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Cymbalta Alternatives

This entry was posted in Antidepressant and tagged on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on October 12, 2021 by Diane Ridaeus

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Alternatives to Cymbalta® are available but generally ignored as first-line treatments. Antidepressant medications can shortcut medical investigations or effective lifestyle interventions. We are changing that on a daily basis at Alternative to Meds Center.

There are many possible causes of depression. Below we discuss a number of these, such as impaired hormonal states, deficiency of vitamin D, substandard diet, adrenal fatigue, lack of exercise, failed life aspirations, and others.4 Non-drug-based treatments provide safe and effective alternatives to Cymbalta or other drugs to effectively resolve psychiatric symptoms without the risks of medication side effects.

Does Your Diagnosis
Require Cymbalta?

success getting off cymbalta
Alternative to Meds has been the expert on antidepressant alternatives for over 15 years. In the link following, you can read our published evidence regarding the remarkable successes of our clients. 77% of antidepressant users going through Alternative to Meds treatments are able to stay off of antidepressants long-term and find subjective symptomatic relief not found on the drugs. We understand that during a time of stress or crisis, Cymbalta may be warranted. But these life situations can and do change. Once the crisis has shifted, alternatives to Cymbalta may actually provide higher levels of health and wellness that you can depend on for the rest of your life.

Why Choose Cymbalta Alternatives?

natural cymbalta alternativesA host of Cymbalta alternatives can provide options other than struggling with Cymbalta side effects and ineffectiveness.18 We are aware of Cymbalta substitutes may very well yield better answers than living the rest of life medicated on antidepressants.

Do you want a loved one or yourself to live life without drugs and return to feeling well? Alternative to Meds Center can custom-design effective Cymbalta tapering alternatives that simplify the process and alleviate medication-associated problems.

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What Is Cymbalta (Duloxetine)?

cymbalta duloxetine SNRICymbalta, AKA duloxetine falls under the classification of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).17 Cymbalta is prescribed to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), chronic musculoskeletal pain (including back pain and arthritis), fibromyalgia, and peripheral diabetic neuropathy pain (hand, feet, arm, or leg nerve pain due to diabetes).20  Depression is the most frequent condition for prescribing Cymbalta.20  However, according to our studies, opting for Cymbalta natural alternatives is often a superior choice.

Side effects or an insufficient response to treatment are possible with all prescription medications. Antidepressant side effects, intolerability, ineffectiveness, Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms after developing dependency can all occur as a result of treatment with Cymbalta.34

Other Antidepressants as Alternative to Cymbalta?

other alternatives to cymbaltaTraditional GP’s prescribe the bulk of antidepressants.35 When an individual seeks alternatives to Cymbalta their prescribing doctor’s first recommendation will likely be other antidepressants.35 There are many problems associated with using other drugs as an alternative to Cymbalta, especially for individuals trying to avoid Cymbalta side effects. All antidepressant drugs have side-effect risks, the possibility of being ineffective, and cause physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.7

Rather than fall into the trap of multiple medications, or shocking the body with switching from one or multiple drugs, we advise looking carefully at natural alternatives that do not generate harm in the name of help.

Natural Cymbalta Alternatives

Fortunately, there are very effective natural Cymbalta alternatives for depression or other conditions. Researchers are always on the lookout for natural, non-drug-based therapeutics for psychiatric conditions, such as SAMe,1 St. John’s Wort,2 exercise,4 exposure to sunlight,5, and many others.

Natural Cymbalta alternatives include:

  • Talk therapy such as CBT or DBT21
  • Change of diet22
  • Cleansing toxins from the workplace, in-home exposure, pesticides, past drug use, etc.3
  • Exercise*
  • Exposure to sunlight or light therapy 5
  • Supplements such as SAMe, St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP 1,2
  • Get tested for food allergies, nutritional deficiencies23

*Studies such as Craft & Perna’s “Benefits of exercise for the clinically depressed.” have shown promising results regarding the therapeutic benefits of exercise in the treatment of clinical depression.

Is Depression Limited to Low Serotonin?

cymbalta low serotoninPhysicians, in an effort to help their patients, often prescribe an antidepressant prior to any significant investigative efforts into why the person is actually depressed. Is a depressed individual really just lacking serotonin or norepinephrine? What about food allergies in which internal swelling causes the metabolism to slow down? 23 What about a low thyroid? as a cause of depression? 24 Or what about an accumulation of neurotoxins like heavy metal toxins that abolish energy metabolism? 25 These are some of the underlying potential medical causes of depression and can lead to procuring natural treatments.

