The pharmaceutical industry has been making a killing by selling drugs popularly and collectively known as anti-depressants. You won’t read a diatribe against the effectiveness of anti-depressants in this article, but you should still know that nobody-and I mean NOBODY-at Pfizer or Merck or Schering-Plough or Eli Lilly or any company anywhere that has ever made one of these medications can tell you exactly how an anti-depressant pill works. They just know that it does.
For some people.
For some time.
Seriously, if you read any literature on the mechanism of anti-depressant medications you need to take note of the use of one little word that can often be overlooked. That one little word is “may.” As in “Depression MAY be caused by a reduction in the level of chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters.” Blibbity-blibbity bloo. The anti-depressants that range from Prozac to Pristiq mostly attempt to increase the effectiveness of these neurotransmitters. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t and you won’t know for at least two weeks and often as long as six weeks whether the chemical retransformation is effective.
Those looking for alternatives to anti-depressant medications have just as many choices as those who want to rely on the miracles of modern science and the anecdotal evidence of viewers like me. Some natural healers point to a fundamental lack of B-complex vitamins as the reason you are depressed. The B-vitamins as a group tend to help provide the brain with what we’ll describe as a little more oomph. Vitamin B6 just so happens to be a major player in the production of a little thing called serotonin. What is serotonin? It is one of those neurotransmitters that anti-depressants like to mess around with. Serotonin is a chemical that directs your mood, helps to shape your emotions and even has a bit of control over your appetite.
The big man on the campus of alternative natural treatments for depression is St. John’s Wort. Go to Europe and you will find that St. John’s Wort is taken by more people than some of the biggest names in the anti-depressant locker room. Those fun-loving Germans, for instance, are the recipients of more than three million prescriptions a year. St. John’s Wort, which must certainly be the least enticing name in the game of depression treatment, is really just an herb which is why in America no prescription is necessary. Studies indicate that St. John’s Wort has triple the effectiveness of a plain sugar pill placebo and seems to be just as effective as anti-depressant drugs. The major problem with using St. John’s Wort to treat depression is that it doesn’t seem to help at all with major depression. Those suffering from minor depression may find relief.
If you really want to do away with all medicinal treatment, then buy yourself a nice pair of running shoes or a recumbent bike and get to exercising. Exercise releases chemicals known as endorphins. These are responsible for the so-called runner’s high. I can attest from experience that exercise makes anti-depressant medications either work better or does the job all by itself.
Light therapy seems to be helpful for some of those who experience a particular sort of depression known as SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs mostly during the winter time and leads people to being totally depressed. I really have trouble understanding SAD myself since I look forward to winter all year. Then again, I live where the average summer day has a heat index above 105 degrees so winter is just nothing to get sad about. Light therapy involves using light to overcome the darkness of winter in more northern regions.
Those eager to exploit homeopathy as a way to rid themselves of depression Look to using arsenicum if your depression includes anxiety. Aurum mettalicum is better for the Hamlet type of depression where you can’t seem to escape melancholy. Ignatia is the big choice for those whose depression arrived in tandem with grief of some sort. Lachesis is the homeopathic treatment of choice for that type of depression that includes feelings of paranoia and distrust. The depressive who just can’t seem to get out of it for months at a time is advised to look to natrum muriaticum. For those truly sad individuals who are so depressed they can’t even enjoy sex, homeopathic specialists recommend sepia. And pulsatilla may help the bipolar individual or that type once described as manic depressive.
The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. Gary Null, Ph.D.
Homepathy: An Introductory Guide to Homeopathic Medicine. Rima Handley.
Prescriptions for Natural Healing, 3rd Edition. Phyllis and James Balch.
Nature’s Medicines. Gale Malesky.
The Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide to Alternative and Conventional Treatments. Time Life Books.