Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Treatments For Depression Other Than Medication

Lifestyle Changes To Treat Depression

TMS: A Non Medication Treatment for Depression

Exercise.Regular exercise can be as effective at treating depression as medication. Not only does exercise boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals, it triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections, just like antidepressants do. Best of all, you dont have to train for a marathon in order to reap the benefits. Even a half-hour daily walk can make a big difference. For maximum results, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity on most days.

Social support. Strong social networks reduce isolation, a key risk factor for depression. Keep in regular contact with friends and family, or consider joining a class or group. Volunteering is a wonderful way to get social support and help others while also helping yourself.

Nutrition. Eating well is important for both your physical and mental health. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. While you may be drawn to sugary foods for the quick boost they provide, complex carbohydrates are a better choice. Theyll get you going without the all-too-soon sugar crash.

Sleep. Sleep has a strong effect on mood. When you dont get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will be worse. Sleep deprivation exacerbates irritability, moodiness, sadness, and fatigue. Make sure youre getting enough sleep each night. Very few people do well on less than seven hours a night. Aim for somewhere between seven to nine hours each night.

What Does Psychotherapy Do

Drugs can relieve the symptoms of depression, but they do not cure depression. Major depression is caused by a number of factors, including ways of responding to stress and reacting to negative experiences and thoughts. Psychotherapy is aimed at the roots of depression, the ways people process their thoughts and feelings. Psychotherapy helps people understand the beliefs, feelings, and thoughts that contribute to their depression. It helps people identify the problems that trigger their depression or contribute to its continuation.

Therapy directs people to reestablishing sources of pleasure in life and helps them regain a sense of control. And it helps people develop effective coping strategies, important not only in relieving a current episode of depression but in preventing future ones. In cognitive behavioral therapy , the therapist actively helps patients identify and challenge negative thought patterns that contribute to their depressed mood.

The therapist also helps patients dissect what happens to them when they begin to feel emotionally overwhelmed by external events or their own thoughts, and jointly explores strategiesfrom meditation to reframing their thoughtsthat help in such situations. Studies show that the benefits of CBT can be seen in 12 to 16 weeks of weekly sessions in a therapists office. CBT is especially good at preventing relapse of depression.

What’s The Best Way To Help Someone Who Has Depression

The very best way to help someone who is depressed is to get them to a therapist for treatment. There are many other ways to help. One is to silently pitch in on the chores of daily living that usually seem overwhelming to someone with depression.

Because depression can be thought of as behavioral shutdown, behavioral activation is important, even though the disorder destroys motivation. To support regular activity, better than reminding someone to get exercise is handing them a jacket and taking them out for a walk the exercise, the sunlight, and the companionship all have antidepressant effects. So does the change of scenery. Establishing routines such as a regular sleep time is helpful. Also important is maintaining regular social contact with someone who is depressed.

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How To Treat Depression Without Medication: What The Science Says

Flow Neuroscience

Is it possible to treat depression without medication or antidepressants? There is a simple answer to this question: Yes. Yes, it is. Most people dont know that you can treat depression at home, medication-free. If they do, most people dont know how.

The fact is, you dont need pills to reduce depressive symptoms or even to recover from depression. By making a few lifestyle changes at home, your symptoms may decrease significantly or disappear altogether. This text introduces five different treatments for depression and none of them includes antidepressant medication.

So, what, according to research, are the 5 most effective drug-free treatments for depression?

According to the latest health research, there are at least 5 different ways to effectively treat depression without any medication. Fortunately, 4 out of 5 of these ways are completely free.

Lets jump right in.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Ketamine: Using Club Drug for Depression Treatment

Transcranial magnetic stimulation or deep transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive method used to stimulate small regions of the brain. During a TMS procedure, a magnetic field generator, or “coil” is placed near the head of the person receiving the treatment.:3 The coil produces small electric currents in the region of the brain just under the coil via electromagnetic induction. The coil is connected to a pulse generator, or stimulator, that delivers electric current to the coil.

TMS was approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant major depressive disorder in 2008 and as of 2014 clinical evidence supports this use. The American Psychiatric Association,:46 the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists have endorsed rTMS for trMDD.

The response rate is about 29% for TRD patients. Remission rate is about 20%.

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Sleep Helps Naturally Treat Depression Without Medication

Better sleep brings better mood

Its true. Another thing that can decrease depressive symptoms and serve as regular maintenance for your mood is sleeping. And, there are many things you can do at home to create healthy sleeping habits for free. According to the latest sleep research, sleep can act as a form of overnight therapy, making us better at handling strong emotions.

The Role Of Medications

Until recently, doctors prescribed an antidepressant medication from only a single class of drugs, one medication at one time. This is called monotherapy.

