According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 17.3 million people in the United States experienced a major depressive episode in 2017. Depression is a mood disorder that can range from mild to debilitating, leaving patients to search for remedies that best suit their individual needs.
While common treatment for depression focuses on antidepressant medications and behavioral therapy, there are natural remedies (like supplements) which can help ease the symptoms of depression. Read on for more information.
What is depression?
Major depressive disorder, commonly referred to as depression, is a common mental illness that influences an individual’s mood and mental state. Depression is typically associated with feelings of sadness, emptiness, and apathy.
Depression can lead to a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, a loss of appetite, or sleep disturbances. When left untreated, depression has the potential to manifest in physical symptoms (such as headaches) that make it difficult for individuals to function in daily life.
Since symptoms of depression are different for everyone, it can be difficult to distinguish depression from sadness. It’s important to keep in mind that depression is more prevalent among certain demographics.
For instance, trans men and women often face depression arising from discrimination, stigma, and lack of acceptance. As a result, transgender children signs and symptoms may differ from those shown by a cissexual adult. In order to determine whether you or a loved one is suffering from depression, consider seeking professional help.
Treating depression with supplements
Although behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication have been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of depression, you can also use complementary therapies. These include the consumption of supplements, which provide natural ways for people to manage their mental health.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not control the production quality of supplements on the same level as food and drugs. As a result, it’s extremely important to find a supplement manufacturer who is transparent about the quality and purity of all products.
Which supplements are most effective?
A variety of different supplements have been associated with reducing symptoms of depression. St John’s wort, a popular natural mental health treatment, is one potential treatment for depression. According to a 2016 review, St. John’s wort acted an an effective placebo for treating depression, and worked nearly as well as common antidepressants.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that St. John’s wort may interfere with antidepressants when taken together. As a result, make sure to speak to a healthcare professional before using it in conjunction with any antidepressant medication.
Ginseng, which comes from the root of the ginseng plant, is another common herbal supplement. In Chinese medicine, ginseng has been used for thousands of years to provide mental clarity and reduce stress. Ginseng is often considered to be a solution for the low energy and lack of motivation that occurs as a result of depression.
Chamomile can play an important role in treating depression and anxiety. Chamomile provides individuals with significant relief from symptoms of depression, and has been shown to be more powerful than a placebo.
SAMe, short for S-adenosyl methionine, is a synthetic form of a naturally occurring chemical in the body. Under a randomized controlled study, the use of SAMe was found to provide the same effectiveness as commonly used antidepressants. When mixed with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications, SAMe had a significant impact on reducing symptoms of depression when compared to a placebo.
While behavioral therapy and antidepressant medications are most commonly used to treat depression, more and more individuals are turning to natural remedies as complementary treatments.