Treating depression: What are the options?

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There are numerous studies that provide evidence that CBD has various therapeutic properties and can provide support for many ailments. Since cannabidiol is currently covered by the Therapeutic Products Advertising Act, we are not allowed to make any therapeutic claims at this point. We would also like to point out that our products are not considered as medical preparations.


There are always times in life when people suffer from a depressed mood, frequent brooding or reduced drive. Triggers are usually psychologically stressful situations. However, a depressed mood is not the same as a serious depression. Therefore, the following article is intended to clarify the clinical picture, how to treat depression and whether cannabidiol (CBD) can be a support.

Depression: Causes and typical symptoms
Am I depressed?
Depression: Treatment and therapy
Pharmacotherapy for depression
Treating depression without medication - tips for self-help
Treating depression herbally - is it possible?
CBD against depression

Sadness, listlessness and listlessness occur from time to time in the course of life. Depression, on the other hand, is a serious mental illness that does not disappear on its own after a while or improve with encouragement or distraction. In severe cases, there is even a risk of suicide. That is why depression must be treated professionally.

Depression: Causes and typical symptoms

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 million people suffer from depressive symptoms, including children, adolescents and adults. As a rule, depression is caused by several factors:

  • Genetic predisposition: According to current scientific knowledge, the risk of developing depression is about 15 percent if one parent has the disease themselves. In addition, genetic factors can increase sensitivity to psychological stress.
  • Dysfunctions in the brain: In many people who suffer from depression, an imbalance has been found between the messenger substances serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid and acetylcholine, as well as in the limbic system in the brain. This stress-regulating system is involved in feeling and processing emotions.
  • Psychosocial factors: Various psychosocial factors, such as an anxious-caring parenting style with a resulting "learned helplessness" or the early loss of a parent may be involved in the development of the disease. Other triggers can include trauma, crisis situations, stressful life events, prolonged stress, but also illnesses such as chronic pain.

More detailed information on the causes and treatment is available here.

Am I depressed?

The following three symptoms are typical of mental illness:

  • Dejection: affected persons are depressed almost continuously, which lasts longer than two weeks in the case of depression.
  • Loss of interest: Characteristic symptoms are joylessness, a feeling of inner emptiness and a loss of interest in work, hobbies and social contacts. Neither positive events nor attempts at encouragement by fellow human beings improve the mood.

Lack of drive: Affected persons cannot cope with everyday life at all or only with difficulty, because they feel physically and mentally exhausted. Even just getting up in the morning is extremely difficult for depressed people. Some people do not even manage to get out of bed due to extreme fatigue.

In addition to these symptoms, the following secondary symptoms may also occur:

  • strong inner restlessness
  • inner agitation and tension
  • concentration and attention disorders
  • strong self-doubt, feelings of guilt and/or self-reproach
  • loss of libido

In addition, physical complaints may also occur, such as:

  • Headaches and/or backaches
  • sleep disturbances
  • Cardiovascular complaints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal problems

Depressive illness: classification into severity levels

A depressive episode can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on how many symptoms are present and how severely patients are restricted in their daily lives. In the mild form, there is some distress, but patients can still perform their private and professional tasks to a large extent.

In the case of moderate depression, the ability to cope with everyday life is significantly restricted and those affected withdraw more and more. In a severe form, patients are no longer able to care for themselves, so that in most cases inpatient treatment in a psychiatric ward is necessary.

Regardless of whether it is mild, moderate or severe - in all forms, the negative thoughts can become so strong that suicidal thoughts arise. Therefore:

If you are thinking about suicide or suspect suicidal thoughts in a relative, do not hesitate and seek help! Affected people from Switzerland, Germany, Austria and other countries can find help and support for suicidal thoughts here.

Depression: treatment and therapy

The quality of life of those affected by a depressive illness is severely impaired. The level of suffering is also extremely high. It is therefore particularly important to seek therapy as soon as possible so that the illness does not become chronic.

    The following treatment methods are available:
    • Psychotherapies: Depth psychology-based psychotherapy is based, among other things, on the fact that stressful life events have not been properly processed. These are worked through in discussions with a psychotherapist. Such psychotherapy can last for months and requires commitment and patience on the part of the person concerned.
    • Behavioral therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to work with a therapist to find ways to get out of depression. For example, conversations may proceed to uncover negative thought patterns and replace them with new positive thought patterns.

    Treating depression may require a stay in a clinic, depending on how severe it is. Such a hospital stay is an option that sufferers can discuss with their doctor or a specialist in neurology and decide together.

    In addition to these therapies, there are other treatment options that are not covered by health insurance in most cases. These include, for example, interpersonal therapy (IPT), which is specifically intended for the treatment of depressive disorders. This is a combination of psychodynamic therapy and behavioral therapy. The goals of the therapy include learning skills and strategies to cope better with the illness.

    Pharmacotherapy for depression

    As a rule, medications such as antidepressants are prescribed only for severe depressive episodes. They cannot cure the illness, but only alleviate the symptoms. Another problem is that antidepressants often only take effect after two to three weeks - if they have any effect at all. This is because everyone reacts differently to these drugs, and there is no guarantee that they will have the desired effect.

