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Feeling Down Since Giving Birth? Take This Quiz

Take our helpful quiz to find out if you may have Postpartum Depression, and what you can do to start working your way through it now.

This quiz is based in part on the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Score (EPDS). This quiz evaluates your risk of having postpartum depression symptoms. 

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Adapted from Cox, J.L., Holden, J.M. and Sagovsky, R. (1987). “Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.” British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 782-786.

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Am I Depressed? Quiz

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7 Ways to Start Dealing With Depression Now

Depression is a serious psychological disorder which may impact negatively on an individual’s quality of life and relationships with others. There are, however, a lot of ways of dealing with depression and moving on again in life.

What is Depression?

Depression is a psychological disorder that comes with significant morbidity and mortality. It remains a major cause of suicide, substance abuse, and impaired quality of life. Depression is not the same as the occasional mood fluctuations and transient gloominess everyone has in response to challenges of everyday life. People living with depression experience a long-lasting depressed mood, loss of energy, reduced ability to think or concentrate, reduced interest in activities they once enjoyed, and sleep disturbance. Approximately 80% of adults with depression reported some difficulty with home, work, and social activities as a result of their symptoms.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) classifies depressive disorders into major depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and depressive disorder due to a medical condition. However, the hallmarks of all these classes of depression are the presence of irritable mood, difficulty thinking, poor concentration and attention span, difficulty carrying out daily tasks, and a reduced quality of life.

Stats about Depression

Depression is a common issue globally, with more than 300 million people affected worldwide. During 2013-2016, about 8.1% of American adults aged 20 years and more had depression in a given 2-week period and women were found to be twice (10.4%) as likely as men (5.5%) to have had it. From 2007-2008 to 2015-2016, the prevalence of depression among American adults did not change significantly. It was also revealed that the prevalence of depression was lower among non-Hispanic Asian adults than in Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black adults.

7 Tips to Start Dealing with Depression Now

Dealing with depression requires a lot of commitment and action and this may seem exhausting for a depressed person. It’s not just medications that help treat depression, lifestyle changes, and dietary modifications can also contribute to the improvement of your symptoms and a better quality of life. The following practical tips may restore your mood and quality of life:

1. Practice Self Compassion

Depression could take a huge toll on your emotions and mental health. However, the journey to recovery begins by showing yourself some compassion. Developing love and kindness for yourself will, in time, make you feel less moody and irritable and more alive. Self-compassion involves being warm to yourself when you do not achieve the small goals you set for yourself. Instead of being overly critical of yourself in perceived inadequacies or failures, you can talk about your strengths, feel good about them, and accept your weaknesses.

Another way of showing self-compassion is forgiving yourself. Many people develop depression as a result of life events, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, broken relationships, which they perceive were caused by them. In these situations, the first great step to recovery is letting go of that hurt and guilt and forgiving yourself. Not forgiving oneself keeps the guilt in, which will form a focal point of the negative thoughts and emotions, and the depressive symptoms may linger despite treatment.

In addition, you have to do things that energize you in order to overcome depressive symptoms. Depression, on its own, leaves you with no interest or drive to do what you once loved. However, to develop those interests again, you need to push yourself into doing them: engage in a sport, pick up a new hobby, learn a new music, or take a trip to the ballpark or museum. Even if your symptoms do not improve immediately, you will feel slightly better and that feeling would improve as long as you are persistent.

2. Keep a Depression Journal

Journaling your experiences with depression helps to make your thoughts and emotions clearer to you. When your thoughts, fears, and insecurities swirl around, it helps to take control and manage these emotions if you pen them down. Journaling empowers you to take steps that will eliminate those worries and make you feel better.

Also, writing how you feel or what events happen during the day helps you to notice patterns: You can easily identify a potential stressor or trigger when you keep track of your emotions by writing them down. For instance, you may identify that your symptoms become worse during a certain time of the day or when you engage in a certain activity in a day. This helps you to identify the stressor so you can avoid them in the future.

Journaling also gives you insight into how your symptoms are improving over time. If you flip through the pages to look back at older entries, you may notice how better or worse your symptoms have gone over time. You can make your journal private or share it with your therapist. Whichever you do, it helps to keep your worries in the surface so you could take practical steps to resolve them.

