Our lives are hectic, we are always on the go, over scheduled and incessantly multi tasking. So its no wonder that according to the Canadian Mental Health Associations (CAMH) approximately 2.5 million Canadians or 10% of the population suffer from anxiety and depression. Many who suffer from such disorders have decided, rather than turning to pharmaceutical relief instead, are turning towards alternative therapies and supplements. This is particularly true for those who are struggling with recovery. As we have mentioned in numerous blogs before, recovery is on going journey, anxiety and depression challenge one’s sobriety, it can drive one to seek relief in drugs (both prescription and non) and alcohol. Alternative methods to coping with overwhelming feelings and emotions brought on by anxiety and depression are thoroughly sought out. Strategies such as:
- Maintaining Routines: This is very important as those who suffer from anxiety and depression describe feeling they have lost control of their lives. Even the simplest routines will give one a sense of control and predictability in a world which would otherwise feel like chaos.
- Goals: Setting even the simplest of goals, such as making your bed, or staying caught up on your laundry is empowering.
- Healthy Diet: Eating fresh, whole foods rather than over processed fatty and sugary foods, helps to maintain high energy and mood levels.
- Exercise: It is well documented that physical exercise releases endorphins (a.k.a the feel good hormones) throughout the body, this helps overcome feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Sleep: Even a few hours of lost sleep can leave one feeling tired and disoriented, more than one night can alter your mood, and impair judgment. One can better cope with feelings of anxiety and depression when one is well rested.
In addition to the implementing these life strategies, many turn to supplements:
- Fish oil: Excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are key to optimal brain health, without this fundamental building block the brains ceases to operate properly resulting in feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Vitamins B6, B12 and Vitamin D: People who suffer from depression often have low levels of these vitamins in their systems.
Increasing one’s intake of these vitamins helps to promote the brains production of serotonin, overcoming feelings of depression.
- Herbal Supplements: St John’s Wort and saffron (the dried inner stem of the crocus flower) are known to be effective in fighting mild to moderate depression, while Kava (extracted from the piper methysticum) is commonly used to treat anxiety.
- Essential Oils: Various essential oils derived from certain flowers have been used to ease feelings of anxiety and depression. Rose oil, geranium, bergamot, jasmine and lavender are all quite beneficial.
- Green Tea: L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea which is found to help stimulate the production of calming alpha waves, which result in supressing feelings of anxiety. Furthermore, l-theanine also stimulates the production of mood boosting endorphins.
Turning to alternative therapies and supplements are by no means a quick fix solution, in fact most don’t realize the benefits until weeks, and in some cases months later. The benefits when they are realized are well worth the effort.
We would like to stress that you must consult with your health care practitioner before beginning any kind of alternative therapy to deal with anxiety and depression. Dealing with anxiety and depression is difficult under the best of circumstances however, if one is also dealing with recovery the task that much harder. Consulting with your physician,and or therapist in order to determine the appropriate treatment for your anxiety and depression is the key to winning this battle.
The Oasis Movement