Feeling anxious or sad on occasion is a normal part of life. However when these feelings persist and you find yourself in a never ending grey fog or in a constant cycle of agitation you may be suffering from depression or an anxiety disorder.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people suffer from depressive disorders and 1 in 13 suffers from anxiety globally. In addition, they consider depressive disorders the leading cause of disability worldwide and anxiety disorders the most common mental disorders worldwide.
The two disorders are often diagnosed together though researchers have no conclusive proof as to why.
Depression is a complicated disorder that has multiple causes.
It can be the result of genetics, hormonal imbalance, poor nutrition, physical heath issues, drugs, alcohol and traumatic experiences. Left untreated, depression can lead to serious health complications, including suicidal tendencies or patterns of self harm.
Types of Depressive Disorders
There are different types of depressive disorders. The most commonly diagnosed are
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) – Feelings – depressed mood, lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed, changes in weight and sleep habits, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating, thoughts of death and suicide – that last more than two-weeks.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder – Mild, moderate, or severe depression that dominates most days for at least two years.
- Bipolar Disorder – Characterized by periods of abnormally elevated mood or euphoria known as mania and periods of depressed mood.
- Postpartum Depression – Persistent lethargy, sadness, confusion, hallucinations or delusions following the birth of a child.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – Severe feelings of depression irritability, fatigue, anxiety, moodiness, bloating, increased appetite, food cravings, aches, and breast tenderness before menstruation.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Seasonal changes that trigger a disturbance in the normal circadian rhythm of the body causing depression, sleepiness, and weight gain.
Symptoms of Depressive Disorders
The symptoms of depressive disorders can either be physical, mental, emotional and behavioral or a combination of all four. They vary based on the particular disorder but the following are common to all.
- Increased aches and pains
- Chronic fatigue
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep habits
- Difficulty concentrating
Anxiety disorders are a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of ongoing worry, anxiety or fear. These feelings tend to disrupt with one’s daily activities. Causes include trauma, stress, personality, other mental health disorders, genetics, environment, drugs or alcohol.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are different types of anxiety. The most commonly diagnosed are
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) – An intense fear of being criticized, embarrassed or humiliated, even in social situations.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – Feelings of anxiousness or worrying that lasts for a period of six months or more.
- Panic Disorder – Intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable feelings of anxiety combined with a range of physical symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, excessive perspiration) that results in a recurring panic attack.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Ongoing unwanted/intrusive thoughts and fears that cause anxiety and repetitive behavior or rituals.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -Symptoms triggered by a traumatic event (e.g. war, assault, accident, disaster) that last for a month or longer.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are characterized by physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms which vary based on the specific disorder a person has.
- Excessive and intrusive worrying that disrupts daily functioning, agitation, restlessness,
- Fatigue or weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tense muscles
- Trouble falling asleep or stay asleep
- Permanent sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
- Gastrointestinal (GI) issues
What Is Kratom
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a psychoactive plant that traces its roots to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Its leaves contain multiple active compounds knows as alkaloids (mainly Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine).
When consumed in low doses, those alkaloids attach to the delta opioid receptors and cause antidepressant effects. In high doses they binds with the mu opioid receptors and cause pain relief, sedation and euphoria. In addition, the alkaloids also activate the body’s dopamine, adrenergic and serotonergic receptors. These interactions help to improve ones mood and lower anxiety.
Kratom is therefore considered beneficial in the treatment of symptoms associated with depressive and anxiety disorders.
Best Kratom Strains For Depression
1. Malay Kratom
Malay is short for Malaysian. This strain of Kratom gives users a smoother and more balanced stimulating effect. It’s also known to have sedative and cognition-enhancing properties.
This strain is available in red, green, and white vein color varieties. White vein Malaysian gives the most stimulating effects. Green vein (also referred to as Super green) and Red vein Malay both have pain-relieving and sedating effects but Red Vein Malay is more intense.
