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One of my favorite health tips drives my friends nuts when I start preaching about juicing!

 

Do you have enough time in your day to eat all the recommended fruits and vegetables that will keep you healthy and happy???

 

It's not easy! But my personal solution is MY JUICE MACHINE!

 

Look into getting a juicer for your own health boost! A juice machine is the best investment you can make for your health and happiness!

 

Coconut Oil

 

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Depression Articles, Tips and Information

Depression Suicide: What to do if a loved one is Suicidal

Depression, characterized by erratic mood swings, loss of interest in hobbies and activities is a very serious emotional disorder affecting about 9.5 per cent of the nation. Needless to say, it is could be a lot more fatal if a depressed person is heading towards suicide.

Therefore, here are some signs to know if your loved one is considering suicide as a result of depression.

Depression Suicide: Warning Signs to be Aware of

1. Mentions of Suicide or Death

2. Wanting to tie up loose ends or give away personal belongings

3. Engaging in reckless behavior such as heavy alcohol and drug use

4. Withdrawing from family and friends

5. Erratic mood swings

6. Inappropriately saying goodbye.

7. Verbal behavior that is ambiguous or indirect: (for example: "I want to go to sleep and never wake up.", "I'm so depressed, I just can't go on.", "Does God punish suicides?"

 

Though the signs and warnings may vary from person to person, it is important that you are able to recognize such warnings and take some steps to help your loved one.

Helping a loved one who is showing signs of Depression Suicide

 

If you believe someone is contemplating suicide do seek help immediately, however there are a several suicide prevention web sites and hotlines available to help those in need, but in case these are not within your reach, you can try the following:

 

1. Cultivate Physical Closeness: Simple hugs, kisses on the cheeks, loving pats and compliments go a long way in healing a broken heart or depressed mind. Remember, sometimes the little things DO count.

 

2. If the person is acutely suicidal, do not leave him or her alone.

 

3. Remember: suicidal behavior is a cry for help. Thus if someone contemplating suicide turns to you, it is likely that he believes that you are more caring and more informed about coping with depression, and more willing to help. This in itself is a positive, thus it will be time to empower yourself to be what a suicidal person views you to be; stronger and you are.

 

4. Other steps to take include reassuring them that help is available and that with appropriate treatment they can feel better. Try not to patronize them by simply telling them that "everything will be fine," or that "they have everything to live for.

 

5. Try to search the house for dangerous items such as guns and knives that could be potentially harmful.

 

In addition to the factors above, if you are of a spiritual inclination, this will be a good time to pray according to the framework of your faith. Indeed, prayer when used effectively can work wonders to aid in curtailing depression suicide.

Moreover, in the hopes that your loved one begins to show signs of improvement from the warnings indicating depression suicide, it will be great to start to include such drug-free approaches for depression treatment such as exercise: namely Yoga, a proper diet for physical health which in turn heals the mind and positive thinking and affirmations.

 

Naturally we all would get concerned or frightened if a loved one seems on the brink of suicide resulting from depression, however as with all life's problems, if we can catch it early and nip it in the bud, depression suicide can be prevented. If things may have gotten more advanced, then it may be time to seek professional help or as an alternative double up on our efforts to steer the loved one back to a positive outlook on life.

 

Foras Aje is an independent health researcher and founder of Bodyhealthsoul.com, a website on Natural Health and Wellness. For additional information on depression treatment go to: http://www.bodyhealthsoul.com/depression.htm

 

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As always, before you attempt to self medicate or try a new health regimen or program we suggest you retain the services of a qualified health care professional.

 

Depression Hurts, but You can beat it at its game.

 

Thank God we have problems. No, that is not a misprint friend. It is true. Why?

Because it means we are still alive and guess what, it means you are being made stronger. Granted, we all have problems, some big, some small; all a source of worry, anxiety and maybe even sadness. It is part of living. The truth is it is how we handle our difficulties and problems that can make or break us as humans. Difficulties should act as a spur for action, according to Charles de Gaulle: "Difficulties attracts the man of character because it is in embracing it that he realizes himself!"

