Managing the Blues

Expert advice for dealing with depression.

  from Reader's Digest | October 2007

     

  • 1.

    The Alternative Remedy Pro


    Psychotherapy can help people with a clear trigger for depression (a death in the family, job loss). Studies suggest that, taken under a doctor’s supervision, Saint-John’s-Wort, SAM-e and omega-3 fatty acids may help, particularly for milder forms of depression. If your sadness starts to interfere with work or relation-ships, it may be more serious; antidepressants can be a good idea.
    – David Mischoulon, MD, Director of Alternative Remedy Studies, Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

  • 2.

    The Nutrition Expert


    The first line of action should be nutrition and light therapy. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet may lead to a brain prone to depression. Research shows that eating more omega-3s can help treat the problem. Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight a day, which could boost your body’s production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
    – Joel Fuhrman, MD, Author of Eat to Live

  • 3.

    The Psychiatrist


    First, rule out medical causes such as a drug side effect. Drinking too much can cause depression, as can not being active enough. Exercise is a wonderful treatment that’s more effective than some drugs. Negative thoughts can ruin your day, but identifying and correcting them have huge antidepressant qualities.
    – Daniel Amen, MD, Medical Director, Amen Clinics, Newport Beach and Fairfield, California; Tacoma, Washington; Reston, Virginia

  • 4.

    The Life Coach


    You can quickly get preoccupied by sad thoughts. When you’re brooding about something, you may have other, similarly gloomy thoughts, and it’s easy to follow them into depression. You want to push your attention toward the positive. Distract yourself with something amusing or fun to change your mind-set. This won’t work for serious chemical depression; for that, you should seek professional help.
    – Martha Beck, PhD, Author of The Four-Day Win

The Bottom Line
Some creative people do their most innovative work when depressed, because feeling down forces us to grapple with the uncomfortable realities of life. So look for the blessings in the blues, while using the techniques above, like eating omega-3-rich fish, to shorten their duration.

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