Alternative Methods to Treat Depression
Finding alternative ways to treat depression is a difficult problem to deal with. The effects can be debilitating for sufferers and make them less likely to seek treatment. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to treat depression. Let’s look at a few.
St. John’s Wort
The plant St. John’s Wort is a common herb that has been taken traditionally in the treatment of depression for thousands of years. Its active ingredient, hypericum, is being analyzed to find out what makes it so effective.
Current research suggests hypericum works in two main ways. It seems to target biochemical brain imbalances similar to the effects of conventional antidepressants. It also appears to help with the physical effects of depression by increasing the effectiveness of the body’s own immune system.
St. John’s extracts have been found to equal standard antidepressants in their effectiveness in treating mild or moderate depression. The supplement is available as a tablet or capsule, and should not be taken with birth control pills, conventional antidepressants, or anti-retroviral medications. A 200mg dose of a standardized extract per day is recommended. It may take up to three weeks to take full effect.
S-adenosylmethionine or SAM-e is the combination of a substance called adenosyl-triphosphate (ATP) and methionine. These substances together help produce certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which regulate moods.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Review and Quality conducted a study that found that SAM-e was as effective as antidepressants for the treatment of depression. It also appears to work more quickly than hypericum. The supplement is available in tablet and capsule form.
Although it may be the last thing you want to do when you are depressed, exercise is actually one of the most effective depression treatments, especially when combined with other measures.
Vigorous exercise prompts the brain to secrete chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s own pain relievers. Their release dampens feelings of pain, while encouraging feelings of stress relief and relaxation. The powerful endorphin effect is even comparable to the effects of prescription antidepressants and pain relievers. The best part is it is free, and the effects last for several hours afterwards.
Putting It Together
The best form of depression treatment uses more than one type of treatment. However, you should not mix supplements or medications. A better approach would be to combine the mood-boosting effects of exercise with a supplement like SAM-e.