 

As powerful a grip as depression may have on you, as much as depression hurts and can make things seem hopeless, remember the quote above and make the steps to belittle the strength of this enemy of your happiness, before this foe called depression hurts you.

 

"Okay, Mr. "Big Shot", you tell me how to go about overcoming my depression" I will do my best for you my friend, but promise that you will try what I tell you.

 

To lessen the pain of depression and your problems, here are some tips for you.

1. Think positively thoughts as much as is humanly possible. Always believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he..." If you think 'it' that things will improve, fate and the life forces around will be at your disposal to aid you to succeed.

 

2. Watch what you utter and try as much as possible to say positive things about your life, the cause of your depression and situations. "Death and Life is in the power of your tongue (words), those who love its fruits (aware of its consequences) will eat from it. (enjoy...or well if negative, not enjoy...it) Speak to your situation by repeating positive affirmation aloud.

 

3. Assess your problems and DO something about it. Try to figure out why it occurred in the first place, learn from the situation and take the lesson as a learning experience you can draw from to make things better in the future.

 

Now, since a common symptom of depression is a feeling of worthlessness, why not increase your self-worth and confidence by making yourself healthier. A healthy body equates to a healthy mind, and a healthy mind, friends, is a powerful one. Stronger than any hurt depression could bring your way, stronger than your problems, stronger than your pains. But, like any muscle, you've got to work at it to 'make' it strong.

 

I mentioned getting healthy. Well we all know how; through a proper diet and exercise.

The former will nourish and make you literally feel great and the latter, especially in regards to depression will exercise the motor centers of the brain, making the blood flow away from the emotional activity center; consequently you become more receptive to positive thoughts, which by the way is the first step to healing depression -there is a quote that supports this, it goes-"Be transformed by the renewing of your thoughts"

 

Say that over and over, until it seeks into your subconscious.

For those who believe in the existence of the Unseen yet the Omnipotent and Present One...God. A simple and straightforward prayer asking for His help can and will soothe the pain and challenges we may have to face in our lives. He has promised us two things when it comes to facing life's ups and downs: "He will never give us more than we can handle" and to "Fear not for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God, I will help thee and strengthen and I will uphold you with my victorious right Hand!". Indeed, these are powerful verses to keep in mind in coping with depression.

 

I'm not saying things will be instantly better, hey Rome wasn't built in a day friends.

With anything in life, you have to work-not necessarily hard at it-but smarter and we all know you only get out of something what you put into it-actually, a lot more.

 

Depression hurts, we know that; but now YOU can beat depression because you are stronger!

 

Foras Aje is an independent health researcher and founder of Bodyhealthsoul.com, a website on Natural Health and Wellness. For additional information on depression treatment go to: http://www.bodyhealthsoul.com/depression.htm

 

Depression Help: What can the Bible do to ease the pain of depression?

There are specific quotes in the Bible that target emotional health and well being and this should come as no surprise as this Book does cover, in my opinion the whole range of humanity, including depression and its symptoms. As a source of a help for depression, like perhaps any religious book, it could work wonders for dealing with depression-of course when used wisely.

 

I believe it's been said that we only use about 10% of our brain and maybe even less when it comes to our problems, which in turn aggravates how much depression hurts or seems to affect us. If you truly look within and reach for the strength that lies inside of all of us, you will see that most problems are really only bigger than what they are. Truthfully we magnify their effects with pessimistic and hopeless thoughts.

 

These symptoms of depression, which consequently make us seek help, include feeling alone, having low-self esteem, a negative outlook on life and even in some more adverse cases, suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, there is a God who cares and His assistance in regards to a successful depression treatment remains unmatched. The key is you have to approach the methods the RIGHT WAY.

