Immigrants and Depressionadmin2019-04-05T02:11:55+00:00
IMMIGRANTS AND DEPRESSION
Check your answers below.
1. Easy Question:
2. Easy Question:
3. More Difficult:
4. More Difficult:
Check your answers below.
How to Treat Depression in Immigrants
Have you been diagnosed with depression? Many newcomers experience depression-like symptoms in Canada during their adaptation to the new country. Unfortunately, doctors usually prescribe them antidepressants instead of addressing the real problem and helping the newcomers find effective solutions.
Depression is not a disease – it’s a symptom. Depression is telling you that something needs to be changed. By changing one or more of the things listed below, you can easily get rid of depression.
1. Are you getting enough sunlight?
If you don’t get enough sunlight, you will feel depressed. Canadian winters are long and there’s little to no sunlight for several months. Also, some immigrants, especially women, tend to spend long hours at home because they don’t want to go outside alone.
In summer, it’s very important to go outside and spend time in the sun daily. The sun needs to touch your skin so that your body can make Vitamin D. 60- 70% of Canadians are vitamin D deficient because of long winters.
If it is winter and you cannot stay outside for too long, you can get a special full-spectrum lamp. You must go outside though, even if for a short period of time during the day hours. If you don’t get exposure to light during the day, you might have problem falling asleep at night. Lack of sleep will make you tired and will feel like depression.
2. Are you in the 2nd stage of Culture Shock?
The feelings you are experiencing – sad, depressed, homesick – could be nothing more than the 2nd stage of the culture shock and they are absolutely normal. To learn more about culture shock stages click HERE. If this is your case, you will need to find a volunteer job or any other activity that allows you to connect to people and make new friends. You left your old social network behind and now you are feeling the effects of it. Start building new relationships to feel better.
3. Do you have digestion problems?
Your depression may be the result of the unhealthy gut. Did you know that 95% of serotonin is found in the bowels? Take probiotic supplement or eat probiotic rich foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi or other fermented foods, especially if you have recently taken antibiotics. You need healthy bacteria in your gut to feel good. Bone broth is also very healing when it comes to digestion problems.
4. Are you taking medications that cause depression?
Some medications have depression as a side effect. For example, blood pressure medications reduce the blood supply to your brain making you feel depressed. Many medication damage your intestinal tract thus causing problems with serotonin. This happens if you take steroids for asthma, muscle relaxants, contraceptives, sleep medication, etc.
5. Are you hypoglycemic?
Your mood swings – going from happy to sad and depressed – could be caused by your blood sugar imbalances. We need stable blood sugar levels to feel stable emotionally. If you eat a lot of sweets, you will feel happy for a short time, but, as soon as the insulin wipes out all that sugar from your blood, your mood will go down. Hypoglycemia is a hidden cause of depression in many people.
6. Are you moving as much as before?
Mind and body are connected. If you used to move much more back home and now you are sitting inside your house/apartment and car/office all the time, that could be the cause of your depression. Exercise. Go for long walks or sign up for a gym. You must move and sweat if you want to smile and feel good.
7. Are you eating ‘Canadian food’?
Many immigrants, after they arrive to Canada, change their diets and start eating Canadian processed food from supermarkets, coffee shops, burger joints, etc. It is much healthier to cook at home when you know that you only put good quality ingredients into your food. You will not believe the amount of chemicals added to foods that are prepackaged in a box. It’s better not to buy them or at least learn to read the food labels.
Supplements that can help:
1. Vitamin B3
Also called Niacin. Depression is often caused by B3 deficiency. You can get it from liver, but if you don’t like eating liver, you can try supplementing with it.
2. St. John’s Wort
This is an herb that acts as a natural antidepressant.
This is a natural amino acid that turns into serotonin in your body. If you decide to take a supplement, take it on an empty stomach.
4. Zinc and chromium
These trace elements help stabilize blood sugar. A lot of times your mood changes are the result of blood sugar imbalances.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega 3 is a good fat. Most Canadians consume too much Omega 6 (from vegetable oils like corn oil and canola oil) and not enough Omega 3 (because Canadians don’t eat much fish). You can either get a good quality pill supplement from a health food store – don’t get a cheap one, it won’t work – or you can actually get a small bottle of fish oil. Another option is to eat sardines, wild salmon, anchovies and mackerel on a regular basis.
Word of Caution:
Be careful with the antidepressant drugs – some of them have horrible side effects and can turn your mild depression symptom into suicidal thoughts (if you’re finding it hard to believe, check the full list of side effects). Also, remember that antidepressants don’t work for immigrants who are going through the 2nd stage of culture shock. Don’t waste your money. Take matters in your own hands and get rid of your depression naturally!