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    Is Travel the Best Antidepressant Therapy?

    by Skye Sherman - July 16 , 2018


    As unfortunate as it is, depression is a very common illness in people around the world, especially in the United States of America. In the modern society of today, it is harder than ever to remain upbeat and stress-free when there is so much bad news and an unlimited supply of things to worry about. Bouts of depression can come and go, and this illness can prey on even the most unsuspecting of people. Though it is a very common illness, it is also very isolating and lonely. Depression is a hard illness to endure, no matter who faces it or at what stage of life.

    But it does not help to focus on the problem. What is the solution? What can be done to fight off depression and deep sadness? Though we have come to understand that depression is usually due to a chemical imbalance in the brain—and therefore is no fault of the patient suffering it—that doesn’t mean you don’t have a few things you can do that are within your power to help fight off a depressive episode. One method for fighting off depression that is growing in popularity is an age-old form of leisure and entertainment: traveling.

    But how could traveling really help? What can a trip or vacation do to lift one’s spirits and possibly even serve as a form of antidepressant therapy? Believe it or not, it seems that treating travel as therapy may actually be able to combat the onset and duration of a depressive episode. In this article, we’ll explore travel as a form of antidepressant therapy and also take a look at other ways to combat depression as well.

    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

    Summer Travel Lifts the Spirits

    Traveling—which for many people takes place primarily in the summer—can actually serve to lift one’s spirits. It likely will not come as a surprise to discover that people as a whole are more stressed out than ever before. In fact, statistics from the Mental Health Foundation reveal that in the past year, 74% of residents of the United Kingdom have felt so stressed or overwhelmed that they haven’t known how to cope.

    However, a writer for Metro UK shares that travel is her best form of therapy. She claims that by booking a ticket to explore somewhere new, she feels uplifted and renewed. She cites experiences such as getting to know the locals, heading somewhere beautiful, providing yourself with time and space but being open to meeting new people, and embracing the time away from the routine as the main elements of travel that help her combat times of major stress and life upset.

    Moreover, according to a poll conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, travel really does have the power to make a difference in levels of happiness and personal fulfillment: 86% of those who travel are more satisfied with their outlook on life, compared to the 75% who do not travel. Think about it: when you’re on vacation or on a trip, you’re out of your normal schedule. You’re facing new experiences and overcoming new challenges, providing you curiosity and confidence as you learn new things and overcome whatever obstacles come your way. Sure, travel can be stressful. But there’s also a sense of victory when you manage to make it past whatever hurdle was thrown at you.

    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

    In addition, many people like to stay active on their trips and vacations. Having a chance to experience new things like surfing, cruising, safaris, hiking, zip lining, boating, or even bird watching can all enrich your life in tremendous ways. You’re learning and trying new things, keeping yourself outdoors and active, or at the very minimum, have stepped outside of your comfort zone and are rolling with the punches.

    Getting more exercise than normal, trying new things, learning, getting outside, exploring, and meeting new people? It’s really no wonder that travel seems to be able to help combat depression! One travel expert points out that traveling also helps in other ways: travel opens your mind and shows you what’s possible, puts you in unique situations and circumstances that you would not otherwise encounter, and also helps you to zoom out and see the bigger picture instead of fixating on whatever problems you may have in your own life.

    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

    One young woman who has turned to travel to help fight her depression phrases her experience this way: “Travel leaves you craving more and lusting after new experiences. It is, without a doubt, the fastest way you can grow as a human being and turn your life into an inspired one. My wonderful travel tales were made possible by taking charge of my mental health. Travelling has meant not being afraid to share myself with the world. It’s been sometimes opening up and sharing my mental health journey, seeing the surprise on so many faces that an outgoing, blonde twenty-something can have suffered from depression and anxiety; but it’s also realising just how many others can relate to my story.”

    Stepping outside of your norm and embracing new experiences, new cultures, and new places is what travel is all about. So, where will you go? If you need recommendations or suggestions, check out our article on the healthiest destinations to visit this summer. That way, you don’t just get to explore a new place. You get to prioritize your health at the same time, too.

    Ayahuasca: A Controversial Alternative Option for Treating Depression?

    Of course, there are other ways that people are trying to combat depression as well. Some of these involve both travel and a powerful substance—in this case, a surprising and even controversial one. Have you heard the talk about ayahuasca? It is a potent mixture of herbs and plants that is mixed up by shamans in some remote countries. The elixir they create is a powerful psychedelic that people travel to experience.

    In fact, a recent study concluded that “psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression. … Overall, this study brings new evidence supporting the safety and therapeutic value of ayahuasca, dosed within an appropriate setting, to help treat depression.”

    Regarding this same study, Discover Magazine writes, “A traditional Amazonian psychedelic brew is an effective and rapid-acting antidepressant, according to a paper just published. But the new study revives some long-standing questions.

