Advice on Supporting Family Members with Depression

Is someone you love living with depression?

If so, it can be hard to know how to support them. Should you hold space and listen or offer suggestions? Should you tell them that you’re feeling concerned, or instead try to cheer them up?

If these questions sound familiar, hang in there! It’s common for family members and loved ones to feel helpless in the face of the effects of depression – but you aren’t alone.

In this article, we’ll offer some expert advice on caring for your loved one and yourself. Keep reading for all the information!

Get Educated

Did you know that Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people between 15 and 44? Yet, it’s a disease that most of us know surprisingly little about.

If someone you love has been diagnosed with depression, learning about their disorder can help you better understand how to help. These resources are a good starting point:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Family Support Group: A peer-led support resource for family members and loved ones of anyone suffering from mental illness
  • Families for Depression Awareness: Education, training, and support to bring families together and help them heal while coping with mood disorders

Learning more about your friend or family member’s depression does not make you an expert. Try to choose listening over lecturing. Remember to check in and find out how that person feels so you can properly support them.

In the future, you might also consider joint counseling sessions or other learning opportunities that you can engage in together. 

Listen and Ask Questions

The most powerful thing you can do to help someone who is depressed is to listen. People feel heard and understood when you listen. Take a few minutes to put down whatever you’re doing, suspend your judgments and suggestions, make good eye contact, and listen. It might help you in understanding depression.

You might be surprised by what you learn!

But, helping your loved one might not be so simple. If the conversation isn’t shedding much light on how they’re doing, any signs and symptoms aren’t being expressed, or they’re struggling to open up, try asking a few questions. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • When did you first start to feel depressed?
  • Can you think of something specific that might have triggered it?
  • Are you experiencing a lot of stress?
  • Are there triggers or situations that make you feel worse?
  • Are there moments when you feel better or cheered up?
  • Do you ever have suicidal thoughts?
  • Do you ever think about self-harm or suicide?

Remember, talk to the person, but it’s also important to be gentle while discussing these deeply personal and emotional situations. The last thing you want is for someone you care about to feel judged or interrogated.

Search for Solutions Together

One of the biggest parts of supporting family members with depression is problem-solving as a team. After all, you know them far better than any doctor, therapist, or mental health professional ever will.

Start by identifying some potential sources of stress in their life. Chronic feelings of anxiety can cause a decline in physical and mental health. They can also interrupt healthy coping strategies, making the person vulnerable to mood swings.

While the changes shouldn’t be dramatic, making some small tweaks to your loved one’s daily life could help take the edge off. Try subtle additions like a few calming breathing techniques or a meditation app for their phone at first.

It would help if you also encouraged them to get the help that they need. This could come in various forms, including support groups, therapy or counseling, and even FDA-approved & FDA-cleared medical techniques to treat depression

Remember, it’s ultimately their decision. Don’t be mean or bossy – you’ll just run the risk of pushing that person away. And, they’ll likely find comfort in knowing that you’re around to support them, no matter what they choose. 

The Power of Positivity

Sometimes, the best thing you can do to help a person living with depression is to let a little sunshine in. Laughter is healing and helpful to someone who spends most of their time feeling down or exhausted, and even if just for a moment, it can help replace feelings of sadness, anxiety, and panic.

It may also be helpful to reframe the conversation and look toward the future. No matter how hard today is, it won’t always feel this way. Things will eventually get better.

If your loved one has already tried medication and didn’t get the results they were hoping for, they might also want to hear positive affirmation that their condition could eventually improve. Today, more options exist than ever before for treating depression – and plenty of them aren’t pills.

With you standing by as their support, now could be the right time to try something different, like TMS therapy. This innovative technique may heal specific areas of the brain that are impaired by cellular dysfunction. The result is a significant improvement in mood, function, energy, focus, and overall well-being.

Coping With Depression

Now that you know a bit more about how to help your family and friends cope with their depression, you’re ready to engage them in a more meaningful way. 

Hold onto this article as a guide that you can refer back to if the going gets tough. Remember, it’s normal to feel frustrated or exhausted sometimes, so don’t be too hard on yourself.  

If your friend or family member is ready to take the next step in treating their symptoms, we’re here to help. We offer free consultations at our San Diego clinic, which you can schedule today.

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What We Can Learn From San Diego Depression Statistics

California’s a place known for its gorgeous beaches, sunny weather, and breezy attitudes. But that’s just how it looks from the outside.

Research has shown that there’s a darker reality for those who live in our West Coast state. Forty-four percent of Californians say they experience high levels of anxiety and depression.

But that’s taking a look at the statistics through a wider lens. What about San Diego?

As it turns out, San Diego depression statistics aren’t much better. Here’s what you need to know.

San Diego Depression Statistics: The Current Situation

Our city already has had a mental health crisis on its hands. For reference, 429 people committed suicide in 2019.

Those figures came in before the outbreak of COVID-19. Since then, mental health has gotten worse for many of us. This isn’t just a San Diego problem, either: worldwide, people have suffered from depression more than ever because of changes and closures caused by the pandemic.

That’s one way that experts have explained the rising suicide rates in San Diego. Gun-related suicides increased three-fold during the pandemic, so it’s easy to see a cause-and-effect relationship. People who felt lonely, isolated, or hopeless during lockdown could have felt like there was no escape.

