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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How to ease your stress/depression?

Mostly, whenever we face a physical or mental problem, there is a pharmacological subscription suggested from the doctor. And in most cased, when the problem is related to mind or psychological, only anti-depressants are the first suggestion from the doctor. But we know that the antidepressant medication have many side effects. Moreover it is not the cure for the problem, only a temporary relief.

People are also looking for non-pharmacologic relief of illness, including depression. Unfortunately, the evidence to support the effectiveness of alternative therapies against the disease isn't strong.
Alternative or complementary therapies probably won't do much to ease really serious depression, but for mild depression or anxiety, some tips can be helpful.
For any form of mild depression, all of these things can help:

One study released about five years ago, found that exercise could be a major weapon against depression.
"Exercise, at least when performed in a group setting, seems to be at least as effective as standard antidepressant medications in reducing symptoms in patients with major depression," said researcher James Blumenthal, a professor of medical psychology at Duke University.

His team's study found that 10 months of regular, moderate exercise reduced depressive symptoms at a rate equal to that of Zoloft.
Another study, this time by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, found that 30-minute workouts done three to five times a week could cut depressive sy Even less vigorous activities, such as T'ai chi or yoga, may help lower blood pressure and ease stress, Marsh said. "People who exercise also tend to feel that they have more control over their life," she added. That's important, since a persistent feeling of helplessness is a hallmark of depression.

According to Marsh, the science is much less clear when it comes to the effectiveness of supplements and herbal medicines. For example, there's little good data to support the use of either foliate or the B vitamins in warding off the blues.
Perhaps the most talked-about herbal therapy for depression is St. John's wart, but "the evidence that it can help moderate-to-severe depression is very poor,"
Non-pharmacologic interventions such as massage therapy, acupuncture or aromatherapy are great at easing short-term stress, "but the real issue, when it comes to depression, is what the effect is over the long term?
One thing the science does show, however, is that contacts with others -- friends, family, clubs and group activities -- can boost mood and help ease depression.

These tips can improve your mental well being, as well as your physical well being.

I am including here 2 self screening tests, which are free to use, provided by Department of Psychiatry (NYU Medical Center/NYU School of Medicine)

The Online Anxiety Screening Test

The Online Depression Screening Test

KEEP IN MIND: that these preliminary screening tests are for depressive symptoms that do not replace in any way a formal psychiatric evaluation. It is designed to give a preliminary idea about the presence of mild to moderate depressive symptoms that indicate the need for an evaluation by a psychiatrist.

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