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Overcoming Sadness and Depression, Naturally

by David Dancu
(Page 1 of 4)  

It's often difficult to differentiate between sadness and depression. Each has certain qualities that frequently overlap; yet both can impact our lives dramatically. Sadness can range from a simple momentary unhappiness to a long-term grief or sorrow. Depression is defined as gloominess or dejection, either of which can be debilitating. With the realization or diagnosis of either sadness or depression, there is a tendency for physicians to quickly follow with a prescription for anti-depressant medications to mask and suppress negative feelings. I wouldn't say this is necessarily a good thing, as failing to address the true cause only prolongs rather than alleviates the problem.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to consider, such as mild exercise and more light. One can take a walk in the evening after dinner during the longer days of summer. In the winter months, better lighting in the house and walking around a mall or other large structure would help alleviate the lack of specific brain chemicals relating to depression. I will talk more about that later.

First we should define the typical symptoms of depression. This can assist in evaluating whether or not depression is even an issue. There are four key areas to consider: behavior, appearance, feelings and communication. With respect to behavior, we generally look for changes in "normal" behavior patterns. A person may show disinterest in their usual surroundings or neglect to perform regular chores. Signs that a change in usual patterns is occurring are when there seems to be a greater desire to be alone; the person is sleeping more than usual; or they become forgetful about special hobbies. A loss of appetite is also an important sign. This isn't to say that other factors would not be considered, but given the following additional symptoms, depression would be a primary diagnosis.

Appearance is something that is difficult to hide. As caretaker, you should pay attention to uncombed hair, dirty clothes, facial expressions, unusual quietness, skin tone or gestures. Concealing one’s feelings may be easier for some than others, but obvious feelings may be more apparent. Look for recent signs of grief from the loss of a loved one or pet or a sense of hopelessness with unusual anger and impatience. Also look for new or unusual reactions such as self-blame or ongoing criticism of friends and relatives.


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