How to Treat Depression Without Meds | 2021 Guide

How to Treat Depression Without Meds | 2021 Guide

With around 4.4% of the global population (over 300 million people) struggling with a major depressive disorder, it comes as no surprise many are seeking out answers. Unfortunately, traditional treatment isn’t always effective and often comes with unwanted side effects. With that, many are wondering how to treat depression without meds?

Luckily, there are a number of all-natural remedies that have been found effective in easing depressive symptoms. From dietary supplements to holistic therapies to lifestyle changes. Many have incorporated a combination of these into their lives in order to better manage their depression.

We’ve put together a guide that discusses depression and various all-natural tactics that you can start incorporating. We invite you to follow along and invite you to ask more questions at the end of the article.

What is Depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions that effects how you think, feel, and manage day-to-day life. There are different types of depression disorders, including: ¹

Each of these has their own set of symptoms and treatment methods. However, common symptoms of depression include:

  • Aches, pains, cramps, headaches, and digestive issues without clear indication of medical problem
  • Anxiety, persistent sadness, feelings of emptiness
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Fatigue (decreased energy)
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt
  • Hopelessness (pessimism)
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Problems with concentration, memory, and making decisions
  • Sleep problems (i.e. insomnia)
  • Suicidal ideation

If you struggle with depression, it’s unlikely you’ll experience all these symptoms. Furthermore, your symptoms may not be noted here depending on the type of depression you have.

What Causes Depression?

Since this is one of the most common mental disorders, scientists have some idea of what causes depression. However, researchers still aren’t 100% on the matter and looking into other potential risk factors. It’s believed that depression is caused by a combination of one or more of the following factors:

  • Biology – Research has found that depressive people have an imbalance in their brain. More specifically, the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. ²
  • Environmental – Childhood trauma, long-term stress, problems in a relationship, along with a significant loss can all lead to depression. ³
  • Genetics – Studies show that if you have a close family member (i.e. parent, sibling) with depression, you’re more likely to struggle with the condition.
  • Psychological – Specific events (such as the loss of a loved one or trauma) can lead to depression. ⁴

While depression can begin at any age, it usually starts in early adulthood. Furthermore, depression is common in midlife and older adults – especially when someone struggles with another medical condition, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease.

Depression Treatment

Like any other mental health condition, the earlier depression is treated, the better. Upon diagnosis, depression is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapies. However, it’s important to note that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating depression and treatment often requires some trial and error. ⁵

Medications typically used to treat depression include one of the following antidepressants:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
  • Non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists

While antidepressants can be effective, they often come with unwanted side effects that turn many people off. For this reason, there are some all-natural supplements that have been found to have similar effects as antidepressants (see below).

Alongside medication, people struggling with depression will also undergo a cognitive, behavioral, or interpersonal therapy. The majority of mental health professionals agree that the combination of medication and therapy is the best way to treat depression – rather than one or the other.

Treatment for depression

How to Treat Depression Without Meds

Treating depression without medication isn’t the go-to approach by medical professionals. In fact, if your doctor finds one type of medication not working, they’re likely to switch to another. With this in mind, it’s important to be aware that depression medication has shown to be the most effective in helping people manage symptoms. While there is some research proving that alternative medication is effective, it’s lacking in comparison.

In order to treat depression without meds, there are three different approaches you must take:

  • Dietary supplements
  • Holistic therapies
  • Lifestyle changes

Like traditional treatment, it’s likely you’ll need to incorporate all three into your life in order to garner the best effects. Furthermore, you may find that a specific combination of these natural alternatives works most effectively in comparison to others. With that, it may take some trial and error before you find the best combination for you.

Dietary Supplements for Depression

Research has found that a number of different vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other compounds may be beneficial in treating depression. Unfortunately, there is a general lack of research concerning these supplements and no current approval by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Before you purchasing these supplements, it’s worth discussing them with your doctor. While it’s not common, some may produce negative interactions with your current depression medication.

We invite you to follow along as we lay out some of the best supplements for depression:

B Vitamins

When it comes to neurotransmitter regulation, B vitamins have been found to be extremely useful, including folate, B6, and B12. ⁶ With that, some research has found that specific B vitamins are effective in treating depression:

  • In children and adults with a genetic mutation affecting folate metabolism, various studies found folate supplements decrease symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. ⁷ ⁸
  • When taken alongside antidepressants, B12 has been found to help reduce symptoms of major depression. ⁹
  • A 2019 study found that Vitamin B6 alongside other nutrients (including tryptophan and nicotinamide) was help to help improve depression in young adults. ¹⁰

Since people with depression have been found to have B vitamin deficiencies, it’s probably in your interest to take a vitamin B complex.

