Mar 2019

Are you Suffering from Depression, Anxiety or Loneliness?

Have you ever felt so lonely even when you’re with a crowd full of people? Have you ever felt so broken inside, even though you seem to have it all? Have you ever seemed so anxious of what tomorrow may bring? Do you have a depressed mood most of the day, especially in the morning or have thoughts of committing suicide? Well, you’re not alone. When things get so bad that you see no way out, and nobody seems to care, things can become so overwhelming that thoughts of defeat set in with full force …to just end it all.

Will suicide bring you joy and peace and solve your problems? No, it will not. Most times, the world will not even notice you’re gone and your position at work will be filled rather quickly. So then, what is the lasting solution?

Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel. It affects the way you think and even act. It can lead to feelings of intense sadness and loss of interest in activities that you normally love to do.

According to the CDC, 7.6% of people over the age of 12 have depression in any 2-week period and 30 million people globally are affected by depression. It is true that one person commits suicide every 46 seconds somewhere around the world!

According to DSM-5, a manual doctors use to diagnose mental disorder, you have depression when you have five or more symptoms that are persistent  for at least 2-weeks. Depression is a problem lasting an average of 6 to 8 months in a role and can happen to anyone at any age.

If you continually feel empty and hopeless, have reduced interest with your once favorite activities, have unexplained weight-loss, have loss of energy most of the day, have feelings of worthlessness and have recurrent thoughts of suicide, it is important to seek the immediate help of a health care professional.

Practical solutions:

Seek professional help right away.

Consider psychotherapy such as talking therapies e.g. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Ask your doctor if anti-depressant drugs may help and to closely monitor you for any side-effects such as increase suicide thoughts in the first few months of treatments.  It is important to give the drug a fair trial since it takes at least 4 to 6 weeks to see any significant improvements in your symptoms and may take as long as 8 to 12 weeks to see full benefits. Continue to take your medication, even after symptoms have improved, to prevent relapse. Do not stop taking your anti-depressants abruptly due to serotonin-syndrome which may be fatal if not treated promptly. Also, important to note, do not combine over-the-counter herbal supplements such as St. Johns’ wort or Sam-e without first discussing this with your health care provider due to serious potential drug-supplement interaction.

Exercise- Aerobic exercise raises your endorphin levels and stimulate nor-epinephrine related to mood. Exercise is your natural antidepressant.

Vitamin D- Spend more time outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. Some of the receptors in the brain are receptors for vitamin D. For this reason, deficiency in vitamin D has been linked with depression and other mental health problems. It may be very beneficial to ask your health care provider to check your vitamin D (25-OH level) at least twice a year and start supplementing with physiological or even high dose vitamin D. Make sure you’re purchasing a high-quality vitamin D supplement for better absorption and efficacy.

Reduce your stress. Your body produces a hormone called cortisol when under stress and this can lead to depression in the long run.

Improve your sleep hygiene- Sleep strongly correlates with your mood. In fact, one study discovers that 80% of people who suffer with major depressive disorder also suffer from inadequate sleep.

Stop the sugar craving addiction.  Many brain essential nutrients affect depression and sugar is a big culprit.

Invest in a journal and write down what is no longer serving you. Depression makes you think more negatively. Learn to change your negative thoughts. You can do it!

Show gratitude and write down 3 blessings you receive every day. You can not be grateful and depressed at the same time, just not possible.

Get involve in self-care. Take a warm long bath. Read an inspiring book. Hug someone. Give more compliments. Make someone’s day with the gift of a smile.

Talk to a friend, a loved one, a faith leader or call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-237-8255 for support or immediate help.

Remember, this too shall pass. A better day is coming. You’re not alone. We’re here for you to pray with you and to listen to you.

About the Author:

Dr. Christina Wachuku is the Founder/ Owner at MediFixx Health, LLC. She’s a Board-Certified Ambulatory Care Clinical Specialist, and places strong emphasis on Medication Therapy Management services as the ultimate preventive healthcare practice


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