    In addition, the drugs can have unpleasant side effects. If they are discontinued during or outside the therapeutic treatment phases, there is a risk of relapse.

      Prescription drug overview

      Antidepressants

      Effect

      Potential side effects

      Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)

      SSRIs are thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain and have a mood-boosting effect.

      Dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, fatigue, insomnia, tremors, sexual dysfunction

      Tricyclic antidepressants

      The active ingredients are intended to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. As a rule, these drugs are prescribed only when SSRIs do not work.

      Dry mouth, constipation, fatigue, tremor, cardiac arrhythmias

      Treating depression without medication - self-help tips

      On the subject of medication, sufferers should always discuss this with their doctor. Psychotherapy is the first and most important step, because treating depression without a doctor is usually not possible.

      Affected people can take many steps to help themselves in addition to psychotherapy. These include, for example:

      • A regular daily routine and social contacts can be an important part of helping yourself.
      • Exercise and sport can help the symptoms subside.
      • Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, tai chi or mindfulness training, can have a positive effect on mental health.
      • In a self-help group, conversations with other sufferers can be supportive.
      • The use of online self-help can also be helpful. Numerous online programs are now available.

      Treating depression herbally - is that possible?

      Anyone looking for information on the topic of "treating depression naturally" usually comes across cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD). At this point, it should be emphasized once again that psychotherapy is the most important component in treatment. Neither medication nor herbal remedies can replace it.

      Cannabis as a medicine has been used for centuries for depressive disorders. Various studies suggest that the cannabinoids contained in cannabis, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as the various terpenes (aromatic substances), can influence mood. Especially the non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) is said to have antidepressant properties.

      CBD against depression

      Research on CBD is still in its infancy. So far, there are hardly any studies, especially only a few clinical studies on humans, which allow to clearly prove the cannabinoid antidepressant properties. Here is an overview of interesting studies:

      • CBD appears to be able to exert a neuropharmacological effect by influencing the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in various processes in the body (e.g., the perception of pain and emotions). In one study, researchers tested long-term treatment with CBD in rats and concluded that CBD may have an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effect, but this needs to be confirmed by further studies.
      • In another study, the researchers:inside examined the effect of CBD on depressed mice. This showed an antidepressant-like effect. The researchers attributed this to the fact that CBD may be able to block the 5-HT1A receptor in the brain.
      • In another mouse model, researchers showed that CBD could alleviate depression-like behavior by modulating certain brain areas responsible for emotions.

      What is the difference between medical CBD and CBD oil?

      When it comes to the topics of cannabis, hemp, medical CBD, freely purchasable CBD products, there is always confusion and misunderstanding. Therefore, the differences should be briefly explained again here:

      • Cannabis is the Latin term for hemp. However, it has become accepted that cannabis refers to THC-rich varieties that serve recreational consumption or medicinal purposes. Hemp, on the other hand, stands for commercial hemp, which contains hardly any THC and from which freely purchasable CBD products are made.
      • Medical CBD is derived from cannabis and is available by prescription. Also in studies, researchers use pharmaceutical-grade CBD or a synthetic form, at very high doses that cannot be achieved with freely available CBD products.
      • It is not possible to transfer the study results one-to-one to CBD products. This is because CBD products do not have a pharmaceutical and standardized quality. Depending on which methods manufacturers use, the quality can vary significantly.

      CBD oil against depression

      All CBD oils from ALPINOLS have a high quality because they come from our own hemp cultivation and the gentle CO2 extraction process is used to extract the CBD. Nevertheless, CBD oil is not an alternative to psychotherapy and drug treatment. It is also not possible to cure depression with CBD oil.

      From experience reports it is known that CBD oil can have a positive influence on the general well-being. In this respect, it could possibly be used for a mild depressive mood.
      Those who suffer from depression, take antidepressants and are considering trying CBD oil should in any case consult with their doctor before taking it. This is because interactions can occur between CBD and antidepressants.

      FAQ

      What helps immediately with depression?

      Depression is a serious mental illness and cannot be compared with phases in life in which similar symptoms occur for a short time. If someone fears that they are suffering from a serious depression, they should immediately contact their family doctor, a psychiatric outpatient clinic in a hospital or a clinic specializing in this area.

      How can I get myself out of depression?

      As a rule, it is not possible for patients to free themselves from depression. The most important thing here is to make use of psychotherapeutic therapy. In addition, there are various self-help measures, such as a regular daily routine, exercise and sport, and participation in a self-help group.

      What is the best therapy for depression?

      Depth psychological psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy are the most commonly used methods, which can achieve good results. The prerequisite for this is that the patient agrees to it and cooperates. Pharmacotherapy, for example with antidepressants, is used at best as a support.

      Can depression be cured?

      In principle, it is possible to achieve an improvement in symptoms with the right psychotherapies. However, patients need to be patient. The earlier the depression is treated, the better the chances of recovery. However, patients are always at risk of relapse.