A Look at the Statistics in the Past — and Across Demographics

This isn’t to say that mental health is a new issue in San Diego, though. Records from 2015 indicate that five percent of the city’s residents dealt with such issues in that year.

And it’s not an equal spread across all demographic groups, either. Low-income San Diegans tend to experience mental health issues more frequently than those with higher paychecks.

In San Diego, mental health and homelessness go hand in hand, too. Nearly 5,000 people in the city are homeless, and almost half of them have some sort of mental health diagnosis.

The San Diego veteran population accounts for some of the mental health diagnoses, as well. This group is more likely to suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

As our city’s number of elderly residents increases, then there will be more people with mental health needs within our borders, as well. These types of diagnoses are quite prevalent in older adults.

And then, there’s the teenage population to look at, too. As of 2016, more than 40 percent of students reported feeling overwhelmed by their day-to-day lives. They also have the stressors of their social lives — both in real life and online — with which to contend. So, that may be why more of today’s adolescent youth have depression and anxiety than before.

What These Mean and How to Move Forward

San Diego depression statistics may seem bleak. But there’s a light at the tunnel — and, if you’re feeling depressed, you aren’t alone.
At Solara Mental Health, we have an in-residence program for people who are dealing with depression. We’re here to help — call us today to learn more.

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What You Can Learn From Winston Churchill and His Black Dog

Winston Churchill is known for many things, but one thing that many don’t know about him is that he may have suffered from mental illness, which he often referred to as his “black dog”. Churchill was known for his determined nature, but he was also known to have bouts of unruliness in which he would often overindulge in alcohol and act erratically. 

Churchill’s “black dog” may have been the cause. To learn more about this side of Churchill, keep reading. 

Churchill’s “Black Dog”

For decades of his life, Churchill seems to have had some anxieties and fears that followed him, such as standing too close to balconies or train platforms. While this may have been a fear, it may have also been because Churchill did not always trust himself to act rationally when given a way to end his own life. Churchill may have suffered from manic depression, as he would often become paralyzed by despair. 

During these bouts, he was known to spend much time in bed with little energy, no interests, no appetite, and difficulty concentrating. This caused him to be minimally functional when it came to his duties and responsibilities. These periods of despair could last a few months, and after them, he would come out of it appear to be acting like his normal self again. 

In a letter to his wife from 1911, Churchill wrote that he may be in need of some kind of professional help for treating his “black dog”. When he was well, Churchill actually had tons of energy and was known to stay up late into the night reading and studying. When he was in a good place, he was known to come up with tons of new ideas. 

This manic behavior is typical of those that deal with manic depression and bipolar disorder. Additionally, these mood swings were likely heightened due to the amount of alcohol Churchill was indulging in. 

Churchill’s Treatment

With all the responsibility Churchill had to Britain, having depressive bouts was difficult and dangerous. Churchill sought treatment from a physician named Lord Moran, who prescribed medications to help him manage his depressive episodes. While Churchill’s exact diagnosis cannot be clear today, it is believed by many scholars and mental health professionals that Churchill suffered from either manic depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. 

Those that have these conditions and are not medicated often have a difficult time maintaining relationships and keeping employment which can lead to a chaotic, unproductive, and challenging life. Knowing when it’s time to seek help for a perceived mental illness, whether for yourself or for someone you love, can help to manage these disorders to decrease suffering and improve the quality of one’s life. 

What We Can Learn

Winston Churchill’s “black dog” was managed because he came to terms with the fact that he needed help and sought it out. Asking for the help you need can be difficult, but it can have great life-changing benefits. 

Are you ready to get the treatment you need? If so, contact us today to get started.

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Depression and Memory Loss: The Relationship Explained

Depression is one of the most crippling and pervasive diseases of modern life. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 250 million people worldwide experience depression. That figure is growing.

Scientists are discovering more about the mind every day and the cognitive problems associated with depression, but one of the most strongly linked features of depression is memory loss.

This article will explore the link between depression and memory loss and what symptoms you might experience.

We will examine the latest research into the relationship between mental health and memory to help answer the question: can depression cause memory loss?

The Impact of Depression on the Body

Most people think of depression as a disorder of the mind. But depression impacts the body too. Depression (and stress) is linked to the central nervous system, the digestive system, and the cardiovascular system.

When it comes to memory, there are two main areas where depression can impact your brain function.

The first is the direct impact that depression has on your cognitive health and cognitive skills. The second is indirect memory problems due to sleeplessness and insomnia, a common side effect of depression.

It’s important to understand that when you experience depression, it can profoundly affect your overall health. Tackling depression early on is essential; A long period of depression is more likely to impact your long-term wellbeing.

Types of Memory Loss

Some sufferers of mental health issues like depression have reported problems with their memory. They have experienced memory loss during and after depression.

Symptoms of Memory Loss

If you think that persistent depressive episodes have led to a decline in your memory aptitude, you should look out for some distinct characteristics.

Types of memory problems and symptoms of memory loss include:

  • Difficulty recalling the finer details of a recent event
  • Trouble locating objects in the home, such as your keys
  • Finding it difficult to learn new facts, such as remembering information you’ve read in a book or the news
  • A general feeling that you are more forgetful or disorganized lately
  • Forgetting something that is usually part of your daily routine, such as a phone call or taking medicine
  • You’ll find it easier to recall adverse events than positive ones

If you tick more than one symptom, it’s time to seek professional help. A mental health expert can diagnose potential memory loss.

Diagnosing Memory Loss

It is important to know some context behind your memory issues.

When it comes to diagnosing memory issues, here are some questions to ask:

  • How long have you noticed memory problems?
  • Have you recently experienced episodes of sadness, depression, or anxiety?
  • Have you had trouble sleeping lately?
  • Are you finding it a challenge to complete obligations at work or school
  • Do you find yourself missing important appointments or lacking basic organizational skills in your day-to-day routine?

If you answer yes to two or more of these, it is worth seeking medical advice. If your symptoms interfere with your life to the extent that you can’t carry out your everyday responsibilities, this is even more pressing.

Pay particular attention to these symptoms if you are over 60.

It is common for older people to assume any memory issues are mild signs of possible dementia, so it is crucial to determine if these symptoms could be pointing to undiagnosed depression instead.

The Latest Research Into Depression and Memory Loss

Research has proved that when you are suffering from depression, it can affect your brain’s ability to function and recall information.

In 2013 Brigham Young University discovered that people scoring highly for depressive symptoms also performed poorly in cognitive memory tests.

Research has also uncovered a long-term impact on memory from past episodes of depression.

In 2019, scientists working as part of the National Child Development Study found participants who experienced depression in their 20s had more memory problems 30 years later than participants who had no history of depression.

In 2007, scientists on behalf of the American Psychological Association found that depression interferes with our ability to recall happy events.

Those suffering from high levels of depression found it easier to recall negative events, suggesting a type of filter on memory that can make the experience of depression even worse for the sufferer.

The Link With Dementia

Another study by the Archives of General Psychiatry found a link between depression and dementia in later life. These findings suggest that memory problems from depression may have a longer-term impact on an individual.

The study found that those diagnosed with depression in middle age had an 80% higher chance of dementia.

Preventing Depression and Memory Loss

If you are concerned you may have experienced memory loss from depression, it is vital to seek professional help as soon as you notice any symptoms.

Do not wait for the problem to get worse before taking action.  Your first step is to book an appointment with a mental health specialist.

If you do not have a history of depression, you may be able to complete an assessment to form an initial diagnosis.

If you already have a diagnosis for depression and are on a treatment plan, let your practitioner know that you have concerns over your memory function. They may run some tests to assess your memory and cognitive skills.

This diagnosis is important because memory problems may be caused by an unrelated issue such as head trauma, so it is essential to give your doctor a chance to rule these out.

You may want to keep a diary of your sleep routine too. Sleep problems and insomnia are common with depression and may play a role in forgetfulness, so track your sleep and show your doctors your sleeping schedule.

Practical Steps to Take

In addition to medical support, you can also take practical steps to help support your memory function. Create a routine for your day and add that routine to a calendar with reminders.

Creating a functional storage area at home for essential belongings can also help support your routine and make it easier to remember essentials when leaving the house.

Taking the Next Step

The link between depression and memory loss may seem frightening and worrying. Thankfully, there is better support for depression now than there ever before.

It is important to check on your cognitive abilities and don’t brush off any problems with memory, as they could be pointing to a broader problem with depression — and potentially dementia later in life.

Always seek out help and support from a mental health professional as early as possible. Take a look at some of our successful results and get in contact to arrange your first appointment with one of our mental health professionals.

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Natural Supplements For Depression

Everybody Gets the Blues

Are you feeling blue? Are you down in the dumps, lacking energy, or sleeping all the time? Or, perhaps your motivation to accomplish your previously-longed-for dreams has suddenly vanished. Maybe your concentration is gone, or you don’t feel like eating. Or, maybe you suddenly want to eat all the time? Is self-worth an issue recently? Are you having thoughts of death or suicide, even passively?

All of these (slightly scary) symptoms are signs of depression. Having one, some, or all of these types of symptoms happens to everyone at one time or another. However, when it seems that “blue” is the only color you can use to describe how you are feeling, it’s time to do something more. When you feel depressed for two weeks or more, it is time to take action. 

The National Institute of Mental Health, in their 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, reports that approximately 17.3 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode. This number represents about 7.1 percent of all adults in the United States.

An occasional bout of the blues is not abnormal, but persistent depression is not something out of which you can talk yourself. Seeking the expertise of a healthcare professional is always the place for people with depression, or for people who have symptoms of depression, to begin. Getting a proper diagnosis can only occur by talking to a healthcare professional. Once correctly diagnosed, the course of treatment that you and your health care professional develop together may require a long-term approach, but it is entirely up to you what this approach will entail. Part of your treatment plan may include psychotherapy, along with FDA-approved prescription medications for treating your depression. Another avenue that you and your health care professional may discuss is the use of natural remedies for the treatment of depression. 

The Downside of Prescription Antidepressants

Common medications prescribed for people with depression are known as antidepressants. The Food and Drug Administration states that most prescription antidepressants fall into one of the following classifications: SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants), and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors).  

Prescribed antidepressants affect varying neurotransmitters in the brain in a few different ways, and many people who suffer from mild to moderate depression find antidepressants to be beneficial. However, many people do not want to be prescribed antidepressants.

There is a long list of possible side effects that come along with antidepressants; however, that can sometimes encourage people to choose a different route of treatment.  

