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Holistic Treatment for Mood Disorders

This entry was posted in Mental Health on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Carol Gillette

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

In recent times, the world has seen a rise in what are referred to as mood disorders, testing us & even overwhelming us with a barrage of emotional upheavals. One day you’re rolling along relatively well, another day you’re hit with some alarming bad news that throws your balance completely out of whack.

That avalanche of stressors, can intensify to unmanageable levels, sending people on a desperate quest for prescriptions for relief —without success. Evidence-based holistic treatment for mood disorders is what you’ll find at our one-of-a-kind licensed mental health facility in Sedona, Arizona.

Tired of the rollercoaster?
mood disorders
Alternative to Meds has accumulated and published evidence of the success of our clients for many years. Understanding the mechanics of neurotransmitter repair and rehabilitation is key to our success. Also key is taking the time to investigate the factors that may be contributing to previously unexplained mental stresses, emotional rollercoasters, and other unwanted symptoms. Blending such strategies together under medical supervision makes our program the best choice for holistic treatments for mood disorders and other issues, common to our times.
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Bipolar Disorder

mood swingsSymptoms of bipolar disorder can be relieved with natural bipolar help. If you or a loved one is being told that the only treatment for bipolar symptoms is psychiatric medications, learn more about the alternative bipolar help that is available. We have helped thousands of people overcome their symptoms without drugs.

At Alternative to Meds Center we realize that while they can be important to stabilize a person, medications are not geared for long-term success. Our residential program uses orthomolecular medicine and lab testing to identify the underlying cause of symptoms. Feelings of depression and anxiety or mood swings can be treated naturally. Perhaps you feel trapped in the never ending routine of taking medications and visiting doctors and psychiatrists which haven’t helped. We offer an alternative that will teach you to deal with your mental health symptoms naturally and sustainably over the long term.

For individuals who suffer from bipolar symptoms and have not received relief from traditional medicine, stabilization and bipolar alternative treatment can change your life. At Alternative to Meds Center, we can provide you with the best available options for bipolar disorder treatment. We can additionally help you with other life challenges, including substance abuse, depression and anxiety. If you are taking medication for bipolar and want a more natural and effective way of addressing mental health; we can help you. The underlying causes of bipolar disorder can be treated, instead of just the symptoms, and with proper support and therapies, you can likely discontinue drug-based therapies for bipolar disorder.

Are you struggling with bipolar symptoms and unable to get the treatment you need from traditional medicine?

Alternative to Meds Center combines the necessary approaches of traditional medicine with typically overlooked elements of holistic medicine, such as nutrition, counseling, and mind-body therapies. These give holistic support to the natural systems of healing in the body, which help overcome many mental and physical health issues, including mood swings, stress and anxiety.

We use safe, natural, drug free approaches to balance brain function.

One of the many treatments used for bipolar help at Alternative to Meds Center is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Research studies have shown this type of counseling to be effectual in the treatment of mood swings, manic depression, and bipolar disorder, as well as an array of other conditions. Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses negative patterns and misrepresented ways of looking at the world and ourselves. As its name implies, CBT includes two key factors: Cognitive counseling looks at how negative thoughts and cognitions add to bipolar symptoms. Behavioral therapy provides better strategies to overcome or prevent situations that trigger anxiety.

Do you want to live your life in a different way, in a way you know is possible?

Individual counseling, as well as bipolar help for families and group-based therapies, can be particularly beneficial for people with this disorder; especially when used in tandem with other bi-polar treatment methods. Working with a counselor can offer an opportunity to talk about emotional lows and highs with a professional who can assist with exploring different strategies for controlling these emotions and the related behaviors. At Alternative to Meds Center, we have found that counseling helps clients to express their needs as well as understand other people’s needs. Counseling can help with recognizing the early symptoms of an emerging mood swing, so therapies may be altered or intensified to prevent declined functioning. These management methods can minimize or prevent serious disturbances.

Our objective is to show you how to improve your own mental health self-care.