2. Maeng Da Kratom
Maeng Da, one of the strongest Kratom strains, blends pain relief, stimulating and mood enhancing effects. Due to its potency levels though, if dosing is not kept low, the chance of building up a tolerance is extremely high.
This strain is available in red, green, and white vein color varieties. Overall, Red vein Maeng Da is the most potent of the three. However, for depression, White Vein Maeng Da is preferred as its stimulating effects are the most powerful and they don’t give users jitters. It’s also a good mood enhancer and induces euphoria. Green Vein Maeng Da combines mood and energy enhancing effects. Its been shown to useful in stressful social situations and helps increase the desire to be productive.
3. Bali Kratom
Bali Kratom is know for strong analgesic and gentle stimulating effects. It’s known to help users relax while making them feel mildly euphoric.
This strain is available in red, green, and white vein color varieties. Red vein and Green vein Bali strains both have a strong sedating effect. They can be used to help reduce extreme stress and anxiety. However, since they are highly sedating they are better used at night. White vein Bali calms without sedating so can be taken in the morning to help the user control their anxiety during the day and get things done.
This strain is known to cause the wobbles (inability to focus the eyes.) To avoid this, take small doses (under 5 grams) or blend it with a less potent strain that offers the similar anti depression effects.
Best Kratom Strains For Anxiety
1. Borneo Kratom
Borneo Kratom has high concentrations of the alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine, a chemical compound that makes it stronger than morphine. This makes it a potent relaxant, analgesic, and mood enhancing agent. It’s a user favorite because in spite of being a strong strain, it tends to have a low incidence of side effects or wobbles. This allows users to have more flexibility when it comes to dosing.
Its available in red, green, and white vein color varieties. Green vein Borneo is the better option for anxiety disorders. Red Vein Borneo is better suited as a pain reliever. White vein Borneo provides a combination of stimulating and pain-relieving effects.
Another good strain that is similar to Borneo is the Green Malay strain from Coastline.
2. Indo Kratom
Indo Kratom has potency levels similar to the Borneo strain but it is less sedating. It is therefore a good option for those whose productivity is being affected by their anxiety. This strain is available in red, green, and white vein color varieties.
Red vein Indo has powerful analgesic, mood-lifting and sedative properties. Green Vein Indo may also be referred to as Super Indo. It blends pain relief and relaxing effects with mild stimulation. White vein Indo is the most stimulating of the three. It therefore is not a good fit for those with anxiety.
3. Bali Kratom
As mentioned above Bali Kratom delivers analgesic and mild stimulating and euphoric effects. Choose White vein Bali for a calming effect that does not come with the need desire to fall asleep. If your anxiety makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, then go with the Red vein and green vein Bali strains as the both have a strong sedating effect.
Finding the right Kratom dosage requires trial and error as it its effects are not only dose dependent, they are also influenced by factors like age, weight, condition being treated and genetics among others.
Dosing will also be affected by the form of Kratom you choose to consume. For instance, capsules take longer to take effect than tinctures as they have to make their way through the digestive system. When they do, they are also less potent.
Dosage for Depressive Disorders
- 1 to 3 grams – Light feelings of daily depression
- 3 to 5 grams – Moderate chronic symptoms
- 5 to 7 grams – Severe, acute episodes
Dosage for Anxiety Disorders
- 1 – 3 grams – Mild stimulant effect to help get things done
- 3 – 6 grams – Moderate effects delivering a good balance of stimulating, analgesic and mood enhancement.
- 6 – 8 grams – Strong effects that can help with severe anxiety and pain.
Once you identify your ideal dosage, to improve your Kratom experience and avoid building up a tolerance, only take the supplement for 1 or 2 days and then take a break for 2–3 days. You should also pair your treatment with activities like therapy, meditation, and relaxation or breathing exercises.
Kratom isn’t a miracle treatment for depressive or anxiety disorders. Many users have found success but ultimately, to effectively treat these conditions you must address their root cause and not just the symptoms.