalizing the heart-rate immediately after intense exercise. It improves nervous system and mental functions such as memory by increasing blood-supply to the muscles and brain, and also increases protein synthesis. Rhodiola rosea has extraordinary pharmacological properties as an anti-mutagen and anti-depressive agent. In this respect Rhodiola rosea is much more powerful than other adaptogens.
RHODIOLA ROSEA is a powerful immune enhancing and anti-stress herb. Adaptogenic herb elevates mood, alleviates depression. Promotes mental energy and stamina, reduces fatigue. It has superior activity over other phyto-medicines, like St.John's Wort, Ginkgo biloba, and Panax ginseng. Key factors to beat deadly infections in time are enhancing immunity and protection of our body from stress.
Rhodiola rosea is a powerful immune enhancing and anti-stress herb. It has superior activity over other phyto-medicines, like St.John's Wort, Ginkgo biloba, and Panax ginseng. Key factors to beat deadly infections in time are enhancing immunity and protection of our body from stress.
Rhodiola rosea tablets can be a good adjuvant therapy to routine treatment with antibiotics like Cipro and Doxycycline.
See also: Immunostimulators, Isoprinosine
Anxiety, Panic disorder, Depression