Doctors generally start at a lower dosage, increasing the dosage of the medication before ruling out it isnt working.

If that happens, they might try another medication within that class, or switch to another class of antidepressants entirely.

Research now suggests that taking antidepressants from multiple classes may be the best way to treat MDD.

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Does Insurance Cover Alternative Therapies For Depression

Many alternative therapies are not covered by insurance. You might have to pay out-of-pocket. However, there are free resources where you can learn about yoga and meditation, and you can exercise on your own . Do some research about resources in your community and ask your healthcare provider for referrals.

Tms Therapy For Depression

Inside the new alternative treatment for depression

If youre suffering from major depression that has been resistant to therapy, medication, and self-help, then TMS therapy may be an option. Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy is a noninvasive treatment that directs recurring magnetic energy pulses at the regions of the brain that are involved in mood. These magnetic pulses pass painlessly through the skull and stimulate brain cells which can improve communication between different parts of the brain and ease depression symptoms.

While TMS may be able to improve treatment-resistant depression, that doesnt mean its a cure for depression or that your symptoms wont return. However, it could provide sufficient improvements in your energy and drive to enable you to begin talk therapy or make the lifestyle changessuch as improving your diet, exercising, and building your support networkthat can help preserve your depression recovery in the long term.

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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most-prescribed medications for depression today. Prozac , Paxil , Zoloft , Celexa , and Luvox are commonly prescribed brand names.

SSRIs have been found helpful for both severe and non-severe depression. They also tend to have fewer side effects compared to other antidepressant types.

Note that SSRIs should not be prescribed together with some monoamine oxidase inhibitors . This is due to the potential for a dangerously high serotonin buildup, which can cause serotonin syndrome.

Exercise To Pump You Up

Regular physical activity might not be the first thing your doctor prescribes when they diagnose you with depression. However, maybe it should be part of your therapy.

A Duke University study found that 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise three times a week was as effective at relieving symptoms of depression in the short term as antidepressant medication.

The study also found that depression was less likely to return in people who continued to exercise after the initial trial.

Depression can make you feel disconnected from the things you love. It also can cause fatigue and sleep problems. Unwinding can have a positive effect on your mood.

Relaxation techniques include:

  • reduce stress
  • promote relaxation and emotional wellness

Though more research is necessary, some studies, including studies by the University of Westminster, show that yoga may be beneficial for improving depression symptoms.

Also Check: Best Exercise To Fight Depression

What Are The Alternatives To Antidepressants

If you don’t want to take antidepressants, there are lots of alternative treatments you can try. In fact, if you are diagnosed with mild depression, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines for treating depression recommend that doctors offer you other treatments ahead of medication.

If you are taking antidepressants, you may also want to use other options for treatment and support, as well as your medication.

This page has information on some of the common alternatives to antidepressants. You may find these helpful to use instead of your medication, or alongside it:

An Overview Of The Treatments For Depression


Depression is treatable and most people see improvements in their symptoms with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. That said, what works for one person might not necessarily work for another.

It’s important to talk to your physician and or healthcare provider about which options may be most effective for you. To help with that discussion, here is an overview of the most commonly used treatments for depression.

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Treating Depression With Therapy

There are 3 common types of therapy available that have good track records for treating depression:

  • helps assess and change negative thinking patterns associated with depression. The patient can learn coping strategies by recognizing negative thoughts. This is a structured therapy that is often limited to a certain number of visits, possibly 8-16 sessions.

  • Psychodynamic Therapy encourages the patient to look at negative behaviors and try to recognize and then change them. Its theory is that bad patterns and feelings are rooted in past experiences, which the therapist works with the patient and tries to tap the unconscious processes that have led to problems and then to help change them.

  • Interpersonal Therapy looks at personal relationships and encourages the patient to make changes in life. The focus is to learn from the therapist how to improve problems and how to evaluate interactions to improve how they relate to others.

Lets Learn As A Society To Better Treat Anxiety And Depression Without Medication

Perhaps depression is inherent to the human condition. That doesnt mean we cant heal or that healing always requires drugs. From diet to exercise to meditation there are natural interventions that can help treat depression without medication or antidepressants.

At Flow we believe the best way to fight depression is a combination approach. If you are finding it difficult to know where to start, why not try out a few of the approaches listed here and see what works for you. Committing to a few habits can help you discover what approaches, whether it is tDCS, or medication, or perhaps both, will help reduce your depressive symptoms.

Remember there is no single best and fail safe treatment for depression. What works for you will be individual to your experience and the unique balance of chemicals in your brain. We are rooting for you.

Before you go, dont forget to check out our .