    Ayahuasca is a mixture of herbs, traditionally used for spiritual and therapeutic purposes. The main active ingredients are N,N-DMT, a potent psychedelic, and several molecules that inhibit the enzyme MAO. The MAO inhibitors serve to prevent the N,N-DMT from being broken down by the digestive system, allowing it to enter the bloodstream and cause hallucinations and other alterations of consciousness.

    In the present study, Brazilian researchers Fernanda Palhano-Fontes and colleagues gave ayahuasca to 14 patients with chronic depression who hadn’t responded to other antidepressants. Another 15 depressed patients received a placebo drink. The ayahuasca group showed a strong improvement in their depressive symptoms, which persisted for at least a week (the last assessment was on day 7). Palhano-Fontes et al. conclude that ayahuasca could be a safe and effective antidepressant. No serious side effects occurred, although ‘the ayahuasca session was not necessarily a pleasant experience.’”

    Major travel publication AFAR published an article about one man’s ayahuasca journey in a 2017 issue of the magazine. In it, he tells of his experience trying ayahuasca for the first time in the jungles of Peru. He recounts the harrowing hours he spent under the influence of ayahuasca with descriptions like, “I have no control over the images or the pace of their emission. This is distressing. Even more troubling: The part of my mind that makes words has broken. I cannot generate a single inner syllable of reason or consolation. Robbed of language, I feel terrifyingly stripped of whatever makes me me.” Not surprisingly, he and his friend decide not to participate in the ayahuasca session being held the next day.

    The jarring tale this particular journalist reveals shows just how powerful and potent this drug can be and all that it can do to a person’s brain and consciousness. Still, some have claimed the plant based mixture helped them overcome mental blocks and even lift out of a depressive state. Despite the risks, human nature makes it likely that people will continue to desire to explore even these potentially hazardous methods of treating or curing depression.

    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman
    Photo Credit: by Skye Sherman

    Other Ways to Combat Depression

    Not up for trying a sickness inducing psychedelic or taking a trip to another country? Not to worry. There are other ways to stand up to depression’s suffocating hold.

    Some of the best treatments for depression are the tried and true tactics that seem too simple to work. However, these basic practices are powerful in fighting off many mental illnesses, depression included. Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and staying in close touch with a loving community are all elements of life that can help stave off depression. Filling your life with important and meaningful work and waking up each day with a purpose and a feeling of importance are necessary parts of a fulfilling, happy, and mellow life.

    Of course, achieving or obtaining these facets of a happy life is often easier said than done. But it’s important to pursue them and to treat your body, mind, and soul with respect and care as you make your path in life. You may want to consider things like religion, volunteer work, meditation, yoga, sports teams, or clubs and groups to help fill your days with joy and find the happiness and contentment that you seek. In addition, turning to loving friends, family, pastors, counselors, or mentors during the hard times can provide the wisdom and encouragement one needs to keep carrying on.

    Still, despite the beauty of the world around us and the plentiful ways to fill one’s life with meaning, some cases of depression require a more sober approach. Try as one might, a case of depression can strike and not shake its grip no matter how hard the person tries—if they feel up to trying at all. There are cases of depression that are due to a sheer chemical disturbance in the chemistry of a person’s brain. In situations like this, antidepressant therapy in the form of a prescription medication may be both helpful and necessary. If you are facing depression, we recommend talking to your doctor about whether this may be the right route for you.

    Sometimes Taking Antidepressant Medication is Necessary: What You Should Know About Taking Effexor XR

    There are undeniable cases where a person suffering from depression needs to be put on antidepressant medication to get a handle on their mental health. This is perfectly understandable and is nothing to feel ashamed or sad about. Those who see a therapist or mental health counselor and receive a recommendation to be put on prescription antidepressants should consider this course of action carefully and do proper research.

    Once the decision is made, there are many different treatment options out there. One of the most popular medications out there for antidepressant therapy is Effexor XR. This product is available on our website in a variety of dosage strengths.

    Being able to buy Effexor XR at an affordable price—and being able to have your prescription shipped right to your door—can help take a few additional worries off your plate as you battle the depths of depression. When suffering from depression, life feels hard and overwhelming enough. Add to that money concerns or the hassle of securing your prescription in a pharmacy, and even the simple act of acquiring and taking your medicine can begin to feel like too much to handle. That’s why we help to alleviate those concerns by making it simple, convenient, and affordable to get your hands on the medication you need.

    If you have received a doctor’s prescription to take Effexor XR, we recommend trying out ordering your prescription from our site. Simply send the prescription over to us and we can help take care of the rest. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us. We’re happy to help!

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    Skye Sherman is a freelance travel writer based in West Palm Beach, FL. Her work has appeared in Lonely Planet, AOPA Pilot, Palm Beach Illustrated, Skyscanner, and more.


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