Depression is the feeling of anger, sadness, or loss that may interfere with our daily activities substantially. It is classified as a mood disorder. If you are seated in a room, chances are more people have struggled with depression at some point. You could be one of them. There are many ways in which depression can be treated, but getting the best weighted blanket for depression could set you free from this monster.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 8.1 percent of American adults above 20 years of age suffered from depression between 2013 and 2016.

You may experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily activities lowering your productivity. It can also interfere with your relationships. Worse still, depression may worsen some chronic health conditions.

Depression can worsen the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease

It is common to feel down, upset, and sad in life. However, if you feel down and hopeless regularly, you could be fighting with depression.

Depression is a dangerous medical condition that can get out of hand if not treated. However, if you seek treatment early, you will see the improvement of symptoms within a few weeks.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

 Depression is unique to everyone. However, there are common symptoms that can help you recognize that you are going through depression. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders points out that depression lasts for at least two weeks. You may experience the following symptoms

  • Feeling sad and having a depressed mood
  • Lack of interest or having displeasure in activities you like
  • The desire for sex drops
  • Your appetite changes drastically 
  • You gain or lose weight with no relationship to diet
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Continuous agitation, restlessness, and pacing up and down
  • Your movement and speech slows down
  • The feeling of fatigue or loss of energy
  • The feeling of worthlessness and guilt begins going through your mind
  • It becomes almost impossible to think, concentrate or make decisions
  • The thoughts of suicide begin to go through your mind.

According to the CDC, women are twice as likely to experience depression as men. Some of the symptoms may be specific to women such as:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Ruminating (dwelling on negative thoughts)
  • Anxiety

Causes of Depression

The causes of depression may not be straight forward. The medical community still struggles to understand what could be causing depression. 

There are so many possible causes, and in most cases, what triggers depression may be a combination of various factors.

Some of the common factors that can trigger depression include:

  • Family history and genetics
  • Trauma, early childhood trauma
  • Death or loss of loved ones
  • Certain medications
  • Life circumstances
  • Serious illnesses
  • Pregnancy 
  • Menopause
  • Drug and alcohol abuse

Depression can also be as a result of other medical conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Chronic pains
  • Sleep disorders

Types of Depression 

Depression comes in different severities. To some, it may be mind and temporary, while to others, the depression episode may be severe. Depending on the severity, depression can be categorized into the following types.

Postpartum Depression

This is common in women who have given birth within the last 12months. Depression is influenced by major hormonal changes and the reality and challenges of parenthood. 

New mothers experience stress, sleep deprivation, and loneliness for the first time after delivery. These feelings can lead to depression with a wide range of severity. 

Women in menopause also go through this type of depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This depression changes with seasons. It is most prevalent during the fall and winter seasons. However, it subsides in the summer and spring.

During the fall and winter seasons, there is less serotonin in the body due to overactive serotonin transmitters in the winter. The body also produces less vitamin D in the winter. This causes depression to be common during these seasons.

Major Depressive Disorder

This is the most severe form of depression. The symptoms are persistent and will require some form of treatment to ease out.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

This is also referred to as PDD. it is a milder but chronic form of depression.

Treatment for Depression

It is so hard to live with depression. The good news is that it can be treated and this will greatly improve your quality of life. The first thing to do is to go to a medical practitioner for a diagnosis. 

You can easily manage the symptoms of depression with one form of treatment. On some occasions, a combination of various treatments could be what you need. 

A common combination includes medical treatment and lifestyle changes. These are listed below.

Medications

The medications that can be prescribed for depression include antidepressants, antianxiety, and antipsychotic medications. 

It is worth noting that each medication used to treat depression has its benefits and potential risks.

On some occasions, depression may not respond to medications. Your healthcare practitioner may recommend other treatment options to help treat depression and boost your mood that includes electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).

Psychotherapy

Speak to a therapist. You may learn valuable skills that will help you cope with depression. Try also family or group therapy sessions.

Light Therapy and Alternative Therapies

Expose yourself to regular doses of white light. This will help regulate your mood hence improving the symptoms of depression. Light therapies work best for seasonal affective disorder.

Other alternative therapies that you can use include acupuncture or meditation. Talk with your healthcare provider about an alternative therapy before you use it in combination with the medication provided.

Exercise

Exercise to keep off depression
Photo by Dominik Wycislo on Unsplash

Purpose to be active during the day. Regular physical exercises will also be beneficial to you. Engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise for at least 3 to 5 days a week. 

Physical exercises stimulate the production of endorphins, which are hormones that boost your mood.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Alcohol and drugs worsen depression
Photo by Justurn on Unsplash

The use of drugs and alcohol can help you feel better for a short while. However, in the long run, these stimulants will worsen depression and anxiety symptoms.

Alcohol and substance abuse also affect your sleep patterns hence affecting the circadian rhythm of the body. This results in a lack of sleep quality, a sure recipe for depression.

Take care of yourself

You can improve the symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. You can do this by eating healthy, getting quality sleep, and involving yourself in activities that you enjoy.

Learn to say no to some conditions that may worsen your symptoms of depression. Set boundaries and avoid overwhelming activities. This can be in your professional or personal life.

Supplements

There are so many supplements available in the market that are thought to have a positive impact on depression. You should be cautious when trying out supplements as most of them are not approved by the FDA. You should talk to your healthcare practitioner about a supplement first.

The supplements that can help treat depression include 

  • St. John’s wort, 
  • S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), 
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are used as a popular natural remedy for most conditions. However, research on its effect on depression is still limited. 

