Depression and Diet - Finding the best good mood food

Depression and diet are related, and it is possible to ease the symptoms of depression, and even help cure, by choosing the right good mood food. Choosing the right  foods is not just common sense for your depression condition, but is usually a good choice for your general health and well being also. Its a well known fact that if you consume the right foods to fuel your body then you have a very much greater chance of your body being healthy. There is an old saying "You are what you eat". Eat fatty foods all day and guess what, you'll be fat. I don't want to have to argue this point, and recognising this fact is at the heart of this article.

Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects peoples mood. We know that food contains vitamins and minerals, proteins, carbohtydates, sugars, salts, oils, starches, fats and other chemical makeups. This chemical makeup is different for each type of food. Some foods inherently have more sugars and fats than others. Man made or processed foods usually have additives for flavour that are not usually aportioned to with healthy dietry intake guidelines.

Sufferers of depression can gain great benefit by simply eating the right foods, or as i like to call it good mood food. As a general guide fresh unprocessed foods are the best when balanced and consumed in moderation. This would equate to any normal dietry advise available from a nutritionalist. The balanced part of the diet means that you are not just eating the same food all the time, and are not having the same meals each day. A balanced diet means mixing it up and covering all the foods groups in the right proportion across a longer period of time, say a week or a fortnight. A well prepared diet can then repeat the diet week after week. Make sure there is enough variety in your diet, you don't want to see the food you eat as a challenge.

A well prepared diet of foods for depression sufferers would aim to create a balanced meal as described above with the inclusion of specific foods that were aimed to reduce the chemical imbalance inherent with a person with depression. Your doctor should be able to provide you with an idea about your specific case of depression and which chemicals you need more or less of. The list of chemicals below is generic although very common needed within the diet of those affected by depression.

Good mood food for depression inlude foods with the following;
a)Folic acid.
Folic acid can be taken as a supplement. Other sources of Folic Acid include dark green vegetables such as spinach and  peas.
b) Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 can also be taken as a supplement. Omega-3 fatty acid is perhaps best found naturalli in oily fish such as mackeral, salmon and tuna.
c) Selenium
Selenium is only recently been discovered as a good source of food to fight the effects of depression. Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, and lobster. These are not your everyday foods and supplements may be useful.
d) Vitamins B and all its derivities B1, B2, B3 etc.
Vitamin B can also be found in dietry supplements of in natural foods. Vitamin B is very important for depression sufferes. It helps your body create protein and energy. Many studies reveal links to releaving stress and assisting sleep by using Vitamin B. Vitamin B can also be found in dietry supplements of in natural foods.
e) Vitamin C
So many good reasons to take Vitamin C, try oranges and suprisingly (at least to some) cabbage.
f) Vitamin E
Grains and nuts are a goods source of Vitamin E. Vitam E supplements are also available.

The second major aspect in the relationship of depression and diet to keep in mind is the energy contained within foods and how that energy is released and used by the body. If the food you consume releases energy quickly (like many sugar filled processed foods) you will run out of energy before your next meal. Unfotunately for people suffering from depression you emotions are affected by the energy levels within the body. Whats worse is that people with depression have mood swings that are usually greater than people without depression. All this means that foods that release their energy into the body quickly are no good for people who need to keep their mood and emotions at a constant level.

The last point to make in this article regarding depression and diet is about the energy levels contained with food, and the selection of good mood food should allow for a consistent release of energy into the body. The best food for depression are those with low glycemic index levels. The glycemic index is a measure of how carbohydrates in different foods effect the blood glucose levels within our body, ie, how much energy do we get and how quickly. The lower ther glycemic index the slower and more even the release of energy. Slow and even is good for depression sufferers. Usuaslly natural foods and particularly grains and vegetables are the lowest on the glycemic index.

The link here is obvious for those with depression, regulate the energy levels in your body by selecting the correct foods and you body will be fuelled with an even amount of energy throughout the day. This will work to reduce the likelihood of mood changes by keeping the body an a even plateau. As a depression sufferer the last thing you want to do is create multiple mood swings throughout the day.