Here are some of those:  

  • Feeling nauseous, dizzy, tired all the time
  • Having dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • A loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Experiencing nervousness
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Weight gain
  • A change in sexual function or sexual desire
  • Sleep disturbances 

 There are also more severe risks, such as developing high blood pressure, suicidal thinking, or the possibility of congenital disabilities in women who are pregnant. Another reason people may not want to be on a prescribed antidepressant is that there are, indeed, less drastic options. Or, their depression may not be severe enough to warrant the use of prescription antidepressants. For these candidates, there are other approaches. One alternative might be to try natural supplements for depression. There are many supplements available for use as a means to help depression.

San Diego Natural Depression Treatment

Enter: Natural Remedies

People with depression who might be interested in trying natural remedies have several choices. There are several dietary supplements available that may alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. 

Most nutritional supplements work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help your mind and body function. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin. Dietary supplements include herbs, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. 

St. John’s Wort 

The most commonly used supplement for depression is St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort, also known as Hypericum perforatum, is a plant. When used as a dietary supplement, it acts in a way similar to reuptake inhibitors, affecting neurotransmitters in the brain.  

Omega-3 fatty acids 

If you ask any dietician or psychiatrist, they’ll likely tell you that Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the essential vitamins for cognitive function. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help with depression. This fatty acid is found in fish oil and marine algae believed to be a brain-boosting over-the-counter dietary supplement that helps the serotonin in your brain work better. Serotonin helps regulate mood, social behavior, aid in appetite and digestion, and also helps with your sleep, your memory, and your sexual function.  

Ginkgo Biloba 

Ginkgo biloba helps reduce symptoms of depression by improving protect neurotransmitters. Another dietary supplement, chamomile, has tranquility-enhancing properties that help people with depression.

San Diego Depression Treatment

Having depression can be debilitating. Talking with your health care professional should be your first step in developing a plan to combat depression. Together with your doctor, you may develop a treatment plan that includes supplements as remedies for depression. Their medicinal qualities can help alleviate stress, enhance the effects of neurotransmitters, and work to decrease the symptoms of depression.

Talk to your doctor to see which supplement for depression is going to be your best option. You should not stop taking any current medications without talking to your health care professional. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements for depression. Many dietary supplements may interact with other medications that you are taking, and many cause unwanted reactions or side effects.

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What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)? How Well Does it Work to Treat Depression and Anxiety?

speaking with mental health professional about treatment

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Depression and anxiety have a new treatment option, and it is becoming more widely used all across the United States. What is transcranial magnetic stimulation, otherwise known as TMS?

How well does TMS work?
Does it sound too “science fiction-ey”?

More than 16 million adults in the United States experienced a major depressive episode between 2017 and 2018, and with medical science advancing as rapidly as it is, it’s no wonder that new technologies and therapies are beginning to take the stage as options to conventional mental health treatment plans.

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

TMS is a magnetic stimulation technique intended to target nerves in your brain that affect your mental health. More specifically, the magnetic field, delivered through a special device you wear on or over your head, stimulates the brain cells known to affect mood. The levels of magnetic energy used are in low amounts, at an individual’s unique brain frequency.

Most TMS sessions take 20 to 60 minutes, and don’t require any time to recover afterward. About four to six weeks into treatment (daily, five days a week) is when most patients start noticing significant results, and after that initial treatment, patients only need to go on an “as needed” basis. Regardless of the fact that it’s not meant to be a permanent cure, patients who undergo TMS therapy feel much better overall for several months up to a full year afterward.

Many lifelong depression and anxiety patients who have undergone TMS treatments for at least a month to six weeks will tell you that they begin seeing positive results immediately after each treatment.

TMS was approved in 2008 to treat depression and in 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved TMS therapy to treat some migraine conditions. In the fall of 2018 the FDA went on to approve TMS to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and studies are currently underway to see if it can be a viable treatment for other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some aspects of TMS appear to simulate what some medications do, e.g., the release of dopamine that happens after a TMS session is similar (but not exactly the same) to what a medication can do.

But TMS can restore functionality, and that’s the important thing. Patients who undergo TMS treatment report “feeling normal” again, compared to patients on psychotropic medications who feel “different” than they do normally, because of some of the medication’s side effects.

What’s so Great About TMS?

TMS is part of a newer generation of developing technologies informed by neuroscience and easier to use than current technologies. It could very well be a look at the future of mental health care: it’s non-invasive, immediately effective after the first month to six weeks of treatment for long periods of time, and it’s especially effective for those with more severe depression and anxiety.

After the brief treatment, patients can get back to being engaged with their lives immediately, with a more positive outlook, and all the energy they need to do all the things they normally do. Further research shows that even just a few minutes of TMS daily can make a significant improvement in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

TMS side effects are few and they are mild. Common side effects include minor headaches, lightheadedness, and some scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. Some facial muscle spasms, and tingling or twitching of these muscles has also been reported during treatment sessions

What’s the Difference Between TMS and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

TMS has shown itself to be a viable alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for patients who are resistant to conventional mental illness treatments.

There are some key differences between TMS and ECT treatments:

  • ECT requires anesthesia and typically a hospital stay while TMS does not.
  • ECT brings with it the risk of memory loss and cognitive confusion. Patients undergoing TMS have not manifested these side effects.
  • ECT is designed to create a brief seizure in the patient as a part of the treatment session. TMS does not utilize seizures as a way to treat patients.

TMS Accessibility?

