Alternative treatments for depression
In addition to seeking professional medical guidance, some find it helpful to look at alternative treatments for depression. Here are a couple of the more popular solutions:
St John's wort (hypericum), is an extract of a weedy plant (Hypericum perforatum) that has been used for so-called 'nervous disorders' for a couple of thousand years. Studies comparing St John's wort with either conventional antidepressants or a placebo (dummy pill) have had mixed results. The quality of the research has also varied. Some studies suggest that if St John's wort is taken at a sufficiently high dose, it can be as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants for mild, and possibly moderate, depression. However, it is unlikely to benefit people with more severe or melancholic depression. St John's wort interacts with many medicines and you should not take it as well as conventional antidepressants because of the risk of side effects.
Exercise is not an obvious solution to depression but it can help lift someone's mood. Research by the Black Dog Institute has found those suffering clinical depression reported exercise provides more relief than any other alternative therapies or techniques (not including drug and psychotherapies). The study found yoga/meditation, relaxation and massage can also help with the symptoms of depression.
Relaxation therapy (structured exercises for relaxing both the body and the mind) is often suggested in conjunction with CBT. Few well-designed trials have been done, but there have been a few promising results. The same goes for acupuncture, massage therapy and yoga.
Folate (folic acid) is a B-vitamin needed for red blood cell formation, new cell division, and protein metabolism. People who do not respond well to antidepressants are more likely to have low folate levels than others, and though it may not improve depression on its own, folate has been suggested as a supplement in these cases. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, liver, legumes, and seeds.
Omega-3 (fish oil) is a polyunsaturated fat commonly found in fish and some plants. There is growing evidence to support a link between major depression and low levels of omega-3 in the diet. However, further studies are needed to look at whether or not omega-3 supplements may help prevent or treat depression.
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11/21/2013 07:03:01 pm
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