Posted on December 9, 2009, under Anti Depressants-Sleeping Aid.

An old advertisement for an over-the-counter cold medication observed that you can’t take every cold to a doctor, and proceeded to plug the medicine in question. The advert was right. It is not sensible to go to the doctor with every cold – or, for that matter, whenever you feel blue, down in the dumps or lacking in energy and pep. On the other hand, a case of pneumonia should always be taken to a doctor – and promptly – and that applies to serious depression as well. And just as we have guidelines to help us distinguish between a cold and pneumonia, so we can distinguish between serious depression and feeling mildly out of sorts. In the mildly blue, stressed-out, under-the-weather category, I would put those whose symptoms are not seriously interfering with their work, personal relationships or other aspects of their functioning. Also, the problem should not have been going on for too long, not more, say, than for a couple of months.

If you think you qualify for this very mild category, I suggest that you read about the symptoms of depression anyway because depressed people are often not very good at recognizing how depressed they are – and they are not alone in this regard. Statistics indicate that even doctors fail to recognize and treat depression properly in a very high proportion of cases. If professionals underestimate depression to this extent, lay people can surely be forgiven for doing the same. Because many of the symptoms of depression do not actually involve sadness or depressed mood, but rather physical symptoms, they are easily attributed to other conditions. In addition, depressed people often believe that their problems are due exclusively to influences from the outside world rather than some internal problem. This set of beliefs may be associated with a fear of acknowledging that ‘there may be something wrong with me’ and a pessimism about being able to correct the problem. In fact, the opposite is often true as it may be easier to correct problems that stem from within yourself than those that arise in the outside world, over which you may have very little control.

If, after reflection, you still feel that you are not clinically depressed, but simply overstressed or mildly down in the dumps, you may well benefit from a trial of St John’s Wort as described below. It is always important, of course, to address any underlying causes of your unhappiness in addition to taking the herbal remedy.


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