If you’ve tried several types of antidepressants or other standard depression treatment, and have not received relief from your symptoms, you may want to discuss TMS with your mental health care professional. Ask him or her about the benefits and risks, and if TMS could be a good addition to your treatment.

TMS currently has one downside: the cost. It costs up to $10,000 to 15,000 for the initial four-to-six-week treatment. Though TMS has been approved by the FDA to treat depression and anxiety after trying one antidepressant medication that proved unsuccessful at controlling depressive/anxiety symptoms, many insurance companies won’t cover the treatment until after a patient has tried at least four different antidepressants. Double check with your insurance company to see if your coverage will cover TMS treatments if you are considering. It is still less expensive than ECT.

As always, maintain your sleep, exercise, nutrition, and stress management techniques as you normally would, even if you do undergo TMS treatment, as it will not be effective if you are not taking care of yourself.

Have you heard about TMS? Post a comment below. . .We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Are you struggling with mental health issues? Mental health is very manageable. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

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The Best Reasons to Let Jasmine Plants and Their Essential Oils Help with Your Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks

jasmine flowers can help you with your depression, anxiety, and overall mental health

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Scientists have concluded that the scent of jasmine has such therapeutic benefits that it could possibly end up being used as a medication alternative for depression, stress, anxiety, sleep, and other disorders. 

Is jasmine (or any other plant) really capable of helping boost your mood and relieve anxiety?

It’s common knowledge that one benefit of having plants indoors is that they help improve air quality by circulating oxygen freely. Less well known is the fact that, as simple as it seems, there are several plants that can actually alleviate several mental illness symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.

Your brain needs a sufficient supply of oxygen to function properly. Scientific research has already shown direct relationships between stress and tainted oxygen levels. When toxins exist in the indoor air spike, so do levels of stress/anxiety, which can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness, otherwise known as depression.

Has anyone ever told you that when you start feeling stressed, or feel a panic attack coming on, to take a break and walk around the block for a few minutes to “clear your head”? By the way, it really does work!

It should come as a “no-brainer,” then, that one of your first lines of defense against stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression is to keep the air clean in your environment.

And if you’ve never smelled jasmine, know that the scent rising off of the petals is delightfully sweet and inviting. No wonder that jasmine’s scent is found in more than 83 percent of all women’s fragrances and in about one-third of all men’s.

JASMINE FOR ANXIETY, PANIC ATTACKS AND DEPRESSION

Jasmine oil is derived from the white/yellow jasmine flower (often listed as Jasminum officinale), and therefore sports a pleasant, flowery scent. It has been used for centuries in Asia as a natural remedy for depression, anxiety, emotional distress, low libido, and insomnia. The word Jasmine has evolved from the Persian yasmin, meaning “a gift from God” due to the patently strong aroma created by the jasmine flower.

Researchers have shown that jasmine essential oil and plant aromas can sedate lab mice quite quickly. When exposed to the fragrance of jasmine, normally active mice will cease all movement and activity and “just chill” in a corner of their cages.

Jasmine’s scent directly impacts a brain/central nervous system chemical known as GABA, which results in the calming of the nerves, a soothing of anxiety/mild depression, and the facilitating of rest. This GABA effect was bolstered by more than five times when exposed to jasmine fragrance, to be more precise, overshadowing the same effect caused by other scents. Jasmine was also shown to be more effective than anti-anxiety meds and sleeping pills in promoting quality sleep. One study indicated that the disbursement of jasmine fragrance into a roomful of sleeping test subjects noticeably led to less tossing and turning and heightened sleep efficiency, even without additional sleep time.

Scientists went on to say that this demonstrated link between jasmine aroma and relaxed mood may be among the strongest arguments in support of the viability of aromatherapy as a mental health treatment method.

JASMINE ESSENTIAL OIL FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Scientific studies show some other benefits of indulging in the scent of jasmine:

  • Almost instantaneous soothing of nervous tension; alleviates spasms
  • Promotes feelings of contentment and happiness
  • Boosts cognitive performance, concentration, and alertness, even in the late afternoon hours when most people are beginning to slow down and “fade out” for the day
  • Balance of mood swings, blood pressure, PMS symptoms, hormones, menopause/hot flashes, and libido
  • Defuses aggression
  • Boosts vigor/vitality
  • Can lower blood pressure
  • Long-term treatment for insomnia
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Combats bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Alleviates coughing
  • Skin care; including reduction of visibility of scarring/scar tissue

How do you use jasmine oil?

What are the best ways to apply and enjoy the benefits of jasmine oil/plants? Here are a few:

  • You can inhale the jasmine fragrance through your nose or apply it directly to the skin. Even just a few drops will have a noticeable effect before long. How soothing is it? Some research has referred to the jasmine scent as being “as good as valium at calming the nerves without the side effects.”
  • Don’t worry about combining it with a carrier oil. Use it undiluted for the best results.
  • You can, however combine it with other essential oils, as well as with lotions, coconut oil, and for a variety of other household/personal uses. Try it as a massage oil or in candles/soaps.
  • Combine with other essential oils (e.g., citrus oil, vanilla, lavender, rose, sandalwood, frankincense, and others).
  • Apply a few drops to a washcloth (with or without lavender oil) and toss in the dryer with your clothes. Voila! Your own homemade dryer sheets that will soften your clothes, make them smell great, and boost your mood!

