Alternative Treatments for Depression – What You Should Know

Alternative Treatments for Depression – What You Should Know

Alternative Treatments for Depression
Alternative Treatments for Depression

Alternative Treatments for Depression

For some, seeking alternative treatments for their depression is an attempt to avoid drugs, or it may be part of the person’s preference for natural treatments in general. But just because a treatment is natural does not mean it’s the best choice for you, or that it is automatically safe. Here are some of the more popular alternative treatments for depression and what you should know about them.

St. John’s Wort

Have you heard of this herb? It’s commonly sold in capsules or tinctures, and is touted as a treatment for mild or moderate depression.

Strengths:
St. John’s Wort is prescribed in Europe, where studies have shown the herb to be effective even for major depression. Many other, smaller studies have continued to show St. John’s Wort as an effective treatment for depression.

Concerns:
People with depression may not know if their condition is mild, moderate, or severe. They may underestimate the severity of their depression and take St. John’s Wort when they may need something stronger. Also, the results of larger, placebo-controlled studies conflict with the smaller studies, indicating there may not be much of an effect from St. John’s Wort, particularly regarding major depression.

SAM-e

This is an abbreviated form of a much longer word, S-adenosylmethionine. SAM-e occurs naturally in the body, but a synthetic form can be purchased as a supplement.

Strengths:
This is considered a promising supplement by various sectors in the medical community. It is involved in the function of several neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine.

Concerns:
SAM-e is extremely expensive. Also, it can have side effects if people take it in conjunction with another antidepressant – too much serotonin could result. Some sources claim it may cause nausea and constipation. You can’t get SAM-e from food sources.

Omega-3s

These increasingly popular fatty acids are implicated in the alleviation of depression symptoms. Foods like caviar, salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseeds all have these healthy fats.

Strengths:
Omega-3s can be found in both food sources and supplement form. They are involved in nearly all body processes; some experts say they are involved in every cell of the body. Both manic and clinical depression may be helped by these important fats.

Concerns:
There really are no major concerns associated with the consumption of Omega-3s as an alternative treatment for depression, unless depressed individuals take Omega-3 supplements instead of medications they need, or quit medications cold turkey and start with Omega-3s.

As you look into alternative treatments for your depression or that of a loved one, make sure you do your research. Even if an alternative therapy is safe and effective, it may not be enough as a sole treatment. It’s important to work with your health care provider to make sure the depression is treated effectively.

Home

Natural Treatments for Depression

Natural Treatments for Depression

Natural Treatments for Depression
Natural Treatments for Depression

Natural Treatments for Depression
If you suffer from mild to moderate depression, you may be interested in natural treatments. Even cases of severe depression may benefit from natural remedies in conjunction with medication.

Natural treatments run the gamut from supplements to lifestyle changes to alternative therapy. Here are some natural treatments that may help this disorder.

Dietary Adjustments

Natural health experts generally agree that diet is important in managing depression symptoms. Some dietary changes you can make include:

* Eat nutrient-dense foods. This helps make sure your body has all the vitamins and minerals it needs for proper brain function. Fresh produce, nuts, and whole grains tend to be rich in vital nutrients.

* EFAs, or essential fatty acids, may help boost mood in depressed individuals. EFAs can be found in healthy oils like olive or safflower, and in fish and nuts.

* Cut back on refined white sugar and corn syrup. These refined sweeteners tend to cause blood sugar spikes and slumps, which contribute to the symptoms of depression.

* Eat whole foods, such as whole grains and fresh produce. This not only provides depressed individuals with much-needed, healthy carbs; it also minimizes artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives from the diet. These artificial substances may contribute to depression in some individuals.

