Side-Effect Free, Natural Alternatives to Antidepressants

| Aug 12, 2015

antidepressants

Over 13% of the American population take antidepressants every day—and the number jumps to 25% among women between the ages of 50 and 64.

These figures are enough to convince most experts that mental health is a huge issue. Millions of people are struggling to overcome to debilitating effects of depression and anxiety.

And here’s the worst part: in many cases, antidepressants don’t even work, and their use is accompanied by dangerous side effects.

Big Pharma has simply convinced us that they work by only publishing studies that display positive results. But even looking at the numbers gathered from their “positive” results will convince you that antidepressants are a giant, money-making charade.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine pulled the curtain on the shenanigans of pharmaceutical companies. It revealed that even Big Pharma’s own studies show that 80% of patients recover from depression with a placebo, and that the recovery percentage is almost never higher with an actual drug.[1]   

And placebos don’t have side effects like weight gain, diabetes, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, vision problems, and sexual dysfunction—all of which have been linked with antidepressant usage.

But here’s my favorite “potential side effect” of antidepressants, as suggested by a recent study: depression.[2]

That’s right—an increasing number of researchers are beginning to believe that antidepressants only make things worse in the long run. Antidepressant users are far more prone to relapse than those who overcome depression without pharmaceutical drugs.[3]

Finding happiness naturally

Luckily, there’s all sorts of alternatives to antidepressants—all of which are simple, sustainable, and side-effect free. Try them out, and you’ll be surprised by their consistent effectiveness…

Talking therapies. Sitting down and hashing out what’s ailing you with a therapist can work wonders. In fact, one study showed that therapy is just as effective as antidepressants.[4] Therapy also provides the added benefits of genuine human interaction and self-exploration—experiences that no pill can provide.   

Meditation is invaluable for cultivating emotional and mental health, and can be a massively effective tool for overcoming depression and anxiety. Especially when practiced regularly, it can lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, and promote an enduring state of peaceful well-being. It’s even been show to alter brain structure in beneficial ways, and to reverse the brain damage caused by depression.

Exercise. Getting your heart pumping is excellent for your overall morale and well-being, and there’s evidence that its mood-lifting qualities have a physiological basis. Experts have found that 30 minutes of strenuous exercise, 5 times a week, increases levels of BDNF, a brain chemical with natural antidepressant properties.[5]

Anti-inflammatory foods. In many cases, systemic inflammation caused by pro-inflammatory foods (as well as food allergies) is to blame for depression. Foods like wild salmon, organic berries, turmeric, ginger, dark, leafy greens, raw cacao, pomegranate, and probiotics like kombucha are all powerful inflammation fighters.  

Vitamins and minerals. Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, B vitamins, iodine, and sulfur have also been linked to depression. Make sure you’re getting enough of them every day.

Brain supplements. If you feel like you need to support your lifestyle practices with actual supplements, try 5-HTP (which allows your brain to make more of its own serotonin), GABA and phenibut (GABA agonists that can relieve anxiety and elevate mood), SAM-e, and L-theanine (a phytonutrient found in green tea).

You’re in control

You probably noticed that intangible, lifestyle-related alternatives were mentioned first, and that physical supplements are only discussed at the end of list.

This is because, when battling depression, it’s important to believe that you have the power to heal yourself without drugs. Therefore, it’s good to prove to yourself that you can experience improvement without eating a pill—even if that pill is a natural supplement that is far less dangerous than pharmaceutical antidepressants.

If the vitamins and supplements help you, great. Just keep your focus on the core belief that healing comes from within, and that all of your practices, eating habits, vitamins, and supplements are an extension of your own desire to live happily and healthily.

These alternatives—combined with a strong belief in your innate self-healing ability—will lead you to lasting relief from depression.

 


References

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/depression-medication-why_b_550098.html

[2] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-antidepressants-cause-depression-what-new-study-says

[3] http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/04/antidepressants-make-things-worse-long-term/

[4] http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/study-continued-therapy-works-as-well-as-antidepressants-in-preventing-relapse.aspx

[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/depression-medication-why_b_550098.html

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