AVOID THE HOLIDAY BLUES

    December is here and while some people are anticipating a month of fun and happiness, others are dreading a month of too many activities and too many expectations.  Often they may turn to food or drink for comfort when the demands of December leave them feeling down.

     There are a couple of important things to avoid if you've got the blues.  The first is alcohol.  Although when initially consumed, alcohol can produce euphoria and cause you to be less inhibited and more animated, in fact, alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system.  With continued drinking, the depressant effect predominates as alcohol crosses the blood-brain barrier.

     Avoiding baked goods can also help you avoid the blues.  This is particularly important during the holiday season when we are absolutely surrounded by baked treats.  High-fat and high sugar carbs are sitting out at the office, served at every social function and on the table throughout the holidays.  Like alcohol, the sweet treats give a temporary lift and good feelings.  But often the excess sweet, fat food intake results in feeling heavy, drowsy and depressed.

    If you consume more alcohol and baked goods during the holiday, these can certainly add to those holiday blues.  If you need a tool to avoid those depression triggers, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool.  Control your eating and drinking.  Avoid the holiday blues, feel good and BE WELL through the holidays.

ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION LINKED TO MEDIA MULTITASKING

          If you are a person who takes pride in all you get done by multitasking, you may not have realized that some kinds of multitasking can lead to emotional issues like depression and anxiety.  An article published in CYBERPSYCHOLOGY, BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL NETWORKING reported on a study on media multitasking by the its leader, Mark Becker, PhD, professor of psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing.  The findings of the study indicate that people who immerse themselves in multiple feeds of information are up to 70% more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety than people who do not media multitask.  Examples of media multitasking including browsing web sites on your computer while talking on the phone or or sending text messages while watching television.  

        If you are suffering from either anxiety or depression, see your family physician who may prescribe a medication or refer you to a mental health professional.  If you are a media multitasker suffering from depression or anxiety, cut back on all your media technology and use one feed of information at a time.  If you need help to cut back on your use of media technology or media multitasking, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool.  

      

WHAT YOU DRINK LINKED TO CHANCES OF DEPRESSION

         If you've been feeling depressed look at what you are drinking.  A study of almost 264,000 people, ages 50 to 71, by researchers at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina found that sweetened drinks are linked to depression.  The study presented in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American academy of Neurology reported that people who drank more than four servings of regular soda per day were thirty percent more likely within a decade to develop depression.  People who drank fruit punch were at a thirty-eight percent greater risk for developing depression.  Substituting diet soda and diet fruit punch were found to be at even greater risk for depression. Coffee drinkers rejoice - the researchers found that drinking four servings of unsweetened coffee per day had a ten percent lower risk of depression.

      If you are suffering major depression, see your medical doctor or mental health practitioner immediately.  If you are feeling a little down, examine your lifestyle habits including what you are drinking.  Remember hypnotherapy can be another tool in your arsenal in dealing with depression so you can BE WELL.  

FAST FOOD LINKED TO DEPRESSION

   If  you are a fast food junkie and suffer from depression, a 2012 study finds those two conditions  may be related.  The study of 8,964 people was done by researchers at the University of Las Palmas. Gran Canaria, and the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain and was published in PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION.

    The study findings indicated that those eating the most fast food during a six-year period were 37% more likely to become depressed than those who ate the least fast food.  Those who ate large amounts of commercially baked goods such as doughnuts and muffins also were more likely to be depressed.  

     The largest consumers of the commercially baked goods and fast food tended to be younger, less active and single.  So the depression might be caused by lifestyle rather than the specific foods studied.

     Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, depression are all things that can be helped with hypnotherapy.  Change bad habits with the help of hypnosis and BE WELL.

STRESS, DEPRESSION AND STROKE RISK

    When I ask my clients, on a scale of one to ten where there daily stress level is, the numbers I hear more than any others are seven and eight.  Sometimes an acute event such as a family hospitalization or a wedding has run the numbers up.  But often the number reflects the chronic stress of a busy and demanding work and family life.  This chronic stress in turn can lead to depression and health risks including stroke.

     In the United States, the Number 3 cause of death is stroke and is a leading cause of disability.  Speech problems, paralysis and weakness in the limbs are all complications that can be experienced by those who have suffered a stroke.  Researchers studied 1200 people.  Six hundred of these people had recently had a stroke while the other 600 had not.  The study reported that people who had experienced stress for a year or more were at 3.5 times greater risk for ischemic stroke .  Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year.  About 87% of those have an ischemic stroke where a clot blocks blood flow to the brain.  The other 13% have a hemorrhagic stroke where a blood vessel ruptures in the brain.