It will take some time but in a sense by eating the right foods your body will adapt as you slowly train it to keep you energy levels even and therefore your mood will stabilise allowing you to regain control of your depression by controlling your emotions and feelings. Remember to balance your depression and diet by selecting the good mood food and you will be well on your way to beating depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder - Winter Depression - Types Of Depression

This series of articles will give a brief overview of the different types of depression, this article will focus on Winter Depression. If you are looking for a definition of a specific type of depression that is not Winter Depression click one of the links below.

Bi Polar Depression
Cyclothymic Disorder
Dysthemia Disorder
Major Depression Disorder
Post Natal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is often also known as the winter blues, seasonal depression, or more commonly Winter Depression. Winter depression is diagnosed as when the sufferer has symptoms that are repeated year after year during the winter months.

Winter depression usually affects people in the Northen hemisphere where the light conditions are lower than in the southern hemisphers. Some studies have shown that the amount of light hitting the back of a perosns retina (eye) can alter the chemicals in a persons brain that can affect mood. The studies reveal that lower light levels equals lower mood levels.

Symptoms of winter depression include a desire to over sleep, a reduction in energy levels, and cravings for sweet and carbohydrate rich foods which can then lead to weight gain. As with most cases of depression the sufferer of winter depression will be withdrawn from society, friends, family, and social activities. They will be unable to concentrate effectively and will be unable to extract enjoyment from tasks and activities that are usually found pleasurable.

Treatments for winter depression can include light therapy, prescription medication, psychiatric therapy, and supplementation of the hormone melatonin.

Unfortunately many cases of winter depression will develop into other types of depression including major depression disorder, and bipolar depression.

Post Natal Depression - Types Of Depression

This series of articles will give a brief overview of the different types of depression, this article will focus on Post Natal Depression. If you are looking for a definition of a specific type of depression that is not Post Natal Depression click one of the links below.

Bi Polar Depression
Cyclothymic Disorder
Dysthemia Disorder
Major Depression Disorder
Winter Depression

Post Natal Depression or its medical name Post Partum Depression is experience by between 5% to 20% of new mothers. It usually strikes within the first year after the birth and usually the first few months. Studies indicate that less that 20% of women affected by Post Natal Depression will seek help.

Symptoms of Post Natal Depression include insomnia, sadness, increased or decreased appetite,  fatigue and exhaustion, reduction in sex drive, episodes or crying, anxiety, irritability, feelings of being overwelmed, social withdrawl, and even feeling inadequate or unable to meeting the responsibilities to care for the new born . Note, carrying and delivering a baby will create hormonal imbalances which can also trigger some of the above symptoms. Also, the demands of a new arrival in the house often dictate life will revolve around the new born, problems such as colic, frequent feeding, as so on can create stress which is increased through a lack of sleep further exasperating the above symptoms. Often some assistance is required so the new Mother can obtain adequate sleep for a few days.

Fortunately Post Natal Depression is usually not as life changing as other forms of depression and usually only lasted for a short time from a few hours and upto a few weeks.

Some of the risk factors associated with Post Natal Depression are listed below;
  • The rapid hormonal imbalances associated with pregnancy, birth and lactation
  • Prolonged or complicated labour
  • Physical exhaustion from broken sleep
  • Lack of support, both emotional and practical
  • Loss of independence
  • Financial pressures (perhaps associated with the removal from the workforce to start a family)
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • A history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (this is another name for seriously debilitating premenstrual syndrome)
  • Formula feeding rather than breast feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  •  Low self esteem
  • Prenatal depression during pregnancy
  • Prenatal anxiety
  • Low levels of support from friends and family
  • Poor marital relationship or single parent
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy

Although unproven some experts suspect that good nutrition during pregnancy will assit not only the health and development of the baby but the mothers mental health during and after pregnancy. It is believed that the Omega-3 fatty acids are redirected to the development of the fetus  during pregnancy and this imbalance in the mother can then lead to Post Natal Depression. Omega -3 fatty acids can be commonkly found in some fish or can be more easily "topped up" in capsule form as a dietry supplement availble from most supermarkets.

Major Depression Disorder - Types Of Depression

This series of articles will give a brief overview of the different types of depression, this article will focus on Major Depression Disorder. If you are looking for a definition of a specific type of depression that is not Major Depression Disorder click one of the links below.

