Depression is a serious illness that causes a person to feel very downtrodden and hopeless about life. And, over the last 10 years we have seen it's numbers triple. This rate becomes even more alarming when you consider that there has been a more general acceptance of depression as a “real" illness and something that shouldn't be taken lightly as well as the availability and development of new drugs.
Symptoms that include a loss of energy, apathy and sadness are some of the early stages of depression. Other signs of depression are a loss of appetite, a disinterest in friends, family and hobbies and the use of alcohol and drugs to “dull the pain" or self medicate. Depression can lead to suicide in its worst cases. If you don't personally suffer from depression, you probably know somebody who has or who will. Up to 10% of Americans have a depression related episode in the course of any year.
Although depression can always return to a person, and likely has genetic components that pass it down in families, it can almost always be alleviated with proper treatment and care. Traditional care has always included therapy and medication (primarily antidepressants), preferably with a combination of the two. To get the combination right, the process can take a lot of work because not all medications and types of therapy work the same for every person.
However, there is more that can be done than paying exorbitant bills for therapy and medication. In fact, you can greatly improve your mood, both in the short and long term simply by changing your lifestyle such as by becoming involved in athletics and exercising. This is linked to the fact that exercising causes your body to release endorphins (and other feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine). Endorphins contribute to feelings of elation and joy because they are your body's natural painkiller.
Many people describe what is known as a “runner's high" after a period of intense and strenuous exercise. This can be achieved not just by running but through playing other sports as well. While the runner's high, a very intense feeling of euphoria closely related to an actual drug-high actually occurs only in rare circumstances, endorphins are always being released when playing sports and exercising.
Involvement in sports will have an affect on your depression in many ways. You will get into better physical condition and physical health by participating in sports. This will get you feeling better about your body and how you look and provide you with more confidence. By getting up and moving, athletics will help prevent or lessen depression. If you have been sitting still all day such as at a desk this is especially helpful. Additionally, sports may lead to increased socialization and interaction with people. Positive interactions with others will lift your spirits, whether through organized sports or anything else.
Medication and therapy may not be right for everybody and you may not want to let your depression get that far even though they can be helpful. Getting involved in sports can help relieve depression as well as prevent depression from occurring in the first place.
Scott Becker is an expert author mostly writing on depression and sports health and nutrition. He also enjoys golf and is the author and creator of http://healthfitnessvitamin.com For more articles like this one and to receive your FREE REPORT - 7 Little known Ways to Control Your Depression go to http://healthfitnessvitamin.com