Chiropractic and other Body-Oriented Treatments

These alternative therapies seem to be gaining acceptance among medical experts. Techniques like chiropractic adjustments, massage, acupuncture, and others may help relieve depression symptoms. This may have to do with improving circulation or the elimination of toxins from the tissues of the body. Other body treatments include:

* Dance therapy
* Acupressure
* Martial arts
* Yoga

Exercise

Working out daily can be hard even if you don’t have depression. But it’s even more important if you do – exercise has been shown to help relieve symptoms of depression. This may be due to the ability of exercise to boost brain chemicals that make you feel happy. Exercise brings balance to your life, balancing activity and rest; a balanced lifestyle itself can be very helpful in dealing with depression.

Most sources are consistent in pointing out that exercise need not be strenuous, but that it should be regular – 30 to 60 minutes a day for 3 to 6 days a week.

Supplements

A good vitamin and mineral supplement that is high in B12 and B6 is said to be good for alleviating depression. Magnesium is another mineral that tends to be deficient in many people, and that is important for proper nerve and muscle function. You may also find that supplements of evening primrose oil, flax oil, or fish oil will help your mood.

Herbal supplements have sometimes been used with success. St. John’s Wort is probably the best-known herb that may combat depression. Others include ginseng, valerian root, and chamomile. Chamomile can be drunk as a tea, as can another tasty sedative herb – lemon balm.

Always check with your doctor before supplementing with any herbs to avoid any adverse drug/herb interactions. And if you know a qualified herbalist, you can get advice from him or her, too.

If you suffer from mild to moderate depression, you may be interested in natural treatments. Even cases of severe depression may benefit from natural remedies in conjunction with medication.

Natural treatments run the gamut from supplements to lifestyle changes to alternative therapy. Here are some natural treatments that may help this disorder.

Home

Treatment Options for Depression

Treatment Options for Depression

Treatment Options for Depression
Treatment Options for Depression

Depression is different for different people. It’s important to work with your healthcare provider to work out a suitable treatment that fits your needs. Here are some of the treatment options your doctor may discuss with you. Treatment Options for Depression

Pharmaceuticals

There are various drugs available that are used to treat depression. It’s a good idea to be as detailed as you can in sharing your symptoms with your doctor, because he or she will base your medication on these symptoms. All depression medications are not the same; they are specifically designed to treat certain symptoms. In cases of severe depression, medication is often needed to enable the patient to seek other forms of treatment.

One thing to keep in mind is that it may not be a good idea to rely on medication alone. Most sources agree that you should seek other forms of treatment in addition to your medication. One final point on medicines for depression – if you don’t like the side effects or think you’re “all better now” and don’t need them, don’t just stop taking them on your own.

Psychotherapy

For depression that is mild or moderate, psychotherapy can help a great deal. Professional psychotherapists work with depressed people to help them talk things out and focus on the thought processes and habits that contribute to the patient’s depression. Psychotherapists sort of “explain” the depression to the patient so it seems less frightening and overwhelming; they help the patient gain control. Therapy sessions may include family members or be done on an individual basis.

Exercise

Research has shown the effectiveness of exercise in treating depression. Exercise helps boost “feel good” brain chemicals and helps improve overall health and fitness, which may boost self-esteem. Most sources suggest 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily to get the full benefits.

Supplements

Studies suggest that supplements may help depression. Vitamins, minerals, and certain herbs may relieve the symptoms of mild or moderate depression. St. John’s Wort has been shown to help decrease depression symptoms. Other supplements that may help include:

* Fish oil
* Evening primrose oil (said to be particularly helpful for depression in women)
* B-complex vitamins
* Magnesium
* Flax oil
* Valerian (a mild herbal sedative)

Diet

A healthy diet may help boost mood in depressed individuals. Nutrient-dense foods can provide your body with the necessary substances that it needs to fight depression and get your brain in optimal working order. Here are some dietary tips for helping treat your depression.

* Whole grains and complex carbs may help boost serotonin levels in the brain. Some depressed people crave sugar; this may be your body’s way of telling you it needs carbs. Give it what it needs, but not in unhealthy forms like sugar or white flour baked goods.

