Understanding Depression and Natural TreatmentsDepression, also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that creates feelings of sadness and hopelessness that can last for a long time. Eventually, it starts to creep into your everyday life, affecting the way you think, how you deal with stress, the way you behave, and how you feel. Your regular activities of daily life, like getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and showering, may feel pointless and overwhelming. Your energy may also feel sapped, making skipping these small tasks even easier. Depression is more than the normal funk we all find ourselves in sometimes. The key to knowing it’s time to find help in determining when your symptoms are bad enough to seriously impact your life. Maybe you’ve stopped participating in activities you once enjoyed. Or maybe you find yourself sobbing on the bathroom floor all too often. Perhaps you don’t even recognize yourself anymore as you hazily go through the motions of life. You may have depression only once, but many people who deal with depression have multiple episodes during their lifetimes. Keep in mind that depression isn’t a personal flaw. It’s a real medical condition that needs to be treated. Luckily, there are natural alternatives for treating depression. Unlike prescriptions that can cause dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, sexual side effects, weight gain, constipation, insomnia, dry mouth, nausea, and anxiety, natural treatments can help positively impact depression without such side effects. Be sure to speak with your doctor about natural treatments for depression at your next visit.
Natural Alternatives for DepressionSupplements that increase serotonin levels can help depression. Serotonin levels decline with age and stress. Serotonin is important for normal mood, sleep, concentration and appetite. Many individuals cannot tolerate anti-depressants because of their side effects and want natural remedies. Here are a few natural that can help depression:
St. John’s WorthSt. John’s wort is a plant native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. Taking St. John’s wort has been linked with increasing the amount of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical in the brain that people with depression are often low in. Several antidepressants work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.
SAM-eSAM-e is short for S-adenosylmethionine. This supplement is a synthetic form of the body’s natural mood-boosting chemicals. It’s a chemical found naturally in the body, which is thought to play a role in many metabolic pathways. Its effectiveness for depression stems from its key part in the physiological process known as methylation, which turns our biological switches on and off. According to a 2017 review of the research on SAMe published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, methylation has been documented as a factor in depression.
5-HTPResearch shows that using 5-HTP for depression may help alleviate depressive symptoms. 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is an amino acid that our bodies produce from a dietary amino acid called l-tryptophan. It can be converted into the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin and the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Supplements can offer relief from depression and anxiety. They can be safely used with anti-depressants to help increase the production of serotonin levels, which are low in individuals suffering from depression.
Always consult with your doctor before starting any new treatment.