Alternative medical treatments for depression range from taking an herb that actually has the word syllable “wort” in it to yoga and from art therapy to music therapy. Wait, that last one isn’t that big of a leap, is it? It does say something about the current state of treating clinical depression in America today that despite the easy access to an abundance of anti-depression medications, depressed people by the millions turn to some type of alternative medical treatment.
I am one of them. So far, none of them have worked. But then again, only one or two anti-depressants have seemed to work, either.
St. John’s Wort
Take a flight across the pond to Europe and depending on the country your BOAC lands in, you’ll have to get a doctor’s prescription to buy St. John’s Wort. Americans can go to the nearest Wal-Mart and by this “prescription medication” for less than it costs to get dinner at an all-you-can-eat buffet. St. John’s Wort is an herb that is very widely utilized in Europe to treat mild to moderate depression. Deep clinical depression is not St. John’s Wort’s strong suit. One of the reasons this alternative medical treatment is preferred is because it doesn’t carry nearly the side effects of convention anti-depressant medication. Of course, it may or may not work, either. But then again, you can say the same thing about the far more expensive drugs pushed on doctors to prescribe for their patients by Big Pharma salesmen. You should not take St. John’s Wort if you are also taking an anti-depressant medication.
Light therapy is an alternative medical treatment that specifically treats depression associated with Season Affective Disorder (SAD). Exposure to the full spectrum of light may snap you out of what can be a really, really bad case of the winter blues.
The vitamin treatment for depression may be a little overstated. Just getting enough B vitamins, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids probably isn’t going to be enough to effectively treat a deep depression. What is possible, however, is using vitamins to potentiate the effectiveness of stimulants sometimes used to treat depression like Ritalin or Adderall.
Yoga and Exercise
It’s a vicious circle, of course. Exercise releases endorphins that lighten your mood, but who wants to start an exercise program when they can barely muster the strength to roll out of bed around noon? Yoga seems to work not only to help adults with depression, but those very sad cases where a kid gets clinically depressed. If you have a son or daughter exhibiting signs of clinical depression, take them to a yoga class and make it a parent/child “thing.”
Can you imagine how much sooner Vincent Van Gogh would have killed himself if he hadn’t been so busy cranking out two or three masterpieces a day? Can you imagine how much longer he might have lived and how many more masterpieces he might have produced if just a few idiot Frenchmen had been smart enough to recognize his talent and buy his paintings? Self-expression through art is a particularly good alternative treatment for those suffering depression that is verging closer and closer to suicide. If I couldn’t write…who knows?