The human brain is made up of billions of neurons, or nerve cells, which are continuously firing electrical impulses down the axon. One end of the neuron shoots out a chemical, which traverses a synapse (gap) and transmits the chemical to another nerve cell. These chemicals are also referred to as neurotransmitters. It is believed that an imbalance in these neurotransmitters is the cause of a chemical imbalance in the brain, and gives rise to feelings of anxiety and mental depression. Some of these neurotransmitters are GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, just to name a few. There are ways to treat this imbalance, which includes the administration of prescription drugs, as well as the use of certain herbal supplements.
Treating Chemical Imbalance
Use of Prescription Drugs
Among the neurotransmitters mentioned above, a drop in the serotonin level suggests that a person might feel dejected and hopeless. Because serotonin is also in charge of other bodily functions like sleep, sense of appetite, and the amount of pain we feel, prescription medication like antidepressants claim to bring back the level of serotonin in the body, thereby regulating the imbalance and helping a person feel better again.
Use of Natural Herbs
Most herbs help patients overcome depression by regulating the levels of serotonin. They act as SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, increasing the levels of serotonin, which helps to combat depression and anxiety.
Lavender: Lavender's aroma significantly helps to uplift the mood of individuals who are feeling low, promoting a general feeling of relaxation.
Kava Kava: This herb has been used during ancient times to treat a variety of disorders such as asthma, anxiety, insomnia, and excess fatigue. The roots of the plant are powdered to make a bitter brew, which is famous for its healing properties. Drinking kava helps to lighten the mood and relaxes tensed muscles, helping individuals to overcome their feeling of sadness.
St. John's Wort: A plant that has proved very effective in treating depression, it fills a person with positive energy, and brings down the levels of irritability. Its medicinal properties also help improve concentration and attention.
Ginkgo Biloba: This herb also helps to alter the imbalance in the brain by restoring levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, leading to decreased levels of stress. There is even ongoing research to check if ginkgo biloba can be used to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Valerian Root: People suffering from stress and anxiety often spend sleepless nights. Valerian is primarily used to treat insomnia. The roots of valerian are processed and converted into capsules which are then administered to patients.
Bacopa: When a person is said to suffer from chemical imbalance, it may become difficult for him to make decisions and he may even become forgetful, especially if he is reeling under the effects of depression and cannot think clearly. Bacopa is used to help patients overcome memory loss problems, thus helping them to remember routine instances distinctly.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that treats a variety of mental disorders without the use of medication. In this method, patients can approach therapists who help them deal with their depression and feeling of helplessness by talking to them. The therapy involves keeping a record of all the events and thoughts that brought on the feeling of despair. Therapists question and make scientific evaluations based on the patients' feedback, and assist them to fight off despair by altering their thought process and behavior patterns.
This helps the patient to focus on positive thoughts and manage his reactions to avoid any more disturbing occurrences which might plunge him into clinical depression. This therapy can prove to be very effective in treating imbalance because it helps patients by changing their views and thought patterns on how they feel in a certain situation. Behavioral therapy can take several months to show effect, since altering a person's thoughts is by no means an easy task.
Changing Your Lifestyle
People who face depression and mental stress can overcome their feelings by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Taking help from family and friends, forming a social circle and mixing with people more often on a regular basis, and reading self-help books will all help in driving negative feelings away. A healthy diet combined with regular exercise can work wonders to uplift your mood. It's a well-known fact that exercise releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that bring on a general feeling of happiness and relieve pain and stress.
Treatment with the aid of behavioral therapy and by altering our lifestyle is the healthiest and safest methods to bring on a positive change in life. Even though prescription medication can prove immensely helpful to treat severe cases, there's no denying the fact that prolonged use can have adverse side effects. Use of drugs, whether herbal or prescription, should be strictly limited and they should not be consumed without first consulting your health care professional. A lot of people can, and have been cured by undergoing therapy. Recovery may take longer, since no medication is being used, but these treatment options are guaranteed to bring about a noticeable difference in patients' lives.