There are many alternatives to medications, and following you will see a suggested top 10 alternatives to antidepressants and how and why they could be helpful. Note: Antidepressants are given as a psychiatric-based treatment to help with symptoms of depression. The medications may also be prescribed for ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorders, or other mental health problems.
It is estimated that nearly 13% of Americans over the age of 12 have taken antidepressant medications such as:
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Prozak (fluoxetine)
If you are wondering which antidepressant has the least side effects, please continue reading to learn more about natural treatments for depression that could help you avoid side effects entirely.
Symptoms of depression: Warning Signs
Antidepressant medications have been used for decades as a means to minimize symptoms of clinical depression such as:
- Low energy or fatigue
- Problems with making decisions
- Irregular sleep patterns or insomnia
- Significant loss of weight or weight gain
Why People Are Looking for Alternatives to Antidepressants
While antidepressant medications do help many cases of depression through an initial crisis, users of antidepressants have reported they become dependent on the meds. They also say they have difficulty coming off them without pain or aggravating symptoms.
As individuals seek to taper antidepressants or discontinue use of antidepressants cold turkey, extreme symptoms often come about that make it difficult for a person to function at their job, or in daily life activities. Long-term antidepressant use continues to surge in the U.S., with more than 15 million people having taken antidepressants for longer than five years. Many people are deciding it’s time for an alternative to antidepressants.
Each day, thousands of Americans are experiencing negative side effects and wish to find a better way to heal and be healthy again. Or, some desire to stop taking their antidepressant because they feel it’s no longer helping them, or that they have recovered from depression. Whatever the case is for the individual, if taking antidepressants doesn’t seem to be working for them, it’s time to look for a better alternative to antidepressants.
Natural & Holistic Alternatives to Antidepressants
Depending on what a person is going through, there are many alternative treatments that are beneficial for symptoms of depression. There are even holistic wellness centers that can help a person safely taper off antidepressants using an all-natural approach.
Tips for Using Alternatives to Antidepressants
It is important to understand that before taking any herbal alternatives or supplements, health experts recommend that you live a healthy lifestyle that minimizes the intake of toxins and stimulants. In order to get the full benefit of holistic or natural remedies for depression, the individual should have a healthy diet plan and a healthy lifestyle.
If someone were to take an herbal supplement recommended for depression, like 5-HTP, or fish oil, and then drink a few energy drinks or cups of coffee, the effect of the supplements would not be the same as it would be in a person who is avoiding the stimulating beverages. For many people, the effect of medications, as well as herbal alternatives to antidepressants, will be altered or not felt at all, due to a lack of proper health and nutrition.
Gut-Brain Connection to our Mental Health
It is important to understand that what we take into our body does affect our mental health. One major contributor to our moods, and health as a whole, is our gut health. Referred to as our “gut-brain axis,” the health of our gut is imperative if we desire a healthy and symptom-free life.
The gut is connected to our nervous, neuroimmune, and neuroendocrine systems, and poor gut health has been known to cause a wide variety of ailments or symptoms, even mental health problems. Those who are experiencing symptoms due to poor gut health may prefer an alternative to antidepressants to avoid having to ingest pills that include additives.
If you’re trying to make a plan to avoid antidepressant use, or come off antidepressants safely, consulting a doctor is the wisest choice. A licensed professional can assist in developing a treatment plan and running the needed tests and lab work to determine what treatment would look like as an alternative to antidepressants.
Top 10 Alternatives to Antidepressants
By adapting to a healthier lifestyle and diet plan, you can hope to minimize symptoms of depression. But for many, additional therapies may be needed to help with long-term depression, PTSD, or trauma.
Here are the suggested top 10 alternatives to antidepressants, recommended holistic alternatives to antidepressants:
Eliminating unhealthy eating habits and foods high in chemicals, food colorings, or processed ingredients is a good idea for those with depression. Eating a healthy organic diet can make sure one’s body and mind have the nutrients they need in order to begin healing. Eliminating stimulants such as energy drinks or coffee, as well as depressants like alcohol, from your daily diet can also contribute to recovering from depression.
A person with an unhealthy body will often feel uncomfortable or develop other symptoms. Trying to find a way to deal with depression, rather than using antidepressants, should include practices that enhance one’s health and wellbeing. Yoga has many benefits, and as a holistic treatment modality, it provides healing to the mind, body, and spirit.
A crucial factor in maintaining balance and helping to minimize signs of depression is the use of vitamins and supplements. Sometimes, working with a nutritionist, or naturopath, can help you see if any type of nutrient therapy or supplements could help in the healing process.
Not only is exercise good for your body, but it also helps with balancing moods and mental health issues. Physical activity boosts endorphins, which help us feel good. For someone battling depression, exercise is a great way to get out of your mind and to focus on your personal health.
Feeling calm and at peace is very helpful when dealing with depression. Even allowing one negative thought may cause ruminating negative thoughts to persist throughout the day. Taking care of yourself and feeling good are valuable tools in the recovery process. Massage therapy is also good for detoxifying and alleviating stress and tenseness.
Used for centuries to assist in blood flow and to improve various symptoms, including mental health problems, acupuncture helps with inner balance and has many health benefits.
There are many people in the world who care about the wellbeing of others. When someone is dealing with depression, talking to someone is always a valuable option. Most communities will have services available such as a life coach or a therapist – someone there to assist in the healing process.
When a person with depression or trauma is trying to avoid antidepressant medication, finding a licensed counselor could be beneficial, in order to work on emotional pain or trauma associated with their symptoms. Trying to manage your symptoms without antidepressants is easier with the right support and guidance.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT has been proven to be as effective as antidepressants for certain forms of depression, such as anxiety or PTSD. With the right counselor working on your goals and providing support throughout the process of recovery from depression, one can feel more supported during a difficult time.
By becoming more aware of how our body reacts and what is happening within, a person is able to more effectively overcome symptoms and triggers of depression.
Inpatient Program for Beating Depression and Antidepressant Dependence
If you are trying to avoid antidepressants or safely come off antidepressants, it is always wise to seek a licensed professional to help you through the process. While many of these recommended activities do not require a doctor at all, when dealing with clinical depression or any mental health symptoms, seeing a doctor who can help oversee your care is a valuable tool.
Depending on a person’s symptoms, inpatient care may be needed. More severe cases of depression, PTSD, and trauma will sometimes need a more intensive one-on-one setting in order to begin healing from deep issues and symptoms.
No matter how far down a person has gone, there are treatment centers and doctors offering Alternatives to Antidepressants around the world. One of the more recognized programs offering alternatives to antidepressants is Alternative to Meds [link to Contact page], an inpatient program in Sedona, Arizona.
Many individuals are being freed from dependence on antidepressants and other psychiatric medications every day. Try incorporating a few items from this Top 10 Alternatives to Antidepressants list, and see if your days become brighter.