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Treating Depression without Medication

Medications are often the first line of defense in treating depression. We should certainly seek medical help if we are facing major depressive symptoms and follow our doctor’s advice. If, however, our symptoms are mild, we may be able to implement non-pharmacological techniques ease our symptoms.

Physical activity and exercise is one of the most effective ways to naturally lift our mood. According to a 2013 Harvard Health Letter citing Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, low-intensity exercise over a long period of time can help fight depression: “That kind of activity spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better. ‘In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression,’ explains Dr. Miller.”

Nutrition can also be a major factor influencing depression. Lacking in certain essential vitamins and nutrients can cause or exacerbate feelings of depression. According to the Mental Health Foundation, “The body of evidence linking diet and mental health is growing at a rapid pace. As well as its impact on short and long-term mental health, the evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.” Eating a diet that gives us adequate amounts of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, complex carbohydrates, essential fats, and water can cause us to feel a more balanced mood throughout the day.

Developing health routines can also be an effective way to relieve symptoms of depression. Just by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, we will be less at risk of feeling depression and lethargy. According to PsychCentral, “Sleeping is when our body recovers. Our immune system repairs itself, our brains rest and grow, and we store energy for the next day. Yet we are constantly overworking ourselves, putting ourselves in stressful situations, and not getting enough sleep. We often overeat when we are tired and grumpy, which makes for a much harder life.”

Your life can become one of health and happiness in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers gender-specific programs that include individual and group therapy as well as a host of additional treatment modalities to prepare clients for a life that is rich and full without the chains of addiction to hold them back. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431