Vitamin D

As a regulator of calcium and phosphate, Vitamin D is essential in maintaining a healthy body. Most people receive Vitamin D from sunlight or certain foods. However, research has shown that people with depression lack Vitamin D and this is believed to be one of the reasons people struggle with seasonal affective disorder. ¹¹

  • Since Vitamin D can help reduce inflammation, regulate mood, and protect us from neurocognitive dysfunction, some studies suggest it can be used in battling depression. ¹²
  • A 2020 study discovered that an injection of 300,000 IU of vitamin D was able to significantly help those diagnosed with depression alongside a vitamin D deficiency. ¹³

While more research is required to use vitamin D as a standard treatment of depression, the research that’s there confirms it may be able to help specific cases of major depressive disorder.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Many studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to a number of positive health effects on both the mind and body. Unlike other fatty acids, our bodies are unable to produce omega-3s and, therefore, we must receive them from our diet.

In terms of depression, there has been some research concerning omega-3s:

  • A 2020 randomized control trial found that omega-3 fatty acids greatly improved depressive symptoms in women that were either pregnant or postpartum. ¹⁴
  • A review found that omega-3 supplements had an overall beneficial effect in people with depression. More specifically, that omega-3 formulas with 60% or more EPA in a daily dose of about a gram were most prominent in treating symptoms. ¹⁵

Still, a 2019 study found omega-3s didn’t have an effect on depression symptoms in children and adolescents. ¹⁶

Omega-3 fatty acids for depression

N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

As a precursor to the amino acids L-cysteine and glutathione, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a vital antioxidant that helps regulate inflammation and protect cells from oxidative harm. ¹⁷

Besides boosting the body’s glutathione levels, NAC may also be able to help with depression:

  • One study found that people with depression are at a higher risk of developing increased levels of cytokines (an inflammatory). In turn, NAC can help act as an anti-inflammatory and reduce depression symptoms. ¹⁸
  • A 2016 review found that NAC was not only able to reduce depression symptoms but also improve functioning. ¹⁹

NAC is a safe and well-tolerated supplement and has shown promise in reducing symptoms of depression. However, more research is necessary to come to any conclusions.

If you’d like to learn more about using NAC for depression, read our guide.

Magnesium

Researchers have discovered that people with depression also struggle with a magnesium deficiency. However, it’s unclear if a magnesium deficiency is directly related to depression. ²⁰

One randomized study looked into how magnesium effected mild to moderate depression. Over a 6-week period at 248mg of magnesium per day, it was discovered that the supplement helped improve depressive symptoms. ²¹

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort has grown in popularity over recent years and has been used in treating a number of mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

A 2016 review concerning 35 studies found St. John’s Wort was effective in reducing symptoms of mild to moderation depression. However, there is no evidence for its use in severe depression. ²²

Furthermore, it’s well-known that St. John’s Wort can have negative interactions with certain antidepressants and should only be used under a doctor’s authority. ²³

Zinc

Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, zinc is believed to be beneficial for depression. Furthermore, there’s been some research that has linked zinc deficiency with a heightened risk of depression. ²⁴

When observed in the body, researchers found that people with depression had blood zinc levels of 0.12 µg/mL lower than the general population. ²⁵ Furthermore, one study found that when taken alongside antidepressants, zinc supplements can lower depression symptoms. ²⁶

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Since rhodiola may help improve your body’s response to stress, some scientists believe it may also help in fighting depression. ²⁷ More specifically, rhodiola has been found to have antidepressant effects by enhancing nerve cell communication and decreasing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis activity. ²⁸

According to recent research, rhodiola supplements may have benefits for neurotransmitter receptors and molecular networks: ²⁹

  • When used over the course of 12 weeks, a daily intake of 340mg of rhodiola extract was found to reduce depressive symptoms in 57 people. ²⁷
  • Another study discovered that by combining rhodiola with saffron, adults were able to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms. ³⁰

While rhodiola has shown potential for depression treatment (especially when used alongside saffron), more research is required.

If you’d like to learn more about using rhodiola for depression, read our guide.

Saffron

Due to its antioxidant effects, saffron has shown more and more promise as a natural herb for depression. Most notably, saffron has been found to boost the neurotransmitter serotonin – potentially by acting as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. ³¹

Since saffron acts similarly to other antidepressants, studies have found it to help reduce depression symptoms. However, being as there are no long-term studies, it’s unclear how much of a significant impact saffron has on depression.

