Depression is more than just feeling low. It’s a deep sadness or emptiness you can’t shake off. You might feel hopeless, worthless, and restless. You might lose interest in things that you used to enjoy. Depression (also called major depressive disorder or MDD) often goes hand-in-hand with sleep problems, changes in appetite, and trouble concentrating.
Exercise works almost as well as antidepressants for some people. You’ll feel better physically, sleep better at night, and boost your mood.
No specific foods treat depression, but a healthy diet can be part of an overall treatment plan. Build your meals and snacks around plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some studies say omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 may play a role with brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels may be linked to depression. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel have omega-3s. So do flaxseed, nuts, soybeans, and dark green veggies. Seafood is a good B12 source, but vegetarians can get it in fortified cereals, dairy products, and supplements.
Anxiety often happens along with depression and too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious.
You may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s most common in the winter, when there’s less sunlight. You can treat SAD with light therapy, antidepressants, Vitamin D supplements, and talk therapy.
Painting, photography, music, knitting, or writing in a journal are all ways you can explore your feelings and express what’s on your mind.
When you spend time with people or causes you care about, you can regain a sense of purpose. Surround yourself with positive people.
Depression makes it hard to get good rest. Some people sleep too much. Others can’t fall asleep easily. Quality shut-eye makes your mind and body feel better.
They can slow your recovery from depression or stop it in its tracks. They can also make the condition worse and keep antidepressants from working well. If you have a problem with substance abuse, ask for help now.
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