       Physicians and researchers believe chronic stress raises stroke risk by triggering the secretion of cortisol.  This hormone can increase inflammation, raise blood pressure,  and destabilize blood sugar. All of these can elevate stroke risk.  If you feel like you are dealing with unrelieved stress or depression or are having symptoms like changes in sleep habits or weight, it's time to see your physician.

     You doctor my prescribe an antidepressant and may also recommend cognitive behavioral therapy.  Changes in life style such as a healthful diet, regular and sufficient sleep and regular exercise will help deal with both stress and depression.  If you need motivation to make those life style changes, see a hypnotherapist to get motivated and BE WELL>

   

BUILD SELF-ESTEEM WITH POSITIVE SELF-TALK

     Self-talk is the conversation we have with ourselves all day long.  Unfortunately, too often, these messages are quite negative.  The messages may include irrational beliefs and distorted thinking about ourselves.  They may also include a running commentary about our personal failures or inadequacies.

     Sometimes these negative messages are subtle.  But other times, the negative self-talk is quite blatant.  If you catch yourself often thinking negative messages like "I'm so fat",  "How could I be that stupid."  "I'll never be able to pass that test", you are suffering from negative self-talk which can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

     The good thing to remember is that our moods and how we feel about ourselves are not determined by actual situations but by how we think.  We get upset and depressed not because of the bad situation but because of how we think about it.  If you are upset about gaining five pounds and you begin to beat yourself up about your weight with negative self-talk, it is not the number on the scale but your own thoughts which are making you feel anxious or depressed.

    But the good news is that negative self-talk is a bad habit.  And, like other bad habits, it can be changed.  It takes a desire to make the change and a consciousness about your self-talk, but you can learn to recognize the old patterns and choose to change the way you think.  I compare the process to changing the channel of your mind.

     When you become aware through living more consciously about your negative self-talk, you will learn to recognize the old pattern.  Then take a moment to stop and identify the negative pattern and then change the channel of your mind.  I compare this to changing the channel on a television.  Begin to give yourself positive, self-affirming messages.  "I'm making better choices in my eating.", "I am studying with great focus for my class."  "I am capable."  Whatever the negative messages were, change then to positive, confidence-building positive messages.

   Like any other skill, changing negative self-talk into positive self-talk takes practice. Hypnotherapy can help you in recognizing and shifting old patterns to new  and change your entire way of thinking.  With positive self-talk, you will feel better, have a more positive outlook and build positive self esteem.  Try positive self-talk and BE WELL.

USING HYPNOTHERAPY TO TREAT LONELINESS

      If you are feeling lonely, know you are not alone.  Everyone feels lonely occasionally even in the middle of the crowd.  And loneliness can happen at any age.  Young adults are at risk when they leave school and their parents' home and move into their own home for the first time.  Retirees may feel particularly lonely when they no longer have a daily routine and lose workplace relationships.  Married people may feel lonely during rough patches in a relationship.

    Unfortunately, loneliness can spiral downward into the three D's of defensiveness, desperation and depression.  These, in turn, can push people away and cause even more loneliness.

     Defensiveness actually separates lonely people from others.  If you are feeling lonely, take the time to look at your own behavior.  Look at what could be limiting your ability to establish relationships.  Sometimes some tweaking of your social skills is all that is needed to feel less lonely.  Do you go places to meet people?  When was the last time you accepted an invitation or attended a social function?  Do you join in conversations already taking place?  Release the defensiveness and see how you can reach out to others. Taking a class or joining a volunteer group can be a great way to meet new people and do something positive for yourself and others.

    Desperation occurs when people feel that lack of social connections.  But often the best cure for loneliness is not meeting new people, it is deepening the relationships you already have.  Reach out to the people you already know.  Reconnect.  Go through your address book or emails and reconnect. Find old high school, college friends or co-workers. Then make a real effort to stay reconnected.

    Depression can happen when loneliness becomes overwhelming and the person simply gives up.  They begin to believe that it's impossible to be anything but lonely and become very pessimistic.  They step into the "why bother" mode - why bother to try to make a new friend, why bother to reach out to someone,  why bother to attend a social event.  Of course, you will likely not meet your soul mate or your future best friend at every event.  But, if you are lonely, step out of the loneliness box of your home and into the world of possibility.

