Treating Depression Naturally?

Updated on September 26, 2010
A.O. asks from Plano, TX
18 answers

Is anyone here treating depression naturally? If you do, what do you use and how effective is it? My husband is depressed but refuses treatment because of his job. Any help is appreciated.

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answers from Anchorage on

Exercise, sunlight, vit. D are all great things that can help. Time with friends, or family can also help.

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answers from Chicago on

The absolue greatest non-pharmaceutical way to treat depression is yo exercise. I see lots of men at my gym who play basketball together, swim, relax in the hot tub, or hit the card machines and weights.

*please excuse the typos..trying to type on a touchscreen

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answers from San Francisco on

I work in the caring profession and have been an advocate for years to always try the natural route first for mental health issues.
Saint Johns Wort is a natural replacement to medication but with everything you should do the research first before taking it.
Also having a set routine each day is good,a list of things that he needs to do to keep himself healthy-having a shower in the morning,good breakfast etc.
Fresh air and exercise are good.Healthy organic food.Limited alcohol.
It is advisable the your husband gets to know his depression and be proactive with how to live with it.
The two of you could figure out what( 1.)what life looks like when his depression is at bay. ( 2.)what are the warning signs when things are starting to go wrong. (3) what needs to happen when he is in the depression,have a plan in place.Ask your husband what support does he need and what way can it be provided.Sort this plan when he is having a good day.
(4) what are the situations and life events that he thinks will trigger a bout of depression. Can the situation be avoided or can he prepare himself mentally when he is going into a situated that will stress him.
Education is the key, the two of you should be become experts in your husbands depression.
I was at a brilliant conference a few years ago with Stephen Pockington from the Mary Copeland foundation for people with mental illness.They are advocates for the natural way so maybe you could check it out.
If your husband was willing to give it a go,yoga and meditation are very good for a healthy mind and body.
Best of luck

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answers from Minneapolis on has lots of information online. That's a good place to start. He could also do sessions by phone with one of their counselors. They look at the beliefs that are under the surface which may be creating the depression. It is relatively easy to change the beliefs, once he realizes what they are.

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answers from Detroit on

I agree with Jen and Kate, excercise has been shown to be just as effective and pharm drugs when it comes to treating depression. You can also help by making sure the family's diet is contributing to optimal health. Eat mostly fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds and then be sure to minimize negative ingredients. Those include fully and partially hydrogenated (trans) fats, HFCS, MSG (which goes by lots of different names on labels, I can get you a list) and artifical colors and flavorings and preservatives. Basically, avoid foods that have been processed, sticking to the perimeter in the grocery store when shopping.

Also, be sure to minimize animal protein, as too much increases the risk for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and immune system disorders. Please go to to learn more.

I know it seems difficult to think that chemicals allowed in our food by the FDA might be harmful, but none are tested in combinations, and I wonder what they might do to a vulnerable body.

Your hubby really should find someone, some sort of therapist, that he can talk to. Behavioral changes and learning to recognize triggers will be the most effective tools that your husband will have in order to beat this problem. Sit down and make a list of all that he has to be grateful for. First thing he does, or maybe both of you, when waking in the morning, or going to bed at night, is to read and reread that list over and over. Sometimes it's a matter of seeing the glass as half full and then making a plan to proceed from there. I wish you much luck. D.

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answers from La Crosse on

I take St. John's Wort. I do notice a change when I am taking it versus when I don't. It doesn't "cure" it, but it does help quite a bit.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't read the other answers yet.
Refuses treatment as in refuses to see a therapist?
Refuses treatment regarding prescribed drugs that DO help.

Would he have some sort of problem at his job
if he were to see a psychiatrist for prescription medicine?
or if he was seeing a talking therapist?

I'm unable to recommend "natural" items for depression.
I know from my reading and my own experience
that the current state-of-the-art in prescription meds
is very good, very effective.

Meanwhile, whatever he and you decide to do,
you might want to encourage him to physically EXERCISE regularly.
At least 4-5 times a week.
Running, biking, rowing . . . .
the endorphins that are released during physical exercise
can help with depression.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

If one decides to try and treat depression by themselves it can end up being seriously messed up, so please keep and eye on him.
I use relaxation techniques. i use cd's, tapes, various piano music, body placement, all kinds of stress reducing things to help.

