By: Natasha Archary
Midday Joy with Unathi continues the conversation around mental health with a look at alternative medicine in treating depression, anxiety and stress.
Brent Murphy, a pharmacist specialising in Research and Development of Natural Medicines, speaks to Unathi about the “holistic treatment” options available.
“Think about it this way, you would never tell a person with one leg, ‘Hey you with 1 leg, grow another leg!’ you would have sympathy. You would empathise that they have a physical problem and can’t just grow another leg. The same applies with anxiety and depression, there are physical changes that occur inside your brain.” Brent shares with Unathi.
Stress causes a decrease in anti-stress hormones and increases the level of stress-inducing hormones. This makes it difficult for a person to sleep and focus.
Telling someone to snap out of their “negative mindset” while depressed or stressed, is telling them to grow another leg.
“You’re telling someone to physiologically change their neurotransmitters simply by thinking about it. That’s not how it works. Depression and anxiety is all in the brain. It’s not just psychological, it’s physiological. It’s a physical change that’s happening but on the inside.” Brent explained.
Listen to the full conversation with Brent Murphy on Midday Joy with Unathi on alternative medicines:
Defining stress, anxiety and depression
Stress – Is an effect of outside influence. It could be brought on by problems in relationships, financial concerns, job stability etc. People handle stress differently. Some are not affected by stress but others respond to stress with anxiety.
Anxiety – Anxiety is a response to stress. It’s a feeling of constant worry and panic. Anxiety causes sleeping disorders like insomnia because when the stress hormone, cortisol, goes up you can’t sleep. When you can’t sleep, you don’t recover mentally and go through the next day more anxious. This causes a vicious cycle of stress causing anxiety and then anxiety causing worry and sadness. Over time this sad feeling then turns into depression.
Depression – This is when a person loses their interest in life. They’re in a constant depressed mood which has an impact on their way of life. Depression can lead to a range of behavioural and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behaviour or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.
Alternative medicine to treat mental health
- Alternative therapies are not part of mainstream medical care.
- They are thought to increase wellbeing, aid relaxation, and promote good mental health.
- You can use alternative therapies for different mental health needs and symptoms.
- There is more research into some complementary and alternative therapies than others. This means that there is more evidence that some work than there is for others.
- Not all complementary and alternative therapies are regulated. It is important to make sure the therapist you choose is qualified.