The low-serotonin theory has been in the spotlight for some time, sparking much discussion of whether or not serotonin deficiency is the prime factor in clinical depression. But the answers may be a bit more complex and are still being explored by researchers.16 Pharmaceutical companies have touted this rather incompletely explored theory and in doing so, have made SSRI drugs some of the best-sellers on the market.27 Despite the lack of conclusive evidence for the chemical imbalance theory, even if someone were serotonin-deficient,29 it would be unlikely that every depressed person shares that profile. And even if the individual was not deficient in serotonin prior to taking an antidepressant, the medication may cause a serotonin deficiency to develop.28 Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Cymbalta don’t produce serotonin, they are believed to instead stop the reuptake.26

Serotonin is meant for reuptake as it circulates through the body in order for the nerve cell to reuse it. It is a process of conservation. Serotonin plays many roles in the body, both in and outside of the brain and CNS.36 When a drug blocks serotonin from reuptake, enzymes can eventually cause degradation into unusable metabolites, resulting in little to no serotonin left.30

This is similar to how one could say that cocaine combats depression — but only for a short time. Cocaine uses up all available dopamine rather than creating more of it.15 Dopamine functions as our reward and pleasure neurochemical.31 When an individual consumes cocaine, the ensuing dopamine purge makes everything seems rewarding. However, after all the dopamine is spent and downregulation has occurred,33 this leaves nothing to hold reward or value to the individual.

The mechanics are similar to SSRI drugs, but antidepressants target serotonin (in the main) instead of dopamine. Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that performs thousands of functions within and outside of the CNS.36 One function of serotonin is to inhibit stimulus from the environment and decrease compulsive thinking and behaviors.36 It also helps to create the sleep neurohormone melatonin.37 No antidepressant synthesizes (creates) more serotonin — however, the naturally occurring amino acid tryptophan does play a role in the creation of serotonin.16 Downregulation (reduction of the number or density of active receptors, lessened sensitivity) is also linked to antidepressants and other drugs, observable where their effectiveness wanes over time.33

Alternative to Meds Holistic Cymbalta Protocols

holistic cymbalta protocolsAlternative to Meds Center’s medical team oversees individuals as they reduce dependence on psychiatric medications. We discover the medical reasons that may contribute to a person’s depression or anxiety. Our program employs lab testing to determine underlying factors that could have been overlooked. We also provide natural substances to create neurochemistry stabilization. Cleansing is done to remove environmentally accumulated toxins.3 The center’s careful withdrawal techniques, plus targeted nutritional therapies, IV treatment, massage, peer support, exercise, personal training, yoga, and many other natural Cymbalta alternatives serve to combat depression without relying on prescription medications.

Success with Alternatives to Cymbalta

successful cymbalta alternativesWe find success each and every day at Alternative to Meds Center. In celebration of our participants’ successful achievements, we have weekly graduations. Each event includes friends and family of the participant and fellow residents. A number of unbelievable stories have been heard at these events, some of them recount decades spent in prolonged suffering, spoken now with extraordinary levity and hope.

This is very inspiring when we get to see this, knowing they have all the tools to preserve a healthy way of life and continue to be a beacon for other people. We invite you to give us a call to learn more about the kind of Cymbalta alternatives help that is available for yourself or a loved one.


1. Sharma A, et al., “S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) for Neuropsychiatric Disorders: A Clinician Oriented Review of Research.” J Clinic Psychiatry Jun 2017 [Internet] PMID28682528 [cited 2020 Nov 23]

2. Cui Y, Zheng Y, “A meta-analysis on the efficacy and safety of St John’s Wort extract in depression therapy in comparison with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in adults.” Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016 [Internet] PMID 27468236 [cited 2020 Nov 23]

3. Editor NDNR, “Toxicity and Depression“, Naturopathic Doctor News and Review 2012 Mar 23 [Internet] [cited 2020 Nov 23]

4. Craft L, Perna F, “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed’ Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2004 [Internet] PMID15361924 [cited 2020 Dec 22]

5. Kent S, et al., “Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study.” Environ Health 2009 July 09 [Internet] PMID 19638105 [cited 2020 Nov 23]

18.The drugs don’t work? antidepressants and the current and future pharmacological management of depression Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012 Oct; 2(5): 179–188. Elizabeth Penncor responding author and Derek K. Tracy [cited 2020, Dec 19]

7. Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome, Am Fam Physician. 2006 Aug 1;74(3):449-456. [cited 2020 Dec 19]

15.How does cocaine produce its effects?. NIDA. 2020, June 11. [cited 2020, Dec19]

16.Serotonin: What You Need to Know Healthline Written by Annamarya Scaccia — Updated on August 19, 2020 [cited 2020, December 19]

17. Stahl SM, Grady MM, Moret C, Briley M. “SNRIs: their pharmacology, clinical efficacy, and tolerability in comparison with other classes of antidepressants.” CNS Spectr. 2005 Sep;10(9):732-47. doi: 10.1017/s1092852900019726. PMID: 16142213. [cited 2020 Dec 22]

