Depression may affect each of us at some time in our lives. It could be the result of a trauma, a loss of a loved one or some other traumatic event which will send us into a depression and the classic depression symptoms of loss of interest and incapacity to enjoy life will be present. The good news is that most of us can overcome this acute depression and bounce back. But many people suffer from chronic depression for many years and have to be treated with depression meds which will cause some nasty side effects.
Let us have a look at some figures to see how common this condition is and how it can coexist with many other conditions thereby complicating the diagnosis. A study carried out by the University of Hong Kong on the mental health of drug users found that about 62% were suffering from depression symptoms. Depression is also a common condition among veterans returning from war. About 20% of returning war veterans from Iran and Afghanistan are suffering from either PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or major depression. The most shocking figure here is that over 50% of these servicemen and women who are suffering from these conditions have not sought treatment.
The main symptoms of depression are a definite lowering of energy levels which leads to lethargy and loss of interest in all the things one normally does. This can be combined with low esteem, anxiety and increased difficulty on making decision s and getting things done. Insomnia, headaches and suicidal thoughts can also be depression symptoms.
Anti depressant medicines are all based on the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and nobody knows exactly how they work! What we do know is that they can cause loss of libido and weight gain which can be a disastrous combination in a relationship and wipe out any positive effects of the drugs.We seem to be replacing one set of main symptoms of depression with another which will only increase our anxiety and pessimism.
Because of the side effects of anti depressants such as Prozac and Tofranil, many patients with depression symptoms are seeking alternative treatments such as a natural herbal one which contains herbal ingredients such as St. John’sWort and Passion Flower extract (often called Nature’s Prozac!) As there are no side effects and the overall mood improves , these natural medicines are becoming more and more popular.