Depression is a silent killer- this is a statement that we have all heard and know of to be true. Depression can be far more dangerous than many other kinds of physical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, etc.
It was once thought that the levels of depression amongst teens and young adults had increased now more than ever, as compared to a century ago. However, mental health education is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Even if young people did suffer from depression earlier, due to the lack of knowledge about the subject, as well as the taboo matter of the issue, it was not spoken of or even recorded.
Students who leave home to go and study abroad often suffer from bouts of depression. While for some students, it has happened just once, for others, it might be a more recurring phenomenon. Depression, even now, is not something that can be overtly spoken about.
It remains a somewhat taboo subject, especially with the older generation. Thankfully, the invisible taboos around this subject are being shed off rapidly, so that more students find it easier to speak to professionals or even just an adult they trust about this issue.
While there are several preventive measures as well as treatments for depression, there are a few things that can be done by students themselves to avoid falling into depression. Although they might sound too easy to be accurate, these little steps can help students prevent depression in a very significant way.
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What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder that can affect almost every single part of an individual’s everyday life. Depression is characterized by bouts of sadness, an overwhelming sense of loss or grief, loss of interest in day to day activities, loss of interest in hobbies, avoidance of social interaction, loss of appetite, and insomnia, to name a few.
However, depression can have dozens of more symptoms, which can cause significant disruption in a person’s life.
Depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance in an individual’s brain. However, it can also be caused by a combination of other factors, such as social, physiological, and even biological factors.
One of the most dangerous consequences of depression is overwhelming thoughts or want to commit suicide. Many individuals end up committing suicide or attempting to, to stop the feelings of sadness.
How Can Vitamin D Help to Avoid Depression?
Several studies conducted by Springer, whose results have been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine as well as studies conducted by the Vitamin D Council, have indicated that there is a strong correlation between the deficiency of Vitamin D and depression.
This means that in the test subjects, it has been noted that those who suffer from low levels of Vitamin D are also more prone to suffering from depression.
Read More: Why Magnesium Is Important for Students?
Although studies have not concluded whether there is a direct link, i.e., increasing Vitamin D levels in the body can alleviate depression, or whether the consequence of depression is lower levels of Vitamin D, the correlation is still present and quite durable.
How Can Students Increase Vitamin D in Their Bodies?
Vitamin D is often known as the ‘sunshine vitamin.’ By this, we can understand that one of the easiest, most economical ways in which we can increase levels of Vitamin D in our bodies is by taking in the sunlight.
Going outdoors and soaking up the sun can be extremely therapeutic, not only for increasing the levels of Vitamin D but also for our mental health and improving our overall mood.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is produced by the body itself. Exposure to the sun acts as a catalyst and causes the body to produce more of this nutrient. Vitamin D is notoriously one of the most underrated nutrients which our bodies need.
It is important to note that dark-skinned individuals need almost 25 times more exposure to natural sunlight to produce the same amount of Vitamin D as a light-skinned individual.
Although it is essential to go outside and soak up the sun regularly, you should also remember that overexposure to the harsh UV rays of the sun can also cause skin cancer. This is why it is vital to protect yourself while doing this exercise.
However, this is very counterintuitive and counterproductive. Although sunscreen does protect you from skin cancer, it also does not allow the body to completely absorb the sunlight and produce Vitamin D in our bodies.
Another essential thing to know is that glass acts as a natural barrier to us effectively absorbing sunlight. Sitting inside your home or your car with the windows up is not an effective way to get sun exposure for Vitamin D.
You will also find several right Vitamin D supplements, most of which you can buy over the counter. These supplements can be taken just a couple of times a week. To balance out a Vitamin D deficiency, you will need to do this for several months- the effects are not immediate.
THere are also several things you can add to your diet, which will increase Vitamin D in your body. Some of these include:
- Egg yolk
- Fatty fish- mackerel, salmon, tuna
- Orange juice
- Soy milk
- Beef liver
- Cod liver oil
It is a curious observation that most of the foods which are high in Vitamin D are in the colour of the sun!
Increasing the levels of Vitamin D in your body and overcoming a Vitamin D deficiency can be great, not only for avoiding depression but also because Vitamin D helps numerous other bodily functions. By visiting a doctor, you can quickly test the levels of Vitamin D you have in your body.
In case you suffer from a deficiency, the doctor can prescribe the right medication along with a proper diet to help you naturally increase the levels of Vitamin D. By being aware of a few small steps, you can help avoid and alleviate all signs of depression when you are living abroad.