Fight off depression before it starts

10/22/2013 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:19 AM

It’s a scientific fact that people over 50 are more prone to cases of clinical depression. There are a number of proven reasons for it. You can take steps to eliminate those reasons and stop the “black beast” before it starts; or if you already have depression, you can lessen its hold or even get rid of it altogether.

The first step is to diagnose whether you do, in fact, have depression. The symptoms are universal. Sleep patterns change. You may find yourself waking up in the wee hours of the morning, unable to go back to sleep. There will be self-negating thoughts that haunt those with depression. They may think they are unworthy, or that they are a failure, despite obvious signs of success. They can’t feel any joy in their life.

There are often problems with memory, because depression affects intelligence, and memory is part of intelligence. If you have the illness, you may forget appointments, birthdays, names, even your own phone number. You may have trouble reading, because it’s hard to retain what has just been read.

Many folks with depression avoid social gatherings, preferring to remain alone, often huddled in bed. Sometimes it’s hard to get up in the morning because there’s a reluctance to get going and face the day.

If the depression is serious, it can immobilize its victim. But a mild case can often be cured by attacking the reasons for it, without having to resort to antidepressants.

Among the reasons for boomer depression is lack of activity. Hundreds of studies have shown that regular physical activity helps prevent the condition. As we age, however, we often slack off in the physical activity area.

You may have to force yourself to go for a 20-minute walk every day or take an aerobics class at your local gym, but you’ll have to put in the effort to make yourself do at least that much activity – and more, if possible.

Many boomers no longer spend as much time outdoors as they did when younger. Yet being outside, where the sun can shine on you and create needed vitamin D in your body, is important. Sunshine offers a lot of protection against depression. At this time of year, when there are fewer hours of daylight, you may have to take artificial sunlight – supplements of vitamin D. If you are depressed, double the daily recommended dose of D.

Other nutrients which help minimize or even eliminate depression are phosphatydalserine (known as ‘PS’) and 5HTP. Both of these help boost serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, in the brain and central nervous system. While 5HTP is fairly easy to find at any store that sells vitamins, PS is usually only available at vitamin stores or online. It must be taken for about a month before its effect become noticeable.

Vitamin B Complex is a natural anti-depressant, but you’ll need to take it with vitamin C for it to be fully metabolized.

Many depressives are actually too incapacitated by the illness to take even basic steps to get rid of it. In those cases, it’s up to relatives and loved ones to push the person into eating the right food, taking the right nutrients and getting the right exercise. Since depression causes a feeling of hopelessness, there’s a tendency for those with the condition to feel that nothing will help them feel better.

If you know someone who seems clinically depressed – in other words, there’s no obvious reason for it, you may have to take on the responsibility to get this person to start fighting the condition, especially if that person is your spouse.

Get them outside in daylight. Get them active. Get them talking and socially interacting. With some of these actions, mild cases of depression can often be chased away for good.

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