4 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Depression

Written by on October 24, 2014 in Healing & Natural Remedies with 0 Comments

By | Elephant Journal

4 drug-free ways to treat depression

When drugs don’t work—four alternatives to treating depression.

As someone who has suffered from depression, I know better than most that antidepressants can be a life-saver.

In fact, I credit a combination of therapy and Prozac for saving my life when I was in my early 20s.

It’s become so commonplace to use drug therapy for moderate to severe depression that many are unaware that some cases don’t respond to drug therapy or that even after years on being on a particular drug or drug combination, they can stop working. (I’ve personally known three individuals who fell into the latter.)

While depression can be scary enough on it’s on, it can be even more frightening to think we may have a case were the drugs available simply do not work or don’t work well enough.

Luckily, there are alternatives to conventional drug therapy which may help to alleviate depression. Sometimes they can work in conjunction with psychological or drug therapy or they may be able to treat depression without the use of any additional therapies.

If it sounds too good to be true or smacks of pseudoscience, it’s not. All of the things discussed below have been studied and there is substantial research to support them.

Therefore, if you or someone you love happens to depressed, read on for information about various non-drug therapies that few even know exist.

* Note: Please keep in mind that anyone who is currently being treated for or believes that they currently suffer from depression should work with a qualified healthcare provider and in no way are these meant to take the place of any current medications without the guidance of a doctor.

#1. Sleep Therapy.

We all know sleep is essential to health and a lack of it can lead to all sort of maladies, but few realize that some types of depression can be caused by not getting enough of it. (In fact, some researcher’s theorize that one of the reasons older people tend to be more prone to depression is because they get less REM sleep than younger people. Depressed people of all ages tend to have less REM sleep than their non-depressed counterparts.)

A study conducted last year at Toronto’s Ryerson’s University found that “depression lifted significantly amongst those whose insomnia was cured”. It was even hailed by some as the biggest breakthrough in treating depression since Prozac.

However, and lest anyone think that all it takes is one or two good nights sleep to achieve the same effect, it does not. Participants in this study followed a very specific procedure including waking up the same time every day and avoiding napping during the day.

Those that are interested should consult a doctor who can put them in touch with a sleep specialist.

#2. Exercise.

Using exercise to alleviate the symptoms of depression has been known for awhile. While many know that exercise releases chemicals which can help us feel better, exercise also reduce immune system chemicals which can worsen depression.

While it used to be thought that only structured exercise regimes provided any value, doctors now say that even going for a quick walk can help.

And lest anyone is still skeptical about this, at least 25 studies in the past 27 years have confirmed that exercise helps prevent depression and in some cases can even alleviate the need for drug or greatly reduce them.

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