In drug free bipolar help, several different holistic and traditional techniques may be prescribed. Some primary techniques applied at Alternative to Meds Center blends dual diagnosis treatment when medication, drug or alcohol dependence is present in tandem with bipolar symptoms, lab testing to identify the underlying causes of bipolar symptoms, dietary therapy, nutritional adjustments, supplement and vitamin therapies, acupuncture, massage, sauna, exercise, individual counseling, group counseling and educational courses. Natural substances that stabilize neurochemistry are also employed, as well as detoxification to remove accumulated environmental toxins, and well-planned medication tapering methods to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

For each client, a customized treatment plan is created.

Factors that can cause or contribute to bipolar disorder include stress, lack of exercise, underlying medical problems, hereditary and genetic issues, blood sugar problems, environmental toxicity, inadequate diet, food allergies, hormonal imbalances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, medication, alcohol, certain foods, caffeine and cigarettes, as well as many others. Antidepressants and other medications prescribed for bipolar are unable to fix many things that may cause or contribute to bipolar symptoms. In some cases, medication can even worsen the condition of bipolar through side effects or other medication related problems. Alternative bipolar disorder help is often able to address much more than medication can.

We investigate and address possible underlying causes of bipolar.

Eliminating chemicals like alcohol, caffeine, unhealthy food, and replacing them with supplements, vitamins, whole and healthy foods, exercise, yoga, and relaxation can help minimize bi-polar mood swings. Because of this, Alternative to Meds Center works to provide complex nutritional therapies and also to educate clients on how to nourish the body and brain. Extensive diet correction therapies have shown excellent long-term improvements in unwanted symptoms. Medication reduction has provided many of our clients long-term relief from bipolar symptoms. We are equipped to manage medication withdrawal of all types. You don’t have to keep suffering with bipolar or medication side effects. With alternative bipolar help, you can become medication free and mentally healthy.

You do not have to suffer from bipolar or medication issues any longer. We have REAL solutions.

Our goal is to provide long lasting success with bipolar support. To offer effective help, each one of our clients is given a customized therapy plan. Alternative mental health treatments for bipolar include cognitive behavioral therapies, individual and group talk therapy, exercise, diet corrections, nutritional treatments, massage, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, sauna, supplements and vitamins and lab testing to uncover any underlying issues. Staff provide 24/7 care, medical attention, educational classes, housed in a toxin-free, luxurious residential facility. Our scientific approach to stabilizing brain function has helped thousands of our clients achieve their mental health goals.

We invite you to call Alternative to Meds Center to learn more about how our residential mental health center provides effective bipolar treatment without long-term use of medications. Admissions counselors are here to answer your questions.


holistic treatment depressionDepression is a pandora’s box of feelings and symptoms. In defining depression, a common thread could be any lingering or pronounced feeling such as sadness, lethargy, self-loathing, hopelessness, often accompanied by inactivity or social withdrawal. A child, or an adult who lives on a diet of sugary, nutrient-deficient foods, may feel so lethargic as to prefer sitting immobilized in front of a screen. This may lead to a “diagnosis” of “depression” and simply putting a label on it may not offer the best treatment. Perhaps along with finding a satisfactory definition for the condition, we should also look a little closer at the reasons depression has become so prevalent in our modern society, in both young and old.

The front line treatment for depression treatment is antidepressants, which often cause side effects and provide inadequate relief.

It is not normal to be depressed for long periods of time, even when a past trauma is involved. We were designed to experience happiness. Our emotional brain, called the limbic, when functioning well, is made to allow us to experience life’s rewards. Often, when we are in a chronic state of depression, the limbic brain’s ability to achieve reward is compromised. It may be due to a diet that is not capable of producing mental health, lack of proper mobility and exercise, candida, even metabolic poisoning.

Additionally, the gut microbiome — our neurotransmitter factory — may have been compromised or disabled by an onslaught of stress, crisis, overload of cortisol, poor diet, and other impacts. And these contributors may have been in place for a very long time. So the injured gut is no longer able to produce the neurotransmitters that are needed for optimum mental functioning. We investigate to find out if there are such factors that need to be treated in tandem with the psychological therapies that also help alleviate symptoms.

By searching for underlying factors contributing to depression, these factors can be addressed and symptoms can be relieved using treatment without prescription drugs.