* Fresh fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants and nutrients. Make sure to include lots of these in your diet.

* Healthy fats can be helpful in treating depression. Go for fish and nuts to give your body the healthy fats it needs.

 

Home

Lagre

Fibromyalgia And Depression Often Go Hand In Hand

Fibromyalgia And Depression

Fibromyalgia And Depression
Fibromyalgia And Depression

Fibromyalgia And Depression Often Go Hand In Hand

If you are living with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, it should probably come as no surprise to you that fibromyalgia and depression often go hand in hand. Many people with fibromyalgia suffer from more than the physical symptoms associated with the disease but also suffer from emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety. 

The reasons why these things are related are not yet completely clear and yet researchers are actively trying to find the connection.

Scientific Reasons Why Fibromyalgia And Depression Might Be Related

The fact that depression and fibromyalgia related is indisputable. What scientists do not yet know for sure is why the two are so intricately intertwined. Some believe that the answer lies in the neurotransmitters in your brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers produced in the brain that have functions throughout the body. There are many different kinds of neurotransmitters that function in different areas of the brain. The neurotransmitter that doctors are looking at when it comes to fibromyalgia and depression is called serotonin.

Serotonin is produced by the brain and is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for having an improved mood. People who do not make enough serotonin will feel both depressed and anxious. In some research studies, it has been discovered that people with fibromyalgia also do not have enough serotonin in their brain.

Whether the lack of serotonin also contributes to the perception of pain is not yet clear. The lack of serotonin in the brain may be causing both depressive symptoms and the fibromyalgia symptoms.

This may be why people with fibromyalgia experience a reduction in pain when they take antidepressants that raise serotonin levels. Many of the older antidepressants, called tricyclic antidepressants, are often used in chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia with some success in lifting both the depression and easing the pain.

The newer antidepressants have a lesser connection to pain relief but are used in some people with fibromyalgia to treat depressive symptoms. The newer antidepressants have fewer side effects than the older antidepressants but they are beneficial in people who have fibromyalgia associated with depression.

It also explains why people with fibromyalgia get some relief of their pain when they take 5 HTP. This is a compound that is a precursor to serotonin and may increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Taking five HTP is generally considered as being safe and, if it raises serotonin levels, there will be an improvement in both depressive symptoms and in fibromyalgia symptoms. 

Things You Can Do To Improve Depression And Fibromyalgia Symptoms

When you live with the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, just the pain alone may trigger you to be depressed. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve both your symptoms of pain and symptoms of depression.

Some things you can do include the following:

  • Have a gentle exercise routine. Having fibromyalgia does not mean you cannot exercise. Even gentle stretching exercises will ease your pain and improve your mood. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are East Asian forms of exercise that are known to decrease stress, improve your mood, and improve your perception of pain. You can learn these forms of exercise at your local health club or through DVDs; you buy on the Internet or at a store. They are gentle on the joints and have emotional advantages over other types of exercises you might do.
  • Take an antidepressant or supplement with 5 HTP. As mentioned above, people with fibromyalgia tend to have less pain and less depressive symptoms if they have higher levels of serotonin in their brain. If you choose to take five HTP, you can get it at a pharmacy or health store. If you decide to take an antidepressant medication, you will need a prescription from your doctor in order to take it. Do not take 5 HTP and an antidepressant together as that can be too much.
  • Reduce stress levels. Fibromyalgia is known to be worse under situations of increased stress. The more you can do to decrease your stress levels, the better your depression will be, and the less pain you will perceive.
  • See a therapist that can help you deal with the emotional consequences of chronic pain and all the lifestyle side effects that you may endure because of your fibromyalgia. Positive affirmations can help you reset your mind and empower you by changing your perceptions of pain and how your life is affected by it. Your perception is key in improving your outlook towards the positive that in turn helps alleviate and prevent depression. Stay well and take care!

Home