3. Challenge Negative Thinking

Depression often comes with the feeling of worthlessness, the feeling of being powerless or weak. These result from negative thinking patterns stemming from past experiences or perceived failures. It is important to know that these feelings and negative attitudes are not realistic and are distortions caused by the disorder. Life is made of the good and the bad experiences, mistakes and successes, however, in depression, the mistakes and failures are exaggerated and the success or strengths of the individual are downplayed or forgotten, draining them of the energy to do or achieve something.

Challenging these negative thinking patterns is a major step in recovering from depression. Some of these patterns include thinking that one shortcoming means one is a total failure, generalizing a single negative event and expecting it to hold true to other aspects of one’s life, and making negative conclusions about a situation without having any evidence. These patterns of thinking foster depression and must be replaced by positive and more rational thought patterns. For example, instead of thinking that a stranger dislikes you without even having a conversation with you, ask yourself if there’s any way a stranger will not like you if they don’t know you and tell yourself that if a stranger does not like you without knowing you, it is no fault of yours.

4. Set up a Routine

Depression robs one of a stable life and one sure way of combatting it is by creating a stable pattern of living, even if you don’t feel like it. In setting up a routine, the following tips may help:

  • Establish the same sleep and wake-up times every day. This ensures you get the right amount of sleep, creating time for other activities during the day. Getting good sleep also helps to improve your mood and brain functions.
  • Set up meal times each day. This prevents excessive eating or poor eating which may be associated with depression.
  • Set time for social activities every daytime to visit a friend, time to go to the cinema, time to read a book, time to hit the gym etc.

Having a stable pattern gradually keeps your mind focused on the day’s activities rather than engaging the depressive thoughts and feelings.

5. Practice Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is an important factor that helps your brain and mind restore itself and feel rejuvenated. Experts recommend that you get 7 -8 hours of sleep every day to keep your mind functioning properly. Having less or way over that may leave you feeling fatigued, tired, worn out, and not well rested. These may exacerbate the depressive symptoms. Sleep hygiene practices include:

  • Limit your daytime nap to 30 minutes
  • Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule
  • Ensure the sleep environment is comfortable – comfortable mattress and pillows, turn off the lights or adjust them at bedtime so you could fall asleep easily, and keep the temperature cool.
  • Avoid stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine close to bedtime
  • Avoid heavy, fatty, spicy, or fried foods at bedtime, as these foods could cause an uncomfortable heartburn which disrupts sleep.
  • Ensure adequate exposure to natural light during the day.

6. Get Some Exercise

Exercise elevates your mood and keeps not just your body but your mind rejuvenated. Research has shown that exercise may be as effective in improving the symptoms of depression as medications. To get the most benefit, you should engage in regular exercises for at least 30 minutes every day. If you are new to exercises, you can start with mild ones for short durations, then gradually increase the intensity and duration.

Starting and sticking to an exercise routine may seem daunting at first, but regular exercise has been found to improve energy levels and mood. You can get the most benefits from rhythmic exercises such as walking, swimming, dancing, martial arts, and cycling in which your arms and legs are in constant motion.

Dealing with Depression

7. Reach Out to Friends and Loved Ones

It helps to reach out and stay connected to other people when you have depression. Depression creates a tendency to isolate yourself and withdraw from other people, but this, in itself, may worsen your symptoms and allow the negative emotions and thoughts to fester.

You may feel exhausted or pessimistic about social activities, but engaging in them keeps you alive and connected to the world. Participating in positive social activities can help improve your mood and change your attitude about life.

In addition, staying connected to people helps you access the needed emotional support which will help reduce your symptoms. Talking to someone about your feelings help you feel better about them, and having someone listen to you will make you feel loved and cared for. In addition to receiving emotional support, staying connected to people provides you with avenues to support others. Providing care and sharing love to others have been found to give an even bigger boost to your mood and emotional wellbeing.

What are the Traditional Treatments for Depression?

There are a number of conventional methods for treating depression including medications and psychotherapy. However, a combination of both antidepressant medications and psychotherapy is effective in relieving the depressive symptoms. Treatment with only one of those methods is usually not as effective.

