Depression is a common mental health problem that affects people in many different ways. Unfortunately, there are some people who associate depression with just feeling down and having a bad day. Yet, when a person has depression, they feel persistently low for weeks, months or years.
People still think depression is not a genuine health condition. They are far from correct. It is a real illness with real symptoms and with the right treatment and support people can recover from.
Common types of depression
Depression can present itself in many different ways that can occur by an unfortunate event or trauma or no cause at all. Some research has shown that people with different depression have a lack of serotonin and dopamine, however, this is currently under debate as many researchers have begun rebutting this claim due to a lack of data.
Some of the different types of depression people may experience are:
Major depressive disorder. The type where you feel depressed on most days for 2 weeks or longer.
A persistent depressive disorder. When you have experienced depression for 2 years or longer.
Postpartum depression. May happen due to the chemical social and psychological changes when having a baby. A chemical change in new mothers. This can involve a rapid drop in hormones after delivery. The hormones go back to how they used to be after 3 days. Sometimes, it can take much longer, which causes postpartum depression.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. A condition in which woman has severe depressive symptoms. These include irritability and tension before menstruation. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than normal Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some symptoms of PMDD include anxiety, severe depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
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Symptoms of depression
It can be very difficult to tell if you’re depressed as the symptoms can vary from person to person. One person may struggle to sleep. Another person with depression may find that they sleep all the time.
If you feel yourself having periods of low mood, it’s always worth discussing this with your doctor. They may be able to help identify, or offer advice on how to manage the changes.
The most common symptoms that people with depression suffer with are:
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of interest in activities
- Weight loss or gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Slowed down physically and/ or mentally
- Negative feelings (i.e feeling worthless)
- Too little or too much sleep
- Lack of energy
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble concentrating
Over the years, the number of people prescribed anti-depressants has rapidly increased.
Yet, more and more people are turning away from these pills. This is due to the number of side effects, and that they become less effective over time.
Living with depression is already hard. The side effects of antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, (SSRIs) and Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) can make the condition worse in the long run.
The most common side effects of SSRIs can include:
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling sick
- Loss of appetite
The common side effects of TCAs are dry mouth. Often slight blurring of vision, problems passing urine, weight gain and drowsiness.
Despite ‘helping’ with depression these antidepressants can cause more unwanted symptoms. Something extra that people then have to live with. This is the opposite of what they wanted to happen by starting these medications.
Long term side effects
In 2016, a medical journal looked at the side effects of long term users of anti-depressants.
The main side effects they complained of include:
- Sexual problems (72 percent), including the inability to reach orgasm (65 percent)
- Weight gain (65 percent)
- Feeling emotionally numb (65 percent)
- Not feeling like themselves (54 percent)
- Reduced positive feelings (46 percent)
- Feeling as if they’re addicted (43 percent)
- Caring less about other people (36 percent)
- Feeling suicidal (36 percent)
Some of the people in the study said that if they’d known about the side effects and withdrawal difficulties, they would never have started on the drug at all.
How does CBD work for depression?
If you suffer from depression, or who knows someone who does, you will agree it’s one of the most debilitating conditions.
The number of people diagnosed with depression each year keeps increasing. Yet, more people are finding that CBD oil can be an effective and natural option. Used for alleviating some or all their symptoms. Let’s take a look at what CBD is.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many compounds which you find in a cannabis plant. It belongs to a class of substances called cannabinoids. As CBD is non-psychoactive, this means there is no ‘high’ feeling, instead you reap the benefits.
There are two different types of receptors located throughout the body. CB1 receptors are in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are in the peripheral organs. Especially cells associated with the immune system.
One thing many people don’t know is that our bodies naturally produce its own cannabinoids. These are endocannabinoids (endo meaning ‘inside’). The cannabis plant’s cannabinoids are phytocannabinoids (phyto meaning ‘plant’). As with any other nutrient, we can sometimes become deficient and need some extra help.
These different cannabinoids in our body keep our endocannabinoid system (ECS) healthy.
The Endocannabinoid System
Our endocannabinoid system is the most important physiological system. Establishing and maintaining human health, it’s made up of receptors all over your body. When cannabinoids stimulate the receptors, scientists believe our bodies communicate more.
Studies on the ECS have found that it plays a role in many diseases. As the ECS system helps bring balance to the body. It’s no surprise that scientists have observed changes in ECS activity in many diseases.
Everything from neurodegenerative disorders to rheumatoid arthritis. Even cancer has shown changes in endocannabinoid levels and greater receptor expression. This suggests that the ECS may be an effective target for restoring balance in the body.
The endocannabinoids within the body help to regulate functions of the body. These include our mood, pain, sleep and appetite. Cannabinoids stimulate receptors in the body and brain, helping them to communicate more with each other.
CBD for depression
CBD can help treat many illnesses or conditions, depression being one of them. While it doesn’t cure the condition, it’s seen to improve the symptoms of depression.
Two studies looked at the benefits of CBD oil with symptoms of depression.
Modulation of the serotonin system by endocannabinoid signalling. Researchers found “ample evidence that endocannabinoids are important regulators of stress responses.” Endocannabinoids have shown to be important regulators of stress responses. During depression, plant cannabinoids such as CBD can regulate response to stressful situations.
CBD at high concentrations activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor. Thereby conferring an anti-anxiety effect.
Google search will reveal many testimonials and independent studies. These give those suffering from depression hope for a natural alternative. It’s very important to note that there is more research required.