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Is there a natural alternative to antidepressants?

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Posted on Fri, 11 Jul 2014
Question: I am feeling hopeless, but do not want to take medication. Is there a natural alternative to antidepressants?
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Answered by Dr. Ashok Kumar (49 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Yes there are

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX

Thanks for using healthcare magic.

I assume that by hopelessness you mean some other symptoms of depression are bothering you a lot.
For the treatment of hopelessness/depression there are various kind of therapy that are currently practiced in USA. Among them most common is cognitive behavior therapy. This is generally of 8-12 weeks with frequency of one session per week lasting a hour on each session. Research has shown that it has comparable efficacy to various kind of medications specially in mild to moderate depression. The benefit over the antidepressant is this is devoid of any side effects and effect last longer once you stop the treatment.

The other form of therapy is interpersonal therapy which takes almost similar duration and session of treatment. It is more effective in patients who have interpersonal disputes or role change in recent past.Regarding effectiveness it is very comparable to cognitive therapy and antidepressants. This may be the most appropriate therapy since you had stressor of losing job recently.

Other than these two therapies other less popular therapies are available but the evidence base for them not such strong.

Other than the therapies there are some nutritional supplements which work to elavete your mood and alleviate hopelessness. Most prominent among them are 5HTP and alpha methyl folate. These are effective in sub syndromal depression but not in full blown depression.

I advise you to meet a local psychologist/psychiatrist who will take detailed history to know which therapy will be most suitable for you. He will run some laboratory test to rule out any metabolic cause for your depression like hypothyroidism. If your therapist thinks that your illness of severe category than there is chance that he will ask you for short term medications, if absolutely necessary.
Please be advised that while writing follow up query write about full details of all symptoms and medical history, if you have one.
'Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help".
Thanks

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Answered by
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Dr. Ashok Kumar

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2000

Answered : 3242 Questions

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Is there a natural alternative to antidepressants?

Brief Answer: Yes there are Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX Thanks for using healthcare magic. I assume that by hopelessness you mean some other symptoms of depression are bothering you a lot. For the treatment of hopelessness/depression there are various kind of therapy that are currently practiced in USA. Among them most common is cognitive behavior therapy. This is generally of 8-12 weeks with frequency of one session per week lasting a hour on each session. Research has shown that it has comparable efficacy to various kind of medications specially in mild to moderate depression. The benefit over the antidepressant is this is devoid of any side effects and effect last longer once you stop the treatment. The other form of therapy is interpersonal therapy which takes almost similar duration and session of treatment. It is more effective in patients who have interpersonal disputes or role change in recent past.Regarding effectiveness it is very comparable to cognitive therapy and antidepressants. This may be the most appropriate therapy since you had stressor of losing job recently. Other than these two therapies other less popular therapies are available but the evidence base for them not such strong. Other than the therapies there are some nutritional supplements which work to elavete your mood and alleviate hopelessness. Most prominent among them are 5HTP and alpha methyl folate. These are effective in sub syndromal depression but not in full blown depression. I advise you to meet a local psychologist/psychiatrist who will take detailed history to know which therapy will be most suitable for you. He will run some laboratory test to rule out any metabolic cause for your depression like hypothyroidism. If your therapist thinks that your illness of severe category than there is chance that he will ask you for short term medications, if absolutely necessary. Please be advised that while writing follow up query write about full details of all symptoms and medical history, if you have one. 'Hope I have answered your query. If you have any further questions I will be happy to help". Thanks