    If you need help to release the defensiveness, desperation and depression that can be triggered by loneliness, a clinical hypnotherapist using brief therapy can help you to step out into a better and happier future.  Hypnotherapy can help you BE WELL.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT CAN PREVENT ALZHEIMER'S

      If you have a family member or friend suffering from Alzheimer's disease or have anxiety about developing this disease, changing or eliminating risk factors, the work of Deborah Barnes, PhD, MPH, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, may give you insight for prevention.  Dr. Barnes was the leader of a comprehensive review published online in THE LANCET NEUROLOGY.

     In the review she reported that more than half of Alzheimer's cases could be prevented with lifestyle changes such as treating health issues like depression, diabetes, midlife obesity and midlife hypertension, stopping smoking and increasing physical activity   By eliminating or changing these risks, Dr. Barnes reported, it would potentially be possible to prevent 2.9 million cases of Alzheimer's disease in the United States.

     Good medical care for aggressive treatment of the health issues is a must.  If you need motivation to stop smoking or increasing physical activity, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to get you going, keep you going and BE WELL.

HYPNOTHERAPY FOR MOTIVATION

     Many of my clients are surprised to learn that hypnotherapy can be a great tool for issues besides quitting smoking, losing weight and reducing stress.  I recently received a thank-you note from a client who had come to me feeling depressed and unmotivated after she lost her job when the executive she worked for left the company.  She just wanted to get on with her life.  This is the note I received, "Hi, Dr. Johnson    You are amazing!  when my phone rang during my session yesterday, it was from a company asking me if I was interested in interviewing for an Executive Assistant position next week:)  when I got home, I started cooking up a storm - pasta with meat sauce and spice cake with frosting.  This morning I got up at 6:15 and went for a two mile walk with my husband then I went to the office and packed my office and my executive's office.  I feel good today.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!"

     Congratulations to her and all the people who have used hypnotherapy to improve their lives.  Personal issues such as motivation, anxiety and depression can also be addressed with hypnosis.  

AGING AND SELF-ESTEEM

     In 2012, Richard Robins, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and his research team reported on a study of 3,617 adults conducted over 16 years identifying when self-esteem began to decline.  The study was based on how participants responded to statements such as "I take a positive attitude toward myself".

      The researchers reported that self-esteem generally began to decline around the age of sixty.  This was believed to be a time when factors such as poor health, retirement, reduced income and disabilities became more prevalent.  The loss of self-esteem is important since people who are less satisfied with life and less confident in their daily life tend to be more susceptible to depression.

      To maintain self-esteem make life choices to stay socially connected by spending time and maintaining regular contact with family and friends, volunteering in your community, being active in social groups.  In addition, take care of yourself physically by eating healthfully and exercising regularly.  If you need motivation to make those good choices to maintain your self-esteem, hypnotherapy can give you a head start in enjoying those years after sixty.

DEPRESSION AND STROKE RISK

        A study of 80,574 women published in STROKE found that there is a 29% greater risk of stoke in depressed women than in women who were not depressed.  The senior author of the study was Kathryn Rexrode, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.  It is believed that the findings apply to men as well as women though only women participated in the study.

      The researchers believe the possible reason for the increased risk is that depression is linked to increased inflammation. Inflammation is considered a risk factor for strokes.  In addition, people suffering from depression may not take steps to prevent strokes like consistently using prescribed medications or exercising.

      Take heart in knowing that most cases of depression can be treated successfully with psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy have proven as helpful as antidepressant drugs in treating mild cases of depression.  Seeing your health care provider to get a treatment plan is a first step in getting help for depression.  In some cases, a psychotherapist will refer a depressed client to me for hypnotherapy as an adjunct therapy.  So get help for your depression and lower the risk for stroke.

        A study of 80,574 women published in STROKE found that there is a 29% greater risk of stoke in depressed women than in women who were not depressed.  The senior author of the study was Kathryn Rexrode, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.  It is believed that the findings apply to men as well as women though only women participated in the study.

      The researchers believe the possible reason for the increased risk is that depression is linked to increased inflammation. Inflammation is considered a risk factor for strokes.  In addition, people suffering from depression may not take steps to prevent strokes like consistently using prescribed medications or exercising.

      Take heart in knowing that most cases of depression can be treated successfully with psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy have proven as helpful as antidepressant drugs in treating mild cases of depression.  Seeing your health care provider to get a treatment plan is a first step in getting help for depression.  In some cases, a psychotherapist will refer a depressed client to me for hypnotherapy as an adjunct therapy.  So get help for your depression and lower the risk for stroke.

