Treating Depression W/o Meds

Updated on September 15, 2009
A.W. asks from Barnard, MO
38 answers

I feel I have been struggling with a slight case of depression since I had children and it has gotten worse over the past few months. I feel like I am grouchy all the time, have no energy, and never get enough sleep. I exercise faithfully 5 times a week doing 3 miles on the elliptical plus some weight lifting and it has not helped as much as I would like. I would prefer not to take an anti-depressant, so I am looking for some advice on other things to try before I ask my doctor for a prescription. Have any of you had success treating depression without medication? Thanks in advance for any advice you may have for me.

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A.W.

answers from St. Louis on

More than meds, I found that going to a psycologist help a lot. It was great to get to the root of the depressioin and work it out. She also taught me stress coping skills and relaxation.

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A.M.

answers from Wichita on

I have battled depression most of my life, and the only time I went on meds was with PPD....One thing I found that helped was at least 30 min of sunshine everyday. But the BEST thing I found that helps is having a "Cause" outside the home.....Mostly I do volunteer work (which gets a little difficult sometimes because I have 6 kids) with Head Start.....

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A.V.

answers from St. Louis on

I dealt with Major Depression for over 5 years and it got pretty bad. I took meds, went to the psychologist and therapist. Nothing helped me by itself, but this web site I found did help. It's a self help website for psychological issues including panic attacks, depression and more. It's based out of England but has some really helpful information and a way out. If you follow this link http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/ I encourage to read that page and then click on the orange arrow at the top for the Learning Path. Read through the Learning Path, it's free and it has a lot of information that will help you.

They also have a program you can purchase for $97, that includes guided meditation, a workbook, an ebook with more info. I bought it about 2 years ago and am now completely free from depression. I still have moments where it feels like it's creeping back in, but I just listen to this depression program and it helps every time! I haven't taken meds or seen a dr. about this in almost 2 years.

$97 may seem like a lot, but think how much you'd be spending on meds and psychotherapy. It really helps, just believe in yourself to get through this. You can do it! Email me if you have questions, [email protected]____.com care!

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J.A.

answers from St. Louis on

A.-
Sorry to hear that you are feeling this way. Have you examined your diet? Sometimes nutrition can be lacking. Are you getting enough fruits & vegetables? We, as adults, should be getting 9 - 13 servings a day. Proper diet can do amazing things. I have been taking a product called Juice Plus since my kiddos were babies (5 years). It is 17 fruits & vegetables in a capsule. There are no medications in it -- simply whole food. I am happy to share more info. with you, just let me know. It may be worth trying.

Another thing you may try is chiropratic or accupuncture. Often times our bodies & our hormones change when we have kids & never return to "normal". I know my chiroprator has helped immensely when I am feeling overwhelmed & at my wits end. Again, all without medication.

Good luck.
Jen

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K.L.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A. - I totally understand!

I was put on a vitamin regime and that TOTALLY handled the condition with me.

Go to your local health food store and get the following:

Vitamin B 1: this is what will really help! REALLY REALLY helped! I took 100mgs per hour until I felt better.

You have to take several other Vitamins to keep in everything in balance.

Vitamin B Complex: take 100 mg 3x per day with food
Vitamin C: take 1000mg 3x per day
Vitamin E: take 800iu per day
Vitamin A&D:10000/400 IU

Liquid Minerals are vital as well. Here is a link to what I use and they are EXCELLENT.
http://www.petergillham.com/product-line/peter-gillhams-o...

Also Liquid Vitamins which are excellent - you will still need to up the amount of B1 intensively until you fully cease to experience the depression.
http://www.petergillham.com/product-line/peter-gillhams-o...

I did this regimen until I no longer experienced the depression. This took me personally about 1 month to now feel like myself again and 2 months to have it fully gone with no surprise downs. I then went into a regular dosage of the vits AND PUMPED UP THE AMOUNTS WHEN A HINT OF THE FEELING RETURNED.

It really worked. I would not have believed it would but I had to do something and no way was I going on meds that don't actually address the nutritional deficiencies that create this condition.

Let me know how it goes!

All the best,
K. Lee
[email protected]____.com

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A.D.

answers from Washington DC on

First off...good going on the exercise! Keep it up. Next, the fact that you are recognizing that the way you are feeing is not the "real you", is a huge step in feeling better. If you are open to supplements, sometimes a combination of a regular Multi for Women vitamin, along with a B50 complex daily, 300-900mg of St. John's Wort (especially the Kira brand), and an Omega 3 Fish Oil cap daily can be VERY helpful. I know it sounds like quite a cocktail, but can be worth it. Just be aware, the St. John's Wort CAN interfere with hormonal contraceptives and make them less effective(the pill and others)! The B vitamins will just turn your pee bright yellow and might give you a boost of energy, so you might prefer to take them in the morning.
Do not think that taking a prescription is a failure though!
If you do decide to try one, Lexapro may be the best one to start on...it tends to help when there is irritability and insomnia. Again...this is not to be taken as medical advice...just a suggestion. Wish you the best!

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T.R.

answers from Joplin on

well, first of all i'd get your thyroid checked...if it's underactive or overactive that can cause problems and it's easy to fix. but seriously, and take this from some one who works in the medical field and who also has personal experience in this area: DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TRY MEDS. i take celexa, it's a very mild script (and only $4, which is helpful) that works quickly, and only require small doses and not all the time. think of your mental health like your physical health....you wouldn't NOT go to the doctor for appendicitis or a broken leg, would you? no...you would get it fixed. it's the best thing for yourself and your kids. good luck.

