Depression is a common mental health issue, affecting 16.2 million adults in the U.S. - that is 6.7 percent of all Americans over the age of eighteen. Depression can have many causes, such as genetics, hormones, brain chemistry, physical health, and major life changes. With clinical depression being so prevalent among Americans, many are searching for natural methods to offer relief from depression.
While medication is often necessary for the effective management of depression, some drugs can be habit-forming or have negative side effects. Also, natural methods can also be paired with medication or therapy to enhance the treatment of depression. One natural tool to help manage the disease and its oppressive symptoms is a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets are popular resources for insomnia and a host of other physical, mental, and emotional problems - including depression. Before diving into the many benefits of weighted blankets can offer, let’s look at how to recognize depression and the many forms it takes.
Depression is different for everyone, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-5) defines major depression as an episode lasting at least two weeks in which a person experiences depressed feelings, loss of interest in activities, and a minimum of five other symptoms from this list:
Clinical depression requires a medical diagnosis, but not everyone suffering from depression will get the proper treatment. While depression is very treatable, with an abundance of therapies and medications available, it is important to know when it is time to seek professional health.
While there is still a stigma surrounding depression and other mental health issues, awareness of these issues has helped decrease the stigma. It is important to talk to a doctor when experiencing multiple symptoms of depression, especially symptoms regarding suicidal thoughts.
Some depressive episodes have physiological or environmental causes.
Postpartum Depression affects women who have given birth within the past twelve months. It stems from hormonal changes as well as adjusting to the major life changes that come with parenthood. It is common for new mothers to experience stress, sleep deprivation and loneliness in the weeks and months following delivery.
These issues can often cause a period of depression with a wide range in levels of severity.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is depression that typically affects individuals in the fall and winter months, then subsides in the spring and summer.
Studies have indicated that people suffering from SAD have less serotonin in the fall and winter due to overactive serotonin transmitters in the winter and may also produce less vitamin D in the winter.
Regardless of what type of depression plagues someone, the symptoms have detrimental effects on individuals, robbing them of their quality of life. Weighted blankets can be a great way to manage and curb depression with Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). Understanding how the body responds to touch is essential to understanding how DTP can aid in treating depression.
Touch has profound effects. Giving someone a hug or a firm pat on the back is universally recognized as a comforting gesture.
Sometimes when people are upset or sad, they will fold their arms and essentially hug themselves. That is because of Deep Touch Pressure. Firm, yet gentle touch can lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and produce the happy hormone serotonin.
Deep touch pressure promotes an overall feeling of well-being, security, and comfort - all of which desperately need to be felt by those suffering from depression.
There is a number of other ways to manage depression, like drugs, breaking out of the daily routine, exercise and so on.
To find the best way to combat depression, reach out to a medical professional, a life coach, a therapist, or a psychiatrist.
Weighted blankets can help ease the symptoms of anxiety through the reassuring components of DTP. Gentle, weighted pressure on the skin provides tactile sensory input to the nervous system, which results in a sense of calm and safety.
Anxiety and depression can cause extreme nervousness and paranoia. Weighted blankets can help with soothe the nervous system and calm the mind, providing relief from some anxiety symptoms.
Depression and Insomnia often go hand in hand. One of the most common symptoms of depression is insomnia and its close friend anxiety.
According to research, people who sleep less than six hours per night are more likely to experience major depressive episodes (source). Conversely, those suffering from depression are more likely to experience insomnia or trouble sleeping. Whether insomnia causes depression, or depression is what causes trouble sleeping, the fact remains that the two problems are closely related.
Weighted blankets can help manage depression and may be able to ease or even cure insomnia. Since those with insomnia are ten times more likely to become depressed, and healthy sleep habits are crucial to effectively treating depression, it is important to use whatever natural tools available to improve both sleep and depressed moods.
Depression is a debilitating mental health crisis that takes on many forms. A variety of drugs and therapies are available to treat depression.
Natural methods, such as Deep Touch Pressure and weighted blankets are also great ways to ease out of depression. Healthy sleep cycles are essential to good mental health. Weighted blankets can boost serotonin levels, as well as manage insomnia. Consider using a weighted blanket to help manage depression along with a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.