Therapy for Depression

Therapy for persons with depression is centered on helping the individual deal better with their symptoms by promoting new thinking, emotional, and behavioral patterns. Examples of therapy for depression include interpersonal psychotherapy, emotion-focused therapy, problem-solving therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy. Nowadays, there are even online options to work with.

Medications for Depression

Medicines used for treating depression are called antidepressants and are of many classes. Some of these drugs include Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Fluoxetine, Sertraline, and Citalopram and tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine and Nortriptyline. Your physician will prescribe these drugs, usually starting at the lowest tolerable dosage and adjust it as required.

What are Alternative Methods of Dealing with Depression?

There are other methods of treating depression. These measures may complement conventional methods or may be as applied if the individual does not respond to these methods.

ECT for Depression

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is highly effective for the treatment of depression. It is usually indicated for individuals who do not respond to medications, those who have become suicidal, or if a fast reduction of symptoms is required.

ECT has an onset of action that is more rapid than drug therapies, with improvement in symptoms seen within a few days of commencing therapy. However, ECT is associated with a number of risks including post-treatment confusion, short-term memory loss, and problems caused by the anesthesia.

Ketamine for Depression

Ketamine is a drug used for anesthesia to numb pain sensation during a surgical procedure, however, when misused for recreational purposes, it may cause severe effects such as hallucinations, mood distortions, and losing touch with reality.

New studies, however, has suggested that ketamine may be effective in the treatment of severe depression, especially in individuals who do not respond to other forms of treatment or those who are suicidal. Ketamine may be administered via intravenous routes or through inhalation. Ketamine acts quickly with improvement in symptoms observed within a short time after use.

CBD Oil for Depression

Cannabinoid (CBD) is a naturally occurring chemical substance found in the hemp plant, cannabis. It is one of the most common naturally-occurring compounds in hemp. CBD oil has been found to be effective in the treatment of depression by potentiating the effects of chemical substances in the body which help regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. CBD oil is considered safe for use with minimal risk of side effects and, contrary to popular belief, CBD is not addictive and does not cause the user to get high.

Bottom Line: Dealing with Depression

Depression is a disorder that takes a huge toll on a person’s quality of life and interpersonal relationships. However, it is possible to overcome the symptoms and lead a happier and healthier life. It may be difficult but persistence and commitment in practicing healthy lifestyle habits and professional care will see those symptoms lose their grip on you over time.

Resources

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/coping-with-depression.htm

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/hannah-sentenac/mental-health-news_b_5678778.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201110/eight-ways-actively-fight-depression

http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db303.htm

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/writing-your-way-out-of-depression

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2017/02/successful-coping-with-depression-requires-routine

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-hygiene

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286759-treatment#d8

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/what-does-ketamine-do-your-brain#1

 

 

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Keep Your Job When You’re Struggling with Severe Depression

 

If you suffer from clinical depression when you’re on the job, you know how tough it can be to keep things together on the outside when you feel like you’re falling apart on the inside.

Feeling depressed can also contribute to negative feelings about work, leading to excessive complaining, lack of cooperation, morale problems and absenteeism. Left unchecked, this can threaten your job and livelihood, making you more depressed and promoting a vicious downward spiral.

Fortunately, there are solutions or effective ways to deal with depression. Many people suffer from the same struggle you’re experiencing, with 1 in 20 workers experiencing depression, affecting at least 10 million people, often between the ages of 25 and 44, according to ValueOptions. The good news is that 80 percent of people struggling at work with depression can be treated quickly and effectively — but only if you recognize the problem and take appropriate steps. Here are a few strategies you can use to manage severe depression so that you stay productive and don’t lose your job.

Visit an EAP Counselor

Employers know that your mood can affect your productivity, so many companies have an employee assistance program (EAP) in place where you can schedule a visit with an EAP counselor. You can proactively seek EAP counseling by consulting information from your employee handbook or talking to your supervisor or human resources department. Your supervisor may also reach out to you and suggest an EAP counseling appointment if they notice changes in your mood or behavior that make them concerned, although your supervisor can’t diagnose whether you’re clinically depressed.

