July 13, 2024

Home Remedies for Depression

While some people are comfortable using established medical remedies for depression which are usually prescription medication and professional therapy, others are reluctant to use drugs to treat depression, or they simply wish to try as many methods as possible in order to reduce depression symptoms.  There are multiple remedies depression patients can use in an attempt to alleviate their symptoms, although patients should always use caution whenever they are trying something outside the bounds of traditional medicine.

Home Remedies for Depression

Some people wish to combat depression by taking various herbal and/or natural supplements.  Multiple supplements are available, although patients currently taking antidepressants or other depression medication should consult their physicians before taking any of these as some of them may interact negatively with current medications.

* St.  John’s Wort is arguably the most well-known herbal supplement used to treat depression.  While this herb is often fairly effective against milder instances of depression, it is not particularly effective against severe instances of depression and should not be used.  St.  John’s Wort should not be taken with antidepressants as it can interfere with their effectiveness and interact in an unpleasant and potentially fatal manner.

* Folic Acid is made from the B-vitamin folate and is found in many leafy greens, citrus fruits, and breads.  Since folic acid is only effective when taken with an antidepressant, it is the opposite of St.  John’s Wort in that regard.  Folic Acid is especially beneficial for women, and some studies have linked folic acid to healthier pregnancies.

* Omega-3 Fatty Acids occur naturally in coldwater fish, flaxseed, and walnuts and are a depression treatment alternative for those worried about antidepressant side effects.  These may boost the effectiveness of antidepressants, although bipolar disorder patients should exercise caution since Omega-3s can cause manic episodes if not consumed with a mood stabilizer.

* SAMe is the synthetic form of the naturally-occurring S-adenosyl-L-methionine and can function as a standalone treatment or an assistant to the more effective antidepressants.  As with Omega-3s, SAMe can also trigger mania in bipolar disorder patients and should be used with caution as it is not FDA approved.

* Melatonin is not going to cure depression, but it can help relieve some of the depression symptoms that interfere with sleep.  Melatonin helps even out a person’s sleep cycle, although taking too much of it can cause daytime drowsiness or confusion.

* Valerian is an herb that is often used as a sleep aid and an anxiety reducer.  It is not a depression cure in and of itself, but older adults and children especially have been soothed by its sleep-assisting qualities.  Patients should use caution as Valerian can cause upset stomachs and headaches and has not been tested during pregnancy.

Mind-Body Remedies for Depression

For those who would prefer to not take herbs or supplements, therapies aimed at helping the mind and the body may be preferable.  Patients have several options if they want to go the mind-body route.

* Yoga is often beneficial to depression patients because it helps reduce stress and anxiety.  While yoga is not going to cure depression, it can help patients achieve a greater sense of well-being, although patients should be cautious to not overexert themselves initially as yoga can be deceptively challenging.

* Guided Imagery involves visualizing peaceful, pleasant settings using all the senses in order to gain a feeling of serenity and well-being.  Also referred to as visualization, this method of treatment can ease symptoms of depression like nervousness and agitation.  Guided imagery may take awhile to master, but practice can improve the ability of patients to imagine their peaceful settings.

* Massage Therapy helps ease stress and anxiety by rubbing tense muscles in order to provide relaxation.  Some depression patients also take comfort from the touch of another person as this may make them feel less isolated and lonely.  Massage therapy will not cure depression, but it will help depression patients with their tension and worry.

* Meditation will not outright cure depression, but it can help depression patients deal with anxiety and unease.  While meditating, patients will sit quietly for fifteen to twenty minutes while breathing deeply and contemplating either a specific image, sound, or saying or everything around the person.  Meditation can also help people deal with pain and high blood pressure, so it has multiple benefits to patients.

* Music Therapy has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks, and its premise is delightfully simple.  All a patient needs for music therapy is a music player, musical selections, and the time to listen to the songs of choice.  Listening to music has been known to soothe the savage beast as well as ordinary people, so those who want a drug-free method of reducing stress and anxiety should consider music therapy.

*Acupuncture may be a turn-off to those who fear and/or dislike needles, but this ancient Chinese practice has helped reduce stress levels in patients for millennia.  The combination of needles and energy stimulates certain areas of the body, relieving pain and stress.

Lifestyle Remedies for Depression

Some people are naturally cautious and do not wish to try any sort of alternative therapy or home remedy and consider such remedies as too ‘hippy-dippy.’  Fortunately, there are other potential remedies for depression that everyone can do from home.  These are simple things that will help with both depression symptoms and overall good health.

* Eating a healthy diet rich in protein and antioxidants can help patients deal with depression symptoms.  Foods rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E are also beneficial to patients–both during and after depressive episodes.

* Getting enough sleep is even more vital to depression patients than to the rest of society since so many medical problems stem from lack of sound sleep.  A lack of sleep can increase stress and decrease the body’s immune system’s effectiveness, so a good night’s sleep is a good weapon against depression symptoms.

* Exercising boosts a person’s mood by producing mood-lifting Endorphins that can help offset some depression symptoms.  It also reduces stress and increases a patient’s energy and general good health.

Do These Remedies for Depression Work?

People have been using some of these home remedies for several thousand years, so patients throughout history have obviously found some measure of relief from using them.  While many of these remedies do not have medical research to back up their validity as depression treatments, most of them are at least relatively harmless.

Given the complexity of depression, the human mind, and the human body, patients may want to try some of these treatments for themselves — but only with the approval of their doctor as their physician will be knowledgeable about the patient’s individual medical history, medications and circumstance.


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