natural antidepressants

Do Natural Antidepressants Work?

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Natural antidepressants may seem too good to be true at first. But, with all the side effects that come along with antidepressants, it’s hard not to wonder if there are alternatives to Zoloft for depression, alongside many other popular medications. This may be especially the case for individuals that have tried antidepressants to no avail. 

This is the case for many people suffering from depression (major depressive disorder). One study found that anywhere from 40-60 people out of 100 felt a reduction in symptoms of depression after taking natural antidepressants for 6 to 8 weeks. That said, there were only 20 more people than individuals who took a placebo pill. Antidepressants may work for some, but people who don’t see results from them shouldn’t give up hope for another form of effective treatment.

Montare believes that effective treatment looks different for each person struggling with a mental illness. For this reason, we may suggest over-the-counter antidepressants for individuals who don’t respond to typical medication. Holistic medicine can be a powerful alternative for some individuals in tandem with other treatments. 

What is Depression? 

While depression can look like plain sadness for some, it’s typically much more complicated than that. It can also look like feeling chained to your bed or becoming irritated at the slightest comment. Sometimes depression may even be a sudden apathy toward hobbies you once enjoyed alone. 

Depression is a mental illness that makes individuals feel negatively about themselves or the outcome of their lives as a whole for an extended period of time.  Those suffering from this mental illness may have the following symptoms: 

  • Hypersomnia or insomnia 
  • Disregard for personal hygiene 
  • Becoming irritated more easily 
  • Apathy toward activities one once enjoyed 
  • Reacting emotionally to small comments or criticism 
  • A drastic change of appetite and weight as a result 
  • Distancing oneself from friends, family members, or significant others
  • Feeling overwhelmed by any responsibility no matter how small it might be 
  • Feeling hopeless, sad, numb, or upset (especially when there is no specific reason) 

These symptoms may indicate other health disorders, but could likely be depression. If any of the symptoms above continue for more than 2 weeks, it’s important to seek out medical help. It’s much easier to overcome depression before it becomes severe for most people. 

Additionally, depression can easily spiral out of control and become life-threatening. In fact, 48,500 people die from suicide each year, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). Being mindful of one’s thoughts and getting treatment can literally be the difference between life or death for those struggling with major depressive disorder. 

What are Holistic Medicine and Natural Antidepressants? 

Holistic medicine is medication that isn’t from the traditional pharmaceutical avenue. That said, medical professionals often tell patients that they should use holistic medicine in many cases. 

For instance, vitamin D is an over-the-counter antidepressant in theory for many individuals suffering from seasonal affective disorder. This lack of vitamin D can lead to an overall mood disorder, among other health complications. In the same vein, natural supplements and other means can help people overcome their depression without antidepressants, like Zoloft. 

Holistic medicine is popular in many Asian cultures and was the only form of help there for centuries. Although there isn’t enough research to say that holistic medicine can replace pharmaceuticals as a whole, data shows promising results. Hence, people who are resistant to antidepressants (whether it’s from skepticism or no results) can try holistic medicine. Some may even use holistic medicine in tandem with antidepressants and therapy to boost efficacy overall. 

6 Best Natural Antidepressants

Saffron Supplements 

Saffron can potentially help with depression, according to research; however, researchers aren’t sure why it helps with depression. It’s said that saffron gives the brain extra serotonin to operate with. Specific research on saffron concluded that it could aid with mild and severe depressive symptoms. 

The same study showed that saffron supplements may be more effective than a variety of antidepressants. As antidepressants can have adverse side effects in many cases, saffron supplements can be a potential alternative to those who need relief from depression. 

Lavender Essential Oil 

It’s alright to be skeptical about the efficacy of treatment for depression without medication. With this in mind, researchers believe that certain essential oils, like lavender oil, can help treat depression. Lavender essential oils have a floral scent and are calming. Lavender essential oils work as a form of aromatherapy. 

One study found that lavender oil can potentially be just as effective as some types of antidepressants. While lavender oil can’t take the place of traditional therapy and medication, it could help boost the efficacy of both. 