Some of the essential oils that have a positive impact on depression include:

  • Wild ginger – inhale this strong scent to activate serotonin receptors in the brain
  • Bergamot – this citrusy essential oil is used to reduce anxiety in patients awaiting surgery. The same effect may be used to reduce anxiety in depressed patients.

Vitamins

Vitamins play a critical role in most of the body functions. Two vitamins are important in easing symptoms of depression.

  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin D

Weighted Blanket

Weighted blanket for depression

A weighted blanket is one of the best alternative tools for treating depression. The weighted blanket induces calm on the body at night ensuring that you fall asleep fast and remain asleep throughout the night. Getting quality sleep is one way of easing the symptoms of depression.

A weighted blanket also helps with anxiety, a major contributor to depression. Most people who have used a weighted blanket have reported positive comments and how the weighted blanket has helped them fight other conditions such as insomnia, ADHD, restless leg syndrome, and PTSD.

Weighted blankets use the principle of deep touch pressure (DTP) stimulation to stimulate the tactile inputs of the sensory nerves in the body. This recreates the feeling of being hugged or squeezed gently. The body responds by producing serotonin, a feel-good hormone that boosts mood.

How a Weighted Blanket can Help Cope With Depression 

Depression is not ‘being sad’ but it is a feeling of anger, sadness, or loss. The more depression is understood and accepted in society, the easier it becomes to treat it. In most cases, depression has something to do with a chemical imbalance in the body.

Individuals who suffer from depression have decreased amount of serotonin and melatonin in their bodies. This causes them to have a depressed mood and a lack of interest in their daily activities.

The best weighted blanket for depression will apply firm but gentle pressure on the body stimulating it to produce serotonin hormone. This hormone stimulates the production of melatonin hormone which soothes and calms the body to sleep.

The use of the best weighted blanket for depression will also help alleviate other symptoms associated with depression. This includes anxiety, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome.

How do Weighted Blankets Work?

Even though there are a limited number of studies into how weighted blankets help with depression, it has everything to do with how it works. 

The healing properties of a weighted blanket come primarily from its extra weights. The extra weights apply pressure on the body helping adults and children deal with anxiety, insomnia, attention deficit disorders, distress, and sensory-related disorders. 

Weighted blankets use deep touch pressure stimulation therapy to boost serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. The presence of these two hormones inhibits the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. The resultant effect of this is peaceful and calming effects on the body. It also improves cognitive functioning.

A relaxed body and a calm mind will definitely get quality sleep, hence a good remedy for anxiety and depression. And to crown it all, weighted blankets are safe and healthy to use. 

Weighted blankets through its extra weights apply a ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’ effect on the body as you sleep. The process of grounding synchronizes cortisol secretion with the body’s circadian rhythm. This is particularly evident in women as reported by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?

The best-weighted blanket for depression should weigh approximately 10 percent of the body’s weight. However, this weight may vary depending on personal preference. Some people prefer it heavier while others prefer it lighter. 

The use of a weighted blanket on children should be with caution. Children may not have the physical effort to move a weighted blanket should they feel overwhelmed. Ensure that the weight of the weighted blanket on children is strictly 10 percent of their weight and their use should be under an adult’s supervision. 

Before you go for a weighted blanket, ensure that you don’t have underlying issues. Consult your health practitioner if you:

  • Have underlying chronic issues
  • The symptoms are as a result of menopause 
  • Have circulation and respiratory issues
  • Have temperature regulation issues

Tips for Weighted Blankets 

Before you decide on the best weighted blanket for depression, there are some factors that you should consider first.

  • The fabric – weighted blankets are made using different fabric materials. However, the best weighted blanket for depression should have a good fabric that keeps you cool and doesn’t react with the skin. Fabrics made from natural materials such as cotton are advisable. However, the higher the quality of fabric material used, the higher its cost will be. 
  • The filler material – the filling material used in the weighted blanket plays a key role in determining the type of weighted blanket that you get. The best weighted blanket for depression has filler materials such as micro glass beads, plastic poly pellets, or steel shots. Take note of filler materials that make noise when you move in bed.
  • The size – the best weighted blanket for depression should fit your body and not the bed. The size should, therefore, be smaller than the normal blanket. This ensures that there is no extra blanket hanging from the bed, hence maximum functionality. 
  • The cost of a weighted blanket – weighted blankets comes at a cost because of its extra features. The cost of the weighted blanket could be double or triple that of the normal blanket. It will also be determined by the quality of fabric material used and the filling used.

Where to Buy the Best Weighted Blanket for Depression

Depression is not a one-day episode. It can last for long or keep recurring as long as the stress is a factor of life. It, therefore, needs a solution that lasts for a long time and promises you unending benefits. A weighted blanket is exactly the solution you need. 

The most important things that you should look for when looking for the best weighted blanket for depression include:

  1. Durability – select a weighted blanket made from quality fabric material and filler. It should withstand the period of time and its stitches should be firm.
  2. Breathability – the weighted blanket selected should be highly breathable and can be used all year round. It should keep you warm when cold and cool during the hot summer. This is possible when the weighted blanket uses natural materials such as cotton for its fabric. 
  3. Preference – sleep is a daily affair. Most probably, you sleep in the same bed all year round. It, therefore, means that you will be using a weighted blanket almost daily throughout. And if something is an Everyday affair, at least you should LIKE IT. 

You can find the best weighted blanket for depression online. Some of the most reputable online retailers include:

Some insurance plans cover a weighted blanket as long as it is prescribed by the doctor. Talk to your insurance provider to find out about this before you decide to spend your money.

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