Most of us turn to prayer in seeking depression help, however as I've stated in previous articles, to get the answers you seek for your problems (which actually may lie within, by the way) will require a clear mind. This perhaps can come only from a cleaner body. Since fasting is advocated in several faiths, perhaps this is why most people in the Bible (or even the Quran) fasted before, during and after seeking God's help.

 

Remember drugless remedies have three limbs: Diet, exercise and Positive thinking. I've covered the diet and exercise part, let's deal with positive thoughts for depression help.

 

To strengthen your thoughts and emotional health with the Bible (obviously I am Christian folks, but I am sure any religious book will work), I refer you to what I label as thought conditioners that you can use for depression help in conjunction to the proper diet and exercises touched on in other articles.

 

Depression Help: Biblical Quotes for Positive Affirmations

1. Romans 12 verse 2: "Be ye Transformed by the renewing of your thoughts"

 

2. Nahum 1 verse 7: "The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble and He remembers those that trust in Him"

 

3. Isaiah 41 verse 10: "Fear not for I am with you, don't be dismayed for I am your God,I will help you and make you strong and uphold you with my victorious Right Hand"

 

4. Hebrews 13 verse 5: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

 

5. Psalm 23 verse 4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 

6. 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation (problem) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (tested) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (problem) will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

 

Okay, I have to stop friends, why?

Because there are TONS of verses you can draw spiritual strength and help for depression from. They are best personalized to make them work effectively as depression help tools for your situation.

 

You may choose to repeat them upon awakening or right before going to sleep to enable the thoughts to seek into your subconscious. Moreover, borrowing from my previous article on using Yoga for depression help, why not try affirming some of these words mentally in the wonderful and exhilarating corpse pose.

 

Remember though, as powerful as these verses are, to derive the best results, ensure to include the other limbs of drug-free healing being exercise and diet in regards to a successful depression help program.

 

So empower yourself today to a successful help for depression with biblical quotes and the right positive attitude.

May happiness be yours.

 

Foras Aje is an independent researcher and author of Fitness: Inside and out, a book on improving physical and mental health naturally. For additional information on depression treatment go to: http://www.bodyhealthsoul.com/depression.htm

 

Depression Treatment and Changing your Diet, Results could beat using drugs.

 

I had stated in a previous article how Yoga could work as a natural depression treatment based on my own experiences. To add to that information-being a very important limb of Yoga into itself- what you eat also has an effect on your mental health. Consequently, if you're interested in a drug-free treatment of depression, without the side-effects common to most depression medications, a crucial step will be to make some dietetic changes amongst other factors.

 

However, what should be the main priority, to avoid adding insult to injury when using depression medications, will ironically be avoiding their use considering the many side effects common to these anti-depression drugs. Effective as they may be for a while, it's been noted that these substances have several side effects which may include nausea, fatigue, insomnia and some sexual dysfunctions. In some cases on mental side effects, mania has even been reported; so needless to say, a drug free depression treatment might be your best AND safest bet for your health.

 

Now, when in depression, most of us have the tendency to binge in an effort to mask our feelings or deaden the pain, some of us go as far as soliciting the use of alcohol, drugs or even sex for depression help. Yes, they may give some relief for a while, but when these mere distractions wear off, the symptoms of depression always do come back, and with a vengeance.

 

This considered, it will be safe to say the first step of a dietetic factor in regards to depression treatment could be refraining from food, at least for a while friends, really. An observance of nature will show us that when animals are frightened or angered, they refrain from eating until after the passage of considerable time. It is true that under stressful circumstances many civilized people refrain from eating and find in truth that they lack the desire for food, but it is also too often that most will eat large meals under these circumstances, which will be mostly disease forming foods to start with, that as a consequence, complicates or altogether halts an already retarded ongoing digestion. This endless cycle leads to even more toxins and poisons in an already encumbered body.

 

So what are you saying Foras (that's my name by the way), I should fast or something? Well, if you can, that will be excellent. At least till your emotional balance returns, which will be the end result as the body is not taxed with the duties of digestion, assimilation and re-building. Your mind clears and all moroseness disappears and consequently, we tend to find the answers to the problems warranting a treatment for depression in the first place.

