There are an array of complementary, alternative, and integrative approaches to the treatment of depression that includes use of supplements, exercise, massage, light therapy, homeopathy, and rapid rate transcranial magnetic stimulation. There are many over the counter products on the market for depressed moods. Herbal products and supplements for depression have become a multi-million dollar industry, but many of them have not been studied and the long term effects of these products are not known. This is not to say that they do not work but they do need to be used with caution until supporting research becomes available. That being said these four alternative treatments for depression have been studied and have been found to provide relief for many people. |
1. Light Therapy – This is the first line treatment for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People who suffer from SAD often live in the extreme northern or southern hemispheres where there are marked seasonal differences in the amount of daily sunlight. Light therapy may also be useful as an additional way of treating chronic major depressive disorder or Dysthymia that worsen during different seasonal times.
Light therapy is thought to be effective because of the influence of light on melatonin. Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and is necessary for maintaining and shifting biological rhythms. Exposure to light suppresses the nocturnal secretion of melatonin, which seems to have a therapeutic effect on people with SAD. Treatments consist of exposure to light balanced to resemble sunlight. Light treatment has been found to be as effective in reducing symptoms of depression as medications in people with SAD.
2. St John's Wort – Is whole plant product with antidepressant properties that is not regulated in the United States by the FDA. In a recent review of 14 short-term double-blind studies in people with mild to moderate depression, St. John's wort demonstrated superior results compared to a placebo and was generally comparable in effect to low dose tricyclic antidepressants.
People with major depression, women who are pregnant, and children under the age of 2 should not take St. John's wort. It should also not be taken with certain drugs such as amphetamines or other stimulants, other antidepressants, levadopa and 5-HT (serotonin). If taken with other antidepressants there is a potential for other effects and serotonin syndrome. Tyramine rich foods should also be avoided.
St John's wort can also interact with other drugs that help control HIV infection, chemotherapeutic and other anti-cancer drugs, and drugs that help prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs. While St. John's wort may be effective at battling the symptoms of mild to moderate depression it is best to check with ones doctor before taking it.
3. Exercise – There is substantial evidence that exercise can enhance mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It does this in several ways including improving confidence and self esteem; it is a good distraction from life's daily problems, and is a great way to relieve stress.
4. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – This is a newer technology that holds great promise, but clinical trials of TMS are in the early stages. TMS applies the principals of electromagnetism to deliver an electrical field to the cerebral cortices, but unlike electroconvulsive therapy, the waves do not result in generalized seizure activity. Early studies of this technique support further research into its use in the treatment of serious, relapsing medication-resistant depression. This is a potential treatment for the future, and some believe there is enough evidence to indicate that it will eventually become an accepted treatment for depression.
To learn more about Depression and its Treatment please visit the web site Depression and You by Clicking Here.
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