Frequently Asked Questions About The Most Effective Depression Treatments

Many people in my life have told me that I am one of the most suspicious individuals that they have ever met. The reason is that I do not believe everything I see and hear for the first time. When I go to a restaurant, for instance, and I would ask the waitress if their spoon and fork were clean. Of course, I would never expect them to say that they were not. Despite that, I would still bring out my dish soap and ask the waitress to give me a little bowl to wash the spoon and fork in. Unfortunately, there was a time that a restaurant took offense in that habit of mine, so I had no choice but to start bringing my own utensils wherever I went.

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In hindsight, I am not the most outgoing person. I always worried that someone would be out to do something awful to me. This is why I decided to take up computer science in college. Having this degree meant that I could make money without leaving the house. I just needed to find an employer that would not mind letting me set up a workstation in my bedroom, do my work from there, and – voila! – I was a happy person.

When I moved out of my parent’s home after college, I found a modern apartment with a hi-tech security system. What I loved about it was that I could program who could visit me. Of course, my parents and sisters were on that list, but that was pretty much. I’d let my friends in the building from time to time, but I could also feign like I wasn’t there without even turning them away.

Now, allow me to clarify that I enjoyed this setup before the pandemic. That was when I could go out whenever I wanted to, and I was not confined in my home 24/7 in fear of catching the coronavirus right outside my door. When the lockdown took place, I wished that I was not much of a loner and gave my friends full access to my apartment. That’s especially true since they all decided to isolate in one of the boys’ condo and have the best time of their lives despite the pandemic.

A Day In The Life

My days started and ended with me on the couch. In the beginning, I would go to my workstation and sleep in my bed, but after a month, I thought, “What’s the point? I had nowhere to go anyway.” My mother even set up a grocery delivery for me online to open my door a little once a week, and my essentials were already there. I only decided to do something about my lifeless life when I realized how much I let personal hygiene go.

I looked for online psychiatrists at once. I found a reliable one after 48 hours, and she said that I had the early symptoms of depression. More tests could be done, but it was the prognosis based on the things I said.

Since I had never met a person with depression before, I asked the psychiatrist a few things about it.

What are the most effective ways to treat depression research papers? 

According to research, these are the most effective ways to treat depression:

  • Medication: The primary thing that psychiatrists tell depressed patients to do is take antidepressants like SSRIs or SNRIs. These drugs are known to reduce the symptoms of depression and calm people down. However, you cannot stop taking it abruptly because you will most likely experience withdrawal signs.
  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy is another term used for psychotherapy. It involves meeting a therapist who will then encourage the patient to talk about their issues. The idea is that the former needs to teach the latter how to cope with or handle their mental disorder instead of solving their problems. 
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS): VNS is mostly used for people with treatment-resistant depression. It is an invasive treatment that requires a doctor to put a pacemaker-like device in the depressed person’s chest. Once it’s installed, it will send electric pulses through the vagus nerve towards the brain. 
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What is the most effective antidepressant? 

A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) is the most effective antidepressant, provided that it has the least number of side effects to worry about. Some of the most effective SSRIs include agomelatine, escitalopram, mirtazapine, paroxetine, and sertraline.

What are the three forms of treatment for depression? 

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: It follows the idea of changing the way people think changes the way they behave. 
  • Interpersonal Therapy: This treatment helps the person to face issues within themselves.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: The therapist digs deep in the individual’s memory to figure out what traumatizing events they may have experienced in the past that have caused their disorder.

What is the best all-natural antidepressant? 

St. John’s wort is the best all-natural antidepressant, even though it does not have an FDA approval yet. This herb has been reported to be a massive help in reducing people’s depression symptoms with few side effects. However, its effectiveness may be jeopardized if you consume it while taking blood thinners or cancer medication.

What vitamins help with depression? 

