Beating Depression Naturally Without Medication, A Practical Guide

Mental health and depression is a massive health problem worldwide. Unfortunately, even today there is a widespread lack of understanding of the myriad methods available to individuals to manage and overcome their depressive episodes. Many patients take SSRIs and other medications without realizing there are many, many ways they can overcome their depression naturally. I have personally worked with many individuals, in a professional capacity, who have seen remarkable results using these techniques which is why I feel compelled to share my knowledge on Devtome. If it makes a difference to just one person struggling with depression it will have been worth it.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not discontinue taking antidepressant medications without first consulting your doctor. Stopping these medications suddenly can be dangerous and result in a discontinuation syndrome. This guide is intended to educate you on how you can overcome your depression in other ways, but you should never stop taking antidepressants suddenly without supervision and without first consulting your doctor. Consider using the techniques below to augment your medication regime until you are ready to stop taking them altogether. If you are not currently on medication, please consult a professional if you do not see results from the following methods within two weeks. These natural methods for beating depression are excellent in cases of mild to moderate depression, but for severely depressed patients medication may be necessary for a limited period of time, such as six months, and in some cases may be required for a considerably longer length of time alongside the techniques discussed below.

Treating Depression Naturally With Exercise

Many sufferers of depression are unaware that a simple change to their daily routine such as a daily walk can help to alleviate symptoms of depression. For years now, both primary care providers and specialists have noted that patients diagnosed with mild to moderate depression reported feeling better after maintaining a daily schedule of twenty to thirty minutes of exercise. With new research, better insight into the relationship between the two is finally coming to light.

Regular exercise has several potential benefits that can help to stave off many of the worst symptoms of depression. The primary benefit is a boost in self-esteem which is often accompanied by an even greater boost in energy. With this, a person feels less fatigued and more confident, which can help to improve mood and outlook. Exercising on a regular schedule also helps to improve sleep. This is very important, as the majority of those treated for depression report having trouble sleeping on a regular basis. By getting the proper amount of rest needed for the mind and body to rejuvenate, these patients are less susceptible to the anxiety and fatigue that often accompanies depression.

Researchers are now discovering that in many situations, exercise can be just as effective for treating mild to moderate depression as SSRIs and other medications. Exercise also releases natural endorphins, or “feel good chemicals”: which are also responsible for the feeling of “runners high” many athletes and recreational joggers report after exercise. Best of all, the list of physical activities that one can do in order to benefit is so extensive that even those patients with disabilities can often find something which accommodates them. Common choices include slow walking, biking, aerobics, and even swimming. Beyond that, however, physical activity can be incorporated into a person's daily life in order to get the benefits it offers. For example, a patient may choose to mow their own lawn during the summer months or walk their dog every evening. Something as simple as everyday housework can often be enough to help alleviate the symptoms of depression.

The hardest part is getting started. Since feelings of helplessness and despair are common among people with depression, there is a tendency for them to feel as though nothing can possibly help them, particularly something as simple as increased physical activity. Yet, solid research tells us otherwise. While it is difficult to make the first step to a positive you through exercise, starting small and gently easing into a program is the best way to see the benefit of such activity without having to feel over committed. So start today with just a short walk to the end of your street or perhaps simply jogging in place next to your computer for five minutes. You will feel the results in as little as twenty four hours.

Are Vitamins An Effective Natural Treatment For Depression?

While more research is required in order to establish a definitive link between the consumption of vitamins and its effects on depression, what is known is that many of these vitamins help to regulate certain chemicals in our brains that control mood and the various neurological functions which affect our feelings. Given this information, some experts agree that depressed patients should consider a vitamin regime as part of a normal treatment schedule, such as in conjunction with SSRIs and other medications. A few people have even reported amazing results from using these vitamins alone, choosing to quit the medications prescribed by physicians which often have many side affects.

Knowing which vitamins to look for is another thing altogether. There are numerous over the counter vitamins and supplements available which are produced by companies that claim their products effectively treat the symptoms of depression. In most situations, however, there is practically no evidence to back up such claims. The vitamins listed below, on the other hand, have been the subject of one of more clinical studies that have shown their effectiveness at treating mild to moderate cases of depression.

