Research Suggests That Mood Disorders Can Be Lifted By Spending More Time Outdoors
Looking for a simple way to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and maybe even improve your memory? Take a walk in the woods.
“Many men are at higher risk for mood disorders as they age, from dealing with sudden life changes like health issues, the loss of loved ones, and even the new world of retirement,” says Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance. “They may not want to turn to medication or therapy for help, and for many, interacting with nature is one of the best self-improvement tools they can use.”
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Nature And Mental Health Problems
Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. For example, research into ecotherapy has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression. This might be due to combining regular physical activity and social contact with being outside in nature.
Being outside in natural light can be helpful if you experience seasonal affective disorder , a type of depression that affects people during particular seasons or times of year. And people tell us that getting into nature has helped them with many other types of mental health problems.
Watching the birds and squirrels always has a calming effect and takes me out of my own head.
Anxieties about climate change can also have a big impact on our wellbeing. If climate change is affecting your mental health, spending time connecting to nature may be helpful. You could also get involved with conservation activities or campaigns to protect the environment.
I’ve had mild to moderate problems with anxiety, depression and OCD all my life. In recent years volunteering on my local city farm has been the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done, besides good talking therapy.
Nature: How Genes Contribute To Depression
Depression is known to run in familiespeople who have a direct relative who has been diagnosed with depression are up to three times more likely to develop depression.
Multiple studies conducted throughout the years reveal that inherited genes play an important role in the development of depression. However, there is no one gene that, when inherited, significantly increases the risk of depression. Several genes that have a small influence on the development of depression.
Recommended Reading: Depression Support Groups Gainesville Fl
The True Nature Of Depression
In order to defeat depression, you must first understand what depression is, and what it is not. In other words, you must understand the true nature of it.
It begins by understanding that depression is not a thing. You can scour the world around you, and you will never find depression lurking in some dark cave. You wont find it slithering around at the bottom of the sea, nor will you find it waiting to pounce out at you from behind a dumpster in a dark alleyway. You can also survey your entire body. You wont find a cell, a growth, a gene or a virus anywhere in the human body that can be identified as depression. No, depression is not a thing. Depression is a state.
Depression is an energetic state. Specifically, it is a very low energetic state. Having said that, depression is not energy in and of itself. Depression is merely a state that can result when energy runs low. Think of depression similar to darkness or cold. There is no such thing as darkness, only an absence of light. There is no such thing as cold, only an absence of heat. Likewise, there is no such thing as depression, but only an absence of energy.
What is it inside of you that needs to be increased in order to defeat depression? It is your energy, plain and simple! The more energetic you feel, the less depressed you will be.
Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
Read Also: Natural Cures For Seasonal Depression
The Interactional Nature Of Depression:
Even when theorists, researchers, and therapists themselves forget, depressed people will say that their environment in interpersonal relationships matter: Relationships perceived as good buffer them from depression, and involvement in relationships perceived as bad contributes to and maintains their depression.
Depressed individuals frequently know that they are in a “Catch 22” dilemma of needing the very people whom their symptoms disaffect. Processes such as “excessive reassurance seeking” and “negative feedback seeking” may be involved in the cycle of depression. Depressed individuals may also realize that their therapy needs to focus on improving the nature of their relationships. It is the insight that depressed people are often correct in these perceptions that is the lasting and most profound contribution of the interpersonal approach to understanding the antecedents, maintenance, and treatment of depression.
The interpersonal approach that depression is an interactional style has become highly influential in the field and has produced several lines of empirical study and of therapeutic intervention. Certainly, a principal goal of The Interactional Nature of Depression: Advances in Interpersonal Approaches is to claim a central place for this tradition of thought and science in the collection of fundamental views on depression.
About the Editors
The Function Of Rumination
In addition to negative cognitive content in depression, research clearly identifies a particular ruminative cognitive style in depression. In fact, a ruminative cognitive style predicts the onset , length , and severity of depressive episodes. Depressed individuals may spend long periods of time lost in thought, rehashing events of the day and stewing over problems this leads to increased negatively biased thoughts, poor problem solving, inhibition of operant behavior, impaired concentration, increased stress, and increased problems . A complete behavioral analysis of depression needs to account for the relation between negative cognitive content and depressed mood as well as the function of rumination.