BOOST YOUR MOOD

    Been feeling down or anxious?  If you want to reduce anxiety and improve mood, walking at a moderate pace or practicing yoga are often suggested.  A 2011 study of 34 adults who practiced yoga or walked was reported by Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.  The study found that those who practiced yoga reported significantly greater mood improvement and anxiety reduction than the walking group.  In addition to the study participants reports, brain scans were done of the participants which showed that the yoga group had higher levels of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which produces calming effects.

   If you want to add yoga or walking to your daily life to boost your mood, but are having trouble getting started, hypnotherapy can be an excellent tool for motivation.  Get moving.  Feel great.  Be well.

DEPRESSION TRAPS AT THE HOLIDAYS

     "It's the most wonderful time of the year" sing the carolers.  But for many people, the holidays from Thanksgiving till New Year can be cause for depression.  The holidays are times of high expectations, jammed calendars and memories of the past.  All of these things can trigger depression which can cause behaviors that may make things worse.

    Every year many people put great stress on themselves by trying to create "the perfect" holiday. There are homes to be decorated, food to be prepared, gifts to be bought and wrapped and people to be entertained. Trying to do this while still maintaining work schedules, school schedules and regular homelife can be overwhelming.  As time to the big day gets closer and closer, a feeling of failure can trigger depression.

    Because people are busy, some important self-caretaking can be dropped. The time demands and the darkness outside may have regular exercisers dropping their routine. Exercise increases levels of the mood-boosting brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.  When people don't exercise they lose those helpful chemicals. Then there are all the food choices to be made around the holidays.  Most of us do not usually have six dozen fat and sweet cookies sitting on the table year round.  Gaining weight through the holidays is typical and can be depressing.  In addition, we tend to eat more sugar.  Sugar is a substance which will originally elevate mood, but then comes the sugar crash and depresses the mood. 

     As depression begins to occur, many people try to relieve the anxiety that comes with depression by drinking alcohol. This self-medication may be a temporary fix for depression but soon causes more harm than good as it interferes with sleep, depresses the central nervous system and may interact with any antidepresants being taken. While some people drink, other people begin to withdraw from family and friends.  Social withdrawal will in actuality increase depression.

    So avoid the depression traps of overeating, self-medicating with alcohol, food or sugar or social withdrawal.  Hypnotherapy can be a great tool to help you deal with the stresses and depression traps of the holidays.  BE WELL and have a happy holiday season.

QUIT SMOKING AND REDUCE DEPRESSION

    A study published in NICOTINE & TOBACCO RESEARCH reported that quitting smoking reduces depression.  The study by Christopher Kahler, PhD, research professor of community health, Warren Alpen Medical School, Brown University, Providence was the author of a study of 236 people who were trying to quit smoking.  He found that people who quit smoking were happier than those who remained smokers.  He also reported that those who quit smoking even for a short amount of time were more likely to be less depressed while they were not smoking.  Once a subject returned to smoking, the symptoms of depression reoccured.

    If you are a smoker suffering from depression and want to feel better, now is the time to quit smoking.  Know that hypnotherapy is a great way to become a nonsmoker.  Check out my website:  www.BeaHealthyNonsmoker.com and get rid of the chemicals in the cigarettes and the depression they can cause.

TRANS FATS INCREASE DEPRESSION RISK

      Still another reason to lower your consumption of trans fats.  A study of 12,059 people published in PLoS was reported by Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, BPharm, PhD, and associate professor of preventative medicine, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain.  In the journal, Dr. Sanchez-Villegas warned that the risk for clinical depression was raised by 48% in people who ate more than 1.5 grams of trans fats each day.  The risk became greater as more trans fatty foods were consumed.

    The researchers believe that because trans fats increase inflammation, this may disrupt mood and interfere with brain transmitters.  If you have been diagnosed with depression or are concerned about the possibility of developing depression, limiting consumption of trans fats is a great goal.  Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool in focusing on that goal as a part of eating well.

FEELING FATIGUED?

      A complaint I hear fairly often in my practice is feeling fatigued.  If you are among those who are "sick and tired of feeling sick and tired", it's time to get some help.  If you are experiencing severe and frequent fatigue, the first step is making an appointment with your medical doctor.  It's likely that you will need a complete medical workup which will include specific tests because fatigue can be caused by hundreds of medical disorders.  Among these are such issues as anemia, diabetes, hepatitis and other liver disorders, infectious mononucleosis, lupus, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid deficiency. Blood work may also identify problems with muscle chemistry, low magnesium, or inflamation  An infection such as chronic sinusitis could also be an underlying reason for fatigue. If a health issue is identified, it may be medically treated to address your fatigue.  But if your doctor cannot identify a specific underlying cause for your fatigue, your medical treatment options are limited.  Your physician will likely advise you to get more and/or improved sleep and exercise more.

