Depression: Natural Treatments!

Recently I read that one out of ten Americans are taking antidepressants! I was shocked, and almost went into depression myself! It has been said that depression is the most expensive disease on earth, with loss of productivity from absenteeism and poor performance costing as much as medical treatment…an estimated cost of 85 billion dollars annually in the U.S.!
While many of today’s antidepressants are helpful, it is my belief that many of these people could be successfully treated without using any pharmaceuticals. If prescriptions are required, an individual’s response to the medications could be enhanced in many natural ways.
Symptoms of depression include the following:
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
• Fatigue and decreased energy
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
• Overeating or appetite loss
• Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
• Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
• Thoughts of suicide, and suicide attempts
Here are some natural things that can be very helpful if you suffer from depression:
Acupuncture: This has been employed to treat depression for centuries.
Osteopathic Manipulation: A great compliment for depression treatment, which also helps any associated aches and pains.
Exercise: It appears that any form of exercise can help depression. Consider biking, dancing, gardening, golf (walking instead of using the cart), housework, (especially sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming), jogging a moderate pace, low-impact aerobics, tennis, swimming, walking, yard work, and Yoga or Pilates. Yoga is especially useful, as it has been shown to alter brain chemistry in the same way as antidepressants. Be sure to include the Cobra position, which reverses the typical rolled forward, head down posture commonly seen with depression.
L-Methylfolate: Folate is a B vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, asparagus, and lentils. Our bodies break it down into L-Methylfolate. Unfortunately, up to 50% of individuals with depression are folate deficient. Supplementation with L-Methylfolate can greatly enhance depression treatment outcome. Ask your physician about this- it is available in prescription form.
Power Poses: Performed briefly 5 times a day, these postures, combined with deep breathing, are remarkably effective in fighting back the dark feelings that accompany depression. See the TED talk on youtube by Amy Cuddy.
Avoid Processed and Fast Food: It may be fast and filling, but these processed foods can be bad news for your mood. Studies have conclusively shown how diets high in sugar, simple carbohydrates, and fatty foods affect how you feel, and have shown strong links between these unhealthy eats and depression. Your best bet: base your diet on vegetables, 4 or less fruit servings a day, lean protein, and a limited amount of whole grains. Focus on avoiding sugars altogether, keep alcohol to one drink a day or less, and minimize caffeine.
Avoid All Electronics for an Hour Before Bedtime: A number of studies have shown that depression and poor quality sleep are related. Electronics cause brain stimulation that can interfere with sleep, not to mention the steady stream of gloom and doom news we are exposed to daily. Far better to end the day with spiritually comforting reading, prayer, or meditation.
If you suffer with depression, I will be glad to discuss these and other natural treatment options with you!

About the Author

Dr. Teitelbaum practices Osteopathic manipulation, prolotherapy, spinal decompression, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. For over 25 years, he has provided conservative, natural treatment for sports injuries, back pain, neck pain, headaches, posture problems, overuse injuries, and joint pain. Commonly treated conditions include muscle, tendon and ligament damage of the neck, low back, tailbone, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot.