Essential Oils for Mental Health: Depression
Depression affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, either directly or indirectly. It’s estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and 80% never receive treatment.1
What does that say about our society?
Quite simply stated, mental illness is either still considered a stigma or not thought of as a serious enough condition to warrant care. Either way, something needs to change.
More interesting facts:
- Depression affects twice as many women as it does men.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability.
- Depression is most prevalent in people aged 45-64. 2
There are many treatments for depression, medicinally and holistically, and the treatments vary for every patient, but some of the treatments are:
Many things factor into our mental health, including exercise, nutrition, social interaction, and sleep patterns. Improving any or all of these factors can have a profound effect on your mental health. It’s common for practitioners to start a patient on a healthy diet and exercise regime to see if it improves their mental state before prescribing drugs.
Counselling or Psychotherapy
Almost all diagnosed patients should immediately seek counselling. This is the first line of defence against increasing or worsening depression. A mental health professional can help you determine the seriousness of your condition and the best course of action.
Group counselling can be especially helpful in dealing with depression due to traumatic events, such as loss or assault. Receiving the support of others who have shared similar experiences is often a very effective way to deal with emotions that are foreign to you.
Medication may not always be necessary, but can be an asset to someone with chronic mental illness especially. Oftentimes, less invasive treatments are not enough, and medication is a good way to bridge the gap until further information is gathered on the specific condition.
Alternative and Supplemental Treatment
While it’s never a good idea to ditch your prescriptions until you’ve received clearance from a professional, sometimes alternative treatments work even better than man-made medicines, and people are able to alleviate their symptoms without seeking professional help.
One of the best ways to treat depression naturally and safely is with aromatherapy. According to Dr. Gayle Eversole of Safe Harbor, “The psycho-physiological effect essential oils can be observed with EEG. Cortical activity is altered in alpha, beta, delta, and theta waves.”3 Based on this and other studies, aromatherapy has real physiological results that can be measured.
That’s good news for people who struggle with certain medications or who need a supplement to their current regime that has no side effects.
The following oils are the most common for treating depression:
- Ylang Ylang
- Roman Chamomile
- Lemon Verbena
Using Essential Oils for Depression
Any of the essential oils listed can work great for combatting certain symptoms of depression, but it’s important to experiment with several, either alone or blended to find out which ones help the most with your particular issues.
For example, ylang ylang, sandalwood, roman chamomile and frankincense have very calming, sedative effects, so if your depression is accompanied or caused by stress, these oils are a wonderful treatment. If you have trouble with lethargy, the citrus oils will give you a boost of energy.
Experiment with different blends in your diffuser, such as 3 drops each orange, lemon and bergamot for a quick pick-me-up. Or make some blends for your roller bottle to keep in your handbag.
Listed here are a few aromatherapy blends to get you started. Each one is a recipe for your aromatherapy diffuser. Diffuse as needed, or for 15 minutes every hour to keep depression symptoms at bay.
Aromatherapy Blends for Depression
4 drops bergamot
3 drops frankincense
2 drops orange
2 drops lemon
Supports a positive mood. Combats negative thoughts.
4 drops Ylang Ylang
4 drops frankincense
2 drops peppermint
Improves clarity and focus. Promotes peace.
5 drops orange
3 drops lemon
3 drops bergamot
Mood-lifter. Promotes hope and joy.
Essential oils have been used for centuries to treat multiple illnesses, but depression is one of the most common. When used correctly, aromatherapy stabilises emotions and increases focus and mental clarity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the recommended combinations or try using one of these essential oils alone to target your specific needs.
When you’ve found a blend that works for you, keep a record of it, or better yet, make a blend to store in a bottle for quick access, and repeat the process whenever you need it. Remember to use 100% pure therapeutic grade oils so your entire family can use them with confidence.
Don’t neglect to seek professional treatment for mental illness, as these conditions often worsen, but do seek alternative treatment as well if you feel comfortable doing so, and notice significant results. Your mental health is nothing to take lightly!