Saffron for depression

Holistic Therapies for Depression

Since the purpose of this guide is to teach you how to treat depression without meds, there’s very little we can say against psychotherapies. In fact, many people have found them to be much more beneficial for treating depression in comparison to holstic therapies.

Still, if you’ve found psychotherapies aren’t working or would simply likely to incorporate an alternative therapy into your regiment, there are options. Here are our picks for the best holistic therapies for depression:

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a 3,000 year old practice where thin needs are stuck into specific areas of the body, depending on where your health is concerned. For example, some people use acupuncture to treat arthritis and will have the needles placed where pain is most prominent.

There’s only been so much research into acupuncture and depression – particularly because it’s difficult to conduct research of this therapy.

We do know that acupuncture releases endorphins in the body. Through this, it can increase hormones and give our body and brain a natural boost. ³² Due to this process, many have come to the conclusion that acupuncture can help with depression.

However, research is limited:

  • A 2013 study discovered that electroacupuncture – acupuncture that transmits gentle electric currents through needles – had just as much of an effect on depression as fluoxetine (Prozac). ³³
  • In a separate study, researchers found that a 12-week period of acupuncture treatment was beneficial for sexual dysfunction – a prominent side effect of antidepressants. ³⁴

With these two studies in mind, acupuncture may not seem like the best fit for your needs. Still, since so many people hold claim that it helps with depression, it may be worth giving a try.

Reflexology

There’s a belief that certain areas of the foot correspond to anatomical body parts. The idea behind reflexology is that by applying pressure to these areas, we can promote healing in other parts of the body.

While that may sound like a foot massage to some, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Reflexology focuses on stroking, massaging, and applying pressure to the foot as a means of releasing energy flow and tension. Furthermore, reflexology helps to promote blood circulation and disintegrate lactic acid crystal build-up in the feet. ³⁵

Since reflexology can decrease pain and psychological distress, it’s believed to also relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. ³⁶ Furthermore, reflexology may help to:

  • Activate the endocrine system
  • Clean out energy pathways in the nervous system
  • Promote relaxation
  • Release endorphins in the body

Currently, there is little research to suggest reflexology can treat depression. However, a 2019 study found that it was able to reduce hospital-induced depression and anxiety in older female adults. ³⁷

Meditation

Meditation is the most popular holistic therapy for depression and for good reason. While it doesn’t help to completely eliminate symptoms, it can ease some of the darker thoughts associated with depression, such as:

  • Anger
  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness

Meditation is the practice of paying attention to thoughts and feelings without judging or criticizing yourself in the process. ³⁸ By becoming more aware of your emotional and thought patterns, you can better understand what you need to do to move past depressive episodes.

For example, you may notice you get bouts of irritability during certain situations. When you practice focus and self-care, you can work towards calming these angered thoughts.

Research has also found that meditation can be used for depression:

  • Research conducted in 2016 found that mindfulness meditation lowered chances of depression relapsed when used alongside traditional psychotherapies. ³⁹
  • A piece of research suggests that meditation is best practiced when you continue to use it in your life rather than incorporating it as a temporary fix. ⁴⁰
  • A 2017 study found that meditation was more effective than exercise in relieving depression symptoms in nursing students. ⁴¹

In terms of holistic therapies, meditation may be the most beneficial for depression.

Meditation for depression

Yoga

Yoga is similar to depression in the sense that it’s a practice of mindfulness. However, the key difference is you place yourself into specific positions to help create a balance in both the mind and body. While more research is necessary, recent studies have found that yoga can: ⁴²

  • Act as a self-soothing technique
  • Decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Improve energy
  • Reduce stress

Beyond this, yoga can also be used to improve mood and promote relaxation. In terms of yoga and depression, research has led to:

  • A 2007 study found that breathing exercises can help increase serotonin in humans. Through this, yoga may be beneficial to those with depression struggling with low serotonin levels. ⁴³
  • While there were a number of limitations, a 2017 review found that yoga could effectively reduce depressive symptoms. ⁴⁴
  • A 2017 study discovered that yoga was a promising therapy when used alongside traditional medication and psychotherapies. ⁴⁵

Since yoga has become increasingly popular in the United States, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a studio near you. However, it’s important to note that like meditation, yoga showed the best results for depression when practiced continuously.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is also similar to meditation in the sense that it’s a practice of mindfulness. However, it differs in the sense that a practitioner or a recording will help your mind focus on pleasant images. Some research suggests guided imagery can help:

