How to cure mental health issues – definition, natural remedies and techniques that work

Picture of a person inside a transparent plastic bag suffocating with anxiety
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Mental health has a lot of stigma around it. It can take someone who is struggling with a mental disorder into really dark places, in some cases even suicide.

So I thought why not talk about it and spread some awareness.

These conditions not only consist of severe conditions like Schizophrenia but also a few as mentioned below which may seem negligible, but in reality, they are not.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings (a severe version of this state is called the Bipolar disorder)

Do you feel a sense of dread, not being able to breathe, relax or sleep? Feel like you are losing control of your life and are going to die? Feel trapped in your own mind? Always feeling like you are missing out on something.

I too have dealt with one of these issues (anxiety) and I know what it feels like. I have seen a few close friends and relatives too who dealt with one of the more severe conditions. In a few cases even going to the stages of therapy and rehab.

Pain in the chest, heart racing, feeling a cloud of worry gonna choke you? In more intense cases, even thoughts like – “Is it worth it?” “What is the meaning of this life?” can start creeping up.

It can be any of the conditions I mentioned above – anxiety disorder, clinical depression or even bipolar disorder.

While dealing with anxiety, I experienced that what worked for me was natural remedies which were pain-free.

Before we can move on to learn about these remedies. Let’s first understand what is the difference between these conditions which are common? 


Anxiety and Depression

They can be confused with each other. Some of us don’t even know if they are different from each other. Even when we are suffering from one or the other.

However, there are distinguishing features between these two conditions which can help you identify the condition. People who have depression feel low on energy most of the time, move slowly, their reactions are flat and dull. On the other hand, people with anxiety tend to struggle to manage their racing thoughts and too much energy at times.

People with anxiety have worry which is almost like fear, about the future. But people with depression are in the belief that things will only go bad, so they don’t bother about the future.

In a simpler way, one can think of these two disorders as hyper and hypo conditions of anxiousness.

Even after these distinguishing features, some of the symptoms of both of these conditions are very similar – 

  • Frequent low mood
  • Sleep problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent mild headaches

Then there is the Bipolar disorder which seems like a case of mood swings but very intense. It can give manic phases of highs and depressive lows. This is a serious mental disorder which can destroy a person. It’s kind of a weird mix of anxiety and depression and most of the times tough to diagnosis.

But there is a very common thread which cuts across all three disorders – Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation.

If one is sleeping at irregular times, drinking coffee late in the night or even having alcohol at the night very frequently. It affects the overall sleep clock of your body. Your mind starts getting fatigued. You can feel it in your body as well. Your muscles start getting tensed, your back and shoulders might start to feel stiff. These symptoms may lead first to anxiety and grow on to become chronic anxiety which can last for years. Sometimes it might get mixed up with an emotional incident. Like the death of somebody close or a personal failure. Then it can transform into clinical depression. If it’s untreated for long, it can further transform into Bipolar disorder as well. 


How it affects your life?

These disorders can be disastrous not only to your mental well-being but also physical well being too. They can cause other diseases or disorders like hypertension, palpitations, cardiac conditions leading to a heart attack as well.

They can permanently damage your sleep cycle and turn you into an insomniac.

In severe conditions of these disorders they can permanently damage your mental health, one can further develop more advanced mental illnesses like schizophrenia which can make you lose connection with reality.


Prevention and Treatment

Natural Remedies – 

There are many natural remedies for early stages of anxiety. Even if you (Yes you! who is reading) don’t have an anxiety disorder or the other conditions I mentioned above, still you should follow the below practices for your well-being. They even help in preventing anxiety in the first place. Here are 10 natural ways to cure or prevent anxiety (they help in depression and bipolar disorder too) –

