Clinical depression (and the occasional mood swing) can be very debilitating. It can drain your energy, kill your motivation, and impact your relationships.
And, unfortunately, the number of people who suffer from depression is rising. About five percent of the world’s population (about 350 million people) suffer from the disease. More than 15 million Americans deal with at least one major depressive episode each year.
Note: Here is an interesting article about smartphones and depression.
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Treating Depression With Prozac
What are we doing about this growing epidemic?
Prescribing drugs, drugs, and more drugs.
Now, our intent isn’t to diss on antidepressants or recommend that you should disregard your doctor’s advice. Prozac and other antidepressants can be life-saving for some people. But unless you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, or are in immediate need of medication, you might consider a natural alternative to improve your mood.
Writing for Psychology Today, Dr. Lissa Rankin acknowledges the prevalence of these traditional mood prescriptions about her profession:
“As an MD, I’ve watched too many of my colleagues pull out antidepressant samples every time a patient begins to shed a tear. So on behalf of physicians everywhere, let me say sorry for our trigger-happy, prescription-writing behavior. I don’t mean to diminish the pain someone may be experiencing in their depression. But tears are not unhealthy. Sadness doesn’t always require treatment. And we must remember that our pain and joy muscles are one in the same. If you can’t feel one, you’re not going to feel the other.”
So, what are the alternatives?
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6 Natural Alternatives to Antidepressants
Some of these natural solutions to depression aren’t necessarily products you would buy over the counter. Additionally, you will find some simple lifestyle changes that can significantly impact your mood in a positive way.
1. Exercise Often
When you are depressed, going for a walk or heading to the gym is probably the last thing on your mind. However, exercise releases endorphins, which are natural biological antidepressants.
2. Cut Caffeine
Caffeine reduces your serotonin levels, which can contribute to moodiness. If you need a boost of energy try an alternative like L-Tyrosine or essential oils (btw, peppermint oil is great for energy).
3. Get Sunlight
Exposing yourself to sunlight can boost your Vitamin D levels as well as increase your mood. Sit out on your deck or take a stroll through the neighborhood to get some sun. If you live in an overly cloudy climate, try out a therapeutic light box.
4. Mood Supplements
Supplements like 5-HTP, SAMe, St. John’s Wort, and Fish oil can help with both anxiety and depression. Note that while these are available over the counter, they can have side effects that may conflict with other types of drugs. So you might first consult with your doctor.
Here is arguably the best 5-HTP supplement on the market: Natrol Mood & Stress
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5. Meditate Daily
Meditation is well-documented in the areas of mood and stress. Settling your mind and body can lift your spirits while delivering a plethora of other health benefits.
6. Essential Oils
If you are a natural-minded guru, you’re probably well aware of essential oils. These are very versatile products, offering countless health benefits. Here are a few of the best oils for relieving depression:
You can also attempt to craft your own blend:
- Combine coconut oil with 2 drops each of lavender and orange and rub on your chest and back of neck
- Add 3 drops of orange, 2 drops of lavender, and 2 drops of bergamot to a diffuser.