In an astounding announcement, the World Health Organization reports that depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. Since depression increases the risk of many chronic diseases, Today gives six signs of depression you may miss, but need to watch out for. Those include: changes in sleep patterns, befuddled thinking, worrying or thinking too much, weight changes, pulling back from socialization, and experiencing an unusual amount of pain.
It may be surprising, but teenagers are particularly susceptible to feelings of depression: An estimated 500,000 American teens struggle with depression, and more than three-quarters of them are girls. Mental disorders are also the second most common cause of disability among Americans of both sexes, having risen sharply since 1980, so it’s obvious there is an immediate need for addressing this serious issue.
Many may think the answer lies in a prescription for a mind-altering drug, but research shows your diet can have a profound effect on your mental health. Gastrointestinal abnormalities have been linked to a variety of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and schizophrenia. It is now well established that the vagus nerve, which runs from your brain stem to your gut, is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain.
Besides diet, sunlight also has a profound impact on your mental health — more so than any other weather phenomenon, according to a study looking at links between weather and depression in a group of students. Another important factor is the amount of red, near-, mid- and far-infrared light that you’re exposed to. One of the most beneficial wavelengths of light is the near-infrared (810 to 830 nm), which penetrates deep into your body and has many biological effects.