 

Now for many, I agree it might be asking for too much to fast during a stressful time based on old habits, but as an alternative, it will be advisable to steer clear of harmful mucus forming foods and partake of body healing ones: Fruits and Vegetables. A restricted diet of one kind of fruit can be considered a camouflaged fasts but you have to be knowledgeable of its season, how it was grown (organically or conventional) and even when to eat as body cleansing and building do occur at specific times of the day.

 

Now, not to get of the subject of depression treatment, these steps, be they a fast or a healthier diet, will ensure that the body is cleaner and well we all should know by now that a cleaner body equates to a cleaner mind. In fact Yoga sages (this obviously showing my vote of Yoga for anti-depression) suggest that certain foods, which they coin as 'rajasic' (stimulating foods including Spices, alcohol, and animal products) foods have a negative stimulating effect on the nervous and endocrine systems, the two main ones that are related to mental health and consequently depression.

 

Based on their impeccable analysis of the human body, it may be safe to say these old Yoga Sages are completely right in suggesting we as humans-or at least those of us seeking the use of Yoga for depression treatment-should abstain from these foods for optimal success.

 

Is it a co-incidence that these same foods are the ones that have been shown to wreak havoc on our physical health? I think not folks. This considered, instead of introducing chemical substances into your body in a quest for seeking depression treatment, from the facts above, it will be wise to first make a dietetic change, which again may include a short fast, at least to clear our minds first to tackle our problems, then eat the proper foods for nourishment and of course partake in some physical exercise (my choice being some Yoga) to obtain the inevitable feel-good results.

 

Depression is something we all may go through at some point, but thankfully relief and a successful treatment of it is not out of reach and this without harmful side-effects.

 

So empower yourself to a successful depression treatment targeting its root cause with drug-free methods of healing. On the subject of diet and depression treatment, I choose to remind you of this quote: "Let your foods be your medicine and your medicine your foods" (By Hippocrates the 'Father or Medicine")

 

May happiness be yours.

 

Foras Aje is an independent researcher and author of Fitness: Inside and out, a book on improving physical and mental health naturally. For additional information on depression treatment go to: http://www.bodyhealthsoul.com/depression.htm

 

Depression Treatment: Pick Yoga over Medications for Anti-depression

 

I have been practicing Yoga for close to 5 years now. Prior to this time, my life had been a day-to-day existence erected by symptoms of depression and low self-esteem. Aggravated by marring acne and burdensome Asthma symptoms, not feeling depressed was usually a rare occurrence. A rare occurrence that is; until I discovered Yoga and how it could help with depression treatment.

 

It's not a surprise that I was not alone during this time as research has shown that some form of depression treatment medication is offered to over 20 million Americans annually. However, what should be the main cause of concern are the many side effects common to these anti-depression drugs. Effective as they may be for a while, it's been noted that these depression drugs have several side effects which may include nausea, fatigue, insomnia and some sexual dysfunctions.

 

Thankfully, as with nearly any human ailment, at least in its not fatal stages, drug-free healing is not limited to curing any discomfort-including depression and this without these side-effects. One standout alternative for depression treatment my friends will be the incomparable Yoga.

 

How is this so? Well, first of all, with Yoga and its gentle movements and poses, Alpha waves (relaxation) and Theta waves (unconscious memory, dreams and emotions) tend to increase significantly after its execution. This finding is based on a Scandinavian study conducted by Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., that measured brain waves before and after a two-hour Yoga class.

 

As a result, you tend to have more contact with your own subconscious and emotions. Moreover, after its use, alpha waves increases in the right temporal region of the brain as other studies have shown that people with depression tend to have more alpha activity in the left frontal-temporal region, while optimistic, extroverted people have more alpha activity on the right.