Schedule a Meeting with a Teletherapist

What if you’re too busy to visit a counselor? One alternative is to schedule an online therapy session at a time that’s convenient for you. Teletherapy allows you to talk to a counselor from a location of your choosing at a time that fits your schedule, which is a viable option for those who simply do not have time or means to make it to a therapist’s physical office. ThriveTalk is a teletherapy service that connects busy people with competent, certified therapists who can provide online therapy via video conference.

Take Mental Health Breaks

Taking a break can be a way to help manage depression, says U.S. News & World Report patient advice reporter Lisa Esposito. Depending on your condition, simply getting up from your desk periodically to walk to the bathroom may be sufficient, or if you have a major depressive disorder, you may need to take some recuperative time off to avoid a breakdown, get your bearings back or pursue therapy.

Check your employer’s policy to see how much sick time you may be entitled to. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, certain workers are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, with a requirement that their group health benefits be maintained during their absence. See the Department of Labor’s website for more details.

Know Your Triggers

Knowing what triggers your depression can help you avoid and respond to situations that are likely to stress you out or that indicate you’re struggling with depression. For instance, you may find yourself engaging in negative self-talk when you’re in a depressed mood. Or you may find yourself spending time crying in the bathroom as a coping mechanism. Keeping track of your triggers can help you stay alert so you can avoid trigger situations or seek help when you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Seek a professional to help you on how to deal with depression at work.

Get Appropriate Treatment

Sometimes you can’t deal with depression on your own, especially if you have a major depressive disorder. In some cases, therapy alone may be enough to help you. In other cases, you may need medication. Don’t be afraid of trying therapy or medication due to stigmas associated with it. If it helps you restore your peace of mind and keep your job, it’s worth it.

Use these proactive strategies to keep your mood manageable so that you can stay productive while battling depression. Visit ThriveTalk.com or call (619) 630 7045 to get the help you need today.

If you feel that depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
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The 9 Types of Depression

 

Most people feel sad and alone from time to time; it is part of the human condition. Humans feel thingsand we often react to life’s stressors by feeling sad or withdrawn. But depression is different. Depression is a debilitating mental illness affecting more than 16.1 million American adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. There are nine types of depression, but all are marked by extreme sadness and persistent feelings of hopelessness, guilt, exhaustion and/or irritability. People who are depressed lose interest in life and in their daily activities, often wondering if “any of this is worth it.”

Women are almost twice as likely to experience depression, according to a recent report by the Mayo Clinic. It’s not 100 percent sure why depression affects more women than men — it’s likely due to a combination of factors, such as a stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression, hormonal changes, and various sociocultural explanations. 

If you’re feeling like you may be suffering from depression, you are not alone. Help is available. Learn about the various types of depression, and then reach out for help.

The Nine Types of Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

When someone experiences persistent and deep feelings of sadness for at least two weeks, then they may have a major depressive disorder (also referred to as “clinical depression”). Common symptoms of this type of depression include a change in appetite (overeating/undereating), change in sleep schedule (insomnia/excessive sleep), excessive crying, inability to concentrate, and of course, intense feelings of sadness.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Also known as “dysthymia,” persistent depressive disorder is a type of chronic depression that can be difficult to diagnose. Dysthymia symptoms are not as severe as with major depressive disorder. If you have a pervasive, low-level depression that lasts for two years or longer, you may have a persistent depressive disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

People with the seasonal affective disorder experience the classic signs of depression at the same time every year. Most people with SAD feel symptoms come on in the fall and continue through the winter months. Symptoms include fatigue, sadness and social isolation. Light therapy (also known as phototherapy treatment) can help alleviate this type of depression.

Bipolar Disorder

This used to be more commonly referred to as “manic-depressive illness.” Someone suffering from bipolar disorder experiences unusual and large shifts in mood and energy levels. They cycle through manic and depressive periods; in a manic episode, they may have lots of energy, experience racing thoughts and engage in risky behaviors such as having reckless sex. In a depressive episode, they will experience the classic symptoms of depression, including feeling sad and hopeless and having little energy for daily activities.

Psychotic Depression

Also known as “major depressive disorder with psychotic features,” this is a form of major depressive disorder accompanied by psychotic symptoms. Someone with psychotic depression experiences the same feelings of sadness and hopelessness found in major depression as well as delusions and hallucinations.

