Depression can destroy not only the life of the sufferer but also the lives of their loved ones. Still antidepressants carry their own list of risks and side effects. This article “Natural Depression Treatment , Antidepressants With Zero Side Effects” offers alternate solutions. We also included links to other sites with information regarding natural depression treatment below.
With Zero Side Effects
Year in and year out almost twenty million American adults are impacted by the effects of depression. While many attempt to treat depression with antidepressants, there are natural depression treatment options that work. Here is a list of options for natural depression treatment that work.
Natural Depression Treatment Options #1 – St. John’s Wort
This is an herb that has been used for centuries to treat depression, poor sleep habits, worry and nervousness. While suitable for cases up to moderate depression St. John’s Wort has not been as effective for the treatment of major depression. St. John’s Wort is available in most health food and drug stores as well as online. It comes in tea, liquid extract, capsule and tablet form. It will usually take four to six weeks to notice the effects.
Natural Depression Treatment Options #2 – Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Some fat is bad but Omega-3 fatty acids are a good form of fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for the brain to function normally. Studies have shown that in countries such as Japan and Taiwan, where fish consumption is higher, that depression occurs at a lower rate. Omega-3 fatty acids are easy to purchase in health and drug stores as well as online and should be keep in the refrigerator to keep from becoming rancid.
Natural Depression Treatment Options- #3 – SAM-e
SAM-e, pronounced “sammy”, is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine. It’s a chemical that’s found naturally in the human body and is believed to increase levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Several studies have found SAM-e is more effective than placebo.
In North America, SAM-e is available as an over-the-counter supplement in health food stores, drug stores, and online. It should be enteric-coated for maximum absorption. Although it’s one of the more expensive supplements, it remains popular as a remedy for depression and osteoarthritis. For more, read my article on SAM-e and Depression.
Natural Depression Treatment Options- #4 – Folic Acid
Folic acid, also called folate, is a B vitamin that is often deficient in people who are depressed.
Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fruit, beans, and fortified grains. It’s one of the most common vitamin deficiencies because of poor diet but also because chronic conditions and various medications such as aspirin and birth control pills can also lead to deficiency.
Besides food, folic acid is also available as a supplement or as part of a B-complex vitamin.
Researchers at Harvard University have found that depressed people with low folate levels don’t respond as well to antidepressents, and taking folic acid in supplement form can improve the effectiveness of antidepressants.
See Low Folate and Vitamin B12 Linked to Depression for more on the relationship between folic acid and B12.
Natural Depression Treatment Options- #5 – 5-HTP
5-HTP is short for 5-hydroxytryptophan. It’s produced naturally in the body and is used to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Although taking 5-HTP in supplement form may theoretically boost the body’s serotonin levels, many experts feel there is not enough evidence to determine the safety of 5-HTP. It should not be combined with antidepressants.
Benefits of 5-HTP
5-HTP Potential Drug Interactions
Natural Depression Treatment Options- #6 – Diet
Reduce your intake of sweets
Sweets temporarily make you feel good as blood sugar levels soar, but may worsen mood later on when they plummet.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol both dampen mood. Alcohol temporarily relaxes us and caffeine boosts energy, but the effects of both are short-lived. Both can worsen mood swings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Vitamin B6 is needed to produce the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, a borderline deficiency may occur in people taking oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, and drugs for tuberculosis.
Most people do not get enough magnesium in their diets. Good sources of magnesium are legumes, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables. Like vitamin B6, magnesium is needed for serotonin production. Stress depletes magnesium.
Natural Depression Treatment Options- #7 – Exercise
Regular exercise is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to improve mood and is something that can be integrated into a treatment plan. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, releases mood-elevating chemicals in the brain and can decrease stress hormones.
What’s important is that you choose something you enjoy and will stick with, whether it’s going to the gym, signing up for dance classes, playing tennis, gardening, or taking a brisk walk outside each morning for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
Natural Depression Treatment Options- #8- Light Therapy
Getting enough sunlight has been shown to be effective for seasonal mood changes that happen in the darker winter months.
Exposure to light in the morning helps the body’s sleep/wake cycle work properly. Production of serotonin, a brain chemical that key in influencing our mood, is turned on in the morning upon exposure to light. During the winter when there is less sunlight, serotonin levels can drop, making us feel tired and prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
One of the most simple ways to increase your exposure to light is to walk outdoors in the morning. Just be sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet light.
Another option is to use special lights that simulate natural daylight. Studies have found they are effective.
These lights can be found online. There are different types available, from light boxes to visors, that are typically used for 20-30 minutes a day. Look for lights with a minimum of 3,000 lux. many experts suggest 10,000 lux.
Although they are rather expensive ranging from $150 to $500, they may be covered by insurance.
You should not use any of the above suggestions without consulting a medical professional, especially if you are taking prescription medications. Never discontinue your prescription medications with first consulting your personal medical professional.
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