Monday, August 12, 2013

The Debate Over Depression Alternative Treatment

The most common treatment for depression includes medication from one of three families of prescription antidepressant drugs. But as more and more people have been diagnoses with clinical depression in the past two decades, the incidence of serious and sometimes life-endangering side effects from these families of anti-depressants has increased.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed as clinically depressed, you may be reluctant to begin a regimen of a potentially dangerous prescription antidepressant. If so, there are several depression alternative treatments and therapies from which you can choose. They have proven effective for many depressed people, and some of them might work for you.

These depression alternative treatments include herbal supplements, vitamins, and light therapy. While none of them are supported with the amount of research which has gone into any of the FDA-approved prescription antidepressants, they have been and continue to be, the subjects of scientific studies. And their use is becoming more and more mainstream as the negative side effects of antidepressant drugs become better known.

St. John's Wort

The most popular herbal depression alternative treatment is St. John's Wort, or, as it is sometimes called, Klamath Weed, Goat's Wort, or Hypericon. The flower of the St. John's Wort plant has been used for centuries to treat everything from insect bites to mental illness. It has sedating and analgesic effects, and practitioners of herbal medicine currently use it to treat depression, insomnia, and anxiety disorders.

Sr. Johns' Wort can be taken in tablet form, as a fusion or as tea. Traditional medical doctors are of varying opinions concerning its effectiveness as a depression alternative treatment; some think it does produce beneficial results, while others think that any positive reactions it causes are nothing more than placebo effects.

St. John's Wort does sometimes cause side effects, including dry mouth, dizziness, and nausea. It can also interact with some prescription medications, so those considering it as a depression alternative treatment need to consult their doctors.

Folic Acid

The vitamin Folic acid, or B9, is thought to have potential as a depression alternative treatment []. It is available as a supplement in tablets form, but is found in many vegetables, especially spinach and turnip greens, in liver, as an added ingredient in fortified breakfast cereals, and in liver.

Folic acid deficiency, in some studies, has been connected to depression. But, like the schools of thought on St. John's Wort, opinion is divided as to whether it has value as a depression alternative treatment.

Light Therapy and SAD

Light therapy, which can mean spending fifteen minutes a day under artificial lights or making an effort to spend more time in the sun, has been used as a depression alternative treatment to fight seasonal affective disorder or "winter depression."

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