depressed individual

Just as there are ailments of the body, there are some ailments that affect the mind. Seeking help from a doctor for mental health issues is just like going to the doctor for pain and aches, so do not hesitate to consult your doctor if you suspect you or a loved one in need of mental support.

However, be aware some medical conditions like thyroid issues and anemia can also cause symptoms similar to those of depression. Ensure that you speak with your doctor about the conditions you are experiencing so he can prescribe the appropriate plan of action.

Another phenomenon to remember, especially in these frigid winter months, is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is normal to feel the ‘winter blues’ once in a while, but do see a doctor if feelings of hopelessness, depression, loss of energy, change in sleep patterns and appetite last for days, and if you can’t seem to motivate yourself to participate in activities you usually enjoy. SAD is believed to be caused by the lack of sunlight, which affects your regular circadian rhythm and create chemical changes in the serotonin in your body that regulates your mood. Generally, your physician will prescribe light therapy as treatment, where you will use a special lamp designed to adjust your mood for a couple of hours each day.

Here are more ways for maintaining a healthy and active mind:

Meditating in an urban environment Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons
Meditating in an urban environment
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Learn to relax!
  • Laugh everyday.
  • Help others.
  • Make time for fun.
  • Learn how to manage stress.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Be physically active.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
  • Appreciate nature.

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Contributors: Sloka Iyengar, Ph.D., Alice Bonner, RN