Mens Health Month continues with our look into depression and suicide awareness
Depression isn’t just a bad mood, a rough patch, or the blues. It’s an emotional disturbance that can affect your whole body and in turn your overall health.
It is clear that depression proves there is a connection between the mind and body. Your brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Your sleep, appetite, and energy level are disturbed.
Research has even suggested that men with depression are more likely to develop heart disease (read more about heart disease in our post here).
Depression is More Common in Men
Experts previously believed that depression affected far more women than men. But that may just be men’s tendency to hide their feelings, whether happy or otherwise, or express those feelings in ways different than women’s.
Instead of showing sadness or crying, men can get angry or show aggression, they feel it’s not OK for them to say, ‘I’m depressed,’ so they cope in other ways, like drinking too much.
Men are also less likely to seek help for depression. Traditionally is it thought to be a weakness to show that you’re in emotional pain, and it can be difficult for a man to talk about his feelings. Recently men are being encouraged to talk about their feelings, with mental health campaigns being in the spotlight in many employer’s wellbeing agendas.
The results of depression can be tragic. Statistics show that women attempt suicide more often, but men are unfortunately more successful at completing it. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among all men; and for young men it’s even higher. Which is a frightening statistic!
Most men and women respond well to depression treatment with medication, therapy, or both. If you think you might be depressed, reach out to your doctor or someone close to you, and seek help.
Holistic Treatments for Depression
Some natural additions to your diet can help to ease anxiety and depression, such as:
- Zinc – a nutrient linked with mental functions such as learning and behaviour. Low levels of blood zinc are associated with depression.
- Saffron – this spice which is derived from the crocus flower has been shown to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – a healthy type of fat found in fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines. Research has found that people who have low levels of two brain chemicals found in fish oil supplements may be at an increased risk of depression.
- St. John’s wort – this has been linked with increasing the amount of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical in the brain that people with depression are often low in.
Many holistic practices can work wonders for treating depression, as one of the core parts of holistic treatment is relaxation. Other therapies that can help are:
- ‘Talking’ therapies, such as psychotherapy and counselling
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Art therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Of course, as with many health conditions, a healthy diet and lifestyle may also help. It could be as simple as taking a walk, doing some exercise or talking it out with a loved one.