     Psychological conditions such as stress or depression may also be the underlying issue in dealing with fatigue. Your energy may be drained by stress.  So many people only think of major stressors such as a death in the family or losing a job.  But dealing with heavy traffic every day on your commute or feeling anxious about a project at work may leaving you feeling exhausted. One of the most overlooked causes of fatigue is depression.  Your medical doctor may treat  these issues with stress-management programs or antidepressants or recommend psychotherapy.

     There are other things you can do to deal with fatigue.  Drink more water to flush out toxins, eat small meals and protein rich foods that provide a steady source of energy.  An herb used by athletes to improve stamina is ginseng.  Many patients have found that the American form of ginseng with at least 5% ginsenosides is of value in dealing with fatigue.  Three nutrients you might find of value are L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium. A daily B-complex vitamin supplement provides energy as well. Consume alcohol in moderation and eliminate caffeine from your diet. 

    Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool in dealing with fatigue.  It can be used to deal with insomnia and help you establish good sleeping habits.  It can be used to reinforce good habits like drinking more water, eating well and exercising more.  Don't give up.  It's time to get rid of fatigue and feel energized.

HYPNOTHERAPY FOR COMFORT EATING

       One of the issues that people often come to see hypnotherapists for is weight loss.  I work with a highly-educated, intelligent population here in the DC area.  People know what they need to be doing - change bad eating habits by choosing healthy foods and watching their portion size, limiting caloried beverages and moving more.  Sometimes they just need help through hypnotherapy to get motivated to do what they know they ought to be doing.

      But another issue often becomes evident as we discuss their behavior.  People tend to eat for reasons other than physical hunger.  They may try to satisfy personal needs and hungers that have nothing to do with food by eating.  They try to comfort themselves by eating.  This may come from childhood when the child's parents or caretakers used food to comfort.  Didn't get asked to the prom - make brownies.  Feeling sad - let's order a pizza. Want to celebrate a special day - let's make a feast.  Food became associated with lots of emotions and the person was comforted by the food.  Now the client is an adult.  But when they feel those emotions come up, they are triggered to want to comfort themselves with food. 

      Food may have also been used as a reward when the client was young.  Going out for ice cream as a reward for a good report card.  Getting an extra cookie for being a "good girl".  Popcorn and candy at the movies as a special treat.  At some level, the child is always looking for that reward for being good - even when the child grows up.

     We may also give ourselves food when we are not getting what we need emotionally from others.  The boss criticizes our work or doesn't respect our effort, so we eat.  The one we love doesn't love us, so we eat.  Our child is disrespectful or rude, so we we eat.  Food becomes a way of giving ourself something when we feel like what we need is being held back.

     Unfortunately, the comfort from comfort eating lasts only as long as the food itself.  And then, the over-eating is often caused by self-disgust and depression.  "Oh, why did I do that?" becomes the mantra of the comfort eater. This can lead to eating disorders, depression and obesity. Hypnotherapy can be a great way to deal with this issue.  A skilled hypnotherapist can help you resolve the underlying issue and give you new tools to deal with the triggers that in the past may have encouraged you to comfort eat.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION AND HYPNOTHERAPY

       Throughout a woman's pregnancy, she gets regular care for her and her baby.  But once a woman has her baby, the care should not be over.  New mothers will likely be given an appointment to see her obstetrician or doctor for a follow up appointment.  This is usually around six weeks but may be scheduled any time between three to eight weeks after the delivery.  This appointment is a way for the doctor to make sure the new mother's body is healing appropriately.  

     But this is also the time when the new mother can share her mental and emotional health.  Sometimes new mothers will experience temporary feelings of tearfulness or sadness for the first seven to ten days after childhood.  It even has a name, "the baby blues".  The baby blues are not uncommon and do not require treatment.  But a more serious disorder may occur in less than one percent of all births called postpartum depression.   It usually occurs within the first month after delivery although it can occur any time during the baby's first year.

     Symptoms of postpartum depression include:  a feeling of being unable to cope with life, deep sadness, lack of concentration, gaining or losing a lot of weight, physical complaints, sleeping too much or too little, feelings of guilt and unworthiness, feeling tired all the time, agitation, anxiety, having trouble thinking clearly, lack of energy, feeling restless and loss of interest or pleasure. 

