Depression is a debilitating condition that, according to WHO, affects about 121 million people worldwide. Untreated, it is a leading cause of suicide. It is estimated that 850,000 people commit suicide each year (WHO). This morbid picture does not get any better since it is expected to rise to the second position in the global listing of the burden of disease.
Naturopathic treatments for depression address the emotional, mental, and physical aspects of a patient with a view to addressing their concerns. Below are some naturopathic treatments for depression.
1. Behavioural Therapy
Where depression is situational, removing the patient from the situation that makes them depressed would be ideal. However, depressing situations could include family, work, where you live, poor or toxic relationships, or a negative outlook. While some of these situations can be changed, others cannot. For those that can be, behavioural therapy is recommended. This line of treatment aims at improving a patient’s coping mechanisms and helping them to change their perception of the depressing situations.
By exercising, you release feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. This improved perception of yourself is further emboldened by better looks and physique due to exercise. When you see the wonderful results of exercise, you are encouraged to keep exercising, ensuring a continuous supply of feel-good hormones, which creates an antidepressant effect. It is reassuring to know that exercise decreases overall mortality.
Your diet should consist of more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, and less saturated fats, processed foods, and trans fats.
4. Use Botanical Treatment
Herbs have been used to cure and prevent medical conditions for a long time. Hypericum perforatum, also known as St. John’s Wort, has been shown to be highly effective in treating depression with minimal side effects. It should, however, not be used for too long since it can cause photosensitivity.
5. Amino Acids and Nutrients
Your body has over 100 enzymatic reactions that are largely influenced by zinc. If your body does not have enough zinc, your enzymatic reactions are impaired. Zinc also helps in developing and maintaining communication and neurological networks. According to a leading theory, the relationship between zinc and depression is that it acts as a cofactor for the production and function of neurotransmitters.
You can also treat depression by applying amino acids L-Tryptophan and L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which predate serotonin. Their application should, however, be supervised by a competent licensed physician since, if used together with SSRIs, they can result in a serious condition known as serotonin syndrome, which can result in irreversible damage to organs or even death.
6. Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fats have been shown to alleviate childhood depression. After two months of daily application, you will notice remarkable improvements in a child suffering from depression.
This is the most effective natural treatment for depression. It applies natural agents as opposed to pharmaceutical medications. For patients already under other medications and worried about how homeopathy will interact with their current line of treatment, the good news is that they need not worry. Homeopathy does not interact with other supplements, medications, or herbs. It is therefore perfectly safe to administer. With prolonged use, homeopathy can wean you off other medications and ultimately lift you out of depression.
The substance SAM-e, also known as S-adenosylmethionine, is produced in your body naturally. It treats depression by donating methyl in pathways that form phospholipids, proteins, neurotransmitters, and nucleic acids. SAMe has been shown to reduce inflammation, help in detoxifying liver reactions, and increase dopamine levels. The main downsides, however, are poor oral absorption and the fact that it can cause the dangerous serotonin syndrome.
While depression is debilitating, there are naturopathic treatments that can alleviate it. While most of the above treatments are perfectly safe to administer, others such as SAM-e and L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) require careful administration by a competent and licensed practitioner.