  • Vitamin B Complex: The body needs niacin, folate, and other B vitamins to improve neural connections and create more serotonin in the brain. 
  • Vitamin C: Aside from being ideal for increased blood production, the vitamin can boost your cognitive function and happiness level.
  • Omega-3: Healthy fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can ideally counter the symptoms of depression.

How can I increase serotonin levels naturally? 

  • Choose your foods well. Instead of eating depression-inducing processed foods (e.g., burgers, pizzas, cakes, ice creams, etc.), eat the ones that are rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and other vitamins. Such foods are supposed to protect the brain from factors that keep it from producing enough serotonin.
  • Start doing aerobic exercises. For instance, jog in the morning, walk to work or run when you come home. Swimming, biking, and hiking will also be ideal for your brain. The reason is that exercising releases tryptophan, which can be converted into serotonin.
  • Expose yourself to natural light for approximately 15 minutes every day. Studies suggest that being under the sun can naturally increase your serotonin level as vitamin D goes in the skin, synthesizing this chemical. In case there is no sun, you may want to invest in a light therapy box (assuming that you don’t have bipolar disorder).
  • Get a massage. According to a 2004 study, having your muscles kneaded for at least 20 minutes twice a week can significantly increase your dopamine and serotonin levels. You can achieve this result even if your partner or friend, or family member massages you.
  • Use your imagination to improve your mood. You may do something as simple as visualizing yourself doing something fun or recalling incredible memories with your loved ones. The more you do it, the more you may feel like smiling. At some point, you can feel genuinely happy.
  • Take supplements that can boost your serotonin levels. E.g., pure tryptophan, 5-HTP, vitamins B, C, and D, etc. That is especially true if you have no access to foods or activities that can induce serotonin production. 

What foods are high in serotonin? 

  • Eggs: Eggs contain tryptophan, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients like biotin, choline, and tyrosine. When they hit the bloodstream, they can turn into protective chemicals for the brain. For best results, try to eat even the egg yolks. 
  • Cheese: Cheese is another food that is rich in tryptophan. The more cheese you eat, the more amino acids can transform into serotonin.
  • Nuts: It is safe to say that eating at least a handful of nuts every day can significantly increase your serotonin level. The bonus is that you can eat any nuts and get the same result.
  • Pineapples: Pineapples are known to contain enough amount of tryptophan. However, it would be best if you only stuck with the fresh kind, not the pre-packaged ones.
  • Salmon: Salmon is an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids and tryptophan. Besides protecting your neurotransmitters, it supplies the key ingredient in making more serotonin.
  • Tofu: Given that tofu is mostly made out of soy; it is rich in tryptophan and calcium. This is an ideal food for vegans and vegetarians who cannot eat meat or dairy products.
  • Turkey: Turkey is lean meat that can give you a lot of tryptophan. A serving of turkey at Thanksgiving or any occasion is enough to increase your happiness.

What does a lack of serotonin cause? 

Without a sufficient amount of serotonin in your brain, various mental illnesses may develop. E.g., anxiety and depression – two conditions that are known to affect the mood negatively. It can also prevent you from sleeping peacefully at night and digesting food properly.

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What can I do instead of taking antidepressants? 

In case you cannot or do not want to take antidepressants, you can try any of the following:

  • Exercise: Exercising is an effective way to relieve depressive symptoms. That is especially true if you stick to aerobic exercises (e.g., walking, running, jogging, biking, hiking, swimming, etc.). Doing at least 30 minutes of any of these activities can make you feel happy afterward.
  • Talk Therapy: As the name suggests, people can try to get out of depression by talking to a therapist about their issues. It can take a few sessions before they feel a significant shift in their mood, but it has already been an effective treatment for many. The more you open up to the therapist, the faster you may be able to manage your mental illness. 
  • Self-Help: Provided that you have tried psychotherapy, but life does not give you enough time to meet your therapist regularly, you may download and follow self-help guides. However, if you have never done therapy before, you should try to meet a therapist soon. 