Keep in mind that while jasmine plants/oils can help alleviate depressive/anxiety-driven symptoms, they are no substitute for proper therapy with someone properly trained and licensed to help you with any serious cases of mental disorder. Consult with a mental health professional.

WHAT DO YOU USE FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ALLEVIATION?? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!

Are you struggling with depression and/or anxiety? Both are treatable, and their treatment usually leads to an improved sense of overall wellness and better sleep. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

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Water, Depression, and Anxiety

Can drinking water help my depression and anxiety

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Can drinking plenty of water help alleviate depression and anxiety?

Several approaches can be taken to help manage mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Common approaches to managing mental health include: counseling, medications, removing stressors from your life, exercising consistently, getting enough sleep, proper diet, meditation, yoga, etc. The list goes on.

There is one simple remedy that’s been right in front of you all along, that you may not have picked up on yet: Helping your depression and/or anxiety by staying adequately hydrated throughout the day.

Every system in the human body counts on water to function, and the brain is no exception. In fact, about 75 percent of brain tissue is water. Research has linked dehydration to depression and anxiety, because mental health is driven primarily by your brain’s activity. Long story short, dehydration causes brain functioning to slow down and not function properly. It is important to think of water as a nutrient your brain needs.

How dehydration contributes to depression

Depression is a complex mental illness that has many moving parts in the inter-functionalities between your brain and body. Though it would be overly simplistic to say that dehydration is a direct cause for all types of depression, dehydration and depression are causally connected in many ways; in fact, one resulting symptom of chronic dehydration actually turns out to be depression.

Dehydration causes depression in at least three ways:

Dehydration Saps Your Brain’s Energy. Dehydration impedes energy production in your brain. Many of your brain’s functions require this type of energy become inefficient and can even shut down. The resulting mood disorders that result from this type of dysfunction can be categorized with depression.

Social stresses such as anxiety, fear, insecurity, ongoing emotional problems, etc., including depression can be tied to not consuming enough water to the point that your brain’s tissue is affected.

Dehydration impedes your brain’s serotonin production. Depression is frequently related to subpar levels of serotonin, which is a critical neurotransmitter that heavily affects your mood. Serotonin is created from the amino acid tryptophan, but sufficient water is needed.

Dehydration can also negatively impact other amino acids, resulting in feelings of dejection, inadequacy, anxiety, and irritability.

Dehydration increases stress in your body. Stress is one of the most prominent contributing factors to depression, along with a sense of powerlessness and inability to cope with stressors.

Dehydration is the number one cause of stress in your body. In fact, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle: dehydration can cause stress, and stress can cause dehydration. When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands produce extra cortisol, the stress hormone, and under chronic stress, your adrenal glands can become exhausted, and resulting in lower electrolyte levels.

Drinking sufficient water can help reduce the negative psychological and physiological impacts of stress.

Dehydration and anxiety

As with depression, dehydration rarely causes anxiety as a cause by itself, but not drinking adequate water puts you at risk for increased anxiety symptoms now, and possibly the development of higher anxiety levels in the future. In short, dehydration causes stress, and when your body is stressed, you experience depression and anxiety as a result. Therefore, you want to ensure you are properly hydrated daily, especially if you are naturally anxiety-prone.

Water has been shown to have natural calming properties, likely as a result of addressing dehydration’s effects on the body and brain. Drinking enough water is an important step in managing your anxiety. Even if you’re not experiencing anxiety, drinking sufficient water can create feelings of relaxation.

Dehydration and panic attacks

Panic attacks are common results of high anxiety caused by dehydration. Panic attacks typically have physical triggers, and one of those triggers is dehydration. When dehydration occurs, if you’re prone to panic attacks, you can easily begin to panic, even to the point of feeling like you’re dying.

When dehydrated, you expose yourself to many of the symptoms that trigger panic attacks, such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Muscle fatigue and weakness
  • Feeling faint/lightheaded

While keeping yourself hydrated may not stop the panic attacks, they may become less frequent, or at least some of the triggers may be diminished.

How can you tell if you’re dehydrated?

Some dehydration signals are pretty obvious, but not all. Signs of dehydration you may or may not have been aware of include:

  • Increased hunger. Hunger and thirst signals come from the same part of the brain, so it’s no surprise that they might be confused. Hunger, even when you know you’ve eaten enough, probably means you need to drink some water, not eat more.
  • Dryness. Dehydration is reflected in common signs of dryness, including dry, itchy skin, dry mouth, chapped lips, etc.
  • Headache. Lack of water facilitates a shortage of oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in a headache.
  • Fatigue and weak/cramped muscles. Muscle weakness, spasms, cramping, etc., are common signs of dehydration.
  • Bad breath. Bad breath usually means you need some water to refresh yourself. Dehydration induces dry mouth, which means you’re not producing enough saliva to help your mouth fight off odorous bacteria.
  • Rapid heartbeat, rapid/shallow breathing, fever, cloudy thinking. These can be signals of severe dehydration, and you may need to seek medical attention.

How much water should you be drinking every day?

Your ideal daily water intake depends on your gender, stress levels, weight, climate, exercise levels, whether or not you’re sick, etc. But a rule of thumb is 11.5 cups (92 oz.) of water per day for women, and 15.5 cups (124 oz.) for men. If you have a hard time stomaching plain water, try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Avoid beverages as much as possible that contain sodium, as sodium dehydrates you: soda/diet soda, energy drinks, etc.

