The remedies for depression range from A for acupuncture to Z for sugar. With lighter cases also stress reduction can be useful. Frankincense can also help.
300 million people worldwide suffer from depression
Who has suicide thoughts, should turn to trusted people. Anyone who is open to further offers of help or is worried about someone close to them can contact the telephone counselling service – also anonymously – on 0800/111 01 11.
B ei depressions there are always new treatment options. But they cannot prevent millions of sick people from becoming permanently incapacitated for work or even from taking their own lives in an acute episode.
Main cause of incapacity for work
Federal government is considering part-time sick leave
In order to slow down the increase in sick pay, the government has commissioned an expert opinion. The most explosive proposal is based on the Scandinavian model: Sick people should be allowed to work depending on their condition.
According to a new study, depression is now the main cause of incapacity for work and early retirement in Germany. They cost the national economy up to 22 billion euros a year. The cost of treating the most common mental illness is also likely to run into billions of dollars.
St. John's wort
From A like acupuncture to Z like sugar the means, which are to be used against easy depressions, reach. St. John's wort is often recommended to menopausal women. In the meantime there are however studies, according to which the effect of this nature means is at least questionable.
In contrast, others continue to believe that St. John's wort can work just as well as chemically produced antidepressants. The Charite hospital in Berlin is investigating the effect of lavender oil on symptoms such as restlessness, sleep disorders and depression.
Light and sport
A treatment with light in a strength of 2500 to 4000 lux is considered as means against the so-called winter depression. Positive effects are also expected from stress reduction, sports, walks, but also help to overcome grief and trauma, pain relief and an improvement in sleeping habits.
Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, is used in the event of an incipient depressive episode. With acupuncture, psychiatrists at the University of Bochum have achieved positive effects against depression.
Depression – people in Bavaria more often affected
People in southern Germany live healthy lives. According to a study, they are the least likely to be ill – with one exception: Bavarian doctors frequently diagnose depression. Study reveals why.
Sniffing the scent of incense also relieves depression. This is what Israeli and American researchers have shown in tests with mice. A so-called ion channel with a hitherto unknown function, which occurs in the skin and in the brain, appears to be responsible for this.
The condition may be related in part to a deficiency or impaired utilization of folic acid. Norwegian scientists have found evidence for this. However, the way in which the B vitamin could prevent the development of depression is still unclear to the scientists. They suspect that folic acid may be involved in the formation of certain substances in the brain.
Serious illnesses are treated with lithium salts, among other things. According to the experts, this can effectively prevent relapses. In addition, studies have found a drastic reduction in the suicidal tendency of patients.
The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are considered the classic drugs for depression. These increase the level of the brain messenger serotonin. In depressives, the balance between neurotransmitters in the brain is disturbed, namely the amount of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine is reduced.
According to experts, antidepressants do not work adequately in about 30 percent of patients. U.S. researchers ame that those affected probably have an above-average number of docking sites for the brain messenger serotonin on certain nerves in their brain stem.
The neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which has an inhibitory effect on many processes in the brain, has long been suspected of being involved in the development of depression.
"Sugar is nerve food," says the popular saying. Eating carbohydrates such as sugar usually increases the concentration of serotonin in the body. The uptake of the protein building block tryptophan is promoted via the release of the hormone insulin. Tryptophan, in turn, is converted into serotonin in the brain.
Magnetic Field Therapy
Magnetic field therapy has also been developed for adults with chronic or recurrent depression. In transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the patient sits in a chair with an eight-shaped coil ten to 15 centimeters in diameter resting directly on his or her head. Electricity flows through it several times a second, generating rapidly pulsating magnetic fields that stimulate the left forebrain.
Canadian scientists have successfully treated patients with severe depression by electrically stimulating a brain region. To do this, they implanted electrodes in the brains of six patients and observed them for six months. Four of those treated felt significantly better at the end of the study. The method known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) is already being used for epilepsy and Parkinson's patients.
The hormone Epo, known as a doping agent, also has antidepressant properties. The hormone produced by the kidneys, which stimulates the formation of red blood cells, influences the processing of emotions in the brain, according to an English study. The hormone erythropoietin (Epo) is already used in medicine to treat anemia, among other things.
How suicide can be prevented
One person kills himself every hour in Germany. But suicide is still a taboo subject. But conversations help prevent suicides. Activists are drawing attention to this on World Suicide Prevention Day.
Scientists in Washington proved in experiments with rats that nicotine acts as an antidepressant. By no means, however, could this effect justify the far greater health risks of smoking, they warned.