    A new mother who has any of these symptoms, should tell her doctor and get help.  This may include the use of antidepressants.  Women who are nursing are often referred to psychotherapy.  Another tool for postpartum depression is hypnotherapy.  This should be considered an adjunct therapy while under the primary care of a medical doctor.  Hypnotherapy is brief therapy.  When I work with a client with postpartum depression, a session would include a clinical interview that gives the client a chance to talk at length about their symptoms and how they want to feel and a forty-five minute hypnosis session.  I record the session so the woman can continue to listen to it at home as needed.  This may be all she chooses to do with hypnotherapy.  Or the client may choose to use and occasional hypnotherapy session until she feels better and the symptoms are gone.

USE OF HYPNOTHERAPY FOR STRESS AND PAIN

      Studies have shown that people who are stressed or depressed are more sensitive to pain.  The pain seemed to increase and be more intense no matter what its source.  Some studies using imaging have shown an increase in activity in areas of the brain associated with pain in patients who were stressed.  This is called stress-induced hyperalgesia.

    If you are suffering from pain caused by emotional issues, seek help for the underlying stress or depression.  Talk to your medical doctor and be honest in describing emotional problems such as anxiety, stress or depression.  There are medications to deal with depression and may reduce pain as well.

   Use distractions to help you be less focused on pain.  Listen to music.  Watch a video.  Participate in a hobby - scrapbook, woodwork, read.  Distract your mind from the pain by calling a friend or getting on facebook. Play a computer game or participate in one of the activities like Pintarest.  Distraction can be a great tool in relieving stress that may be causing your pain to feel worse.

   Hypnotherapy is another tool to deal with stress, depresion, anxiety and pain.  In many cases, hypnotherapy is an adjunct therapy to the medications of your doctor or the treatment of a psychotherapist or counselor.  A recording of the actual session can be a nice tool to use at home for relaxation and to reinforce the work of the session.  By relieving the underlying stress or depression, the pain will be less intense and more manageable.

NONDRUG APPROACHES TO DEPRESSION

     If you are suffering from depression, your medical doctor or psychiatrist will, in all likelihood, prescribe an antidepress medication.  For many patients, the medication will relieve symptoms and they will begin to feel much better.

     However, that is not true for all patients.  A 2009 study published in the journal, PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE: MEDICINE, found that four of the most well-known and extensively prescribed antidepressants, Prozac, Serzone, Paxil and Effexor were really only effective with patients termed "very severely depressed".  For many others the medications were no more effective than a placebo. In addition, antidepressants can cause a fair number of side effects including weight gain, headache and erectile dysfunction. 

    For these reasons, depressed patients often stop taking their antidepressants.  If you are thinking about stopping your use of an antidepressant, talk to the prescribing doctor. Discontinuing these drugs can cause physical symptoms such as sweating and diarrhea and emotional symptoms such as irritability.  So if you decide go off antidepressants, do it under the supervision of your doctor. 

    Consider your depression your body's cry for help.  A complete physical may indicate a physiological health problem that can affect mood.  Medical conditions such as  gastrointestinal or thyroid problems, heart disease, yeast infections, cancer or  diabetes can be the underlying issue for your depression.  Make sure there is not an undetected physical illness.

    Once you have had your physical, if you choose to not use drugs to treat depression, there are many things you can do to help.  Research has found that nutritional deficiencies can contribute to depression. Consciously improving your diet may be a first step to feeling better.  In addition,some easily available supplements such as a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement, omega-3, and vitamin D can be valuable in raising mood.

     Exercise is another way to deal with depression.  So many times, a depressed person becomes extremely lethargic.  Getting up and moving can shake the depression away.  Aerobic exercise such as walking or biking has been shown to improve depression.  Dancing can be fun and is energizing.  If you are bedridden, move what you can, as you can.  Taking a class can be a fun way to move and spend time with others.  Do what you enjoy.  Think about when you were a child, if you liked to run and play, then get out and take that walk.  If you liked to swim go to the Y, if you liked team sports join a group your own age, or take a yoga class or a zumba class. But get up and move.  Release endorphins to help you feel better.

    Deep breathing is a wonderful way to deal with depression as well as stress.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, slowly and deeply.  When ever you feel anxious or overwhelmed, breathe deeply and exhale completely.

     Use any therapy that helps to boost your mood.  Psychotherapy, meditation, acupuncture and hypnotherapy all can cause actual positive changes in your brain to improve happiness.  If you have given up on antidepressants, try these nondrug options to feel better soon.