Can Stress Increase Risk Of Being Depressed?

Stress alone may not cause depression, but when you cannot cope with the stressful life situations for a prolonged time, you may become depressed. That said, you should understand that depression is a mental disorder of complex origin. As a matter of fact, the combined effects of genetics, imbalances in the levels of brain chemicals, and faulty coping skills are the real causes.

Stress, more precisely psychological stress, is a normal response to an overwhelming situation in life. Essentially, it can occur due to both good as well as bad events or situations. Remember the night before starting your dream job? Or, the moment when you experienced a breakup?

Normally, as the time passes by, you will learn to adapt to new changes in your life. But the real problems arise when stress lingers far beyond a certain duration. In fact, chronic stress, even if mild, may increase the risk of depression by a huge margin.

Understanding the Link Between Chronic Stress and Depression

Chronic stress can prolong for months or even years. Owing to the longstanding nature, it can leave a number of adverse effects on your health and other areas of life. For example, relationships, financial status, memory and problem-solving skills.

This is in contrast to acute stress where the duration is “too” short to cause long-term problems in life.

Chronic mild stress can negatively affect your sleep, food habits, weight and level of physical activity. In turn, all these effects may make you depressed. Depressed patients in most cases also have anxiety, which is your body’s reaction to a stressor. For the same reason, the depression medications also treat anxiety.

Some studies suggest chronic stress can also affect the brain development process throughout one’s life. As a result, older adults may develop depression after chronic stress. In fact, long periods of stress have a definite link with depression in later life years. This is a common occurrence in war veterans who have a stress disorder called PTSD.

Likewise, many common signs or symptoms of depression also occur during stress. They may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained pains
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Weight and appetite changes
  • Memory problems
  • Disorganized or racing thoughts
  • Inability to focus
  • Restlessness
  • Low energy and motivation
  • Constant worrying even in the absence of a real problem

 

What You Can Do

While you cannot free yourself completely from stressors, you can cut down the risk of depression by learning certain coping skills. Also, a few minor changes in your lifestyle can do wonders when you are under stress.

Consider making the following changes in your life.

  • Make sure you get a quality sleep for seven to eight hours.
  • Identify the events or situations that might trigger stress. Once you know any of them, prepare yourself to minimize its effects on your mood and behavior. This is when you cannot avoid the stressor. For example, you cannot quit your job because you fear presentations. But you can prepare for it by practicing in front of a mirror.
  • Make a “to-do” list and follow it strictly. That way, you can make your daily routine more organized.
  • Take a deep breath. Yes, doctors now suggest for their patients to breathe deeply to reduce stress. Also called “abdominal breathing”, it helps to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Sit in a quiet place with your back straight. Now close your eyes and focus on your breathing for at least five minutes. Alternately, you may also recite a “mantra” or a positive self-suggestion like “I am peaceful and happy”. The case is not here about the mantra but about how you can rest your mind and recharge it. If you like, you could listen to your favorite music as well.
  • Be social. Being social is not always about getting active on social media platforms. In fact, a face-to-face conversation is a great way to release your thoughts and anxiety. Choose the one who you want to open yourself to.
  • Find a reason to smile or laugh. Why not watch your favorite comedy series? If this is not possible, look at a beautiful flower and smile at it appreciating the beauty of nature. In any case, make sure to feel the senses during the smile.
  • Stay active. Physical activity, regardless of its type, can boost your mood. Also, it can distract you from overwhelming thoughts. Studies show that exercising increases blood circulation and may also release feel-good chemicals in the brain. Consider strolling through a garden or lifting some weights. Yoga could be another option. Choose what fits the situation.
  • Keep a diary. Write down your thoughts, emotions, and anything that makes you happy or sad. Be true while writing. It can help you track what turns your mood on or off.
  • Limit alcohol and avoid smoking. Both are known to increase stress in your mind. Not to forget other harmful effects on your health.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Make sure you get your dose of vitamins, proteins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

The Bottom Line

  • Stress and depression are close but not the same. Nonetheless, chronic stress might make you depressed directly or indirectly.
  • Seek immediate medical help if thoughts are very overwhelming or you develop suicidal tendencies. Know that there is no harm seeking help for mental illness. Timely treatment results in complete and swift recovery.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about how stress can increase the risk of developing depression, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

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Prescription Drugs vs Natural Healing: Things You Should Not Miss

No doubt, people around the world have been using natural remedies to find relief from various common ailments. For example, colds, cough, different types of pain,etc. Also, the use of these remedies has risen considerably in the recent times. In fact, nearly one-third of Americans are seeking relief outside the realm of prescription drugs. But the big question is, are they worth their claims? Can you replace prescription drugs with so-called natural healing? Or, at least, should you give up on your doctor’s prescription pills? Here is an insight into the prescription drugs vs natural healing war.

