Ways to Naturally Supplement Your Depression Treatment Regimen

What is Depression?

Depression is so much more than a case of blues. It’s a chronic mental health disorder, and it’s debilitating. Depression requires a long-term treatment plan, which invariably entails a combination of antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, therapy, surgical or nonsurgical treatments, and lifestyle changes. Feelings of worthlessness, melancholy, loneliness, fatigue, disassociation, and helplessness are often associated with depression.

From a cursory perspective, it is safe to say that a different mindset, a healthy diet, an exercise regimen, and a change of environment are all natural ways to treat depression. But implementing these types of changes can prove insurmountable when you are depressed. Depression is an internal conflict. While the world around us may be contributing towards our depression, the battle rages within.

Naturally beating depression is possible, but challenging. WebMD recommends getting into a routine, setting goals, exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, taking on responsibilities, challenging negative thoughts, checking with your doctor before using supplements, and trying something new, et al.

Of course, there are many related activities that need to be incorporated into a healthy new mindset such as persisting even in the face of intense negative thoughts. Recreational drugs, and alcohol should be avoided. While these substances tend to create short-term euphoria, they can exacerbate your depression over the long-term. They also come with their own set of problems, none of which is desirable.

How Is Depression Treated?

The treatment for clinical depression depends on the severity of the illness. With mild depression, you may not even need to be treated. A general practitioner, or psychiatrist may recommend waiting a short while to see the depression symptoms improve. Watchful waiting is a typical depression treatment in mild cases.

Other natural ways to treat depression include talking about how you’re feeling with relatives, friends, or therapists. There is no doubt that exercise is one of the most effective depression treatments available. Exercising has multifold benefits; it serves as a healthy distraction to the black cloud of depression, and it also releases all the right chemicals (endorphins and serotonin) to combat the ills of depression.

As the severity of the depression increases, diets, exercise, and self-help become less effective. In cases like this, mental health counseling is essential. A psychologist, or therapist is often the single best resource for getting to grips with your depression. A well-trained therapist can accurately diagnose depression, and set the patient on course for a recovery with the right treatment plan, vis-a-vis recommendations for medication, surgical and/or nonsurgical procedures to follow. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is popular in treating depression, and is the de facto course of action for many therapists.

However, mild and mild to moderate depression do not tell the whole story. There are many patients with moderate to severe depression whose symptoms are so crippling that therapy and medication can prove largely ineffective. For them, it’s important to seek out alternative treatment options.

It’s usually a combination of treatments such as therapy + medication, or therapy + medication + TMS, or therapy + medication + surgical procedures. For treatment resistant depression, it’s a whole new ballgame. Patients with this type of depression do not respond well to medication alone. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) can be an example of treatment resistant depression, and it’s a crippling mental health disorder.

A popular non-surgical approach for treating MDD is Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation which utilizes a specialized helmet [traditional TMS uses a Figure-8 coil]. By targeting specific areas in the brain thought to be responsible for depression symptoms, the Deep TMS™ can (over time) reverse or improve the depression through a non-surgical, non-invasive, pain-free series of treatments.

What Natural Treatment Options Are Available?

Pretty much all forms of therapy with a counselor/therapist/psychologist are considered natural treatment options. By talking through your problems and working according to a strategic plan to combat depression, patients can make headway with this mental health disorder. Different types of therapy sessions are available, including cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is designed to teach patients how to overcome negativity. It focuses on the present, not on the past. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is yet another option available in the counseling arena. With this treatment option, a psychoanalytic therapist encourages depressed patients to speak their minds. Sometimes, hidden meanings can be gleaned from thoughts.

There are many other natural treatment options for depression, such as meditation, yoga, hypnosis, and other forms of de-stressing. Meditation is a particularly interesting treatment option. According to Hopkins Medicine, and a Johns Hopkins expert named Madhav Goyal MD, ‘Meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some depression symptoms as other studies have found with antidepressants…” 

This is particularly true of mindfulness meditation [Buddhist meditation] – an area of study focused on self-awareness. By living in the present, and reacting less to what is bothering you in the present, you can reduce the symptoms of depression, and make them less overbearing in your life. Again, meditation should not be used as a go it alone approach, to displace therapy, medication, or surgical/nonsurgical alternatives; it is an adjunct – an add-on.