Vitamin B12 And Other B Vitamins

B12 and B6, in particular, regulate areas of the brain that help for us to feel better. Because of this, low levels of these vitamins within the bloodstream have been linked to depression in certain cases. Researchers have also recently discovered that patients who have adequate levels of B vitamins responded better to SSRI medication than those who did not. So regardless of if you intend to combine these vitamins with medication from your doctor or use them alone as part of a natural treatment for depression, you can see better results by taking them on a daily basis as part of a regiment. The vitamins can be purchased in liquid and pill form from pharmacies and supermarkets worldwide. Natural food sources of B vitamins include red meats, fish, cheese and eggs.

Vitamin D

Smaller studies have also suggested that there is a correlation of some kind between vitamin D deficiency and depression, particularly in women. Furthermore, it has been found that replenishing vitamin D within the body was effective at reducing many of the common symptoms of depression, as well as improving the mood of patients. Best of all, the greatest source of vitamin D just happens to be our own sun. Exposure to sunlight has been established as one of the primary ways in which our bodies synthesize this vitamin. So getting out in the sun and perhaps exercising can help to dramatically reduce the symptoms that commonly affect patients diagnosed with depression. Other natural sources of vitamin D are numerous and include fish, cheese, and eggs.

Using Fish Oil to Treat Depression Naturally

Numerous studies have suggested that fish oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids can be used to treat a wide range of problems such as heart disease and even arthritis. Now clinical psychologists have begun tests to see if there are any benefits for depressed patients who consume the supplement on a daily basis. Early results reveal an interesting trend which shows that patients who report being substantially depressed tend to have low levels of these fatty acids in their bloodstream. Even more surprising, when these levels are corrected through the consumption of fatty oils, the patients report an improvement in mood and a reduction in symptoms of depression.

There are a number of different theories proposed by experts on how fish oil treats mild to moderate depression as effectively as many prescription medications. One theory is that because cell membranes tend to be comprised partially of omega-3 acids; these membranes become softer as levels of this acid are increased by the consumption of fish oil. Because of this softening, mood regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin can more easily enter into the brain cell and this results in a better mood over time.

The two sources of natural fish oil are from supplements and the consumption of fresh fish themselves. There are pros and cons regardless of which one you choose. Fish oil is readily available in most supermarkets and is certainly cheaper than buying premium cuts of salmon and other oily fish. On the downside, however, supplements are not regulated by the FDA and their efficacy can vary from brand to brand. While oily fish is certainly the most natural source for the oil, there are potential health problems related to continued exposure to mercury and other harmful compounds often found in the flesh of these fish. One of the alternatives is to consume farm-raised salmon, but the flesh of these fish has been shown to have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than that of their wild-caught counterparts. Another vegetarian alternative is flaxseed oil, which also contains the omega-3 acids which are thought to be what is ultimately relieving depression symptoms in patients.

Regardless of which fish oil source a patient uses, it is important to stick with a regular schedule of consumption so that omega-3 levels within the bloodstream are replenished on a regular basis. Doing this will ensure that the full benefit of the oil is obtained and the symptoms are relieved as quickly as possible.

How Social Activity Can Help Alleviate the Symptoms of Depression

Socially withdrawn individuals are not only more likely to be depressed, but they are also at a greater chance of developing heart disease and dying at a younger age. The fact is that we humans are social animals, who thrive on contact with like-minded people. Unfortunately for those who suffer with the daily battles of depression, getting out of the home and mingling with friends often feels like a chore. Sometimes, it just feels better to stay inside and be by ourselves for a short period of time. While psychologists and psychiatrists alike believe that personal time is very healthy and important for all people, when social anxiety and other problems begin to develop that affect our ability to socialize in normal settings, this leads to further complications which can make depression even worse. With this in mind, it is imperative for all depressed people to strive towards greater social activity in an attempt to alleviate the most common symptoms of their disease.

The great thing about socializing with family and friends is that it is completely natural, unlike many of the commonly prescribed treatments for depression. While there is often difficulty in getting started and maintaining connections with people, patients are encouraged by experts to strive for daily encounters with the outside world whenever possible.