You should ramp up your fluid intake accordingly if one or more of the following apply to your situation:

  • Engaging in long, intense workout sessions
  • Illnesses with fever, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Hot or humid climate
  • Pregnant/breastfeeding mothers
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Dieting

You can verify how hydrated you are based on the color of your urine. If you’re adequately hydrated, your urine will be a very clear/pale yellow color. If you’re dehydrated, your urine will be a dark yellow or tan color.  If it’s a dark yellow color and of a thick/syrupy consistency, that means you’re very dehydrated. Drink some water!

Conclusion

Keeping yourself adequately hydrated is not a cure-all for depression or anxiety. You will definitely want to seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

But getting in the habit of drinking enough water daily will definitely help alleviate many of the causes and symptoms of mood volatility. Think of it as a viable part of the foundation of your long-term mental health management plan.

Are you struggling with depression and/or anxiety? Both are treatable, and their treatment usually leads to an improved sense of overall wellness and better sleep. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

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Journaling to Help Depression and Anxiety

Journaling can help depression and anxiety

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can journaling help depression and anxiety? You may have heard others talk about or counsel you to just take up a daily journaling habit to help you organize your thoughts, express gratitude in order to appease depressed feelings, or even just to give you a sense of accomplishment each day.

But you’re skeptical. How can something as simple as writing down your thoughts help you work through mental health issues. We’re going to walk through how it works, why it works, and why you should be journaling to help you “sort things out.” You’ll even get some of what is referred to as “depression journaling/writing prompts,” to help you get started.

What is depression/anxiety journaling?

A conservative estimate of 350 million people throughout the world deal with mental illness, or about 5 percent of the entire world’s population.

In contrast, in the United States, that percentage is significantly higher. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in five people in the U.S. struggles with depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, or some other mental affliction, though experts could say with the utmost confidence that the actual number is probably higher, due to underreporting.

How do many people who struggle with mental illness cope? Many of them employ journaling! If you’re not familiar with the practice, you might be wondering “Exactly what is depression journaling?” Depression is a daily (or it can be be-weekly, or even weekly) practice of getting your thoughts, ruminations, feelings down on paper. It can involve gripes, it can involve gratitude. It can be completely random, or more structured and systematic–whatever works best for you.

How journaling helps depression and anxiety

How does depression/anxiety journaling work? Not only can it help calm depressive and anxiety-driven symptoms, it can also help reduce stress, manage anxiety, help you routinely organize, prioritize, sift through exactly what’s bothering you, and it can bring new perspective, insights, and clarity you hadn’t considered.

Let’s take a closer look at how journaling helps.

Take the wheel
Sometimes brooding over things can feel overwhelming, and without any kind of outlet. Writing it all down can bring order to a seeming loss of control, and can make it seem more manageable.

It can make your concerns feel less daunting, and can make you feel more grounded and in control.  Talk about taking more proactive control of your mental health management.

It can help you feel better almost instantly, especially as you form a consistent habit of doing it, and can help you recognize when you’re down in the dumps enough that you need to talk to someone about it rather than keep it bottled in.

Enhanced awareness

 Have you ever thought that perhaps you feel like a stranger to yourself?

Journaling during depression and/or anxiety in real time as it comes to mind pulls your feelings and thoughts out into the light where they can be reviewed and considered. You may even surprise yourself with what surfaces, like realizing that something is making you apprehensive that you never noticed until writing it down.

Something else: Your journal may be very cathartic if you keep it private and to yourself, and it can also be something that you share with your counselor, to help you keep your inner musings documented and organized.  This can help improve the effectiveness of your therapy as your counselor helps you sort out what’s most important in terms of your goals, and helps you progress forward.

Finding patterns

Consistently writing about your conscious thinking and what you notice about what’s going on with you internally can help you keep track of recurring symptoms, and can help you identify those things that trigger your anxiety and depression.

Maybe symptoms spike at a certain time of day, or when you’re stressed at work, or when a certain topic of conversation comes up in your significant relationship. Knowing and recognizing your triggers is at least half the battle when it comes to avoiding them as you move forward.

As you journal, you may also more readily be able to recognize your own personal progress, and can help you gain insights into how you’re perceiving things differently (hopefully for the better!)  Reviewing past entries is almost like having an outsider’s perspective into your own world view. Are you feeling better? Worse? More or less the same?

Journaling can help you recognize when and where you might need more help and perspective, and can also help you find reassurance in the progress you’re making on your own path.

A different perspective

Journaling to beat depression and/or anxiety is a solid way to feed yourself positive self-affirmation.

Writing about the things you’re grateful for (gratitude journaling) and about the things you like about yourself and that you and others see in yourself (affirmation journaling) is a consistently beneficial way to reinforce and enjoy all the positive in your life.

Keeping happy memories at the forefront of your mind by far overpowers all the negative thinking that all too often surfaces, and helps you recondition your mind to always be looking for the positive, rather than relish in the less savory.

Journaling prompts for depression and anxiety

How about some journaling prompts to get you started?