How can I improve my mental health without medication? 

  • Avoid using social media too much. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms have been invented to allow people to connect with everyone online. Staying in it to stalk others’ profiles and feel sad when you see their milestones is not mentally healthy.
  • Stop letting others live through you. Many people enter various careers to make their loved ones happy, but that should stop if the said careers no longer make you happy. Otherwise, you may go down the depression path, and no one else can help you but yourself.
  • Record your thoughts on a paper. Assuming you do not feel like talking to anyone about your worries or issues, a diary can be your best friend. Confide everything in it as you think of something so that the negative thoughts will not linger in your mind for too long.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to anyone. It is not an excellent habit to compare yourself to every person you meet and feel bad when you realize that they are better than you in more ways than one. All of us will eventually meet people with more achievements than others, but try not to do it if we cannot use that knowledge to improve ourselves.
  • Supplement your diet with vitamins. Let’s face it – getting all the essential nutrients through eating is impossible, no matter how balanced your meal is. Because of that, you need to take the vitamins that you lack in pill or capsule form.
  • Try not to isolate yourself all the time. The reason is that being in self-isolation for a prolonged period dampens your mood to the extent that depression comes naturally to you. In truth, you can talk to anyone for at least five minutes a day to say that you have interacted with someone.
  • Think of an achievable goal every day. Dreaming big is one thing, but realizing every dream you have can take a while, especially if it seems almost impossible. Thus, it would help if you came up with at least a single goal you can achieve daily.
  • Explore your spirituality. Doing so does not mean that you need to join a religious group to be spiritual. Many non-religious people achieve that nowadays by performing yoga and meditation techniques.
  • Get some me-time regularly. Although it has been mentioned above that you should not stay isolated for too long, prioritizing yourself is a must to collect your thoughts. Doing things as simple as getting a massage or reading a book can do you good.
  • Strive to find your happiness. It is okay if the first thing you try does not work. What matters is that you will not lose hope and find something else soon.

Can CBD oil help with depression? 

Yes, CBD oil can help with depression. According to various studies, it can lower people’s stress levels and has antidepressant properties. More recent research has even claimed that it works faster than regular antidepressants.

Despite this promising news, everyone should understand that these studies are not enough to guarantee that CBD oil should replace other treatments or medications for depression. Furthermore, although many CBD stores sell this oil these days, you should still ask your psychiatrist if you can use it before getting the product.

Does CBD damage the brain? 

No, CBD does not damage the brain. In truth, it does the opposite of that, as CBD can alter or cancel out the psychoactive effects of other drugs. That is especially true for people who take THC with CBD. While you may still get the desired results, you will most likely not feel high anymore.

How long does CBD oil take to help depression? 

It typically takes weeks for CBD oil to help reduce the symptoms of depression. Although there have been rare records of people overdosing and dealing with anything other than dizziness, it is still not recommended to take more than a few drops of CBD oil. Doing that will not speed up its effect anyway.

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What is the happy hormone?

A happy hormone refers to any hormone that is in charge of improving people’s moods. Some of the well-known happy hormones include:

  • Dopamine: Your brain releases dopamine when you achieve something, considering this neurotransmitter is connected to its reward system.
  • Endorphins: When your brain produces endorphins, they serve as a balm to your overly stressed mind.
  • Oxytocin: It increases when you bond with people through a simple kiss, touch, or hug.
  • Serotonin: The neurotransmitter can improve various aspects of a person’s life, such as digestion, memory, and appetite, to name a few.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with depression made me go against everything that I believed in my entire life. For example, while I used to keep my head low whenever I knew that I could cross paths with a neighbor, the psychiatrist advised me to please say hi to them from a distance to feel a sense of connection with others. I used to wait for my friends to call me, but now I would initiate the conversation. Everyone was surprised by this sudden change in my behavior, but they were happy to know that I was finally starting to act as every human being should.