If you are depressed, medication and psychotherapy remain the mainstream treatments, and can do much to help you cope. Additionally, there are many natural alternative treatment options available to aid in relief from depression, though these should be tried only after consultation with your primary care physician. For optimal care, it is best to inform all your healthcare providers of both traditional and alternative treatments you are receiving.
Herbs and Supplements
St. John's Wort can be an effective herbal remedy for depression, but must be used with caution to avoid dangerous interactions with other medications. Always check with your physician before beginning any new herbal supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids, either taken as a supplement or consumed in a diet rich in fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines or caviar, help to control clinical and manic depression. Walnuts and flaxseed are also abundant in omega-3 fatty acids.
Alternative modalities that can help alleviate depression include yoga, tai chi, meditation and guided imagery or hypnosis. Yoga works by encouraging deep breathing, and strengthening and toning the body while it relaxes the mind. Meditation and guided imagery help redirect your mind away from anxieties and carry you to other places for a "mental break" where the mind can relax and repair. These modalities also encourage controlled breathing and help you disengage from stressful thoughts. Deep diaphragmatic breathing has a calming effect that can help to reduce stress.
This ancient Chinese treatment is based on a series of needles being placed at specific nerve points or junctions on the body to improve general health and well-being. This form of stimulation to the nerves through acupuncture sends a message to the brain to release mood-elevating hormones called endorphins. These hormones help to relieve ailments in the body, including depression.
Exercising for 20 minutes, 3 times a week is very helpful in managing depression. Aerobic exercise increases the heart and respiratory rates. It can be advantageous to reducing depression and is especially important to keep the symptoms of depression from returning, once they are under control.
Singly or in combination, these natural remedies and alternative treatments for depression, anxiety and stress can offer good relief. Before embarking on any new treatment, check with your physician.