Perhaps the reason why social activities are most important is they give patients a sense of accomplishment. Low self esteem is often an accompanying symptom of depression that can become worse as the depressed person socially isolates to a greater extent over time. People with depression who have increased their social interactions with family and friends have reported feeling better after taking part in social events and occasions. Meeting goals to attend social events, while challenging at first, is often enough to make the depressed person feel more confident, energetic and less anxious. In combination with other natural treatments, increasing social activity can lessen fatigue, boost confidence, and improve mood in the majority of people suffering from mild to moderate depression.

Therapists recommend that those who are initially socially withdrawn ease into activities on a daily basis. The degree of activity is largely dependent on the individual and how comfortable they are in certain settings. Those who experience social anxiety, for example, may be required to take a more incremental approach to improving their social lives. Regardless of the situation, however, depressed people should keep a journal in which they plan out social activities a few days in advance. Writing down goals is also important, as it gives them something to work towards in the coming months. Finally, joining a support group or taking a class is often a good first step, as these require less one-on-one social interaction, and many people are more comfortable in these particular settings. The bottom line is that while it may seem nearly impossible, getting outside and interacting with other people has been shown to be an effective, natural treatment to lessen the symptoms of depression.

Eating A Healthy Diet To Treat Depression

One of the most natural treatments for depression is regulating the food you intake to ensure proper nutrition and good health. The link between diet and depression isn't readily apparent at first. There isn't some magical combination of healthy foods that together will make the symptoms of depression disappear. However, when you considers the proven links between certain chemicals and vitamins and the regulation of neurotransmitters within the brain associated with mood, it becomes quite clear that diet does have an impact on how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.

Consuming foods high in B and D vitamins, for example, can help to increase the intake of serotonin across the membranes of the brain cells, helping to alleviate symptoms of depression. Eating omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and certain oils is also another great way to do this as well.

Other foods can actually make depression worse. Caffeine, for example, has been shown to decrease the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is just one of the neurotransmitters that have been shown in countless studies to improve mood. Depressed patients typically have low levels of this chemical in their brains, which physicians try to correct by prescribing SSRIs and other medications. Yet it is much more easy and natural to control the levels by simply altering eating and other behaviours that often reduce these chemicals.

Eating foods high in antioxidants may also relieve the symptoms of depression. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage of the body's tissues over time. The brain is particularly vulnerable to this type of damage, which could potentially cause depression and other neurological diseases. Fortunately, healthy foods are wonderful sources of antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. Examples include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, oils, and wheat germ.

People should also guard against the consumption of alcohol or drugs that may affect sleep, mood, or motivation. We've already mentioned caffeine, which is commonly found in coffee, sodas, and chocolate. There are other drugs too, both illicit and commonly available, which can be detrimental to the treatment of a depressive. In order to prevent the worsening of your condition, one must be vigilant against developing bad habits and vices that will only lead to even more pain and suffering in the longer term. Keeping the body as pure and clean as possible through a healthy, natural diet high in vitamins and nutrients will improve mood and outlook, as well as lessen the common symptoms of mild to moderate depression.

Meditation As A Natural Treatment For Depression

Countless first hand experiences from patients worldwide reveal that many people have experienced positive outcomes by using meditation to help alleviate their depressive symptoms. The majority of physicians will not speak of the efficacy of such treatments, but a large percentage of them are beginning to open their minds to an integrative approach to depression treatment which combines meditation along with other strategies such as healthy eating and increased social activity in order to improve mood and outlook.

The United States has the highest rates of depression in the world. One out of ten of US citizens are currently taking a prescribed antidepressant medication. The major problem seems to be the American lifestyle, particularly their inability to simply slow down and cherish a few moments in life. So it is little wonder that those countries where meditation is commonly practiced have substantially lower rates of depression than the United States. Fortunately, integrating meditation into a treatment regimen for depression is a relatively simple thing that anyone can do by themselves at home or as part of a group.

One study from England even showed that Buddhist style meditation was just as effective at treating depression as commonly prescribed SSRIs. Best of all, this practice costs absolutely nothing and can be undertaken on a daily basis in the comfort of your own home. Unlike with prescription medications, there is less chance of a relapse once positive results have occurred. This is because often (but not in all cases) SSRIs are only temporary fixes, described by some experts as a crutch, which when removed leave no other option but for the patient to fall back into old negative thought patterns and a depressive state.