  • Decrease stress
  • Help with insomnia
  • Improve mood
  • Reduce chronic pain

Since all these health complications can play a role in depression, it’s also believed to help with this mental illness. Unfortunately, research is limited:

  • A 2009 preliminary study observed 60 people with depression. One group continued their usual care whereas the other practiced guided imagery on a compact disc. Those that underwent the guided imagery saw a significant reduction in depressive symptoms along with anxiety and stress. ⁴⁶
  • A 2015 study found that guided imagery helped reduce symptoms of depression in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. ⁴⁷ This has led some scientists to believe that guided imagery may have a use in people struggling with depression due to another health condition.
  • A 2002 study discovered that guided imagery was able to reduce anxiety and depression in people struggling with an advanced form of cancer. ⁴⁸

Even though research is limited, guided imagery may be an adequate option for those who find it difficult to practice meditation.

Massage Therapy

Beyond relieving aches and pains in your muscles, massage therapy may also be able to ease symptoms of depression. Clinical trials have proven this and claim it can be helpful when used alongside traditional treatments for depression. ⁴⁹

More specifically, massage therapy can help alleviate some of the physical symptoms of depression, including:

  • Back pain
  • Fatigue (and other sleeping problems)
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Sluggishness

As with other holistic therapies, the research concerning massage therapy and depression is extremely limited. In a 2018 review, it was found that massage therapy is a validated treatment measure for a number of psychiatric disorders (including major depression) when used alongside traditional treatment. ⁵⁰

Massage therapy for depression

Lifestyle Changes for Depression

While dietary supplements and holistic therapies are great for overcoming symptoms, it’s unlikely they alone will cure depression. When it comes to how to treat depression without meds, your best bet is making changes to your lifestyle.

The difficulty with lifestyle changes is everyone will go about it differently. Some may pick up new hobbies while others may practice stress management techniques.

The following is a deeper look into the areas of your life that you’ll want to change along with some advice on how to go about this change:

Diet

It’s no secret that we are what we eat. A number of studies have found that people with a poor-quality diet – such as highly processed meat, chocolate, sweet desserts, fried foods, refined cereals, and high-fat dairy – are more likely to experience symptoms of depression.

The correlation likely has to do with our brain-gut connection. To put it simply, within our gastrointestinal tract is the enteric nervous system (ENS). Some scientists refer to this as a second brain as it communicates to our brains the type of nutrients we’re absorbing. While it’s primarily responsible for controlling digestion, some studies have discovered it can have a profound impact on our moods. ⁵¹

Due to the brain-gut connection, many researchers recommend healthier diets for those struggling with depression as a means of easing symptoms. ⁵² These include:

Foods High in Fatty Acids

  • Fish
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts

Foods Rich with Amino Acids

  • Dairy products
  • Meat
  • Specific fruits and vegetables (i.e. legumes and beans)

Foods with Complex Carbohydrates

  • Certain fruits (i.e. oranges and pears)
  • Legumes
  • Specific vegetables (i.e. spinach and broccoli)
  • Whole grains

You may find it beneficial to plan out your meals on a weekly (or daily) basis. This will prevent you from ordering out in a quick-fix and ensure you stick with a diet.

Exercise

When it comes to how to get rid of depression without meds, it’s likely you’re looking to replace your antidepressants. If so, there’s no better natural antidepressant than exercise.

Overall, exercise has a number of health benefits, including: ⁵³

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Promoting better sleep
  • Protecting against diabetes and heart disease

The secret behind these benefits is the fact that activity releases a protein called neurotrophic within the body. This protein allows nerve cells to grow and helps develop new connections. ⁵⁴ Since this offers a direct advantage for the hippocampus, many scientists believe exercise can help treat depression. ⁵⁵

Getting started is always the most difficult part. However, once you find yourself in a routine, it becomes a lot easier. With that in mind, it’s vital you follow through with an exercise regimen you can practice in the long-term.

Relationships

One of the worst aspects of depression is how isolated it can make you feel. Since humans are naturally social creatures, isolation and loneliness can actually worsen our physical and mental health. ⁵⁶

If you’ve been struggling with depression for some time, it may feel as though no one around you really cares. However, we guarantee that developing a support system will help you take the extra steps you need in overcoming symptoms.

For many, this may means reaching out to family, friends, and other loved ones. If you’re not in a position to do this, there are support groups that can help. Here are some references to consider:

Furthermore, your doctor or psychologist may know of local support groups.

