The 2017 Mental Illness Summit tackled the different strategies dedicated to safeguarding mental health. One of these is coming up with the best diet that can be of help in addressing depression. According to a study in 2017, individuals with moderate-to-severe depression improved their situation upon following a more healthful diet for three months. 

Read on to know what food to eat and avoid when you have depression. 

EAT: Dark Leafy Green Vegetables

Experts revealed that the healthiest food out there in the market is the dark leafy green vegetables – no contest. This list includes Kale, Spinach, Swiss chard, and the like. Eating this will help boost your immune system and provide anticancer effects. It also addresses brain inflammation, a condition linked to depression. 

DO NOT EAT: Sugar

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If you’re a fan of cookies and chocolates, then you might not like what you’ll read. Professionals advise people with depression to avoid taking in sweets, as desserts only lead to multiple mood swings. Your mood will most likely go up and down (mostly down!) several times a day. Experiencing this might only lead to anxiety. 

EAT: Walnuts

Walnuts are known for being one of the richest in omega-3 fatty acids. Numerous studies have proven how this particular fatty acid reduces depression symptoms by supporting brain function. 

DO NOT EAT: Soda

Aside from contributing to a spike in your blood sugar, regular soda does not provide any nutrition to your body. At the same time, some researches supported the link between sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soda, to depression. Therefore, if you are craving for that bubbly fix and seltzer water, try shifting your attention to sparkling water instead. 

EAT: Berries

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Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, are known for its cell-repairing antioxidants. A study by the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine showed that patients who are mentally-ill but got treatment with these antioxidants for two years received a lower depression score. 

DO NOT EAT: Ketchup

Yes, ketchup is usually from tomatoes, right? Unknown to many, however, is that it also contains lots of sugar – 4 grams per teaspoon, to be exact. These artificial sweeteners are a no-no to those with depression since it leads to unusual mood spikes. 

“Mind over Matter.”

This mantra is a perfect representation of mental health wherein there can never be physical and emotional well-being if there is instability in the mental health of every individual. It plays a vital role in the holistic well-being of every person; the power of the mind has the potential of overcoming physical and emotional battles. But, when the battle itself must be fought inside the mind, then mental health is at risk. Mental Health has been considered by the WHO as one of the significant health issues worldwide because over 800,000 people die because of suicide each year.

“Mental health issues can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors, and can have a minor or major impact on a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.” –Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC

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Considered to be one of the major health issues worldwide, mental health has also taken its toll in Australia. Mental illnesses are the third leading cause of disability in the country. The number of persons having mental illness has grown in such a tantamount figure that modification of existing programs and the creation of new strategies to address these concerns are required with utmost necessity. The government of Australia, on the other hand, is making its best efforts in addressing the pressing problem in the mental health status of every Australian.

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Hearing the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be hard to take in not only for the patient but the whole family as well. Who will be delighted to hear that they will slowly lose their memory and abilities to perform daily tasks or routines? Family members would be devastated to hear that a loved one might need care and assistance in their day to day life and most of all, it might be possible that the person with Alzheimer’s wouldn’t be able to identify his/her family circle. Alzheimer’s disease will bring forth emotions such as anger, depression, frustration, hopelessness, and fear. Since there’s no cure for the disease, the management of the disorder is multifaceted. It can include several modalities: environment, exercise, diet, and medication. Due to the progression of the disease, treatment plans might change accordingly depending on the stages of Alzheimer’s where the patient is currently experiencing.

Safe Environment

It is vital to provide a familiar and safe environment for Alzheimer’s patients since it will reduce risks and incidence of accidents like hits and bumps on the furniture, slips and falls and hazardous materials such as stoves, matches, etc. Place everyday objects in areas where they are accessible for the patient to find. It is best to place them in one location, possibly a table near the door or a basket in the living room. Keeping keys, mobile phones, and wallets together in an easy to remember place will result in less time and a less challenging task of living in the house without forgetting daily essentials. Investing in a tracking device or mobile application will give other family members a sense of peace of mind just in case the patient gets lost or confused.  It is best to position familiar objects like family memorabilia, photographs and souvenirs around the house to promote memory.

