Many people with depression do not realize that besides pharmaceutical medications, there are some things that can be done at home to improve the symptoms of the disorder. The first approach to treatment of depression is to learn about the disorder because this can help motivate you to stick to your treatment and makes you aware of the warning signs of depression. The family should always be part of this therapy as they are in a better position to monitor for worsening symptoms.
Secondly, individuals with depression should try and avoid recreational drugs and alcohol as these agents can worsen the symptoms of depression. A glass of wine once in a while may not be harmful but regular intake of alcoholic beverages is not recommended.
Over the years, several non-drug therapies have become available to treat depression. The use of St John’s wort has been shown to improve mild to moderate depression without causing any major adverse effects. In fact, clinical studies show that this herb is equally as effective as some of the older tricyclic antidepressant medications. However, St John’s wort should be used with caution as it may interact with other medications. Never combine St John’s wort with antidepressants as it may lead to serious adverse effects.
Other supplements that have been shown to improve mild depression include the use of SAMe and omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike St John’s Wort, the evidence to support these supplements to reverse depression is not as strong.
Besides drugs and supplements, there are several alternative and complimentary therapies that can help improve the mind. These mind-body techniques for management of depression include acupuncture, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, guided imagery, music, and spirituality. It is important to understand that all these techniques to reverse depression are not a one shot deal but have to be practiced regularly to obtain the maximal benefit.
It is also important to be aware that depression is not the type of medical disorder that is advised to be treated by yourself. All patients who have depression should be followed by a healthcare provider. Further, all the supplements, alternative and complimentary therapies should not be a straight forward replacement for conventional antidepressant medications but should initially be considered as complimentary aids.
Other things you can do to ease your depression include:
- Simplifying your life and cutting back on unnecessary obligations.
- Set up goals that are realistic and practical.
- Today there are many local and online groups that offer education, counselling, resources and supports to help cope with depression. There are several religious organizations that also provide resources for depressed people.
- Try not to become isolated. Whenever you get the opportunity, participate in family gatherings and other social activities. Structure your day so that you have a list of things to do and keep you busy.
Finally, change your lifestyle; eat healthy, get adequate sleep and become physically active. There is a lot of evidence which now shows that almost any outdoors activity is beneficial to the brain and helps reverse the symptoms of depression.
Do you know anybody with depression?