Relationships and depression

Sleep

One of the most common symptoms of depression is problems with sleep. Depression and sleep actually have a bidirectional relationship which means that: ⁵⁷

  • Poor sleep can lead to depression
  • Depression can lead to poor sleep

For this reason, it can be difficult to determine which came first; depression or sleep issues.

About 75% of people with depression experience insomnia while 20% face obstructive sleep apnea and 15% have hypersomnia. ⁵⁸ While it’s unclear why this is, some scientists argue that sleep issues may help depression develop by changing the function of serotonin. Furthermore, poor sleep can induce stress and interrupt circadian rhythms. ⁵⁹ ⁶⁰

In order to promote better sleep, it may help you to:

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Exercise regularly
  • Go outside more often
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same time)
  • Nap responsibly (no more than 20 minutes)

If you still struggle with sleep, you can incorporate sleep-inducing supplements into your regimen, such as melatonin and cannabidiol (CBD). However, we recommend consulting your doctor first.

Stress Management

While stress can have benefits in the short-term, long-term stress can be debilitating. Similar to sleep, stress and depression have a bidirectional relationship – with one making the other worse. ⁶¹

For this reason, it can help to combat stress in a calming manner. While everyone will want to go about stress management differently, it’s important to stick true to a healthy activity. This may include:

  • Exercising
  • Listening to music
  • Practicing a hobby
  • Reading literature
  • Watching movies or television
  • Writing in a journal

Furthermore, it may help you to research all-natural regimens for stress management and incorporate some of those suggestions with your depression treatment.

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

It’s estimated that one-third of people with major depression also struggle with alcohol addiction. More often than not, people with depression use drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. However, this can actual worsen depression and cause other health problems. ⁶²

Furthermore, drugs and alcohol can caused someone who’s depressed the following:

  • Complications with personal relationship
  • Financial and legal issues
  • Inability to acknowledge a problem
  • Isolation from other people
  • Loss of interest in social activities and hobbies

One of the biggest difficulties with depression is the commonly prescribed antidepressants may be addictive. ⁶³ With that, some people may not develop a substance abuse disorder until they start depression treatment.

If you’re currently struggle with depression and addiction, it’s vital to treat both at the same time. Without proper treatment of addiction, you may fall back into depression. Or, vice versa, without treating depression, you may relapse into substance abuse again. ⁶⁴

Substance abuse and depression

Final Word

While it’s possible to treat depression without medication, it isn’t easy. As you can see from our guide, there are a number of different routes you can take, each of which may or may not help you. In order to get a better sense of what can help, you’ll likely need to undergo some trial and error with various herbal supplements, holistic therapies, and lifestyle changes.

Not to mention, there is no quick and easy fix for depression. While it’s possible to cure depression, it’s a long-term commitment that you’ll need to stick to even if symptoms ease.

Before you start making changes to your depression treatment, we highly recommend speaking with your doctor or a mental health professional. Especially if you’re currently on medication as some supplements may cause negative interaction.

Your Questions

Still have questions about how to treat depression without meds?

We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.

Reference Sources (by category)

What is Depression?

¹ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Depression

What Causes Depression?

² HHS Public Access: Linking Molecules to Mood: New Insight Into the Biology of Depression

³ Experimental Neurobiology: Involvement of Genetic and Environmental Factors in the Onset of Depression

⁴ Centre for Clinical Interventions: What Causes Depression?

Depression Treatment

⁵ Better Health Channel: Depression – treatment and management

Dietary Supplements for Depression

Vitamin B

⁶ nutrients (MDPI): B Vitamins and Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy

⁷ Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology: L-methylfolate Augmentation to Antidepressants with Treatment-Resistant Depression

⁸ Federal Practitioner: Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Screening in Treatment-Resistant Depression

⁹ Bentham Open: Vitamin B12 Supplementation in Treating Major Depressive Disorder

¹⁰ The journal of nutritional science and vitaminology: Effects of Tryptophan, Vitamin B6, and Nicotinamide-Containing Supplement Loading between Meals on Mood and Autonomic Nervous System in Young Adults with Subclinical Depression

Vitamin D

¹¹ HHS Public Access: Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine?