Postpartum Depression

This isn’t the “baby blues” (mood swings, crying spells) that many women have in the two weeks after giving birth postpartum depression is a more severe, long-lasting form of depression. In addition to experiencing the symptoms of major depression, women with postpartum depression may have trouble bonding with their baby or doubt their ability to care for it. They may also think about harming themselves or their baby.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. All the common PMS symptoms may be present along with extreme sadness, irritability or anger. The symptoms of PMDD almost always resolve with the onset of menstruation.

Situational Depression

This is a short-term form of depression that comes about following a traumatic event — loss of a loved one, job loss, divorce, etc. Also referred to as “adjustment disorder,” someone suffering from situational depression will feel sad, afraid or hopeless. As you adjust to your new normal, situational depression usually goes away.

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression can occur in people with major depression or persistent depression. It’s a subtype of these types of depression marked by several specific symptoms, including increased appetite/weight gain, fatigue, moods that temporarily lift in reaction to good news, extremely sensitivity to rejection and headaches.

Please Reach Out

If you feel you may be suffering from one of the above types of depression, take heart. You don’t have to suffer alone, and recovery is possible. Start by scheduling a time to chat with a professional counselor at ThriveTalk.

If you feel that depression is negatively impacting your life, please reach out for help today. Contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to help get you connected with the right support services in your area by calling 1-800-950-6264. If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether you are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.
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5 Ways That You Can Fight Depression

 

According to the World Health Organisation, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. If you’re one of those people, you shouldn’t feel any shame.  You should get the help you need and take action to start feeling better.  Here are 5 methods for fighting depression that might help!

Ways to Fight Depression

Talk To A Therapist

First of all, talk to a licensed mental health professional.  You may feel nervous about seeing a therapist for the first time.  You may not be sure where to find one.  It is now easier than ever to find and see a therapist, with the help of sites like Thrivetalk.com.  A lot of us may feel uncertain if therapy can help, but guess what? That self-doubt is your depression talking. The way that you feel isn’t something that you can battle alone.  Self-medication, like alcohol, drugs, or overworking, won’t help.

Like a broken arm, depression is a health condition that you must get treated.  You deserve the help you need to live a happier, more fulfilled life.  If you had arthritis or were suffering from chronic headaches, you’d talk to your doctor. Your depression is no different. You deserve to feel better.  In some cases, your doctor might recommend anti-depressant medications.  The most common drugs prescribed for depression are SSRIs: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.  Medication may help, but with your depression, but be aware that you might feel worse before you feel better again. Even with medication, it is essential that you undertake a comprehensive treatment plan for depression that includes therapy. Go to a therapist – talking to someone can really help you figure out what to do with the way that you’re feeling and work out how to express it in non-destructive ways.

Start Exercising

Exercise is something that can really help people with depression. There might be days when you’re full of energy and other days when you simply can’t get off the couch, and you should listen to your body to some extent. But the vast majority of the time, putting on your running shoes and going for a jog around the block will make you feel better. Not only will it release endorphins, otherwise known as happy hormones, that will flood through your body, but it will also make you feel as though you’ve accomplished something. Yoga has been proven to help in overcoming depression, so check out online videos or go along to local classes where you might even meet like-minded people that you can socialize with. Feeling better in your body will help you feel better in your mind too.

Find A New Hobby

Everyone has different ways of tackling their mental illness. However, one thing that strikes many people with depression is that they tend to get mired in their thoughts.  This can be like quicksand for your mind and keep you from taking action on anything. That means that it could be time to develop a new hobby. That might be getting really, really immersed in a new TV show, learning to knit or sew, making your own costumes so that you can cosplay at conventions, making your own elderflower wine, painting watercolor landscapes, or baking incredible cakes. The list goes on, but the point is that diverting your attention to something else, something that’s productive and keeps your mind busy, will absolutely help you when you’re starting to feel low.