Also Check: Is Ketamine Used For Depression
What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locator.
Onset Of Depression More Complex Than A Brain Chemical Imbalance
It’s often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is. Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
With this level of complexity, you can see how two people might have similar symptoms of depression, but the problem on the inside, and therefore what treatments will work best, may be entirely different.
What follows is an overview of the current understanding of the major factors believed to play a role in the causes of depression.
Fear Of Contracting Covid
Jaeyell Kim, a Toronto social worker and psychotherapist, says he was not surprised by the survey results.
Kim said he, like many other therapists, is operating at full capacity. He said he noticed a drastic uptick in similar reports from his clients after the Omicron wave kicked in, due to feeling isolated and not knowing what the future holds.
Kim said some clients who started to feel optimism last year because of COVID-19 vaccines and loosened restrictions were hit with a harder sense of helplessness and loneliness during this wave.
“People are starting to ask more questions like ‘What if this never ends?’ and I think that really starts to increase the levels of anxiety,” Kim told CBC News. “We are constantly asking questions and … we try to come up with the worst case scenario to prepare ourselves.”
The survey is the ninth and final CAMH survey in a series on Canadians’ pandemic health and substance abuse, conducted in collaboration with Delvinia, a research technology and consumer data collection company.
Atypical Depression Symptoms Treatments And Diagnosis Webmd
Atypical Depression Symptoms, Treatments, and Diagnosis.
Research indicates that blue light transcends to various other lights in the range for treating depression. Depression in the Elderly Depression in the elderly is really common. Treatment may entail antidepressants, psychiatric therapy, or electroconvulsive treatment. The psychotic symptoms that may come with depression are typically related to the depression, like listening to voices that are essential or convince the interactional nature of depression a person that he or she does not be worthy of to live. Delusions are generally associated with guilt and also embarassment and are usually unfavorable. Thinking one has a dreadful disease, for instance, is a deception characteristic of psychotic depression.
Don’t Miss: Can Being Lonely Lead To Depression
Depression In Older Adults
The difficult changes that many older adults facesuch as bereavement, loss of independence, and health problemscan lead to depression, especially in those without a strong support system. However, depression is not a normal part of aging. Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms of depression, and so the problem often goes unrecognised. Depression in older adults is associated with poor health, a high mortality rate, and an increased risk of suicide, so diagnosis and treatment are extremely important. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to becoming over medicated and the consequent negative side effects.
The Kusnacht Practice has pioneered the treatment of depression without the use of prescription medications. Treatment is based on a treatment plan precisely tailored to the clients needs and is created following: a review of their medical file, a comprehensive medical examination, three assessments, biochemical and genetic testing and analysis that we complete during the first few days of their stay with us. We treat the entire person: body, mind and soul. Our priority is to identify and treat the underlying causes of the depression, not just the symptoms with prescription medication. In our experience, prescription pharmaceuticals often dont work well enough for many people and their side effects create new psychological and physical health problems.
Read more about our treatment approach here.
The Heterogeneous Nature Of Depression
- Universiteit van Amsterdam
- Depression is generally considered to be a specific and consistent disorder characterized by a fixed set of symptoms and often treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, the standard rating scales used by healthcare professionals and researchers to diagnose this disease often differ in the symptoms they list, perhaps explaining why a one-size-fits-all treatment has to date been so ineffective, new research suggests.
Depression is generally considered to be a specific and consistent disorder characterised by a fixed set of symptoms and often treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, the standard rating scales used by healthcare professionals and researchers to diagnose this disease often differ in the symptoms they list, perhaps explaining why a one-size-fits-all treatment has to date been so ineffective. This is the finding of research conducted by psychologist Eiko Fried from the University of Amsterdam . His results are published in the latest edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders.
Explore the latest scientific research on sleep and dreams in this free online course from New Scientistâ
Brain Chemistry Vs Inflammation
In addition to the nature vs. nature debate, researchers have also been digging deeper into the biological cause of depression, namely whether depression is caused by inflammation, brain chemistry, or both.
- Brain chemistry. Depression is associated with how our pituitary gland and hypothalamus change our brains hormonal makeup. Neurotransmittersthe hormones developed by our brainsare chemical messengers that are thought to be mood-regulators, as well. Some research shows that an imbalance of neurotransmitters can cause depression-like symptoms.