20. FDA label Cymbalta (duloxetine) {2008 Dec 4] [cited 2020 Dec 22]

21. Dimidjian, S., Hollon, S. D., Dobson, K. S., Schmaling, K. B., Kohlenberg, R. J., Addis, M. E., Gallop, R., McGlinchey, J. B., Markley, D. K., Gollan, J. K., Atkins, D. C., Dunner, D. L., & Jacobson, N. S. (2006). “Randomized trial of behavioral activation, cognitive therapy, and antidepressant medication in the acute treatment of adults with major depression.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(4), 658–670. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.74.4.658  [cited 2020 Dec 23]

22. Adjibade, M., Julia, C., Allès, B., Touvier, M., Lemogne, C., Srour, B., … & Kesse-Guyot, E. (2019). “Prospective association between ultra-processed food consumption and incident depressive symptoms in the French NutriNet-Santé cohort.” BMC medicine, 17(1), 78. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

23. Bell IR, Jasnoski ML, Kagan J, King DS. “Depression and allergies: survey of a nonclinical population.”  Psychother Psychosom. 1991;55(1):24-31. doi: 10.1159/000288404. PMID: 1866437. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

24. Bahls SC, de Carvalho GA. “A relação entre a função tireoidiana e a depressão: uma revisão [The relation between thyroid function and depression: a review].” Braz J Psychiatry. 2004 Mar;26(1):41-9. Portuguese. doi: 10.1590/s1516-44462004000100012. Epub 2004 Mar 30. PMID: 15057840. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

25. Fu Z, Xi S. “The effects of heavy metals on human metabolism.” Toxicol Mech Methods. 2020 Mar;30(3):167-176. doi: 10.1080/15376516.2019.1701594. Epub 2019 Dec 17. PMID: 31818169. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

26. Cowen P, Browning M, “What has serotonin to do with depression?” Journal World Psychiatry 2015 June, 14(2): 158-160 [online] PMID 26043325 [cited 2020 Dec 23]

27. Lacasse J, Leo J, “Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect Between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature.” PLos Med 2005 Dec [online] PMID 16268734 [cited 2020 Dec 23]

28. Seisser W et al., “Chronic SSRI Treatment Exacerbates Serotonin Deficiency in Humanized Tph2 Mutant Mice.” ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Jan 16: 4(1): 84-88 [online] PMID 23336047 [cited 2020 Dec 23]

29. Cowen PJ. “Serotonin and depression: pathophysiological mechanism or marketing myth?” Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2008 Sep;29(9):433-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2008.05.004. PMID: 18585794. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

30. McGill Information Presentation, ‘The Brain from Top to Bottom – Serotonin and other molecules involved in depression.” [online] N.D. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

31. Di Chiara G, Bassareo V. “Reward system and addiction: what dopamine does and doesn’t do.” Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2007 Feb;7(1):69-76. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2006.11.003. Epub 2006 Dec 15. Erratum in: Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2007 Apr;7(2):233. PMID: 17174602. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

32. Thobois S, Vingerhoets F, Fraix V, Xie-Brustolin J, Mollion H, Costes N, Mertens P, Benabid AL, Pollak P, Broussolle E. “Role of dopaminergic treatment in dopamine receptor down-regulation in advanced Parkinson disease: a positron emission tomographic study.” Arch Neurol. 2004 Nov;61(11):1705-9. doi: 10.1001/archneur.61.11.1705. PMID: 15534182.[cited 2020 Dec 23]

33. Taylor C, et al., “Mechanisms of action of antidepressants: from neurotransmitter systems to signalling pathways.” Cell Signal PMID 15683730 [cited 2020 Dec 23]

34. Fava GA. “Can long-term treatment with antidepressant drugs worsen the course of depression?” J Clin Psychiatry. 2003 Feb;64(2):123-33. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v64n0204. PMID: 12633120. [cited 2020 Dec 23]

35. Smith B, “Inappropriate Prescribing.” American Psychological Association publication [online] June 2012 [cited 2020 Dec 23]

36. Berger M, et al., “The Expanded Biology of Serotonin” Annual Review of Medicine [online[ Feb 2009 PMID 19630576 [cited 2020 Dec 23[

37. Dmitrzak-Weglarz M, Reszka E. “Pathophysiology of Depression: Molecular Regulation of Melatonin Homeostasis – Current Status.” Neuropsychobiology. 2017;76(3):117-129. doi: 10.1159/000489470. Epub 2018 Jun 13. PMID: 29898451.[cited 2020 Dec 23]


Originally Published Oct 30, 2018 by Lyle Murphy


This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Cymbalta Alternatives
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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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