Recognize Your Self Destructive Thoughts

When you have depression, your mind will be incredibly sneaky and start telling you things that simply aren’t true.  Some typical narratives include: you aren’t attractive, that you shouldn’t be alive, that you’re useless, that you’re bad at your job, or that your friends don’t like you. It’s important to recognize these thoughts for what they are, which is your sneaky depression telling you lies and making you feel bad about yourself. It can be difficult to break away from your self-destructive thoughts, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t make any decisions based on them.  It’s typically not a great idea to quit a job where you generally do just fine or missing out on seeing friends who love and care about you. Use concrete examples like messages from friends or results you’ve seen at work or the fact your parents love you to combat your self-destructive thoughts and remind yourself that you are worthwhile, loved, and worthy of happiness.

Practice Self Care

Finally, when you’re suffering from depression it’s important to remember that you must take care of yourself. However, that doesn’t mean giving in to every whim, canceling plans, and eating comfort food. Caring for yourself starts with the basics, like getting out of bed, showering, wearing clean clothes, and getting some fresh air. Contact your friends, exercise, and eat fresh food instead of ordering pizza. Remember that you don’t have to cook much to be healthy.  Carrot sticks and hummus are a great and easy snack.  Simple lunches like egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread and a banana are both easy and healthy.  No matter what you like to eat, ensure you get enough protein, vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates. Listen to your body – get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, keep yourself clean, and exercise frequently.

Conclusion

Depression can negatively impact your life, but you should ensure that it doesn’t take your life away from you. Listening to yourself and taking care of yourself are some of the most important things you can do.  Getting help from a licensed mental health professional is the best way to combat chronic depression.

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5 Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies That Cause Depression

 

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body and mind to function correctly, but many people have low levels of these crucial nutrients in the body. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause a wide range of physical problems, but they can also affect mental health and may even be the cause of depression, anxiety disorders and low mood in some people. Here are five vitamin and mineral deficiencies that could be causing your distress.

Vitamin D

Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression and some chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune disease. Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium, but many people are not getting enough. Modern lifestyles are thought to be at least partly responsible for low levels of vitamin D, which is produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. Working long hours in offices with artificial lighting, sedentary lifestyles, and even excessive use of sunscreen are all thought to contribute to vitamin D deficiency. Supplements may be the only solution for people, as it’s difficult to obtain vitamin D from food.

B Vitamins

Low levels of B vitamins are known to cause depression, irritability, and fatigue. In particular, vitamins B6, B12, and folate are one of the nutritional deficiencies that can cause anxiety and depression and have been linked to a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Increasing intake of foods containing these essential nutrients can bring significant improvements for some people. Vitamin B6 is found in chicken, leafy green vegetables, bananas and some kinds of seafood, while people usually can get their B12 from animal products such as poultry, meat, and dairy products. Liver, citrus fruits, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, and yeast extract contain folate. Vegetarians, vegans, and people on restrictive diets may need to take a vitamin B complex supplement.

Iron

Iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms similar to those of depression, including mental and physical fatigue, low mood and irritability. In fact, there have been studies regarding the relationship between iron deficiency and depression in which iron deficiency is more common in women than in men. Up to half of all pregnant women thought to have low levels of iron. Liver, red meat, poultry, and fish are the best sources of iron. However, pregnant women should avoid liver, as it contains high amounts of vitamin A, which can be harmful to unborn children. Vegetarian sources of iron include beans, pulses, and fortified cereals.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral with potent antioxidant properties. It is essential for mental health, a healthy metabolism and healthy thyroid function. Insufficient levels of selenium might contribute to depression, persistent low mood, and negative thoughts. Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, but it also is in walnuts, chicken, beef, fish, and whole grains. Supplements are available, but they can interact with some prescription medications, including birth control pills, corticosteroids, and medicines used to reduce cholesterol levels, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking selenium supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is often known as the relaxation mineral, as it has a powerful impact on mood and the nervous system. It is necessary for the proper functioning of almost every process in the body. However, up to half of all adults are thought to be deficient in this essential mineral, the shortage of which can lead to depression, anxiety, migraine, high blood pressure and several chronic health conditions. Spinach, dark chocolate, oily fish, bananas, and almonds are all rich in magnesium. Supplements are safe for most people, but high doses (above 500 mg) can interact with some medications.

Avoiding Depression

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, sometimes associated with depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, also can lead to many chronic health conditions. Vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, selenium, and magnesium are all needed for mental health. While most people can get enough of these nutrients through diet or supplements, serious deficiencies may require medical treatment.