¹² Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine: Vitamin D and Depression: A Critical Appraisal of the Evidence and Future Directions

¹³ Journal of psychiatric research: Effect of adjunctive single dose parenteral Vitamin D supplementation in major depressive disorder with concurrent vitamin D deficiency

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

¹⁴ Translational Psychiatry: The efficacy and safety of omega-3 fatty acids on depressive symptoms in perinatal women

¹⁵ Translational Psychiatry: Efficacy of omega 3 PUFAs in depression

¹⁶ Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health: Omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of depressive disorders in children and adolescents

N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

¹⁷ antioxidants (MDPI): Medical and Dietary Use of N-Acetylcysteine

¹⁸ BioMed Research International: N-Acetylcysteine for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders

¹⁹ The Journal of clinical psychiatry: N-Acetylcysteine in depressive symptoms and functionality

Magnesium

²⁰ Magnesium in the Central Nervous System: Magnesium and major depression

²¹ PLOS ONE: Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression

St. John’s Wort

²² Systematic Reviews (BMC): A systematic review of St. John’s wort for major depressive disorder

²³ StatPearls: St John’s Wort

Zinc

²⁴ nutrients (MDPI): Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium and Depression

²⁵ Biological psychiatry: Zinc in depression

²⁶ Journal of affective disorders: The efficacy of zinc supplementation in depression

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

²⁷ HHS Public Access: Rhodiola rosea therapy for major depressive disorder

²⁸ HHS Public Access: HPA Axis in Major Depression

²⁹ Phytomedicine: Rhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressant

³⁰ Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment (Dovepress): A preliminary assessment of a combination of rhodiola saffron in management of mild-moderate depression

Saffron

³¹ HHS Public Access: Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and major depressive disorder

Holistic Therapies for Depression

Acupuncture

³² Neuroscience letters: Acupuncture and endorphins

³³ Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Effects of Electroacupuncture on Depression and the Production of Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Compared with Fluoxetine

³⁴ Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Efficacy of acupuncture treatment of sexual dysfunction secondary to antidepressants

Reflexology

³⁵ Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine: Revisiting reflexology: Concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner training

³⁶ Journal of Education and Health Promotion: A comparison the effects of reflexology and relaxation on the psychological symptoms in women with multiple sclerosis

³⁷ International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: The Effects of Foot Reflexology on Hospital Anxiety and Depression in Female Older Adults

Meditation

³⁸ AYU: Meditation: Process and effects

³⁹ Psychology Research and Behavior Management (Dovepress): Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression

⁴⁰ Journal of affective disorders: The effect of a six-week focused meditation training on depression and anxiety symptoms in Brazilian university students with 6 and 12 months of follow-up

⁴¹ The Journal of nursing education: Mindfulness Meditation Versus Physical Exercise in the Management of Depression Among Nursing Students

Yoga

⁴² International Journal of Yoga (IJOY): Role of Yoga and Mindfulness in Severe Mental Illnesses

⁴³ Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience: How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs

⁴⁴ Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine: The Efficacy of Yoga as a Form of Treatment for Depression

⁴⁵ PLOS ONE: Treating major depression with yoga

Guided Imagery

⁴⁶ Archives of psychiatric nursing: The effects of guided imagery on comfort, depression, anxiety, and stress of psychiatric inpatients with depressive disorders

⁴⁷ Holistic nursing practice: Effectiveness of guided imagery relaxation on levels of pain and depression in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia

⁴⁸ Cancer Nursing: Relaxation and imagery for anxiety and depression control in community patients with advanced cancer

Massage Therapy

⁴⁹ National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): Massage Therapy: What You Need to Know

⁵⁰ The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry (Focus): Massage Therapy for Psychiatric Disorders

Lifestyle Changes for Depression

Diet

⁵¹ Annals of Gastroenterology: The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems

⁵² International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (MDPI): Evidence of the Importance of Dietary Habits Regarding Depressive Symptoms and Depression

Exercise

⁵³ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Benefits of Physical Activity

⁵⁴ Journal of physiology and pharmacology: The effect of physical activity on the brain derived neurotrophic factor

⁵⁵ The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry: The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed

Relationships

⁵⁶ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions

Sleep

⁵⁷ Dialogues in clinical neuroscience: Sleep disturbances and depression: risk relationships for subsequent depression and therapeutic implications

⁵⁸ Dialogues in clinical neuroscience: Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression

⁵⁹ Georgian medical news: [Insomnia, serotonin and depression]

⁶⁰ Frontiers in neuroendocrinology: Circadian regulation of depression: A role for serotonin

Stress Management

⁶¹ PLOS ONE: Stress and Depression: Preclinical Research and Clinical Implications

Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

⁶² National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The Connection Between Substance Abuse Disorders and Mental Illness

⁶³ Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation (Dovepress): Abuse and misuse of antidepressants

⁶⁴ HHS Public Access: Treating depression and substance use

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