Friends Can Help Protect You from Depression
Previous research shows that having a strong social network of good friends is a significant factor in longevity. If you’re socially isolated, you may experience poor health and a shorter lifespan.
Friendships can also be a significant factor in successful recuperation from depression. According to recent research,1 good mood and a positive outlook can actually spread like a contagion through social groups.
Perhaps more importantly, this study refutes earlier claims that depression is “contagious,” finding instead that only positive moods tend to spread among people in close association.
Certainly, being depressed can have a dampening effect on the mood of those around you, but according to the authors, there’s little risk of a depressed person actually pulling others into a state of clinical depression. Instead, it may be due to a third factor. Perhaps they’re all heavy drinkers for example, or engaging in other activities that promote a negative mindset.
Co-author Thomas House claims their study method “wasn’t susceptible to that because we looked at direct changes of state. We were pretty much directly observing this process of your friend influencing you.
“And the nice conclusion that we got was that your friends can protect you from depression and help you recover from it.”
Possible Physical Roots of Depression
As important as friendships can be, they will probably not solve depression rooted in poor diet and lifestyle habits. It’s important to realize that, contrary to popular belief, depression is not likely caused by unbalanced brain chemicals; however there are a number of other biological factors that appear to be highly significant.
For example, researchers have found that melancholic depression, bipolar disorder, and postpartum depression are associated with elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines in combination with decreased cortisol sensitivity (cortisol is both a stress hormone and a buffer against inflammation).
Scientists have also found that your mental health can be adversely impacted by factors such as vitamin D deficiency and/or unbalanced gut flora — both of which, incidentally, play a role in keeping inflammation in check, which is really what the remedy to depression is all about.
Sugar, found in ample supply in most processed foods, is among the most pro-inflammatory ingredients there are, so the first step would be to replace processed foods with real, whole foods (ideally organic to avoid harmful pesticides and other detrimental ingredients).
Besides promoting chronic inflammation, refined sugar can exert a toxic effect by contributing to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health.
Sugar also suppresses activity of a key growth hormone called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) which promotes healthy brain neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which animal models suggest might actually be causative.
Sugar also facilitates the growth of pathogenic microbes in your gut and causes an imbalance of your microbiome that will also contribute to depression through a wide variety of mechanisms.
What to Do if Someone You Know Is Depressed
Perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do if you have a friend or family member that struggles with depression is to help guide them toward healthier eating and lifestyle habits, as making changes can be particularly difficult when you’re feeling blue — or worse, suicidal.
If you are suffering from depression then look at increasing your social activity, even a simple phone call once a day, can help. Seek medical advice if there are suicidal though or expressions and for women look at your hormone balance as this can also impact your mood. Both progesterone and a combined progesterone and oestrogen cream can help with anxiety and depression as well as assisting with relaxation and sleep. If sleep is missed then that will make the situation more acute so see if you can make simple changes that will help you get to sleep, and get enough sleep each night.
https://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2010/12/08/bioidentical-hormones-for-anxiety-and-depression/jefffrey dach MD “>https://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2010/12/08/bioidentical-hormones-for-anxiety-and-depression/”>https://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2010/12/08/bioidentical-hormones-for-anxiety-and-depression/jefffrey dach MD
https://www.bio-hormone-health.com/2014/07/02/5-ways-to-improve-your-sleep/andrew weil md