The most common causes of apathy, inactivity, and even aversion to activity are malnutrition, physical pain, physical exhaustion, mental exhaustion, and stress. Unfortunately, the word depression has come to be used so freely and casually, that the most apparent reasons for the condition can often be completely overlooked. Instead of a rigorous search for possible environmental, nutritional or lifestyle factors, a quick trip to a doctor for treatment limited to a prescription of medication, and nothing else. Like a mechanic who tries to adjust the carburetor by giving the car a new coat of wax, failure to correct the situation will occur.

Comprehensive, individualized holistic treatments for mood disorders can provide relief that far exceeds drug-based treatment.

Perhaps it is time to take a wider look at the factors leading up to the diagnosis of depression. This is what we have actively done for nearly 20 years at Alternative to Meds Center. Simple drugging to mask symptoms seems rather primitive, and definitely short-sighted. Years of suffering can take a toll on marriage, work, academic success, and satisfaction in day to day life. But it can also cost one their happiness and health. Perhaps now is the time to consider other options besides prescription drugs for true relief and healing.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder is a widespread diagnosis that can typically be brought to balance naturally.

Commonly called “clinical depression” in the DSM IV psychiatric manual, or sometimes “unipolar,” major depressive disorder ( MDD ) has an incredibly broad set of symptoms. The most common symptoms seem to reflect any feeling which prompts an avoidance of action or social interaction.2

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder:

  • Thoughts of suicide or death that persist or recur frequently.
  • Unwanted feelings that persist such as emotional emptiness, sadness, despair, irritability
  • Loss of pleasure in activities, people, hobbies, possessions, etc.
  • Fatigue, loss of energy.
  • Slowness in speech or movement.
  • Mental fog, trouble making decisions, memory loss.
  • Changes in appetite, weight loss, or weight gain.

Broad Range of Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

The very broad diagnostic elements for MDD in medical literature can lead to hit-or-miss type treatment options. For instance, sometimes with MDD, the person overeats and gets obese, yet sometimes the person loses appetite altogether and becomes rakishly thin. Sometimes the person sleeps too much, others too little. Sometimes major depressive disorder is diagnosed after losing a spouse, sometimes nothing at all traumatic seems to have occurred before MDD is diagnosed. Sometimes a person becomes irritable and aggressive toward others, sometimes a person withdraws from others completely. Many times the person’s work or academic performance can suffer.4,5

No wonder the number of prescription drugs has literally exploded — thousands of antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety drugs, tranquilizers, and even electroconvulsive therapy have become the most recommended treatments by psychiatry to treat “major depressive disorder.” But even the regulators admit these are not cures.

Holistic Depression Treatment vs Medication-Based

As an interesting note, more patients decide to discontinue treatment for their depression when it is medication-based due to the negative side effects than those who opt for psychological counseling or other medication-free methods of holistic treatment for mood disorders.

In a Canadian meta-study, it was found that St. John’s Wort was as effective as antidepressant drugs without the side effects and that exercise also provided positive results.3

At Alternative to Meds Center, we often hear about the problems caused by trial and error prescribing, and clients tell us how they have suffered under such a regimen. This is because the factors leading to the depressed condition of an individual were simply left to remain in place without actually addressing them. If all else fails, ECT is sometimes recommended in desperation. But it is a controversial treatment that may result in cognitive impairment and memory loss. There are safer alternative treatments at Alternative to Meds Center that don’t involve such extreme measures.2,3

Drug-Free, Holistic Treatments for Mood Disorders such as Depression:
  • Get the gut microbiome functioning as it should be7-10
  • Exposure to sunlight, Light therapy*
  • Exercise 11
  • Supplements such as St. John’s Wort, turmeric, saffron & others 12,13
  • Removal of neurotoxic accumulations 14,15
  • CBT, DBT, other forms of talk therapy 16

*Exciting research has been published on the mechanics and positive results6 of light therapy on SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and on some other types of depressive conditions.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

holistic treatment premenstrual syndromeIt may sound bizarre today, but in the late 1800’s opiates were used freely and extensively to treat such female ills as premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
Opium was not uncommon to have handy, and even Heroin was available without prescription and these drugs were the “drugs of choice” for what is in modern times called PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Premenstrual syndrome includes symptoms of fatigue, bloating, headache, mood swings, and other undesirable feelings. To treat these symptoms today, it is not Opium or Heroin that is prescribed, but Prozac and similar drugs that are prescribed. Since so much is now documented about long term ill effects from these toxic drugs, many are looking for better, safer treatment options to provide relief from such suffering.