Bi Polar Depression
Cyclothymic Disorder
Dysthemia Disorder
Post Natal Depression
Winter Depression

Major Depression Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder may also be referred to as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder. Major Depression Disorder is categorised by a person suffering persistent mood levels that are unnormally low, feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that are usually found exciting or stimulating. Sufferes will also note a change in eating habits, sleeping habits, and general health may also be affected. Usually sufferes will experience a loss of appetite and asscoiated weight loss although it is occassionally noted that an increase in appetite has been experienced. Sufferers will also usually suffer from insomnia, although once again there are some cases where suffrerers will start to oversleep.

Sufferers of Major Depression Disorder usually have low energy levels and will commonly have feelings of hopelessness and despair, and will usually experience low self-esteem. Major Depression Disorder is a very serious mental illness that will create a significant adverse affect on the sufferes social and work life, it also has a very high suicide rate, about 3%. Sufferes should seek professional medical advice.

It is noted that Major Depressive Disorder is commonly diagnosed in people aged between 30 and 40, possible because this is a common age bracket where people start to question what is happening in their lives, ie. where are the going. Studies note a second peak of diagnosis between the ages of 50 to 60 years. Interestingly women are diagnosed approximately twice as often as men, although it is men who are more likely to consider suicide.

Treatment of Major Depression Disorder can include mood stabilising medication, and Psychotherapy. In the more extreme case an in particular the cases where self harm is a possibility the sufferer of bipolar depression my be committed to a psychiatric facility, often involuntarily.

Major Depression Disorder will take over the lives of sufferes and will be a significant issue for people associated with the sufferer. The sufferer will experience a change in mood that will affect all activities in life. These effects vary from a mild to extreme effect and can be loosly described as a loss of motivation to complete an activity, and / or a loss of ability to extract pleasure from previously enjoyable activities.
People suffering Major Depression Disorder will be preoccupied with thoughts of how bad things are. It is as if they are looking to find the worst in each situation. It is important for support people to make sure that they do not try to simply "cheer up" the sufferer by pointing out how goods things are.  This may oftenhave the reverse of the intended effect as the suffer may start think "why can't i see that" or even "you just don't get it". People supporting the sufferer are a very valuable ally in the treatment of Major Depression Disorder and should be involved and professionally councilled themselves on how best to support the sufferer.

Dsythemia Disorder - Types Of Depression

This series of articles will give a brief overview of the different types of depression, this article will focus on Dystmymia Disorder. If you are looking for a definition of a specific type of depression that is not Dysthemia Disorder click one of the links below.

Bi Polar Depression
Cyclothymic Disorder
Major Depression Disorder
Post Natal Depression
Winter Depression

Dysthymia Disorder also known as Dysthymic Depression is a dibilitating mental ilness that is considered to be a form of chronic depression although it is less severe than Major Depression Disorder (link) although it will tend to be an ongoing condition that can last many years and usually will last loner than Major Depression Disorder.

Dysthymia Disorder affects approximately 3% of the population and is most prevelant in homes where it is already present, ie. genetic play a significant part in the susceptibility of a person developing Dysythymia Disorder. Is is more than twice as common to develop in women than in men.

The symptoms of Dysythymia Disorder include, feelings of hopelessness, Insomnia, loss of ability to maintain concentration, lowered levels of energy, fatigue or reduced activity, low self-esteem, loss of appetite or overeating, irritability. A person is said to be suffering from Dysthymia Disorder if they have daily feeling of the above symptoms for a period of no less than 2 years and that the symptoms above do not disapper for a period not exceeding 2 months.

Dysythymia Disorder is a precause for Major Depression Disorder and as such people suffering from it will commonly develop Major Depression Disorder.

Treatment for Dysthymia Disorder is either prescription medication or psychiotherapy, or both. The prescription medication reads like a who's who of household American names, such as Prozac,  Zolof, Lexapro, Paxil, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Effexor,  Remeron, and Cymbalta. Some of the side effects of these medications can include Some sexual dysfunction, diarrhea, insomnia, short-term memory loss, and are thought to lead to an increase in aggression and suicidal tendancies.

Cyclothymic Disorder - Types Of Depression

This series of articles will give a brief overview of the different types of depression, this article will focus on Cyclothymic Disorder. If you are looking for a definition of a specific type of depression that is not Cyclothymic Disorder click one of the links below.

