Depression – it seems there is a worldwide epidemic?

CatherineDepression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation.

And here are more facts:

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease
More women are affected by depression than men
At its worst, depression can lead to suicide
There are effective treatments for depression
Depression affects 1 in five older people living within our community – that is people we see everyday around us.
Dr Catherine Hood (pictured), an expert in psychosexual medicine at St Georges Hospital in London, tells me about more research that has been carried out by the herbal medical experts at Kira.

Apparently millions of people in the UK are battling depression and low mood alone because they fear the social stigma surrounding the condition. And I can understand why many people would not want to tell their doctor because it can have a potentially negative effect on careers and even health insurance.

Aside from the serious kinds of depression, most of us feel down in the dumps from time to time. Especially with the winter weather and the depressed economy. But most of the time the reason is very close to home. Kira discovered the following reasons for feeling down:

· Forty per cent said their low mood was caused by work-related stress.
· A third (35%) said it was down to their personal life
· One in five blamed family reasons
· One in five said it was triggered by a specific event
· Nearly one in five felt down or miserable without knowing why

Of course there are proven mood boosters such as exercise, yoga and meditation but sometimes we can be overwhelmed by a bad situation, even if its only temporary. So what else can you do?

Nutritionists tell us that there are foods that help our body produce the feel-good-hormone serotonin – and one of those foods is turkey. But I suspect that we would have to eat a hell of a lot! Then are are vitamins and minerals which are helpful – folic acid, the Bs 12,6, 1 and 2, vitamin C and potassium.

And some people find St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) helpful. In Germany its covered by health insurance and some 20 million people there take it for depression. Various Clinical trials have shown that this plant extract works by prolonging the action of serotonin in the brain.

Dr Hood says it is not currently fully understood how this works – but it must be better than suffering in silence.

Kira LowMood Relief is a traditional herbal medicine for the relief of symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety. (Available at Boots and pharmacies nationwide, RRP £15.99.). Or from Amazon online here: