Alternatives to Antidepressants for Depression Treatment
As depression rates have skyrocketed in recent years so has the prescribing of antidepressant medications. An estimated 10% of all Americans are currently taking one of the many antidepressant drugs on the market, with one out of four 40-60 year old women using these medications. Approximately 338 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written in 2013 in the U.S., a rate more than double that of the year 1999.
With these astounding numbers of people taking the various antidepressant drugs, one might think this indicates their efficacy in treating depression. However, just the opposite has been shown to be the case in multiple studies. In essence, merely half the patients respond to the medications at all. Studies have found little difference between the effects of a placebo and the drug in terms of successfully treating depression.
In addition to the ineffectiveness of antidepressants to cure depressive disorders, many who take these medications suffer from significant side effects. These side effects include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, irritability, drowsiness, nausea, insomnia, and dry mouth. In addition, it has been shown that antidepressants can cause suicidal tendencies in young adults aged 18-24.
Alternative Treatments for Depression
There are many alternative treatments for depression without medication, offering options to using antidepressants. Some of these might include:
- Exercise. Over 6,000 studies have examined the effects of exercise on mood and the overwhelming results confirm that regular exercise helps battle depression. Engaging in physical activity for 20-30 minutes a day can help produce the “feel good” chemicals called endorphins, which trigger positive emotions and reduce stress.
- Sunshine. Sunlight exposure is found to regulate serotonin and melatonin, easing the symptoms of depression and aiding brain function. This is due to the production of vitamin D by the body in response to sun exposure. When sunlight is scarce, a light box can be used for a specified time period each day, in addition to vitamin D supplements.
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. MCBT helps to retrain the brain to respond differently to certain negative or distressing thoughts. This alternative therapy is often conducted in group mindfulness therapy sessions where depression-triggering events are discussed and new responses to them introduced.
- Nutrition. Certain foods can aid in improving symptoms related to depression, such as lean sources of protein (especially turkey, as it is high in tryptophan), walnuts and other omega-3 rich foods such as salmon and tuna, low-fat dairy for calcium and vitamin D, whole grains, green tea, turmeric, and dark chocolate.
Deep TMS Treatment for Depression Without Medication
One of the most exciting new alternative depression treatments is deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS), a safe and noninvasive therapy that is helping thousands find relief from depression. Deep TMS uses magnetic fields that target the limbic region of the brain, the mood center.
Deep TMS is a promising alternative treatment for depression without medication. The therapy is well tolerated with few if any side effects, and has been demonstrated to be a safe and effective treatment for major depressive disorder. The patient is alert during the treatment sessions and can watch television or listen to music while receiving treatment. Patients are able to return to their normal daily activities immediately following the 20-minute treatment sessions.
Achieve TMS Largest Provider of dTMS Depression Treatment
Achieve TMS is a leader in offering alternative treatment for depression without medication. Specializing in dTMS, Achieve TMS offers hope to those suffering from depression who had not found relief from the crippling symptoms using antidepressants. With office locations throughout California and now in the Portland, Oregon region, our dedicated professionals are here to help. For more information about dTMS please call us today at (877) 447-6503.