I lay on the floor or bed, place a rolled up towel under my neck, turn on teh cd or tape, and follow the instructions on the tape, it's called various things, Autogenic relaxation, guided imagery, etc...he can find what helps him relax the best way. I like the music and soft voice telling me to "feel my thigh, feel it be heavy, tighten it up, now relax it fully, deeper, it is very relaxed, now think of our hip joint" takes my mind off of stuff and I can get very relaxed.

Biological depression cannot be treated well outside of a doctors office. There is too much that can go wrong, many drugs, whether natural or man made, can have serious long term side effects and I encourage you to take your husband to the doc and have him evaluated for any physical reason for this. My MIL had Liver cancer, she had NEVER been depressed in her life before. Shew started feeling depressed, tired all the time, sleeping a lot, sad thoughts, etc...she kept going to the doc and they told her she was just getting older. The cardiologist my FIL sees told her to come in for a good check up and he found the cancer on the very first test. It was so far gone it could not be treated, but may have been if her doc had done even one or two tests, something like an X-Ray even.

It is always a good idea to get a physical just to make sure the cause isn't something else.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Scientific research has shown that for many grades of depression, exercise 3x a week for 30 minutes is as effective as anti-depressants. Getting sleep and exercise is enough for MOST cases.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

I would recommend going to a Natural food & vitamin store they will be able to help you assist you in your needs and what your wanting to get out of taking a supplement.There is a great one here in Topeka by Washburn College "Health Food Mart" there maybe one in your area.I remember going there while I was pregnant they were great help..
Get him out whenever possible open the windows even if there is little sunshine it helps the mood, if you like candles light some all over the house the smell & the flicker of the candle light is so relaxing.It is hard for other to understand depression & what a person goes through I know I have dealt with it for 16 yrs. I myself have it & my husband has no idea what I go through everday.If you can;t understand him try to listen to him whole heartedly it makes all the difference.
I can understand why he is refusing treatment I have my reasons as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Getting outside in the sun and going for walks. It works, I've done it!! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Tulsa on

Hi, my husband went to the chain nutrition store at the mall for supplements. He ended up in the hospital for 9 days. He took them as directed. It really messed him up and cost us a lot more than a presciption would have.

There are free clinics/sliding fee places that he could go to. Or he could go to someplace and pay cash, not mentioning his employer, especially if military.

I personally have used Paxil and Effexor ER for years. I am not on them now because I am not depressed. There were no side effects for me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

in my circle of family & friends, I have seen 2 adult men hit the ER with chest pains...due to taking natural supplements. Both were in good health prior.

Please consider this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Wow! What a lot of great suggestions you're getting! I hope it's not too overwhelming, though. I agree with the others about getting enough sleep & exercise, and about eating right. I also agree that not all "natural" supplements are safe, but prescription drugs have a lot of dangers, too. A lot of the responders seem to have had good luck with St. John's Wort. If your husband needs more than that, I would definitely suggest nutritional supplements from Reliv, International. I personally know a lot of people who have come out of some pretty serious depression by nourishing their bodies with Reliv. If your husband is missing some important nutrients, this could be the answer for him. There's no danger with Reliv--no cases of injury in over 22 years of business. If you'd like to talk with one of my friends who has successfully dealt with depression, I can put you in touch.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

A huge, great way to treat it is cod liver oil supplements. Sunshine, fresh air. Would he do something like horseback riding or walking along a mountain trail? I am not familiar with Kansas but do you have some pretty places to go outside and just sit and have a picnic?

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answers from Las Vegas on

Let the natural sunlight in, balance diet, plenty of water, conversation, and tell him you love him even when he doesn't want to hear it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Some depression is short term and some is a little deeper rooted.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I used St. John's Wort after finally weaning myself off of Paxil and feeling I had enough coping skills and it worked quite well. However, without coping skills (ei: learning how to deal with negative thoughts, exercise, massage, etc...) I would not have done well enough on the St. John's Wort alone.

1 mom found this helpful
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