If you suffer from PMS symptoms, like cramping, headaches, bloating, irritability, you are definitely NOT alone.

Fully 80% of women experience some degree of discomfort related to their menstrual cycle. PMS has not been completely understood, but, interestingly, opiate withdrawal symptoms are quite similar to PMS symptoms. Additionally, hormone changes occur in the body which give some internal signal to lower the endorphins in the body, and it is thought that these lowered endorphin levels are at least in part responsible for the headaches, cramps, and other undesirable symptoms of PMS.17

Often times the prescribing of psychotropic drugs like Prozac leads to further difficulties. And such drugs cannot actually correct the relevant contributing factors. These could have been corrected through diet change and targeted nutritional and other types of therapy. With proper care and attention to nutrition, gut health, and lifestyle changes, one can overcome both the severity of PMS symptoms and safely discontinue the use of prescription medications. Rather than waste time looking for the “right label,” we address symptoms, their contributing factors, and provide holistic treatment for mood disorders based on proven effective therapeutic approaches.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

holistic treatment seasonal affective disorderSeasonal affective disorder is a real condition that can often be addressed with natural methods. Sunlight (or lack of it) affects serotonin production.
Many people during approximately one half of the year, feel as though the “winter blues” are getting them down. Much research has been done concerning the effects and symptoms that people in certain areas of the planet can feel when there is less and less sunlight throughout the winter months. Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal tells us that we aren’t just imagining these symptoms and effects. It has been studied and documented for decades now and the research tells us that this is a real phenomenon.18

One of the most simple treatments for SAD ( seasonal affective disorder ) is “Light Therapy.” This is a non-invasive, non harmful, series of periods of exposure to sunlight, or if that is not available, sitting near a specially prepared lamp. This use of light as part of a treatment plan has been shown to effectively simulate sunshine, and can stimulate a person in a positive way. Light therapy has been shown in studies to be quite effective. However in reality, the most common treatment for SAD, unfortunately, is a prescription for antidepressants. Antidepressants have also been studied and are now shown to be very ineffective in the long run as a treatment for SAD.

Other research has shown that deficiencies in vitamin D from lack of adequate sunlight can also create a detrimental effect, the symptoms of which are similar to, and often diagnosed as, SAD. This is mainly due to the seasonally shorter days and the weather which can be sunless for many days in a row if you live in certain geographic areas.19

With vitamin and light therapies, SAD and other depressive symptoms can be treated without relying on prescription drugs.

Find Out More About Holistic Treatment for Mood Disorders at Alternative to Meds Center

It is our goal to provide holistic treatment for mood disorders — without drugs and without harmful side effects.

We want to get the causes for a person’s non-optimum emotional state discovered, and have the client receive their treatment in a way that is uniquely tailored to their profile and history. We use protocols and treatments that are restorative rather than chemically invasive, or toxic. We also offer tapering programs for safe and gradual medication withdrawal under medical supervision. We invite you to call us at the number on this page to speak with any of our informed and helpful staff who can answer your questions about holistic treatment for mood disorders in safer, more reliable ways.

You don’t have to be alone with major depressive disorder symptoms. We invite you to call and share your struggles with us so we can help direct you down a brighter path with drug-free treatment.


1. “Depression: Overview.” published by NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) [Internet] N.D. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

2. Breggin, P “No One Should Be Given ECT.” published in ECT Justice [Internet] 2013 [cited 2024 Mar 20]

3. Nahas R, Sheikh O, “Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of major depressive disorder.” Official Publication of the College of Canadian Family Physicians, Journal PMCID: PMC3114664 [Internet] 2011 Jun [cited 2024 Mar 20]

4. Kessler R, Berglund P, Demier O, et al. “The epidemiology of major depressive disorder:results from the national Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R0. JAMA, 2003, 289, 3095-3105 [cited 2024 Mar 20]

5. Wang P, Simon G, Kessler RC, “The economic burden of depression and the cost-effectiveness of treatment.” Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2003, 12.22-33 [cited 2024 Mar 20]

6. Campbell PD, Miller AM, Woesner ME. Bright Light Therapy: Seasonal Affective Disorder and Beyond. Einstein J Biol Med. 2017;32:E13-E25. PMID: 31528147; PMCID: PMC6746555. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

