Stress and Depression Answers :: Alternative Treatments for Depression
What are these alternative treatments for depression? What are we talking about? We're talking about treatments that emphasize the inter-relationship between mind, body, and spirit.
They're being carefully evaluated by the U.S. government because although some approaches have a long history, others remain controversial. And they're also being evaluated because everyone deserves a happy life. Not only that, but also because some people don't respond to traditional treatments.
Nonetheless, always consult with your doctor about any treatments you're using or considering for depression. Often times a combination of treatments works best for most people. And you also want to make certain one treatment doesn't react poorly with another. Or ensure that something in your diet doesn't react negatively with a treatment. Your doctor can help with this.
What are alternative treatments for depression?
There's quite a wide range, including several natural treatments for depression. They include self-help, diet and nutrition, expressive therapies, pastoral counseling, animal assisted therapies, culturally based healing arts, acupuncture, ayurveda, yoga and meditation, Native American traditional practices, cuentos, relaxation and stress reduction techniques, and technology-based applications.
Whew! The good news is . . . there are quite a few. Now let's look at them one by one.
Self Treatment for Depression
Essentially self treatment for depression is joining self-help groups. Many people suffering from depression and other mental health issues find them an invaluable resource for recovery and for empowerment. This self treatment for depression generally refers to groups or meetings that:
Involve people with similar needs
Are facilitated by a consumer, survivor, or other layperson
Help people deal with a "life-disrupting" event such as a death, abuse, serious accident, addiction, or diagnosis of a physical, emotional, or mental disability, for oneself or a relative
Are operated on an informal, free-of-charge, and nonprofit basis
Provide support and education
Are voluntary, anonymous, and confidential
Some people even consider this next topic as self treatment for depression.
Diet and Nutrition
Simply adjusting your diet and nutrition may help you manage your symptoms and promote recovery. For example, research suggests that eliminating milk and wheat products can reduce the severity of symptoms for some people who have schizophrenia and some children with autism. Similarly, some holistic/natural physicians use herbal treatments, B-complex vitamins, riboflavin, magnesium, and thiamine to treat anxiety, autism, depression, drug-induced psychoses, and hyperactivity.
Perhaps you're like other people who prefer to seek help for mental health problems from their pastor, rabbi, or priest, rather than from therapists who are not affiliated with a religious community. Counselors working within traditional faith communities increasingly are recognizing the need to incorporate psychotherapy and/or medication, along with prayer and spirituality, to effectively help some people with mental disorders.
Animal assisted therapy simply means working with an animal (or animals) under the guidance of a health care professional. If you're suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental illness you may benefit from this. The health care professional facilitates positive changes such as increased empathy and enhanced socialization skills. Animals can be used as part of group therapy programs to encourage communication and increase the ability to focus. Developing self-esteem and reducing loneliness and anxiety are just some potential benefits of individual-animal therapy.
Coming soon: Parts 2 and 3 of Alternative treatments for depression.