The number of people suffering from depression has increased in the last three decades, according to a study conducted by The Department of Psychiatry at The University of Melbourne. According to the paper, there are a number of lifestyle factors that can impact the chances that an individual will suffer from one of these mental health disorders. These factors include: diet, exercise, recreation, relaxation techniques, sleep, environment, socialization, animal therapy and vices. There is compelling evidence that the symptoms of depression can be treated, at least in part, by increasing or decreasing exposure to these various factors.
According to the paper, “diet modulates several key biological processes that underscore mood disorders, including brain plasticity and function, the stress response system, mitochondria, inflammation, and oxidative processes.” This means that the food we eat affects how quickly and how effectively our bodies can respond to external stimuli. If our bodies respond inadequately, it becomes more difficult to overcome the physical and mental challenges of everyday life, making it easier for us to adopt a depressed mood. Adopting a healthier diet—rich in whole grains, vegetables, fish, lean proteins, brain-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and olive oil—could have a positive impact on, or could prevent altogether, the symptoms of depression.
Exercise is another lifestyle choice that could alleviate depressive symptoms. “The long-term chronic effects of regular exercise may assist in regulating the neuroendocrine axis and produce a normalisation of cortisol levels, while increasing and circulating beta-endorphins.” Cortisol is what we produce when we’re under stress, and leads to elevated heart rates, and more. “Beta-endorphins are neuropeptides involved in pain management, possessing morphine like effects, and are involved in natural reward circuits such as feeding, drinking, sex and maternal behavior.” It is obvious that increasing and circulating our body’s natural beta-endorphin levels through exercise is beneficial and critical to maintaining a positive mood.
In additional to promoting certain types of activities, it is also important to avoid or eliminate others. This involves managing the intake of certain substances that may negatively impact one’s mood. Surveys have indicated that alcohol abuse is common among those who suffer with depression and other similar mental disorders. Despite that fact that alcohol initially produces depressive effects, the resulting biological effects of a hangover can produce a greater amount of “rebound glutamate,” potentially provoking anxiety and dysphoria. Additionally, avoiding caffeine may be beneficial to those suffering from anxiety disorders. However, some studies have shown that “caffeine use from coffee consumption may be protective against depression.”
Contact Elev8 Health and Wellness
At Elev8MD, we believe that treating depression and anxiety requires a mind-body approach. We offer a wide range of mind-body services to offer a holistic and integrative approach to depression treatment. From ketamine infusions and IV hydration therapy to reiki, massage and psychotherapy, our Charlotte area wellness center offers everything you need to alleviate your depression and start living your life to the fullest possible potential.