7. Clapp M, Aurora N, Herrera L, Bhatia M, Wilen E, Wakefield S. Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clin Pract. 2017 Sep 15;7(4):987. doi: 10.4081/cp.2017.987. PMID: 29071061; PMCID: PMC5641835.  [cited 2024 Mar 20]

8. Arneth BM. Gut-brain axis biochemical signalling from the gastrointestinal tract to the central nervous system: gut dysbiosis and altered brain function. Postgrad Med J. 2018 Aug;94(1114):446-452. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2017-135424. Epub 2018 Jul 19. PMID: 30026389.  [cited 2024 Mar 20]

9. Capuco A, Urits I, Hasoon J, Chun R, Gerald B, Wang JK, Kassem H, Ngo AL, Abd-Elsayed A, Simopoulos T, Kaye AD, Viswanath O. Current Perspectives on Gut Microbiome Dysbiosis and Depression. Adv Ther. 2020 Apr;37(4):1328-1346. doi: 10.1007/s12325-020-01272-7. Epub 2020 Mar 4. PMID: 32130662; PMCID: PMC7140737. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

10. Doroszkiewicz J, Groblewska M, Mroczko B. The Role of Gut Microbiota and Gut-Brain Interplay in Selected Diseases of the Central Nervous System. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 17;22(18):10028. doi: 10.3390/ijms221810028. PMID: 34576191; PMCID: PMC8471822. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

11. Schuch FB, Vancampfort D. Physical activity, exercise, and mental disorders: it is time to move on. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2021 Jul-Sep;43(3):177-184. doi: 10.47626/2237-6089-2021-0237. Epub 2021 Apr 21. PMID: 33890431; PMCID: PMC8638711. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

12. Apaydin EA, Maher AR, Shanman R, Booth MS, Miles JN, Sorbero ME, Hempel S. A systematic review of St. John’s wort for major depressive disorder. Syst Rev. 2016 Sep 2;5(1):148. doi: 10.1186/s13643-016-0325-2. PMID: 27589952; PMCID: PMC5010734.[cited 2024 Mar 20]

13. Moragrega I, Ríos JL. Medicinal Plants in the Treatment of Depression: Evidence from Preclinical Studies. Planta Med. 2021 Aug;87(9):656-685. doi: 10.1055/a-1338-1011. Epub 2021 Jan 12. PMID: 33434941. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

14. Cardenas-Iniguez C, Burnor E, Herting MM. Neurotoxicants, the Developing Brain, and Mental Health. Biol Psychiatry Glob Open Sci. 2022 Jul;2(3):223-232. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2022.05.002. Epub 2022 May 23. PMID: 35911498; PMCID: PMC9337627. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

15. Genuis SJ. Toxic causes of mental illness are overlooked. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Nov;29(6):1147-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Jun 24. PMID: 18621076. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

16. López-López JA, Davies SR, Caldwell DM, Churchill R, Peters TJ, Tallon D, Dawson S, Wu Q, Li J, Taylor A, Lewis G, Kessler DS, Wiles N, Welton NJ. The process and delivery of CBT for depression in adults: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Psychol Med. 2019 Sep;49(12):1937-1947. doi: 10.1017/S003329171900120X. Epub 2019 Jun 10. PMID: 31179960; PMCID: PMC6712954. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

17. Ravichandran H, Janakiraman B. Effect of Aerobic Exercises in Improving Premenstrual Symptoms Among Healthy Women: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Int J Womens Health. 2022 Aug 16;14:1105-1114. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S371193. PMID: 35996479; PMCID: PMC9392489. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

18. Melrose S. Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depress Res Treat. 2015;2015:178564. doi: 10.1155/2015/178564. Epub 2015 Nov 25. PMID: 26688752; PMCID: PMC4673349. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

19. Menon V, Kar SK, Suthar N, Nebhinani N. Vitamin D and Depression: A Critical Appraisal of the Evidence and Future Directions. Indian J Psychol Med. 2020 Jan 6;42(1):11-21. doi: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_160_19. PMID: 31997861; PMCID: PMC6970300. [cited 2024 Mar 20]

Originally Published Dec 18, 2020 by Diane Ridaeus

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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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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