 

Moreover, with the execution of Yoga, a noted reduction in the hormone known as cortisol and increase in the hormone prolactin occurs--which is believed by many professionals to be the key in producing the anti-depressant effect of electroshock therapy

If this all sounds a bit advanced, perhaps a simpler illustration of how Yoga works effectively for depression treatment may be that it exercises the motor centers of the brain, making the blood flow away from the emotional activity center; consequently one becomes more receptive to positive thoughts.

 

Although this can be accomplished by the use of several Yoga poses, I will narrow the wide array of choices down to three simple yet very effective ones namely the Sun Salutations, Shoulder Stand and Relaxation poses.

 

Depression Treatment: Choice of Yoga Poses for depression help

 

1. The Sun Salutations:

The sun exercises stimulates and balances all systems of the body including the endocrine and nervous systems that have marked effects on our emotions, furthermore they induce deep breathing, which has been known over the ages to help alleviate many a stressful situation. Performed in rounds of 3, they actually are a combination of very simple movements executed in a flowing motion. Although they are usually a warm up to other Yoga poses, they can stand on their own as a Yoga session so you may not have to spend too much time to reap Yoga's benefits as an alternative treatment for depression.

 

2. The Shoulder- Stand:

In spite of what its name may suggest, no worries, this pose is indeed very easy to execute and is the one pose that both old and new Yoga Instructors and writers view as near panacea for most human ailments including depression. It is essentially a very easy inversion pose that I see most kids practicing unknowingly...most of us have at some point, so again, it's really easy. Being that you're inverted, everything is turned upside down, throwing a new light on old behavioral patterns. Working together with its counter poses, you will see for yourself what this pose can do for depression treatment.

 

3. The Relaxation Pose:

Daddy of them all! As the name suggests; it involves lying motionless on one's back with emphasis on deep, even breathing and meditation. It is usually performed for several minutes to alleviate stress and mental tension and positive affirmations such as helpful verses from religious books could be mentally repeated during its execution. Being a Christian myself, one of my favorite verses while executing this pose will be a personalized derivative of Rom 12: 2-"I am being transformed by the renewing of my thoughts."

 

Depression Treatment: Closing Thoughts on Other Factors.

No one is saying that Yoga POSES alone will be the end all be all of your depression. No. Poses alone DO NOT constitute Yoga. Breathing exercises (known as pranayama), Meditation, (which could be rooted in your religious or spiritual beliefs) and a proper diet-all being important limbs of Yoga, should be used in your use of Yoga for depression treatment.

 

These limbs will be subjects of other articles to save space; however, for a depression treatment alternative without unwanted and oft times harmful side effects, dare I say drug-free healing using simple Yoga principles and natural methods might be your best bet, it did work for me.

 

So the next time depression sends you to the doctor, you may do well to ask for a new prescription for depression treatment-Yoga. I believe it won't hurt and possibly could help you immensely.

 

Foras Aje is an independent health researcher and founder of Bodyhealthsoul.com. For more information on Depression Treatment, feel free to stop by his website today.

5 Quick Ways To Ease Stress, Depression & Anxiety

No ceremony with this article, let's go straight into five quick ways that will help you find relief from stress, depression and anxiety.

1. Take regular breaks from the firing line. Working hard without regular breaks is a great way to build up stress and tension. Make sure you have at least one 15-minute break in the morning and one in the afternoon as well as at least 20 minutes for lunch. If possible, eat lunch away from your workstation. Equally, if you have a lot to deal with in your life right now, taking a day, or a weekend elsewhere - longer if you can - to get some breathing space will really help. Even just a day away from the firing line will enable you to get some distance from the problems and help you to gather your thoughts.

 

2. Regular exercise can help relieve stress, depression and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins into your system and will give you a natural boost. It will also provide you with a break from brooding and dwelling upon problems and troubles - but only if you perform the right kind of exercises. Avoid: Exercises that allow you to brood (weight lifting, jogging, treadmills) and perform exercises that require your full concentration. Competitive sports such as squash, tennis, badminton and circuit training are all excellent examples. It is important that you do not brood when you exercise because although you will be benefiting physically, you are still stressing yourself mentally and the stress, depression and anxiety will worsen.

 

3. Stop beating yourself up. Self-deprecation is a huge part of stress, depression and anxiety. Each time you beat up on yourself, you will erode confidence and self-esteem. Never tell yourself you're useless, worthless, stupid, hopeless, boring, ugly, and a loser. Never convince yourself that other people hate you, that others find you difficult to be around and that you're better off being alone. You would never deem it acceptable to say such things to other people and you must deem it equally unacceptable to say them to yourself. These words and phrases are powerful and they will hurt you. Accept you're not perfect and that you make mistakes - just like everybody else does - and cut yourself some slack. From this day, make a pact with me to never indulge self-deprecation ever again. IT IS UNACCEPTABLE.

 

If a person experiences at least five of these symptoms for one month they have major depression. Mild depression would typically be defined as having two to four of these symptoms for over one month. Bipolar disorder (manic depression) includes swings from deeply depressive moods to wildly manic moods (elation, irritability, hostility, inflated thoughts of self, boasting)--with many intensities and variations.

 

4. Isolation is another problem experienced by stress, depression and anxiety sufferers. OK, there will be times when you just want your own company. During such times, you can brood over and over again on problems and events and beat yourself up for hours on end. Not good. Instead, use isolation more positively. Occupy your mind by tackling a jigsaw puzzle, a logic problem, a crossword, read a book or perform a hobby such as painting, playing a musical instrument or whatever it is you have an interest in. In this way, isolation will help you to grow instead of causing you further pain.

 

5. Television, radio and newspapers can all supply you with a daily hit of negativity and help lower your mood. In the main, they concentrate on the negative side of life: crime, corruption, war, scandal and natural disasters and can give you a distorted view of reality. Not to mention the amount of image manipulation they subject you to. Give yourself a break from this negative drip feed and avoid them completely for one week. You may find, like I have, that they have no place in your life after that. Trust me, you won't miss them.

 

That's five, quick tips for you to help fight stress, depression and anxiety. Please give them a try, they'll all help to boost your mood levels very quickly indeed.

 

Former anxiety sufferer Chris Green is the author of "Conquering Stress", the internationally acclaimed program which will help you to permanently conquer stress, depression and anxiety without taking powerful drugs. For a free mini course, please click here => http://www.conqueringstress.com

Overcoming Depression Biblically and Naturally

PURPOSE OF ARTICLE

The Berean Bible Society desires to have a variety of articles in the Berean Searchlight that cover a range of topics from doctrinal to practical Christian living. Depression is a very important Christian-living topic.

 

The Bible has much to say about depression; interestingly, the causes and solutions are not what are commonly thought in Christian circles. This article will offer insights that may help erase the stigma associated with depression and to see it in a new light. When seen correctly, there is no more stigma or shame associated with depression than any other illness.

 

For those afflicted with depression, please understand you are not alone in your feelings, not going out of your mind, confusion is common, and the inexplicable black cloud can be lifted. A sad truth is that many Christians suffer from depression and either do not know it (they are miserable but do not know why) or cannot admit it because they think that would be admitting a spiritual problem. So, they suffer in silence hoping and praying for deliverance; but the consequences of doing nothing often result in further complications. To be the comforters of II Corinthians 1:6 (and to help ourselves) we have to understand depression's causes, avoid false assumptions and grasp the concepts of how to gain victory. We will see that our brains malfunction like any organ or system of our body. Would we be gracious comforters if we went to a person with diabetes (or any physical ailment) and told them their problem was due to sin or lack of faith? Generally we would be wrong and we would just be heaping misery upon misery and making matters worse.