One possible reason why so few people know about meditation as a treatment option for depressives, however, is that there is very little vested interest in promoting it as a feasible treatment for depression. Supplements, and especially prescription medications, are both multi billion dollar industries. With meditation, however, nothing is being sold and the only thing required to do it at home is a comfortable sitting place and the motivation to learn how. So if you're sick of treatments that only offer temporary relief or don't provide any benefit whatsoever, then consider meditation. It improves your mood and self esteem, which leads to a better outlook on life and the world in general. Almost all physicians will tell you that a good outlook and optimism for the future is one of the best things depressed people can have to increase their chances of long term treatment success.

If you are struggling with reaching a meditative state naturally, consider googling “binaural meditation recording” (or searching on youtube) and trying some of these recordings. Binaural beats have been shown to create brainwave patterns in your brain identical to those found in monks when they are deep in meditation. It can be a great way to hack your brain and reach very, very deep meditative states easily and effortlessly, which usually takes serous students of meditation many years of dedicated practice to reach. All you need is a good pair of headphones, somewhere comfortable to relax, and an open mind.

The Use of St John's Wort As A Natural Remedy For Depression

WARNING: NEVER take St John's Wort while also taking other SSRI medications - this can lead to seratonin syndrome which can be life threatening. Only consider taking St John's Wort when you have no other antidepressants in your system. While St John's Wort is technically natural, it is quite strong and can be very dangerous when taken alongside pharmaceutical SSRI medication.

Among the herbal remedies often promoted as treatment for depression, none have been so thoroughly vetted through professional clinical studies as St John's Wort. For decades now, those suffering from the symptoms of depression have touted this simple herb as a godsend, capable of greatly reducing the effects of depression and even giving them a new lease on life. What is being discovered is that while St John's Wort isn't a miracle cure, it does legitimately treat depression and can be used as part of an integrative approach that combines it with other treatments.

St John's Wort is a small yellow flower that has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The flowers are often dried and transformed into a herbal tea. Supplements, both in liquid and pill form, are also commonly available in pharmacies and supermarkets in many countries worldwide.

How St. John's Wort actually works at reducing the symptoms of depression is something that is still being explored by researchers. What is known, however, is that it seems to work excellently in treating mild to moderate cases of depression.

The most popular theory is that St John's Wort works similar to antidepressants, only it is naturally derived while SSRIs are synthesized in laboratories. Both work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. In fact, it is recommended that St John's Wort not be taken along with antidepressants, as this could lead to a potentially life threatening condition known as a serotonin syndrome, in which that particular neurotransmitter floods the cells of the brain, causing seizures.

While relatively safe, some people experience allergic reactions when taking St John's Wort for the first time. In order to guard against this and other complications, it is recommended that all people wishing to take the herbal supplement first speak with a physician. Since healthcare choices are ultimately left up to patients to decide, it is only they alone who can determine if a more natural treatment option is right for them. Since it can't be taken simultaneously with most prescription drug treatments, the patient must decide if they wish to pursue a natural course of treatment or a pharmaceutical treatment regime. Either way, everyone with depression should at least be aware of this natural alternative that has been shown to be effective in treating certain symptoms of the disease. For some people, St John's Wort can provide similar benefits to pharmaceutical SSRI medications without the common side effects such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction.

WARNING: NEVER take St John's Wort while also taking other SSRI medications - this can lead to seratonin syndrome which can be life threatening. Only consider taking St John's Wort when you have no other antidepressants in your system. While St John's Wort is technically natural, it is quite strong and can be very dangerous when taken alongside pharmaceutical SSRI medication.


I hope this article has helped you realize the many options that are available to depressed individuals to improve their wellbeing beyond just taking prescribed SSRIs. Treating depression is a journey which is unique to every individual - it is only through experimentation and persistence that you will find what works the best for you. While it may feel hard to get started and perhaps even hopeless, just try integrating one of these new therapies into your daily routine - over time you will find the positive effects snowballing, the motivation will come to try more of the techniques, and soon enough you will find the fog has lifted.

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