Bi Polar Depression
Dysthemia Disorder
Major Depression Disorder
Post Natal Depression
Winter Depression

Cyclothymic Disorder also known as Cyclothymia Disorder is defined as a person displaying symptoms of a persistently mood, with moods swings ranging from mild depression to mild elation, these moods swings usually occur over a long period of time. Diagnosis usually occurs in late adolescence. People suffering from Cyclothymic Disorder often do not realise they have the illness and do not seek help. Cyclothymic Disorder is similar to Bi Polar Depression. with the exception that the mood swings between high and low and not as rapid or as emotionally different or severe.

Each mood state can last for lengthy periods of up to a few months. People with Cyclothymic Disorder are at risk of developing Bi Polar Disorder. It is not uncommon for a relative of a person sufferering from Cyclothymic Disorder to have been diagnosed with Bi Polar Disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder unlike some other forms of depression does not usually make the person unable to function as normal.

A person with this Cyclothymic Disorder may experience periods of elation, be full  of energy and require less sleep than normal. This is known as the Hypomanic period and is usually followed by a depressive mood swing. It is during this depressive time that sufferers will usually seek help.

Sufferers of Cyclothymic Disorder will note two distinct symptoms or phases of emotions, the Dysthymic phase (depressive) and the Euphoric phase (elation).

Emotions of the Dysthymic phase include; lack of ability to concentrate, loss of memory, low self-esteem, sadness, hopelessness, lack of motivation, a change in appetite (either more or less), loss of sex drive, fatigue, and insomnia.

Emotions of the Euphoric phase include; lengthy periods of cheerfulness, overly excessivce amounts of optimism, inflated self-esteem, rapid speech, Racing thoughts, inconsideration of others, easily agitated, desire to spend money (retail therapy), increased drive toset, perform and achieve goals, increased of libido, reduced need for rest or sleep, and a lack of ability to concentrate.

Some of the risk factors for developing Cyclothymic Disorder are;
  • Hereditery / Genetic - A person is 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from Cyclothymic Disorder if another person in the family has the disorder. Identical twins are over 50% more likely to develop if the other twin has the disorder.
  • Psychological - Stress caused by either poor personal relationships, stress developed within the work place, or sudden life changing events such as the loss of a loved one, lack of satisfaction with the direction of life, and financial problems are common causes for Cyclothymic Disorder.
  • Social - Unhappy childhood, failure to find a life partner, a lack of good friends or an inability to develop strong or sound relationships.

Cyclothymic Disorder treatments include;
  • Exercise - Particularly in the Dysthymic phase exercise can release endorphins to combat the low levels of seretonin often found within sufferers of Cyclothymic Disorder. Regular daily exercise is encouraged under the direction of your doctor.
  • Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Bi Polar Depression - Types Of Depression

This series of articles will give a brief overview of the different types of depression, this article will focus on Bi Polar Depression. If you are looking for a definition of a specific type of depression that is not Bi Polar Depression click one of the links below.

Cyclothymic Disorder
Dysthemia Disorder
Major Depression Disorder
Post Natal Depression
Winter Depression

Bi Polar Depression or more specifically Bi Polar Disorder was previously known and is still often referred to as Manic Depressive Disorder, or may otherwise be called Bipolarism, or Manic Depression. Bi Polar Depression is more common than you may think, inflicting approximately 2% of the population.

Bi Polar Depression is so called due to the extreme moods swings (or cycling high and low) that a sufferer can experience. From extreme highs of euphoria to and feelings of invincibility to the despairing lows of complete helplessness and despair. The low moods swings are often accompanied with thoughts of suicide.

Sufferers of Bi Polar Depression may experience the degree of symptoms from mild to severe. In the extreme cases the moods swings from high to low can occur quickly, this is known as "rapid cycling" and can lead to episodes of psychotic symptoms including  hallucinations and delusion. Rapid Cycling is defined as more than 4 cycles (mood swings) in a 12 month period. More frequent cycling has been documented at between 24 to 48 hours and is known as "ultra-ultra cycling" or "ultradian cycling".