- There is some research to indicate that inflammation and depression are closely linked. For example, inflammation is elevated in those who suffer from depression vs. those who are not. A study of twins showed that the twin who had a higher measure of inflammation was more likely to develop depression in the future.
So, whats the takeaway from all of this information? That there is still a lot we dont know about depression and other psychiatric disorders. What we do know is that depression can be debilitatingand hard to treat. Talk therapy and medications fail for about 60% of patients. Fortunately, ketamine infusions have become widely available and offer hope to those with stubborn cases of depression. Up to 70% of patients experience relief after their initial series of ketamine infusions, with symptomatic relief becoming noticeable after 1-2 infusions.
You Might Also Enjoy…
The Nature Of Depression
The experience of depression likely preceded recorded history. Certainly it has been recognized for thousands of years. Aretaeus of Cappadocia is credited with the first clinical description of depression. Hippocrates, the Greek physician of antiquity, was well aware of depression he called it melancholia.
Although it presents with an array of physical symptoms, depression is considered a disorder of mood. It is also called an affective disorder to signify that one of its key aspects is a disturbance of emotions or feelings. Almost 20% of adults will have a mood disorder requiring treatment during their lifetime, and about 8% of adults will have a major depressive disorder. Depression is the leading cause of disability and premature death among people aged 18 to 44 years, and it is expected to be the second leading cause of disability for people of all ages by 2020.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition is the 2013 update to the American Psychiatric Association’s classification and diagnostic tool. The DSM-5 supersedes the DSM-IV-TR, which was published in 2000.
A number of changes occurred between DSM-4 and DSM-5 in understanding depression:
Also Check: Different Ways To Cope With Depression
When Should I Seek Help
Talking with a mental health counselor or doctor can help prevent things from getting worse, especially if your symptoms stay for any length of time.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help right away.
It’s important to understand that feeling depressed doesn’t mean you have depression. That condition involves not only changes in mood, but also changes in sleep, energy, appetite, concentration, and motivation.
If you have physical symptoms like these and find yourself feeling depressed much of the time for days or weeks, see your doctor.
What Is Depression Tacting Depression And Its Symptoms
We describe depression in radical behavioral terms, emphasizing the occasions on which the term is used and deemphasizing any underlying unitary disease, physiological, or emotional state to which the term refers. Depression comes from the late Latin word depressare and the classical Latin word deprimere. Deprimere literally means press down de translates into down and premere translates into to press. In essence, the term appears to denote a feeling of heaviness, of being pressed down, that is also referred to as sad,blue, or simply down.Depression also refers to a depressed topography or the fact of being pressed down. Depression as a referent to mood or emotional state appeared as early as 1665 and merely meant a lowering of mood or spirits . Thus, the core experience of depression appears to be a private event tacted as depressed or in psychiatric terms as dysphoric. However, a minority of individuals will meet criteria for depression and deny depressed mood or present with irritable mood instead. These individuals may have deficits in accurate tacting of private experience, or they may represent diagnostic Type II errors and should not be classified as depressed.
You May Like: Major Depressive Disorder Generalized Anxiety Disorder
General Signs And Symptoms
Not everyone with depression will experience the same symptoms. Symptoms can vary in severity, how often they happen, and how long they last.
If you experience some of the following signs and of depression nearly every day for at least 2 weeks, you may be living with depression:
- feeling sad, anxious, or empty
- feeling hopeless, worthless, and pessimistic
- crying a lot
Males may experience symptoms related to their:
- mood, such as anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, or restlessness
- emotional well-being, such as feeling empty, sad, or hopeless
- behavior, such as loss of interest, no longer finding pleasure in favorite activities, feeling tired easily, thoughts of suicide, drinking excessively, using drugs, or engaging in high-risk activities
- sexual interest, such as reduced sexual desire or lack of sexual performance
- cognitive abilities, such as inability to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, or delayed responses during conversations
- sleep patterns, such as insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, or not sleeping through the night
- physical well-being, such as fatigue, pains, headache, or digestive problems
Females may experience symptoms related to their:
Children may experience
Common causes include:
You may successfully manage symptoms with one form of treatment, or you may find that a combination of treatments works best.