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What Is The Prognosis For People Who Use Alternative Therapies For Depression

Scientists have yet to agree about the effectiveness of the alternative therapies listed here. It is difficult to predict a prognosis. Part of the journey of using alternative therapies is that you will have to do some experimentation to figure out what works and what doesnt work for you. Some people who have used alternative therapies have had success, and others havent. Stay in contact with your healthcare provider while you use these therapies.

How Do I Find A Psychotherapist

New treatments for severe depression

Family doctors often recommend a particular psychotherapist. But you can also contact the private practice of a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. In Germany, the association of statutory health insurance physicians can help you get an appointment.

You can have an initial appointment in a psychotherapy practice without being referred by a doctor or sending an application to your health insurer. In urgent cases, you can also turn to psychiatric practices with an emergency service, outpatient psychotherapy clinics in hospitals, as well as psychiatric or psychosomatic hospitals.

For outpatient psychotherapy to work, it is very important to find a psychotherapist who you can trust and feel comfortable with. In Germany, the first three to five psychotherapy sessions in an outpatient setting are considered to be trial sessions, to see whether the chemistry between the client and therapist is right and whether the client is happy with the therapists treatment approach.

Read Also: What Kind Of Doctor Should You See For Depression

Can Antidepressants Give You Suicidal Thoughts

In 2004, the FDA issued a black box label warning for suicidal ideation among 18- to 24-year-olds for common antidepressant drugs. This warning is the FDAs strictest warning for labeling prescription drugs.

The effect of suicidal thoughts is most common with SSRIs, occurring in about 4% of people who take them. However, untreated depression is considered to be much more of a suicide risk than taking antidepressants.

How Do Antidepressants Work

Research into ketamine as an antidepressant began in the 1990s with Dr. Krystal and his colleagues Dennis Charney, MD, and Ronald Duman, PhD, at the Yale School of Medicine. At the time depression was considered a black box disease, meaning that little was known about its cause.

One popular theory was the serotonin hypothesis, which asserted that people with depression had low levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This hypothesis came about by accidentcertain drugs given to treat other diseases like high blood pressure and tuberculosis seemed to drastically affect peoples moods. Those that lowered serotonin levels caused depression-like symptoms others that raised serotonin levels created euphoric-like feelings in depressed patients. This discovery ushered in a new class of drugs meant to treat depression, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . The first one developed for the mass market was Prozac.

But eventually it became clear that the serotonin hypothesis didnt fully explain depression. Not only were SSRIs of limited help to more than one-third of people given them for depression, but growing research showed that the neurotransmitters these drugs target account for less than 20 percent of the neurotransmitters in a persons brain. The other 80 percent are neurotransmitters called GABA and glutamate.

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Acupuncture And Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Additional alternative treatments currently being studied include acupuncture and vagus nerve stimulation .

In acupuncture, needles are inserted into the skin in points of the body that link with specific organs. According to Scientific American, Western research suggests the needles may activate natural painkillers in the brain in traditional Chinese medicine, the process is believed to improve functioning by correcting energy blocks or imbalances in the organs. However, a review by Rand Health Quarterly of 18 studies on acupuncture for depression did not find conclusive evidence of its effectiveness. Few studies reported patients achieving remission and relapse rates could not be determined.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation is rarely used but has been approved by the FDA for treatment resistant depression. According to NAMI, VNS uses a pulse generator, about the size of a stopwatch, placed in the upper left side of the chest to stimulate the vagus nerve, which carries messages to parts of the brain that control mood and sleep, with electrical impulses.

Recently, a new non-invasive way of VNS has been developed called transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation , in which the pulse generator is placed on the ear. In a tVNS study on 38 participants, this noninvasive type of brain stimulation showed promising results for treating major depressive disorder.

Treat Depression With Brain Stimulation

Teen Depression &  Suicide

A safe and effective way to treat depression without medicationfrom home

Our fifth medication-free depression treatment is a brain stimulation technique called transcranial direct current stimulation. Brain stimulation has been used to treat depression for decades, yet still, relatively few people know about this effective option.

First of all is a form of non-invasive neurmodulation that is very different from electric shock therapy . It works by applying a low energy direct current waveform to a targeted region of the brain. This low energy current does not cause neurons to fire but rather affects the plasticity of the brain, manipulating the likelihood of neurons to fire. Used in clinics to effectively treat depression, and now with Flow we have developed a wireless headset that delivers this gentle electrical stimulation for you to use at home to treat depressive symptoms. In the flow treatment, the electrodes are placed high up on the scalp to target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Lowered activity in this brain area is associated with depressive symptoms such as fatigue, sleeping problems, concentration difficulties and changes in appetite. The electrical current in tDCS stimulates brain activity in the DLPFC and thereby alleviates the depressive symptoms.

This is the first approved for medical use in the UK and EU and its available to buy or rent online.

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