People with Bi Polar Depression often have very active minds and as a result can suffer from sleeping disorders. Conversly sufferers of Bi Polar Depression can also feel as though they have a great deal of energy at times however they often lack concentration and are unable to complete many goals. It is very difficult for a person suffering Bi Polar Depression to study or to produce quality work for any length of time.
Most cases of Bi Polar Depression are diagnosed in late adolescence or early adult-hood and sufferers can expect the symptoms to last for many years. Genetics and environmental factors are usually seen as the more common triggers with Bi Polar Depression.

Treatment of Bi Polar Depression can include mood stabilising medication, and Psychotherapy. In the more extreme case an in particular the cases where self harm is a possibility the sufferer of Bi Polar Depression my be committed to a psychiatric facility, often involuntarily.

Define Depression

To combat depression it is first helpful to understand what it is, this article will help to define depression . If you feel that these symptoms are familiar to you then this blog site may offer some useful advice to help you.

Define depression
In simple termsyou can define depression as a medical condition or illness that creates a prolonged state of mind where an every day existence is less joyful than normal. Depression can be a complicated illness but it is also very common in the modern world.
The Collins dictionary define depression as "a mental state in which a person has feelings of gloom and inadequacy". 
Medline Plus medical dictionary define depresion as "an act of depressing or a state of being depressed: as a  (1) : a state of feeling sad  (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty with thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal thoughts or an attempt to commit suicide"

There are many different types of depression each with slightly different symptoms and potentially requiring different treatments. Some of the depression types include, Bipolar Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Postnatal Depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Depression strikes different people to varying degrees, rendering some people incapable of even the most basic of human function to mild doses of feeling unhappy about ones self worth and existence.
It is perfectly normal to feel depressed or sad many times throughout your lifetime, particularly in times of a major incident such as a loved one passing away, a loss of a job, or relationship issues to name only a few. If this feeling lasts for more than 3 to 4 weeks you should consult your doctor. It will be important to tell your doctor everything about how you are feeling, make sure you spend some time before visiting to write a list of how you feel and what you are experiencing. This will help with him / her better define your condition.
Depression is not just a feeling of sadness; everyone will feel sad for various reasons at different times. Its when this feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or dejection lasts for a prolonged period of time, when the days blend into weeks, and then weeks into months that you should be seeking help for possible depression.

Symptoms of Depression
Now we have define depression and know what it is, we need to determine if we think we are suffering from depression before we seek help. Depression will have many side effects, not every one who suffers from depression will have the same symptoms and the degree of effect these symptoms have on the sufferer will vary from person to person.
The below is a general list of some of the symptoms that may help you define if you are suffering with depression:
  • Prolonged general feeling of sadness for no apparent reason
  • Feeling hopeless, no able to achieve goals or be happy when completing activities
  • Not wanting to start something new, meet new people or even catch-up with long time friends
  • Feeling dejected or thinking that no one cares about or loves you
  • A feeling of guilt or loss of self worth
  • Difficulties maintaining concentration
  • Loss or interest in activities that would normally be enjoyable
  • Loss or appetitive
  • Reduction in sex drive
  • Feeling tired or wanting to spend (a lot) more time in bed each day
  • Insomnia or a consistent inability to sleep normally
The above list is just a general list, there may be other symptoms that will define depression that are not listed. Everyones case of depression is different.

The Combat Depression Blog Disclaimer

The Combat Depression blog site is not an infinite resource on depression. This depression blog site is not created by doctors, or even anyone with any medical qualifications. The information contained within this Combat Depression blog site is created by someone who has lived with depression. The goal of this blog site is to provide freely available information that is helpful for you or those that you love in dealing with and living with depression.

Although I have had personal experience and put in a lot of research to create these articles here on Combat Depression, these articles are simply that, my experience and research. I must stress that depression can be a complicated illness, and you should seek professional help. The contents of this blog site are merely a collection of useful information that can help you in combating depression, the information contained with in this blog site may be used as complimentary to any professional treatment prescribed but should not be used as a sole source of information to combat depression.

I hope I have been clear. This depression blog site is by no means an extensive resource and as such I have put ads on this site which will hopefully display other relevant sources of information to help you combat depression, and may even make me feel better if i make a few dollars too, ha, ha.

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About Combat Depression

Welcome to Combat Depression. This site aims to provide tips and advice for people struggling with depression and looking for natural alternatives to supplement treatments as they combat depression. I hope you find what you're looking for.