The Best Way To Heal Depression That You've Never Thought Of
Depression is a mental health disorder of epic proportions in the U.S. Chances are, if you either have or will go through a bout of depression at some point in your life. It can be triggered by many things, from physical conditions to environmental and emotional situations. Most people turn to drugs to control their depression, but this comes at a cost, as there are many side effects from these drugs that are difficult to deal with, and often, the drugs not only turn off the depression and anxiety, they also turn off other feelings, even the positive ones. Many report feeling a little like emotional zombies on depression medicines.
There are many natural alternatives to try out there, for treating depression. From acupuncture and supplements to healing diets and exercise, there are a myriad of options to try. But what if the one thing that could beat depression was the simplest thing of all?
A new study published this week in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society reported that the easiest way to lift your depression is to spend physical time with your loved ones and friends. This may seem so simple, but it is very insightful at the same time.
The study from University of Michigan looked at information from 11,000 people aged 50 or older over the span of six years. They sent out a “Health and Retirement” survey to participants every two years to record the participants experiences on a variety of health and social issues.
When compiling the results, researchers adjusted for factors such as having tendencies for depression previous to the study period. What they found was that a shockingly low percentage of participants who met with family or friends at least three times a week reported any signs of depression – only 6.5%. In contrast, the rate of depression doubled for those who only interacted with loved ones every few months.
Interestingly, those who were ages 50-69 seemed to benefit more from interactions with friends. However, those who were over 70 seemed to benefit more from interactions with family. Perhaps, as one grows older, you treasure those you have the deepest connections with more.
Although phone calls were helpful, the best results were seen when participants had actual face time with their loved ones. Nothing beats being physically present with another human being, especially one you love. Clearly, humans are not made to be alone.
Although the study was based on older adults, lead author Alan Teo, assistant professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University believes that the population at large will be able to benefit from their findings, saying that interacting with your loved ones is akin to
preventative medicine, like getting a regular dose of vitamins.