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Emotions and Diabetes - Treatment Options for Depression

By Nina Nazor

Medications, Psychotherapy and Alternative Treatments

What is the treatment of depression?

The most common treatment for depression includes the combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy, also called "counseling". There are also several other "natural" aids that can help, such as exercise, light therapy, SAMe and other supplements, daily exercise and following a healthy diet.


There are several kinds of medications used to treat depression.

·  Tricyclic antidepressants, which mainly affect the levels of two chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), norepinephrine and serotonin, in the brain.

·  Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are an early form of antidepressant not so widely used now because some of the substances in certain foods, like cheese, beverages like wine, and medications can interact with them.

·  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a newer form of antidepressants. These drugs work by increasing the availability of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine.


Psychotherapy is a term that comprises all types of treatment where two individuals (a therapist and a patient) collaborate together to address a problem.

A therapist helps people with depression focus on behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute to depression, and understand and identify life problems that are contributing to their illness to enable them to regain a sense of control.

Psychotherapy can be done in group, with the family members and spouses or individually. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in particular, has been shown to be as effective as fluoxetine (prozac). However, several studies report that psychotherapy and antidepressants together are better treatments for depression than either alone.

Natural remedies

Exercise. Exercise is an antidepressant. Even mild exercise can have a significant effect on how you feel. Studies report that depressive symptoms were reduced almost 50 percent in those who participated in 30-minute aerobic exercise sessions three to five times a week. Furthermore, it seems that exercise in group is a very effective support therapy. So, exercise is an integral part of the treatment of depression. Just make sure you choose an activity that you like to do and want to do.

Light therapy. Depression diminishes in response to daily bright-light exposure, usually administered early in the morning for 30 minutes to 1 hour. light used in conjunction with medication appears to be superior to either one alone.

SAMe. S-adenoslymethionine (SAM-e) is a synthetic form of a chemical produced naturally in our body that increases the production of brain chemicals that influence mood, such as serotonin and dopamin. Several studies report a correlation between low levels of SAM-e and depression. Research suggests that SAM-e's antidepressant action is comparable to that of prescription drugs. In fact, although it is available in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, in Europe is a prescription drug used to treat depression and liver problems, among other conditions. This supplement has almost no side effects. However, it is expensive and you should seek the best brands like GNC, Natrol, Nature Made or TwinLab. The used dose in the studies varies from 400 to 1,600 mg.

Vitamin E and Folic Acid. It has been found that people with depression appear to have lower levels of alpha-tocopherol--a form of vitamin E—and folic acid circulating in their bloodstream. Also, a vitamin B12 defficiency affects the mood. These are good reasons to follow a healthy diet loaded with veggies, fruits and whole grains, besides taking a multivitamin supplement.

Omega 3 fatty acids. Ongoing research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help treat depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients found naturally in fish, like salmon, trout or sardines. So you can try to eat these fish three times a week and/or add a capsule of this fish oil to you daily multivitamin. Just be careful not to take more than 1 g a day and ask your doctor first, because it can inhibit platelet aggregation, in a way aspirin does.

Stress management. Lifestyle stress is a known risk factor for depression. The death of a loved one is one of the most common stressors linked with depression. However, daily stress such as demands of your job, being fired, going through a divorce, or moving to a new city may also contribute to depression.

Homeopathy. There are over 200 different homeopathic medicines that have been used to naturally treat various types of depression. These homeopathic medicines are usually made from plants and minerals. Some of the most widely used are Ignatia, Sepia or Pulsatilla. Many people have benefited from homeopathy, although a recent study reported that homeopathy was no better than placebo. However, if you are a believer, many things can work out good for you and maybe homeopathy might represent a natural option of therapy to feel better with very few side effects.

Sleep. Lack of sleep is closely linked with depression. An inability to sleep, or insomnia, is one of the signs of depression. Also, research shows that people with depression are five times more likely to have a breathing-related sleep disorder than non-depressed people. These disorders include problems such as chronic, disruptive snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, a disorder in which people stop breathing for brief periods up to hundreds of times a night.

Conclusion. Health professionals who treat people with diabetes, must pay more attention to the recognition and treatment of depression. If you or someone you love are experiencing depression, please seek professional help.

Note: Remember to consult wit your doctor before taking any supplement or trying any natural remedy.