 

UNDERSTANDING DEPRESSION

 

What is Depression:

Depression is a prolonged emotional tone dominating an individual's outlook and mood. Normal moods of sadness, grief, and elation are typically short-lived and part of everyday life, but these can progress into a depressed mental state. Other symptoms often accompany depression but the most common symptoms of major depression are:

 

* deep sadness or emptiness,
* apathy, loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities,
* agitation or restlessness, physical hyperactivity or inactivity,
* sleep disturbances,
* weight/appetite disturbances,
* diminished ability to think or concentrate,
* feelings of excessive guilt, self-reproach or worthlessness,
* feelings of fatigue or loss of energy, and
* morbid thoughts of death or suicide.

 

When asked "what brings you pleasure in life" most unsaved, depressed people will look down and finally say something like "nothing." The saved are more guarded because they fear if they admit "nothing" they will be thought unspiritual, so they say something like "being saved" or "knowing Christ." The saved, depressed person generally knows about their eternal and heavenly blessings, for which they are thankful, but they feel trapped <U>now</U> by inexplicable emotional tones and moods. Consider this man trapped by depression's grip.

 

"I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would be not one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully (regretfully) forebode (foretell) I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better it appears to me."--Abraham Lincoln

 

Biblical Occurrences:

Depression is the ascendancy and tyranny of our emotions over our lives. Thus, Proverbs 15:13 says, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." Often an initiating discouragement leads to sadness, which leads to prolonged grief, and then into a downhill spiral to depression. Depression is a universal problem, but no one really knows if Biblical characters had what we call depression, or if it would be more appropriate to say they suffered emotionally. However, Paul in I Corinthians 10:13 says, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able...". Temptation can mean trial, calamity, or affliction. Accordingly, we should understand that our present day afflictions were also common to the great Bible characters.

 

David was overwhelmed with grief and sadness, his heart was desolate, and his tears fell all night (Psa. 61:2, 77:2-3, 142:4, and 143:4). Jonah, Jeremiah (Jer. 15), Job, and Elijah (I Kings 19) are other examples. Whenever characters express rejection, loneliness, self-pity, hopelessness, overwhelming grief, and wish they had not been born, it seems they are expressing more than temporary sadness but classic symptoms of major depression. Paul had classic symptoms: his flesh had no rest, he was troubled on all sides, he was cast down, he had fears within, and he despaired of life (II Cor. 1:8 & 7:5-6). Hannah (I Samuel 1) had many of the symptoms of depression and her spiritual leader instantly and incorrectly accused her of a spiritual problem.

 

It seems there is a universal truth concerning depression, that is, the non-depressed rarely understand the unrelenting pain involved, the feelings of hopelessness (in this life, not once delivered from this body), and think the person should just pick themselves up and get over it. It is not that easy. In fact, when that part of the brain that mediates emotions is not functioning properly, medical help (not criticism) is often needed.

 

Depression Considerations:

Each year depression strikes ten million people in the United States. Older Christians have more depression than younger; does this mean that spiritual maturity is of no avail? No, what this indicates is that older people have more biochemical and brain malfunctions as they age; depression is a natural consequence. Similarly, more women (two to three times) have depression than men. Women do not have more spiritual problems than men, but they do process adverse events differently than men, and, they have a complex body chemistry that can get out of balance, both leading to depression. Women tend to take adverse events and internalize them and take the blame--this is a thought-processing problem. Men tend to react to the same events with escapism (sports, TV, sexual obsessions, alcohol); which can later result in heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc.--again, a thought-processing problem but with different results. There is another difference: women tend to feel their depression (sadness/guilt) while men act it out in their behavior (rage, hostility and frustration).

 

Causes:

Understanding the causes of depression is very helpful to finding the solution. It is rare that there is only one causative agent, generally there are several at work. Listed below (no specific order) are some factors known to contribute to depression:

 

* nutrient deficiency or excess
* drugs (prescription, illicit, caffeine)
* hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
* hormonal imbalances
* allergies
* heavy metals
* sexual abuse as a child
* microbial overgrowths/toxins
* medical conditions (stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, diabetes, thyroid)
* natural light deprivation
* psychological factors (generally poor thought-processing)
* spiritual factors

 

Depression can have its source in our body, soul or spirit. Our body can affect our soul and spirit and vice versa. For example: if one has a low thyroid function it may affect the soul (for example the emotions) leading to depression which then affects one's spiritual life. Affecting our spiritual life does not mean it changes our standing or position in Christ, it means things like a less productive outreach/ministry and a more self-oriented prayer life.

