Depression is not just a negative state of mind. It’s recognized as a valid medical disorder, and there is a huge pharmaceutical segment that is catering to the needs of those who pop anti-depressants like candy. However, the truth is that those diagnosed with depression needn’t resort to just these conventional remedies that have some rather adverse side effects. There are other options that seem to have worked out pretty well for some people, and these are worth a look.
However, it must be noted that these options should be considered only after consulting your doctor.
There are other ways to treat depression, and although these are not very well known, they are pretty effective. Here’s a list of the top eight ways in which depression can be treated by using unconventional methods:
- Folic Acid – Typically given to pregnant women to prevent neural tube disorders, folic acid has also been known to help people suffering from depression as it has been found that depression can also arise due to a folic acid deficiency. Folic acid, which is usually available as tablets or capsules, is not exactly a standalone treatment for depression, but can be combined with Prozac to yield better results. Studies have shown that those who have been given folic acid along with Prozac tend to respond better to the treatment than those who have just been given the placebo. Folic acid is also available in the natural form, especially in fruits and leafy vegetables.
- Inositol – Inositol is an organic compound that aids neurotransmitters and generally promotes a feeling of well being. Normally, we consume just around a gram of inositol a day from varied sources, but if we were to take around 12 grams, it would show a drastic change in our mood. However, the efficacy of inositol in this regard has yet to be proved since adequate studies in this matter have not been conducted. What is known is that an inositol deficiency can be prevalent in those suffering from depression. Since various studies are yet to be conducted on this substance, it’s not a good idea to use inositol as the only supplement to treat depression.
- Omega 3 – Studies conducted on people suffering from depression have shown that an Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency can trigger this condition. Countries where people consume plenty of fish are known to have very low incidences of depression. However, researchers have not yet been able to identify if adequate consumption of Omega 3 can eliminate depression. In some of the research studies, Omega 3 fatty acids were added to antidepressant medicines and mood stabilizers, and the results were positive. Even if the evidence is inconclusive, there’s no harm in making Omega 3 a part of your diet because it is crucial for good health. Omega 3 can be found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, among many other naturally occurring sources. You can also consume it as a supplement.
- Saffron – This little known exotic spice could help you overcome depression, but again, there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to prove this. However, in some studies conducted in Iran, it has been seen that a 30 mg dose of saffron taken per day can help treat mild to moderate cases of depression. In fact, some of the studies indicate that the antidepressant effect of saffron could well be compared to that of Prozac. Saffron supplements, however, are not easily available, and the actual spice is also expensive.
- St. John’s Wort – As an alternative remedy for depression, St. John’s Wort is one of the most well-known anti-depressants out there. St. John’s Wort is a yellow flowered plant and is available as a capsule, extract, or even a tea. There have been numerous studies conducted on St. John’s Wort and its effect on depression. In some cases, it has been known to be more effective than Prozac and Celexa as well. However, it is usually recommended for only mild cases of depression, and not severe cases. St. John’s Wort does not have many side effects, but there are chances of it clashing with other allopathic drugs, and so, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking it.
- Tryptophan – Tryptophan is an amino acid that can be found over the counter as a capsule called L-Tryptophan and 5- HTP, but it is usually found in turkey meat as well. Although many studies have been conducted regarding the connection between low levels of tryptophan and increased depression, they are not very conclusive. There are some issues with the side effects of Tryptophan too, so it is always better to consult your doctor before opting for these supplements. Tryptophan is best used for treating mild cases of depression, especially for those patients who do not want to try conventional antidepressants.
- SAM-e – SAM-e is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine and is a chemical found in our body. This chemical is known to increase the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Most health stores stock it as an over the counter supplement, and you can also get it online. There are very few side effects associated with this substance, some of which include nausea and constipation.
- Magnesium – Depressed people are known to have a deficiency of magnesium, and including this in their diet could help in reducing depression to a certain extent. Natural sources of magnesium include legumes, nuts, green vegetables, and whole grains. Magnesium helps in the production of serotonin, which is known to be a natural stress buster.
Alternative treatments for depression have not yet fully taken off as expected, but it’s advisable to try these methods only after consulting a doctor.