An Overview of Prescription Drugs and Natural Remedies

Prescription drugs represent a wide range of medications that you can get only with a doctor’s prescription. Meaning, you cannot use prescription drugs on your own. Examples include:

  • Narcotic pain medications like morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and their combinations.
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs.
  • Blood pressure lowering drugs.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Water pills also called diuretics.
  • Drugs for diabetes.

Remember this is in contrast to OTC (over-the-counter) drugs that you can use on your own. But you will need a prescription if the product contains a combination of prescription and OTC medications.

What Are Natural Healing Agents?

As a matter of fact, there is no standard definition of natural remedies. One reason might be that these cover a wide range of therapies. Nonetheless, other related terms well defined. They include:

  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines CAM as “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine

Note: Doctors may use the complementary approaches in conjunction with the mainstream therapies. But alternative approaches are used to replace the mainstream therapies.

  • Herbal Medicine. Also called botanicals or phytotherapy. Herbal medicines are a type of dietary supplement. They come in different forms. For example, capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders. Remember last time you bought garlic capsules?
  • Traditional medicine (TM). According to the WHO, TM is “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness“.
  • Integrative medicine (IM). As the name suggests, IM is a collaborative approach consisting of both the usual medical and complementary approaches. In fact, more and more physicians are using this approach these days. In addition to the botanicals, it also covers non-drug therapies like yoga, chiropractic, homeopathy and special diets.

Natural healing approaches or remedies may involve any of the therapies mentioned above. Therefore, it would be wiser on your side to know which type of natural remedies you are using. That way, you will have a clearer idea of the ingredients and possible beneficial/harmful effects.

Prescription Drugs vs Natural Healing: Two Entirely Different Approaches of Disease Treatment

Prescription drugs become available in the market only after a lengthy process. Essentially, it involves tests on animals, healthy volunteers and those with the disorder. In a normal case, the whole process starting from the beginning of a drug research to its market availability takes more than a decade. In essence, the researchers want to make sure the drugs in the experiment are safe and effective. Moreover, the US FDA approval is needed for all the prescription drugs.

On the contrary, the natural healing approaches do not undergo such stringent regulations. It is because they are not considered drugs by the FDA. Simply put it, the FDA considers the natural remedies safe as long as there are no reports of proven toxic or undesirable effects. Thus, it is clear that these supplements enjoy a greater degree of freedom when it comes to the tests for safety and efficacy.

Can You Replace Prescription Drugs with Natural Healing Therapies?

Definitely not.

Not every product in the market with a label “natural and safe” is safe or effective in reality. If you are already taking some other prescription drugs, they can interact with the “natural” products.

Considering the lack of enough data on their safety and efficacy, you should not use any natural remedy in place of the prescription drugs. Doing so may worsen your condition. At the worst, such practice may be potentially fatal.

However, you may use alternative therapies or supplements after consulting your doctor. In fact, an expert consultation is invariably necessary to ensure you do not develop any complications.

In fact, there is no single natural remedy that has been scientifically proven to be as effective as the prescription drugs.

What You Can Do

To ensure your health, consider using the following tips.

  • Avoid buying any product with a claim of cure or replacement for the prescription drugs.
  • Read the labels on the natural remedies carefully. Note the language and product description. If you suspect anything wrong with it, do not use.
  • Take an extra caution if you are buying a supplement from the online vendor. It would be best to avoid such practice.

 

  • Do not take a supplement if you are using other prescription and OTC drugs. Moreover, pregnant or breastfeeding women should never take any supplements on their own.
  • In any case, DO NOT use any supplement or other natural healing therapies without first consulting your doctor. If you have any signs of a major health issue during the use, stop taking it immediately and seek a professional help.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about prescription drugs vs natural healing, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.