Exercise

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Exercise is known and tested to improve a person’s wellbeing. It can help with overall health, combat stress, help in falling asleep and improve mood. A walk around the garden or gentle cycling on a stationary bike might be helpful to improve the body’s blood circulation and muscle strength. “There are many examples of physical activity that range in levels of intensity from light to vigorous. Maintaining your physical health can include yoga, bike riding, jumping rope, engaging in sports, running, walking, jogging, skiing, dancing, tennis, and gardening.” Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC said.

Diet

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease might forget to eat and drink and may develop difficulty in preparing their food. Prepare healthy and filling snacks in the fridge or make calorie-rich smoothies to ensure they are achieving their daily caloric intake. As John M. Grohol, Psy.D. explains, “A balanced diet that includes lots of fiber helps keep your gut system running efficiently by helping to support a more diverse gut microbiome.” Also, make sure that prepared food is easy to chew and digest. Provide an ample amount of water or juice throughout the day. However, limit caffeinated drinks and increasing intake during nighttime to avoid disruption of sleep.

Medications

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There are various medications utilized in the management of Alzheimer’s disease. This includes cholinesterase inhibitors, which function by boosting the communication of brain cells and meantime, which slows down the progression of disease symptoms. Take note – these medications will always have side effects: sleep disturbance, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, headache, dizziness, and low heart rate. Be aware of the possible symptoms of medications such as anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants. But note that “It’s important to underscore here the importance of monitoring your mental health and knowing how different medications and lifestyle changes can impact your mental health.” Julia Hogan, LCPC said.

 

Family members, as well as the patient with Alzheimer’s, should work hand in hand to show solidarity in times of suffering and pain. Taking care of an individual with Alzheimer’s disease will require lots of patience and assistance from each other. Thus, it is best for the family to function well as a team.

 

Knowing the signs of mental illness is difficult since it has a broad range of cases. It will require a lot of tests and processes that can identify its diagnosis and only a mental health expert can determine the behavioral changes. The disorder is widespread and over millions of people are suffering from such conditions. It drastically affects a person’s relationship, work, family, and other aspects of life.

 

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Mental illness has been widely acknowledged all over the world. It has been reported to increase its cases over the past few years. Studies and examinations have been dealing with the disorder and trying to identify its severity. Researchers have been seeking to understand how they can manage to create a keen awareness of its effect on a person’s daily life and to his long-term health conditions. It is more than just a feeling of emotional breakdown, and certain medications and medical treatments must be considered.

 

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Depression is one serious problem that our world is facing today.   

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Depression, as defined by the World Health Organization as the persistent sadness and loss of interest in activities that a person enjoys typically.   It also affects his ability to do activities of daily living for two weeks or more.

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College life is a stage of learning, unraveling, and exploration. College students are adults who are, at their age, expected to create a life of their own and reach for their dreams. However, for most of America’s 20 million college students, the shift from teenage to adult life is an extreme challenge to their mental and emotional health.

A recent survey done last year revealed that three in five students experienced severe anxiety and depression. Others also struggle with substance use. The details are overwhelming, yet only very few come forward and seek help from their school counselor, and much fewer from an outside therapist. They struggle with their mental issues and eventually also struggle with their academics.

 

his ongoing dilemma requires colleges to make major changes in their approach to assisting students with their mental health concerns.

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Some Steps To Consider

  • Life Skills Education. Teaching students healthy means to cope with their stress and worries of college life. Among the most vital skills that they should be taught is building friendships and other relationships; making wise decisions; dealing with emotions; creating an identity, and finding purpose in life.

 

Creating mental health apps that can be downloaded in their cellphones so they can deal with their everyday challenges. Breathe is an example of an app that offers quotes and activities a student can do when he’s stressed out for the day.

 

  • Encourage Them To Seek Help. Most of these students don’t know how to find the help they need, which is why schools should host workshops and school activities that increase mental health awareness, including therapy and what it can do. A few universities use class projects to encourage their students to learn more about stigma-reduction and developing help-seeking behavior. In Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D. blog, she says, “If you are struggling with low self-esteem, it is encouraged that you seek some type of help and support to work through this issue, and to help you be the best version of yourself that you can be.”

 

  • Foster Socialization. Rejection and loneliness are common risk factors for developing mental health illness. Lower the risks by organizing events on the campus that are geared towards developing unity and connectedness. Events can range from pageants and intercollege sports competitions to workshops and conferences.

