Chronic Depression is a huge problem in the world and it can also be treated by a comprehensive philosophy like the 10 principles of personal longevity.

Many of the therapies in the article below are related to long term health and extended longevity.

Depression – A Holistic Approach-Signs, Symptoms and Treatment


The World Health Organization (WHO) statistics reveals that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide affecting about 120 million people globally.
The magnitude of this mental condition has led the WHO and World Organization of Family Doctors to call for ‘doable’ tasks to integrate mental health into primary care. The tasks for the practitioners are to listen, understand and empathize, provide thorough and competent diagnosis and management, follow-up and monitor patients, and provide holistic approach and tailor care to individual needs.Other tasks for family doctors also include accounting for social factors, being well trained in depression care and to offer a range of treatment options, appropriate and timely referral, support and reassurance, and being positive and encouraging.Drug treatment is the common approach to this mental condition. However, holistic management of depression with or without drug intervention can give you a long term solution for controlling depression.

Holistic management of depression works on the concept that mind and body communicate and interact with each other in complex holistic system of biochemical, hormonal as well as metabolic relationships. In short, holistic management of depression treats the mind, the body, and the spirit together in a ‘wholesome’ way.

Apart from psychotherapy, holistic management of depression involves changing or modifying some of our lifestyle choices to prevent recurrence of, if not cure for, depression.

Lifestyle choices can affect depression in a large way. The lifestyle component of holistic management of depression includes the following modalities.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Also known as ‘Meridian Tapping’ it works on the principle of applying pressure or finger taps to various pressure points on the upper body. EFT helps eliminate subconscious negative core beliefs, unresolved emotional trauma, self-destructive thoughts and other issues related to depression.

Meditation: Meditation, especially the breathing exercises, has a calming effect on the mind, it eases tension, and improves your capacity to concentrate. It frees the mind from negative thoughts thus making you happy and tranquil. If practiced regularly, the happy moments will stay longer and become part of your consciousness. Eventually you may come out of depression.

Diet and nutrition: Although there are no specific diets that can ease depression, researches have shown that dietary changes can bring about chemical and physiological changes in your brain. This may help improve your mood and mental outlook. Eat lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich food.

Eating foods high in anti-oxidants, such as apricots, blueberries, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, potato, tomato, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, spinach, nuts and seeds, and wheat germ to counter signs of depression.

Yoga and exercise: Several reports indicate that physical activity can reduce the symptoms in depressed patients. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that walking on a treadmill, following an interval training pattern for 30 minutes a day for 10 days showed significant reduction in depression scores in people aged above 40.

Similarly, other studies have suggested that yoga-based interventions could be an effective option for treating depression. They found plausible biological, psychological, and behavioral mechanisms by which yoga may impact depression.

Herbs and supplements: Many herbs are available that can be used for depression but only a few of them have been backed by scientific evidence. St. John’s wort has been scientifically proved to be effective against mild depression but this herb should not be used if you are on anti-depressants or if you have bipolar disorder. It causes severe side effects leading to serotonin syndrome. Herbs such as Ginseng and Ginkgo have been shown to work for elderly, but the evidence of their effectiveness is still inconclusive.

Supplements such as SAM-e and 5-HTP are backed by scientific evidence. SAM-E at a dose of 800-1600 mg daily can show improvements quickly but their high cost can be a hindrance. 5-HTP at a dose of 50-300 mg per day can improve mood in just a few weeks without causing side effects.

Apart from these, acupuncture, feng-shui, aromatherapy, relaxation therapy, color therapy, and self help books are alternate and holistic means of managing depression.

Although there are many choices, the essential first step is to ensure proper diet and exercise. Herbs, supplements, phototherapy and other alternatives can, thereafter, be utilized according to your needs.