 

Research since the 1990's has helped clarify this whole issue and there is now better understanding on the causes and solutions. The brain's frontal lobe (behind the forehead) is now known to be intimately involved in emotional well-being. It is recognized that one of the characteristics of virtually all depressed people is a significant decrease in the frontal lobe's blood flow and activity. The main cause of impaired frontal lobe function is a harmful lifestyle--the same cause of most of our physical diseases.

 

There is now no question that reductions in frontal lobe function lie at the core of depression. Complimenting this research is the finding that depressed children have significantly smaller frontal lobes than non-depressed children. The evidence indicates that frontal lobe problems are the cause and not the effect. The frontal lobe's proper function requires adequate blood flow and nerve chemistry.

 

As fog veils a beautiful meadow, so depression clouds life itself; existence becomes dreary and dark. It has been described as darkness visible. One can go to bed feeling fine only to wake with an overwhelming gloom that cannot be explained or escaped. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a renewed way of processing the events of our lives we can break through that fog into a sunny day.

 

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (Proverbs 17:21).

 

Consequences:

Now that it is clear that depression is related to many factors, primarily to frontal lobe malfunction, let's consider the consequences of depression. Depression weakens the immune system's power to attack cancer cells, increases the risk of fatal stroke by 50%, increases the risk of sudden cardiac death in heart attack survivors by 250%, and increases the complications of pneumonia. It has been found that depression increase stress hormone levels, hypertension, and headaches; it complicates diabetes and is the leading cause of suicide (its close relative). The point is clear, depression should be addressed early or it may lead to fatal consequences. However, because of their illness depressed persons have diminished ability to combat their own disease, so help is often needed to lift them out of the pit of despair.

 

How the Brain Works:

By God's design, all brain activity (every thought, feeling and emotion, every order the brain sends to the organs and cells) is the product of electrochemical signals. The brain's electrical signals require a chemical to carry the signal across a small opening (synapse) between cells. The chemicals used to do this are called neurotransmitters. To have a properly functioning system we need an adequate amount of neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitter most commonly associated with depression is serotonin.

 

Depressed people have low serotonin levels. Thus, they have impaired brain message sending, especially relating to emotions and mood. Serotonin is produced in the brain from tryptophan (a protein), which is converted into 5-HTP, and then into serotonin. Some serotonin is converted into melatonin, the hormone needed for proper sleep (thus the connection between depression and sleep disorders). One cause of low serotonin is the lack of an enzyme that converts tryptophan to 5-HTP. Before proceeding, just think how unfair it would be to tell a depressed person that is missing this needed enzyme that they have a spiritual problem. As a doctor told a dear sister in Christ who just could not understand why she could not get over her depression, "quit beating yourself up about it, your body just does not produce enough serotonin."

 

THERAPEUTIC CONSIDERATIONS

This article will consider botanical medicine, medications, proper lifestyle, nutrition, thought processing, and spiritual direction--the most common causes of depression. Some consider botanical or pharmaceutical medications for depression to be "mind-numbing" or "feel-good" drugs. This is unfortunate because such medications only help a depressed person feel more "normal" (a non-depressed person would feel worse or no change).

 

If depression were primarily spiritually induced, people should not get better from medications because medications do nothing about the spiritual problem. If the medications merely treat the symptoms and do not get to the root spiritual cause then the depression should always come back once the medications are stopped, which is not the case.

 

Steve Shober is a Naturopath (natural health practitioner) and a member of the Berean Bible Society Board of Directors. If you have questions about this article or would like a presentation on depression at your church, contact him at: shober@chorus.net

 

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