New analysis reveals that sleep deprivation can be an effective anti-depressant

Chances are, you know someone diagnosed with clinical depression. The mental illness is estimated to affect millions of adults in our country; but most remain silent about their affliction, either out of shame or fear of being stigmatized. Current therapeutic models for clinical depression (of all its varieties) typically include a blend of antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.

These psychiatric drugs have been the subject of controversy since their introduction. Medical doctors insist on the drugs’ efficacy; yet, there have also been numerous reviews which state that antidepressants increase a person’s risk of suicide, along with other disturbing side-effects such as excessive fatigue and muscle paralysis.

All this back-and-forth has come to this conclusion: Antidepressants can work 40 to 60 percent of the time.

Tell that to your depressed friend. They have roughly a 50/50 chance of being “cured”.

The pharmaceutical industry is driven to prescribe their harmful drugs to gain profit — without considering that there are other, more natural ways to help a depressed person manage their condition.

Two such alternatives have been presented to the medical community. Take note that these studies have shown results that bring about a far better chance of recovery than synthetic drugs.

Natural tip #1: Talk to your mom

A team from Iowa State University concluded that all relationships should be considered when fighting depression, especially among those entering their midlife. Previously, doctors assumed that tension between spouses was the leading cause of emotional distress among people who were in their 30s or 40s. This was deemed to be not necessarily true as relationships between one’s mother and siblings were also observed to play a crucial role in one’s overall mental state.

“There is this assumption that as you go through your life course, you leave these other relationships with your parents and siblings behind, but you don’t,” explained the lead author and assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University, Megan Gilligan. “You carry those with you.”

More importantly, the researchers say, is the relationship between mothers and daughters. Their study showed that emotional irritability between mothers and adult daughters was a stronger predictor of depression than it was for sons. Gender, however, did not make a difference in relationships with spouses and siblings.

Gilligan believes that this may be because the relationship between mothers and daughters are generally more intense. “Later in life, adult children start providing more care to their parents, and daughters in particular are often caregivers for their mothers,” she says.

Having come to this conclusion, Gilligan and her team recommend mental health professionals to conduct a thorough examination of other sources of family stress, over and beyond that potentially coming from a romantic partner.

Natural tip #2: Learn about partial sleep deprivation

This sounds incredibly strange, but there is a study that concluded that sleep deprivation (both partial and full) can lessen depressive symptoms. The first meta-analysis on the subject, which was conducted over a period of 30 years, noted that being deprived of sleep somehow reduced the symptoms of depression. Medication, it would appear, did not influence these results in any way.

Partial sleep deprivation is defined as sleeping for three to four hours followed by forced wakefulness for 20 to 21 hours. Total sleep deprivation occurs when one has not slept for 36 hours or more.

“These studies in our analysis show that sleep deprivation is effective for many populations,” Elaine Boland, Ph.D. concluded in Science Daily. “Regardless of how the response was quantified, how the sleep deprivation was delivered, or the type of depression the subject was experiencing, we found a nearly equivalent response rate.”

Even so, depressed patients should be very cautious when trying this method, as sleep deprivation is also linked with various side-effects.

However, the best, natural tip for depression alleviation is to supplement with magnesium. Wellness experts have seen that magnesium supplements consistently improve depressive symptoms. Regular intake of this mineral results in more powerful recovery with fewer side-effects. (Related: Magnesium to make depression drugs obsolete? New science finds magnesium safer, more affordable and more effective than SSRIs.)

Depression is a burdensome disease, but one that is not a life sentence. There are natural ways to improve the condition that do not involve taking in artificial junk.

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