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Depression

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Depression:
Every one of us feels down and unhappy at one point or another in our lives. Life is a mixed bag of happiness and sadness and it is never easy to remain happy and contempt every day of our lives. At times, we may feel so upset to a point of desperation but will recover with time and feel better. We may even forget that we were sad in the first place. However, to someone who is diagnosed with depression, this will not be the case. They will experience abnormally long periods of sadness and negative thoughts to such an extent that it will interfere with daily tasks, thoughts, and actions.

According to the PubMed Health Glossary, depression is defined as “a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being”. No triggering events or specific reasons are necessary for the triggering of depression. It is a very difficult condition that leaves people feeling helpless, demotivated and with a sharp decline in self-confidence leaving them susceptible to various other illnesses resulting from poor emotional health. They will experience difficulties with their employment, personal lives and managing their daily activities. In addition, they will experience trouble sleeping.

According to Harvard Health, depression is a complex condition resulting from a combination of events and causes. It is not as simple as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain. Faulty mood regulation by the brain, medications and medical conditions, stressful events, and even genetic vulnerabilities have a role in causing depression. Serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters that affect mood. Dopamine and serotonin are inhibitory neurotransmitters and especially low levels of serotonin have been associated with low moods and depression.

Depression has an effect on a few key areas of the brain such as the thalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala. The amygdala is associated with certain emotions such as anger, pleasure, sorrow, and fear. The thalamus links sensory information with pleasant and unpleasant feelings. The hippocampus is in charge of long-term memory functions and recollection.

Depression has some key symptoms and should not be taken lightly. Excessive sleeping or insomnia, continuous feelings of sorrow, worthlessness, helplessness, loss of interest in activities they usually enjoy, withdrawal from social groups, lack of attention, reduced memory and inability to take decisions are some of the main symptoms of depression. If these symptoms are seen in an elder, it is highly likely that the person is suffering from depression and special care should be provided.

Many plant extracts, roots and berries have been used since ancient times for their mood alleviating properties and to reduce symptoms of depression. Modern research has analyzed various plant components used in different ancient civilizations to treat low mood and has found out that Passiflora incarnata, Ignacia and Moschus powder has effects in increasing serotonin levels in the brain elevating the mood.
Randomized control trials have shown compared to other antidepressant drugs they do not have adverse effects of distrusting the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain causing side effects such as nausea, insomnolence, weight gain fatigue and other reactions.

Another promising plant component was a type of clubmosses known as lycopodium on clinical studies it has shown just over two weeks of use of this powder extract has substantially reduced excessive sleep, lack of interest, and improved the mood in subjects.

A study published on Biomed central based on double-blind randomized control study evaluating the homeopathic effect on the mood disorders showed that Anacardium, phosphoric acid compounds have significantly reduced depressive moods and helped to stabilize the inhibitory and excitatory imbalance of the neurotransmitters of the brain.

One of the most promising natural remedies with large numbers of research being done is on essential oils. This focuses on plant extract oils that help different diseases. Lavender extract has proven effects on mood stabilization and calming effects. Many research studies have shown inhalation of lavender oil has produced calming effects by elevating the mood and reducing stress and anxiety.


References
Adams KB, Moon H. Subthreshold depression: characteristics and risk factors among vulnerable elders. Aging & Mental Health. 2009;13(5):682–692. [PubMed]

Adler, U., Krüger, S., Teut, M., Lüdtke, R., Bartsch, I., Schützler, L., Melcher, F., Willich, S., Linde, K. and Witt, C. (2011). Homeopathy for Depression - DEP-HOM: study protocol for a randomized, partially double-blind, placebo controlled, four armed study. Trials, 12(1).
Sayorwan W, e. (2018). The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22612017 [Accessed 7 Aug. 2018].

Cole MG, McCusker J, Ciampi A, Belzile E. Risk factors for major depression in older medical inpatients: a prospective study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2008;16(2):175–178.[PubMed]
Ndnr.com. (2018). Treating Depression: Naturopathic Strategies for Successful Outcomes – Naturopathic Doctor News and Review. [online] Available at: http://ndnr.com/mindbody/treating-depression/ [Accessed 7 Aug. 2018].
McCabe MP, Davison T, Mellor D, George K. Barriers to care for depressed older people: perceptions of aged care among medical professionals. International Journal of Aging & Human Development. 2009;68(1):53–64.
Kim, M., Lim, H., Lee, H. and Kim, T. (2017). Role Identification of Passiflora Incarnata Linnaeus: A Mini Review. Journal of Menopausal Medicine, 23(3), p.156.

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