Treating Depression Naturally

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Although there are many medications available for the treatment of depression, many people are now choosing to seek out alternative treatments. Many psychiatric medications, especially antidepressants, tend to induce unpleasant side effects. Antidepressant side effects can be highly discomforting during the initial stages of medication treatment. As a result, many patients are put-off by the overall process. Many methods of treating depression naturally promise to deliver the same results as prescription medications, but without the sometimes severe side effects associated with them.

Most of the popular prescription antidepressants, such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Wellbutrin, are known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). Serotonin is a chemical messenger in the brain, associated with many aspects of mood disorders. Excessive serotonin production is often the catalyst for depression. Precription SRIs counter the effects of depression by regulating the brain's serotonin output. While many SRI medications have shown highly positive results, the beginning phases of medication therapy often present a problem for many people.

Benefits of Treating Depression Naturally

Antidepressant medications usually need to gradually accumulate in the patient's bloodstream before they start to have an effect on depression and anxiety. During this period, the patient's body gradually adjusts to the drug, often resulting in side effects. Side effects can include sleeplessness, fatigue, dizziness, disorientation, severe nausea, sexual dysfunction, and even (initially) increased feelings of depression and anxiety. Doctors work with patients through this period, monitoring any side effects and reactions, and then adjusting, or even alternating the medication. This process can be discouraging for people already suffering from depression, as they experience the unpleasant side effects that occur as their body adjusts to the medication, but have yet to experience any of the benefits of the medication itself. This situation can be extremely disheartening and frustrating for many patients, which is why alternative treatments for depression have seen a recent surge in popularity.

Natural treatments for depression include herbal, dietary, and vitamin supplements, intended to stimulate or regulate various aspects of the body in order to alleviate depression. St. John's Wort, a popular natural depression treatment available as an herbal supplement, has been shown to act in a fashion similar to SRI medications. St. John's Wort also curbs the production of serotonin in the brain, thereby diminishing the effects of depression. However, the herbal supplement does not produce the numerous side effects associated with prescription antidepressants. Other natural treatments include Kava Kava, an herb that has been proven to promote relaxation without having a detrimental effect on cognitive acuity. Because depression is often closely related to stress and anxiety, Kava Kava helps to reduce the overall effects of the mood disorder.

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