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You know what depression is. It's being stuck in a downward spiral of negative thoughts and emotions; it's dullness, listlessness, tiredness, passivity, confusion... despair, hopelessness, and finally, a relentless bleakness.
It's a whole range of symptoms like lack of appetite (or overeating), sleeplessness (or over-sleeping), exhaustion, lack of interest in sex, lack of interest in other people... and finally, lack of interest in yourself.
Depression harms nerve pathways day after day, leading to brain disorganization and nerve-cell atrophy. Depression also appears to be progressive: the longer the episode, the greater the anatomical disorder.
Mild depression often becomes major depression. And for a million people each year, depression leads to suicide.
Ironically, most depressed people also suffer from anxiety. For the millions with anxiety-related depression, the main problem is that stress leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to depression, which causes further stress, which leads to anxiety and depression... It's a nasty neurological feedback loop that can only be beaten by decreasing the stress, overcoming the anxiety, and uplifting the depression all at the same time.
It's easy for the nasty feedback loops to reestablish themselves, and the whole therapeutic system to come crashing down again.
That's why more than one therapeutic modality is usually applied by mental health professional grappling with these conditions. For instance, psychiatrists will commonly prescribe anti-depressants along with cognitive-behavioral therapy.
For the millions that don't want the medications, or who want to incorporate alternative with traditional treatments, the bottom-line advice on alternative treatments remains the same: you have to keep trying things until you find what works best and then learn to combine different compatible approaches that work for you.
Naturally it is best to implement alternative treatments for depression with the help of licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or other mental health care professional who has experience in this field. However, many people with milder forms of anxiety and depression use alternative means on their own to both relieve their symptoms and to actually cure their illnesses.
You'll discover that to succeed, you have to learn a different way of thinking, acting, and being. Change your thought patterns, change your diet, change your exercise, change your exposure to light... Does it sound like a lot of work?
Maybe. But it's not as bad as depression. It's not as bad as the side-effects of anti-depressants. And the real advantage to mastering this new way of living is that these methods will make you feel good. Some of them are even fun.
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