Alternative Treatments for Depression without Medication

Medication is not the only way to treat depression. For those who have conditions that prevent the use of antidepressants, or for those who decide with their doctor that antidepressants are not a viable treatment, there are alternative resources available.

Just like other disorders, early detection leads to better and easier treatment. Prolonged depressive symptoms that go untreated will result in a more difficult recovery. The longer you put off treatment, the harder it is to control and treat certain types of depression. These treatments, when begun early, may be so effective that medication need not be considered at all. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to treat depression without medication. 

Psychotherapy – Many people begin their treatment with this option. A trained therapist will meet with you on a regularly scheduled time and in a relaxed setting. Talking can reveal many things about your depression. A therapist will be able to determine triggering events that may have led to your depression. They can also use behavior therapy to help you solve problems in a healthy way, alleviating risk factors that may have led to the depression.

Herbal Treatments – In addition to talk therapy and behavior therapy, herbal remedies and dietary supplements can help to increase your overall wellbeing and ability to cope with life. A well-known herbal antidepressant is St. Johns Wort. However, be careful with herbal treatments. Many interact with more traditional medications and can inactivate them or cause serious side effects. Always check with your doctor before taking any herbal treatment, even the ‘all natural’ kind.

Acupuncture – This is a therapy that has proven helpful for people with many conditions, including depression. Acupuncture needles are regulated and monitored by the FDA. Sterile needles are used to restore the energy flow or chi within the body believed to lead to restored health. Acupuncture may help with the accompanying symptoms of depression as well as the depression itself; symptoms like headaches, body pains, and sleeplessness.

Diet and Exercise – While foods have not been linked to a risk of depression, an unhealthy diet can reduce your body’s ability to cope with stressors. Exercise is known to lead to the release of hormones called endorphins. These are ‘feel good’ substances in the body that improve mood and clarity of thought. Just getting out and taking a walk will naturally make you feel better, physically and emotionally.

Shock Therapy – This method of treatment may conjure up images of a scary sanitarium but it is not what you think. Electroconvulsive therapy has been used as an alternative for people who can’t be helped by medication. Those who are suicidal are often asked to consider this form of treatment. Trained medical personnel introduce electrical impulses that induce seizures in the brain. The treatment is used to adjust levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

It’s good to know that natural treatments for depression that don’t require medication. You have alternatives. If you do not want to take medication, or you are unable to take medication to treat your depression, these alternatives may be just the answer. Always consult your doctor and speak frankly about your concerns.



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