As a counselor with non-profit organizations, I’ve treated many clients with limited funds and insurance coverage for mental health issues, to include Major Depressive Disorder. They can’t always afford high-end prescriptions to help alleviate their mental woes. While I obviously support continuous talk therapy as key to relieving depression symptoms, I also know that it can be expensive in some communities.
You may be in the same situation given the economic downturn. If so, consider alternative treatments for depression. I use the term “alternative” loosely because they are derived from actual prescribed treatments in conjunction with medication.
Before considering herbal supplements as an alternative to treat depression, consult your physician to ensure they don’t interfere with any current medications or conditions. That being said, herbal supplements may help depression symptoms because they can elevate your mood. St. John’s Wort has been shown to help treat mild to moderate depression, according to Johns Hopkins University, and can be purchased at a local vitamin store for less than $20. Herbal supplements are not examined by the FDA to treat specific disorders and are instead rated as food products. If you choose to use herbal supplements, follow the instructions carefully and research your source.
Depression- Beating Exercises
Depression symptoms include high muscle tension that interferes with sleep cycles, resulting in insomnia. This happens when cortisol, a natural byproduct of stress, isn’t properly released. Sleep studies indicate that cortisol levels should dissipate on the way to sleep and rise slowly a few hours before waking up. With some depressed patients, those levels never waiver. It’s like sleeping with a constant thought that, at any minute, someone will wake you up with an emergency. Exercise helps relieve cortisol from the body. Even moderate exercise like 30 minutes of walking a day can reduce cortisol levels, which can lead to longer periods of deep sleep. The best part? Walking is free.
Support Groups for Depression
One symptom of Major Depressive Disorder is feeling isolated. There can also be irrational guilt associated with depression. Talk therapy helps rationalize those thoughts, but it can be costly if insurance doesn’t cover it. Local community support groups, however, put depressed patients in touch with others and are facilitated by mental health professionals. People suffering from depression can use this as an alternative treatment because they have the possibility of meeting those with the same depressive disorder yet have overcome similar symptoms.