Low level depression, while usually not disabling, can still make it difficult to function effectively in family and professional life. It also can drain the life out of activities that normally are a major source of enjoyment for you. Even though you may want to get back to your normal self as soon as possible, prescription medications may not be the best solution.
Many times, mild depression can often be successfully self-managed. Depression treatment without drugs can involve many different approaches. Natural remedies and herbs for depression can help you feel more motivated to try new things and make positive life changes that you really want.
It's not a good idea to ignore symptoms of low level depression. By paying attention to symptoms and identifying possible issues, simple solutions can often present themselves. Sometimes it may help to "talk it out" with a trusted friend or relative.
Self help groups are another option for support. When you're feeling down emotionally, it's common to have thoughts like, "there must be something wrong with me", or, everyone's happy and having fun but me", etc. Finding a self help group of people facing challenges similar to your own can help break through the feelings of isolation that come with depression.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you can also pursue counseling for professional guidance and help with developing a personalized set of tools that can help with your specific issues.
Depression and the Mind-Body Connection
Because depression can involve such strong emotions, it's easy to overlook that symptoms of low level depression may also be caused by a mixture of physical and psychological issues. Physical illnesses involving low-level infections or even side effects from OTC or prescription medications can contribute to low feelings.
A holistic approach for depression treatment without drugs can include addressing physical issues that may be contributing to symptoms. If you haven't had a complete physical examination for a while, it may be a good idea.
Diet adjustments are another approach that is used frequently by natural health care providers. Some have discovered that the often recommended low fat, high carb diet does not suit them. Blood sugar fluctuations (hypoglycemia) can be involved in depressive feelings as well as low energy and fatigue.
An example of one diet alternative is the Zone, developed by Dr. Barry Sears. The Zone diet advocates balanced amounts of carbohydrates, protein and specific kinds of "healthy fats". This type of diet can also help address the issue of food sensitivities or allergies, which, in some cases, have been found to play a part in emotional and physical depression symptoms.
Natural remedies and herbs for depression
Many have found that dietary supplements and herbal remedies can be effective in easing symptoms of mild depression, especially when combined with some of the tactics already mentioned.
St John's wort is an herb you've most likely heard about. It's been studied in research trials probably more than any other herb or nutrient. It is also the most prescribed natural depression remedy.
Some other supplements that are often recommended for depression are the amino acids 5 HTP and D-Phenylalanine. Omega-3 supplementation has been found to be beneficial for certain types of depression. Omega-3 oils like flax, borage and fish oil are healthy fats that research has shown are necessary for replenishing brain cells and neurons. These are the healthy fats that are often missing in the typical low fat, high carb diet.
These are a few ideas for self-management of low level depression. Everyone is different and the only way to know what will work for you is to try them. They are safe and usually without significant side effects.