  1. Exercise – I cannot emphasize enough how an exercise routine can help in reducing stress and anxiety – Even a long evening walk, a quick 5km run or some cycling can work wonders in getting you back to normal. You may also include Jump ropes or a gym session in your exercises routines.
  2. Meditation and Deep Breathing – This has been personally a very helpful thing. Even a quick five minutes deep breathing session can reduce your anxiety levels. You can take help of some mindfulness apps as well like – Headspace, Oak and Calm etc. or join an instructor-led course like Vipassana. Deep breathing couple of times a day, can make you be more present and help de-stress.
  3. Stop Smoking – I’ve seen many of my friends, whenever they are stressed out, they’ll immediately reach for a cigarette. It may help as a quick fix, but in the long run, it can lead to anxiety disorder.
  4. Get proper Sleep – Sleeping less than adequate leads to insomnia in the long run and that’s a precursor to anxiety disorder. So whoever tells you otherwise than getting 7-8 hours sleep, they are wrong. Sleep adequately.
  5. Journaling – Writing down thoughts may sound like too old school but trust me it helps. I have read a lot of biographies of people who are super successful and writing a journal has been a common thread in their lives. It helps in calming down the racing mind and letting your emotions out. Not keeping the emotions inside, processing and experiencing your feelings is part of having a full life.
  6. Eating a healthy diet – A big cause of anxiety and mood swings is low blood sugar levels and dehydration. So to avoid that – hydrate yourself adequately, avoid processed foods, and eat a healthy diet that is rich in complex carbs, fruits and vegetables, and proteins.
  7. Playing it away with friends – Going out for playing with friends can be a huge stress-buster. Go out for a bowling session, a cricket session or anything which makes you joyful. A guilt-free play session with your friends is known to release that stress which might be bogging you down. In another method – playing with your pets like cats and dogs can be a remedy in curing anxiety. There are even cat and dog cafes these days where you can go and be around animals and relieve your stress.
  8. Talking more openly about the struggles with your close ones – Talking to your close friends, your spouse or even siblings, about your struggle, can go a long way in reducing stress.
  9. Drink chamomile tea – As per a study, drinking a cup of chamomile tea can be a powerful remedy for generalized anxiety disorder. It helps to calm frayed nerves and promotes sleep.
  10. Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy uses essential oils to promote health and well-being. These oils can be inhaled directly or added to a warm bath or a diffuser. I personally have used reed diffusers and I can tell you it helps you de-stress.

These natural remedies may replace or complement traditional treatments in the long run. These remedies help in anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder as well.

For the advanced treatments for chronic anxiety –

  • Talking Therapy – One of the most effective therapies for anxiety is called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The goal is to help a person understand how their thoughts affect their emotions and behaviour and to replace those reactions with positive or constructive alternatives.
  • Medication – A doctor may prescribe medications from one of the following groups:
    • antianxiety drugs called benzodiazepines, including Xanax and Valium
    • antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, including Prozac
    • sleeping medications, if anxiety interferes with sleep

For the advanced treatment for moderate depression

If you have mild to moderate depression that isn’t improving. The first step is to start therapy, you may find a talking therapy (like CBT) helpful. But if the depression condition is severe then below things can help –

  • Medication
    Antidepressants – These are different from anti-anxiety drugs
  • Combination therapy – This is a combination of talking therapy (like CBT) plus the use of antidepressants.
  • Mental health teams – In severe cases, one may have to reach out to mental health teams in a hospital which consists of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists

For the advanced treatment of the bipolar disorder

  • Medication – Medication is an important part of treating bipolar disorder and stabilizing moods. Here are some common categories of medications you may be prescribed:
    • Mood stabilizers – are prescribed to treat manic or hypomanic episodes.
    • Antidepressants – are prescribed to treat depressive episodes.
    • Antipsychotics – are sometimes prescribed to treat mood episode symptoms in addition to other medications.
  • Therapy – Psychotherapy like CBT can help in this condition as well.
  • Dual Diagnosis treatment – In 56% of cases, Bipolar disorder is related to alcohol or substance abuse. So in this treatment, both are treated together.
  • Outpatient treatment – Treatment at a day program like a rehab where you can live as you do in a hostel but with adequate care by professionals.
  • Inpatient treatment – Treatment at a hospital or a long-term care facility.

Important point is to prevent getting these disorders. So start practising the remedies provided in the treatment section. If you are struggling with anxiety it will help you get better, if not it will help you prevent anxiety disorder or the other conditions as well.


Resources

Here are some resources, if you are facing one of these conditions and are feeling stuck –

  • Helplines in India – 
    • The Vandrevala Foundation helpline number – 1860 2662 345 / 1800 2333 330. These helplines are manned by trained professionals who can help. This is the only all-India 24×7 service available at the moment.

      Following are three helplines based out of Mumbai but can be called from anywhere –
    • iCall (+91 22 2556 3291) available from Monday to Sunday 10 am to 10 pm, 
    • Samaritans Mumbai (+91 22 3247 3267) available from Monday to Sunday, 3 pm to 9 pm
    • Aasra (+91 22 2754 6669) which is available 24×7.
  • Here are The top 10 mental health apps to deal with anxiety.

Article Sources
https://www.psycom.net/anxiety-depression-difference
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-musings/201611/3-reasons-let-yourself-feel-your-emotions
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322396.php
https://www.psycom.net/bipolar-disorder-treatment
https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/040310.htm
https://nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders
https://nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression
https://nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder

Disclaimer – This article is based on research but still the information provided here is not an alternative to medical advice from a professional and experienced doctor/psychiatrist. If you are having suicidal thoughts, you should immediately consult your doctor. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website. Don’t go on and take medications mentioned here without your doctor’s advice, it can be dangerous and life-threatening. Neither Lifestyle Architecture Lab nor Himanshu Sachdeva will be liable for any issues arising (including death) due to using this information as an alternative to medical help.

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