 

  • Recognizing Students Who Are At Risk. Teachers and other staff, including orderlies and residence hall personnel, must be educated on how to identify susceptible students and those who have existing mental health problems, and they should be taught how to promote mental and emotional health awareness. Fellow students must also learn how to recognize and report a student who they feel might be at risk for mental illness.

 “Knowing your risk factors for depression and other mental-health diagnoses, and how your mental health may be impacted by the medications you take is a crucial part of taking control of your mental and physical health.” –Julia Hogan, LCPC

  • Restricting Them From Possibly Harmful Spaces Or Equipment. It must be well established that restricting or removing college students from being able to access means for self-infliction is among the most important guidelines in school. The school and the local hospitals should also share information regarding matters of mental health. Some institutions in the United States have identified places that are common for students to commit suicide, like bridges, and they have installed nets below these bridges as a preventive measure.

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According to Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., “The best progress happens when you apply what you’ve learned outside that setting, in your real life.”  If universities and colleges will successfully create guidelines that are well-structured and student-oriented, with a thorough framework that supports mental and emotional health, these institutions can better protect the welfare of their students and allow them to improve and become socially, academically, and emotionally healthy.

 

 

 

 

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When you are exposed to traumatic events at an early age, say, childhood, this can evoke negative effects on how your brain develops through time. Child abuse and other forms of maltreatment are more common than what is being reported in the news. Problems that children go through can be rooted from parental or familial neglect, loss of a parent or loved one, or sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. It is a painful truth that adversities experienced very early in life can ultimately lead to behavioral, emotional, and psychological issues when one grows older.

Fortunately, not every kid that suffers from early life stress develops a mental health problem. It is possible that how children deal with stressful circumstances is not only predisposed by past experience but can also be of genetic causes and brain regulation, among others. This is why brain chemicals like oxytocin and cortisol are vital in the development of the brain.

 

Oxytocin

This is a popular hormone originating from the brain itself. It is commonly known as the ‘love hormone.’ It helps in the promotion of emotions, social skills, and parent-child relationships. Of course, it also helps strengthen romantic bonds. The oxytocin in the brain is not the same for each one, but its importance every day cannot be underemphasized. Differences in this gene can even alter one’s response to stress and anxiety. As Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP elaborates, “Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression.”

 

The environment around you can also greatly affect the growth and structure of oxytocin, which begins from the womb, then finally comes out of this world through birth. Thus, during the stages of infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, any positive or negative event that happens forms our body’s oxytocin system, so it is safe to say that it is important to be raised by loving and supportive parents. If the opposite happens; however, such as the presence of stress or some kind of mental health issue, there will be harmful effects as well. “Stress can seem omnipresent. Between working, socializing and taking care of the home, it sometimes seems we don’t have a minute to ourselves, let alone enough time to really take care of our bodies and minds.” Sonja Seglin, LCPC explains.

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Effects Of Early Life Stress

Previous studies done on mice have revealed how the oxytocin system changes with early or premature trauma. This may increase or decrease one’s oxytocin levels in the brain, ultimately affecting one’s overall mental health.

Changes in the brain of humans, specifically the hypothalamus and amygdala regions, were seen when kids were exposed to childhood pain or distress. Adult men and women who suffered from childhood trauma in the past were seen to have had decreased levels of oxytocin in the brain. Similarly, the same outcomes also presented in children who were neglected or unattended by their parents.

Research and studies have therefore proven that there are indeed longstanding negative behavioral consequences from early life stress, as seen in the damage of the oxytocin system of the rodent as well as the human brain. On the other hand, an efficient oxytocin system results in a stronger resilience against addiction and drug and substance use. Research on animals has revealed that sufficient amounts of oxytocin increase the potential for social connection, decrease depression and anxiety, and improve one’s attitude towards dealing with stress.

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Conclusion

“Research tells us that this is a common experience for those under stress. That everyone experiences stress and up to a certain level it can be helpful. Yet, stress can negatively impact one’s normal daily functioning or health.” That is according to Edna M. Esnil, PsyD. While it is true that oxytocin impacts a person’s capacity to cope with stress, it is equally true that other vital neurotransmitters are also important in improving one’s ability to combat anxiety and depression. It is therefore vital to understand how these systems affect a person early on in his life so that we will be able to comprehend how early life problems can influence our mental health in the future.