Vitamin D Supplements 

Vitamin inadequacies have an impact on both the body and the psyche. According to research, individuals who get less vitamin D than the average person are more prone to develop depression. In fact, lower vitamin D levels appear to be linked to more severe levels of depression. As a result, a study published in 2020 discovered that using vitamin D supplements alongside treatment helped people overcome depression.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D can be obtained from the sun. It stands to reason that people grow more melancholy during the winter months when they don’t get as much sun. Thus, some people are prone to become more depressed during the winter months. Depression that is affected by the seasons is seasonal affective disorder. 

Folic Acid Supplements 

Folic acid is a kind of vitamin B. It is a man-made form of folate that is naturally found in foods. Leafy green veggies, citrus fruits, and legumes are a few examples. Folic acid does not directly create serotonin (a feel-good chemical), it does assist the brain in producing it on a regular basis though.

According to research, folic acid supplements may improve the efficacy of antidepressants. A group of men and women suffering from depression took part in a study that employed folic acid to increase the effects of Prozac. 

The folic acid supplements alleviated the symptoms of the women in the group. It did not, however, aid men as much. However, Harvard points out that men require more folic acid than women, which could have influenced the study’s findings.

SAMe Supplements 

Research shows that SAMe is potentially one of the best natural antidepressants one can try. For one, it produces results, which can’t be said for each trial of over-the-counter antidepressants. 

Researchers compared placebos to SAMe and then assessed the degree of depression in the participants of the studies. In the majority of studies, SAMe outperformed the placebo. SAMe is a potent supplement that should be used with caution. Too much of it can cause serotonin syndrome. 

Wild Ginger Essential Oil 

Wild ginger may include antidepressant effects. An animal study found that inhaling wild ginger oil reduced depression-like behavior in stressed-out mice. The oil, according to researchers, may activate a group of transmitters in the brain related to depression known as the serotonergic system. By activating this system, you may be able to reduce the release of stress chemicals.

Treatment to Complement Natural Antidepressants 

While over-the-counter antidepressants can help people overcome some of the symptoms of their depression, it doesn’t mean that it can help on their own. The best way to tackle a serious mental illness like depression is through a robust, comprehensive approach. This means that individuals should approach overcoming depression with whatever means possible. 

There are different types of therapy that can help boost the effects of supplements and essential oils that can help mitigate some of the symptoms of depression. Each form of therapy may help more individuals than others. Fortunately, Montare Behavioral Health offers multiple forms of therapy to help whoever has depression or any other mental health disorder that requires our help to treat. 

Therapies Here At Montare Behavioral Health 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

CBT is one of the most popular forms of therapy because of its actionable approach to improving mental health. Individuals that use CBT will learn how to identify thoughts that could exacerbate any present mental illnesses. CBT therapists may have patients journal their activities and moods each day. Then, the patients can see which of their habits may have led to self-destructive thoughts and actions. 

Unlike standard counseling, CBT has a standard amount of sessions. CBT usually lasts anywhere from 10-15 sessions with an end goal in mind. This is a good option for individuals who can’t spend unlimited time in therapy, as general counseling may be. While CBT sessions may only last a finite period of time, that doesn’t mean that a person might need more or fewer sessions depending on recovery progress. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) 

Alternatively, DBT can help people with severe mental illnesses. The inception of DBT came about because standard CBT didn’t benefit a population of patients with suicidal tendencies. 

While DBT is a form of CBT, it’s particularly for individuals who have intrusive thoughts that they can’t help. Thus, DBT patients are taught to not only change their negative thoughts and emotions, but to accept them as well. DBT works to validify patients’ feelings while helping them cope with them positively. 

Traditional and Natural Antidepressants Can Help You Regain Stability 

Here at Montare Behavioral Health, we believe that a good treatment plan is a comprehensive one. The overall health of the body, mind, and spirit determines one’s health overall. Removing any of these factors from the solution will result in less effective treatment. 

We have a number of traditional and alternative treatments to offer our clients so that they can find the best solutions for their mental illnesses. Contact us now to see how our personalized plans can help you or a loved one get through mental illness.