Alternative Treatment Options for Depression

Reviewed May 15, 2017

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

Additions to proper medical care to treat depression include exercise and yoga.

When someone is in a low mood, relief is important. The sooner one gets it, the better. Many people wish there were a way to get fast relief. These people are more likely to look for non-medical treatments.

The problem with this is that there are many unproven or scientifically tested treatments. One must know the difference between something that may help to treat depression versus something that can used by itself to treat it. For example, exercise may be helpful to lower feelings of sadness, but working out alone cannot replace proper health care.

It is important to learn the common alternatives to health care and to decide what may be best for you or a loved who is dealing with depression. Below are types of therapies that may help lower feelings of depression, if they used along with medicine or talk therapy. 

Exercise

Working out does seem to lower the signs of depression, but how much it helps is not clear. We don’t know what is the most helpful type of exercise to treat depression. Sticking with any physical workout will likely keep up a better mood. However, just exercising is not a substitute for proper health care.

Yoga

Yoga may help to treat depression in some people. There does not seem to be any chance of making the depression worse or have other harmful side effects by doing yoga. However, doing only yoga to treat depression is not a substitute for proper health care.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has a long history of use in China and Japan. There is a range of styles of acupuncture. But there is not enough proof to advise the use of acupuncture to treat depression.
 
Ayurvedic medicine

It was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago. A mixture of herbal compounds, massage, diet, and the regulation of lifestyle are included in care.

One of the most well-known of the herbal compounds to treat depression is St. John's wort. There is controversial support for its use in treating mild to moderate depression. There is a risk of taking it at the same time as taking other drugs used to treat heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and organ transplants. The herb also may block the effectiveness of birth control pills. Check with your doctor before using it.

Resource

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of professionals who work together to help health care providers and the people they are caring for make well-informed decisions about health care based on the best available research: www.cochrane.org.

By Chris E. Stout, Psy.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Source: Fern Schumer Chapman, On a Different Wavelength: Psychologist Elsa Telser Baehr treats depression by training patients' brains to change their moods. Northwestern, 2008, http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/winter2008/feature/baehr.html; Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002; 287(14):1807–1814; Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John's wort for major depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000448. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub3; Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Richardson J. Yoga for depression: the research evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders 2005; 89(1-3): 13-24; Smith CA, Hay PPJ, MacPherson H. Acupuncture for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004046. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004046.pub3.
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Additions to proper medical care to treat depression include exercise and yoga.

When someone is in a low mood, relief is important. The sooner one gets it, the better. Many people wish there were a way to get fast relief. These people are more likely to look for non-medical treatments.

The problem with this is that there are many unproven or scientifically tested treatments. One must know the difference between something that may help to treat depression versus something that can used by itself to treat it. For example, exercise may be helpful to lower feelings of sadness, but working out alone cannot replace proper health care.

It is important to learn the common alternatives to health care and to decide what may be best for you or a loved who is dealing with depression. Below are types of therapies that may help lower feelings of depression, if they used along with medicine or talk therapy. 

Exercise

Working out does seem to lower the signs of depression, but how much it helps is not clear. We don’t know what is the most helpful type of exercise to treat depression. Sticking with any physical workout will likely keep up a better mood. However, just exercising is not a substitute for proper health care.

Yoga

Yoga may help to treat depression in some people. There does not seem to be any chance of making the depression worse or have other harmful side effects by doing yoga. However, doing only yoga to treat depression is not a substitute for proper health care.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has a long history of use in China and Japan. There is a range of styles of acupuncture. But there is not enough proof to advise the use of acupuncture to treat depression.
 
Ayurvedic medicine

It was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago. A mixture of herbal compounds, massage, diet, and the regulation of lifestyle are included in care.

One of the most well-known of the herbal compounds to treat depression is St. John's wort. There is controversial support for its use in treating mild to moderate depression. There is a risk of taking it at the same time as taking other drugs used to treat heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and organ transplants. The herb also may block the effectiveness of birth control pills. Check with your doctor before using it.

Resource

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of professionals who work together to help health care providers and the people they are caring for make well-informed decisions about health care based on the best available research: www.cochrane.org.

By Chris E. Stout, Psy.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Source: Fern Schumer Chapman, On a Different Wavelength: Psychologist Elsa Telser Baehr treats depression by training patients' brains to change their moods. Northwestern, 2008, http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/winter2008/feature/baehr.html; Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002; 287(14):1807–1814; Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John's wort for major depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000448. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub3; Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Richardson J. Yoga for depression: the research evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders 2005; 89(1-3): 13-24; Smith CA, Hay PPJ, MacPherson H. Acupuncture for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004046. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004046.pub3.
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Additions to proper medical care to treat depression include exercise and yoga.

When someone is in a low mood, relief is important. The sooner one gets it, the better. Many people wish there were a way to get fast relief. These people are more likely to look for non-medical treatments.

The problem with this is that there are many unproven or scientifically tested treatments. One must know the difference between something that may help to treat depression versus something that can used by itself to treat it. For example, exercise may be helpful to lower feelings of sadness, but working out alone cannot replace proper health care.

It is important to learn the common alternatives to health care and to decide what may be best for you or a loved who is dealing with depression. Below are types of therapies that may help lower feelings of depression, if they used along with medicine or talk therapy. 

Exercise

Working out does seem to lower the signs of depression, but how much it helps is not clear. We don’t know what is the most helpful type of exercise to treat depression. Sticking with any physical workout will likely keep up a better mood. However, just exercising is not a substitute for proper health care.

Yoga

Yoga may help to treat depression in some people. There does not seem to be any chance of making the depression worse or have other harmful side effects by doing yoga. However, doing only yoga to treat depression is not a substitute for proper health care.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has a long history of use in China and Japan. There is a range of styles of acupuncture. But there is not enough proof to advise the use of acupuncture to treat depression.
 
Ayurvedic medicine

It was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago. A mixture of herbal compounds, massage, diet, and the regulation of lifestyle are included in care.

One of the most well-known of the herbal compounds to treat depression is St. John's wort. There is controversial support for its use in treating mild to moderate depression. There is a risk of taking it at the same time as taking other drugs used to treat heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and organ transplants. The herb also may block the effectiveness of birth control pills. Check with your doctor before using it.

Resource

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of professionals who work together to help health care providers and the people they are caring for make well-informed decisions about health care based on the best available research: www.cochrane.org.

By Chris E. Stout, Psy.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
Source: Fern Schumer Chapman, On a Different Wavelength: Psychologist Elsa Telser Baehr treats depression by training patients' brains to change their moods. Northwestern, 2008, http://www.northwestern.edu/magazine/winter2008/feature/baehr.html; Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002; 287(14):1807–1814; Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. St John's wort for major depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000448. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000448.pub3; Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Richardson J. Yoga for depression: the research evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders 2005; 89(1-3): 13-24; Smith CA, Hay PPJ, MacPherson H. Acupuncture for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004046. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004046.pub3.
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.