  1. When you look in the mirror, who do you see?
  2. If you could meet and speak to your 8-year-old self, what would you say? Write about mentoring a younger version of yourself.
  3. Summarize for yourself all the lessons you’ve learned about life. Share them with a younger version of yourself (see previous), and offer encouragement to yourself.
  4. What song lyrics, or movie quotes, or poems have served as a guiding light to you and why?
  5. What’s your favorite holiday, and why?
  6. Make 10 promises to yourself and write about them
  7. What is one time when you felt on top of the world? How did you feel about achieving a goal? Give that version of yourself a superhero name, and write all about it for future reference.
  8. What are some pressing questions that have been on your mind recently? Talk yourself through them to some sort of satisfactory answer.
  9. What’s the first thing you think about every morning upon awakening, and what’s the last thing that crosses your mind before you drift off to sleep?
  10. What is causing you pain and anxiety right now? Write about it and see if you can’t find a way to find some comfort and healing.

What prompts can you come up with? How would you like to know yourself better? Write about it!

Some final journaling tips

Journaling is never going to be perfect, and it’s going to take a while to get into the habit of doing it and to start recognizing the positive effects it’s having.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you adjust to this new way of looking at and documenting your innermost feelings and thoughts and how you process them.

  • Free write without judgment (less editing, more writing)
  • Be consistent (about 20 minutes every day, or at least once a week)
  • Keep your writing notes handy (on your nightstand, in your backpack, in your car, etc.)
  • Get in the habit of always looking for the positive

Does journaling sound like it might interest you? Give it a try! If you are struggling with mental illness or low self-esteem, start organizing your thoughts, however awkward it may feel at first. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

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Millennial Depression is Spiking, According to 2019 “International Journal of Epidemiology” Study

Depression and anxiety are on the rise among teens and millennials

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What percentage of millennials has a mental health issue? It may come as no surprise to anyone, but there is an upward trend in the incidence of reported mental-health related issues in the world today.

A February 2019 study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology shows that those from the millennial generation are more prone to depression and self-harming behaviors than they were a decade ago. This comes even in the wake of continuing reported declines in substance abuse rates and anti-social behavioral trends.

For as long as anyone can remember, teenagers and young adults have been considered to be self-centered, emotionally unstable, and irrational. Usually by those older than this age group. Adults have been known to gripe about how millennials are moody and unable to “leave their problems at the door,” and that it’s a problem for the workforce’s (and hence, society’s) stability in the future.

Depression levels among those born between the years 1990 and 2000 have risen up to almost 15 percent, and self-harm rates are up to 14 percent among this group. This is not only a problem for the individuals themselves, but also an increasing public health challenge.

What is causing this upswing? The reasons don’t seem readily clear. As some studies report on observable data, not all are designed to analyze the backstories behind the data. The next step is to figure out the “why” behind the increase.

Theories

The study indicates that obesity rates among this age group nearly doubled in the last 10 years (From less than 4 percent to more than 7 percent), and that that this increase in depression levels might be tied to the weight gain.

It’s also worth noting that 29 percent more of those born around the turn of the century thought they were overweight when compared to those born in the early 1990s.

The obesity concern, coupled with poor sleeping and eating habits, along with negative body image is being looked at as at least one of the source problems.

The interpretation of the data and the framing of it becomes more complicated, especially considering the decreases in youth substance abuse and anti-social behavior, which could understandably be considered to be good things. A better understanding regarding the nature of these dynamics could be very valuable in determining risk factors for mental illnesses, as well as developing effective ways to approach and deal with relevant core problems.

Despite all the good news regarding declining substance abuse and anti-social behavior rates, researchers are seeing that American youth are developing severe mental illnesses at an increasing rate.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that about three million teenagers (aged 12-18) showed at least one major depressive episode in 2015 alone, and that in excess of two million from the same group reported experiencing depression to a degree that interfered with their normal daily activities.

Possibly more unsettling is that these number are likely to continue on the upswing. According to a study published in Time magazine designed to track depression among young adults, the number of reported symptoms of low self-esteem and problems with concentration and sleep rose by 37 percent between 2015 and 2016.

Cases of anxiety have also spiked in the last few years.

  • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), reports anxiety disorders as the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting just over 18 percent of youth annually.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) indicates that over six million American teens have some sort of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety has passed depression as the most common reason college students seek mental health consultation. The number of undergraduate college students claiming “overwhelming” levels of anxiety due to school work and college life rose from 50 percent to 62 percent between 2011 and 2016. It would appear that more pressure than ever before is being placed on kids to not just succeed, but to outperform everyone else.

The “Why?”

Though no one seems to be exactly sure what cause to pinpoint as the source of this increase in the levels of millennial mental illness, most camps can agree that it is probably a combination of many different dynamics factors.

Consider that anxiety and depression have recognized biological causes, including many that are not just genetic. For example, researchers have shown that human stomach bacteria may be influencing the functions of regions in the brain, like the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala (both have been causally tied to anxiety and depression).

A significant number of experts agree that environmental and societal changes are having a heavier impact on teens and young adult mental health than genetics or digestive bacteria, however.

Researchers have also blamed technology and social media. Everyone is connected on the internet, and it’s difficult for the youth to not be constantly worried about their digital image and to compare themselves with peers.

Ultimately, we have yet to determine how to address the problem. The increasing demand for mental health help reveals an increasing lack of available public resources to help.

Are you anxious about your lack of sleep? Is your lack of sleep making your depression and/or anxiety worse? Depression and anxiety are both treatable, and their treatment usually leads to a better night’s sleep. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.