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V.S.

answers from Kansas City on

Good job exercising so consistently! I would love to help you but don't have time to write right now, so I'll be brief... First of all, you need to take some excellent supplements for overall health. Next: I've helped so many people, including myself, to lower their cortisol levels (your body's stress hormone and the #1 cause of many physical ailments, including abdominal fat: see Dr. Nicholas Perricone on PBS or read his books). The best product, bar none, to help you do this naturally is called Cortitrol. It's $29/ bottle and is 100% guaranteed. E-mail me or go to my website: [email protected]____.com, NobleFortunes.com. (I market for Pharmanex.) I can't tell you how many women this has helped immensely. Even those who were unable to get pregnant (99% have elevated cortisol levels) got their bodies healthy and were able to conceive after only 2 months. I am glad that you want to stay off the drugs, as many people these days think that meds can solve their problems. When your body is tired, sad, etc., it is telling you something! Do whatever it takes to get healthy! Look forward to helping you, if you'd like.

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L.K.

answers from Kansas City on

I agree with A. D about the exercise. I know just walking the dog around the block just kind of brings me back.
I personally don't think that not crying is that big of deal unless that is very unlike you. I personally don't cry, hardly ever. Of course I feel emotion, but I just don't cry. So my family knows that if they ever do or say anything to bring me to tears, besides a physical pain, it's big! So without being a psychotherapist, I'm not sure that's a big deal.
You're a teacher, are you even subconciously fearing going back to school for some reason?
How old are you? I just responded earlier to a similar post about thyroid issues. If you are mid to late 30's you can and very well may be starting pre-menopausal symptoms. You can have hormone fluctuations 12-15 years before you actually hit menopause. The key is recognizing them and finding a doc to recognize them as well. Speaking for myself, I just wasn't happy. Not that I was unhappy, but. . .
Look at your diet. Are you eating a lot of packaged, processed foods? A lot of foods have hidden forms of MSG among other artificial additives that can play havoc with your hormones/metabolism.
And while I don't normally agree with supplementation, I also agree with A. D's comments about a good B-Complex vitamin. And a good Omega-3. Flax seeds are a great source but the BEST way to get the best nutritents from flax is freshly grinding the seeds not the oils.

Let me know if I can be of any help.

Lori K
[email protected]____.com

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T.D.

answers from Columbia on

Have you tried seeing a counselor? Depression can be associated with not only a chemical/hormonal imbalance but also stress and anxiety. This would be a completely drug free solution you may want to try. A counselor cannot prescribe meds (only doctors/psychiatrists can) ans he/she may be able to help find other remidies if you express to them that you are not interested in taking drugs. To find a counselor, you can either call your insurance and get a list or ask for recomendations from friends. I live in Columbia and would be happy to refer you to the counselor I saw during my pregnancy when I was feeling a little depressed. Please remember that even if a friend gives you a rec to check with your insurance if you want them to pick up the big chunk of the cost for a cousnelor. Good luck, I hope you are able to make it through this difficult time.

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S.T.

answers from Columbia on

There are some natural remedies available for mild depression. You can get a compound also at health food store(s). L-Phenalanine, L-Tyrosine, 5 HTP, SAM-e are just a few of the natural resources available. There is a NOW vitamin product called True Focus which has L-Phen and L-Ty . . . and some other ingredients but it is more for focus. Vitamin Research Products also has some very good products for depression (all natural and high grade)--www.vrp.com. It would be better if you can stay off the meds, but if nothing else works, it's not the end of the world either. Good luck. PS: You can also try hypnosis. I am a certified hypnotist and have helped a number of people this way.

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D.R.

answers from Joplin on

I use a toxic free and natural products in my home so that has helped my depression.

livefamilydreams.com

D.

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E.H.

answers from Springfield on

I am trying to treat cronic fatigue with out any medications and am learning a bit on herbal remedies. After having my son almost 4 years ago, I started feeling really tired and had been tested for a hundred things. Anemia was what they kept claiming, which I do have, but anemia is a symptom of something else. Long story, I have rheumatoid arthritis at 31. I didn't start out with any pain. Just a depression like, always tired feeling. Working out seemed to make it worse for me. Have your doctor run an ANA test, just to make sure. If not, I'll be making up some kind of herbal tea....lol, we'll have to have energy tea and have teacher talk...I'm retired...lol!

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N.L.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.: Talk to your OBgyn about depression and what kind of birth control you are using? I used Depo-Provera and make me feel cranky and depress too. I don't have the problem anymore my husband got the Vasectomy done. Good Luck

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C.V.

answers from Kansas City on

I wish I did.I was going through the same thing and kept avoiding going to the doctor.Then it just kept getting worse.I saw it neglecting my children(Ex: I was any kind of mother when I sometimes coouldn't leave the couch.) I was on zoloft and am now currently on Cymbala.Although I have not been on this one very long I don't notice any bad side affects.I feel I owe it to my children and Husband and my friends and husband say they notice a big difference when I take my meds.I was embaressed and felt less of a person at first but then I realize lots of Women suffer this,probably especially SAHM.One thing that will help some is making sure you get out and get plenty of Adult interaction.And time for yourself even if it's just soaking in the tub,getting your nails done,etc...And it's nothing we did or didn't do.When I get really depressed I don't want to leave the house or talk to other people.Make sure you fight that if you ever feel that way,it will just get worse.

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C.F.

answers from St. Louis on

I had the same thing (I just had my second child in February). I went to see my primary care because I thought I would have to go on anti-depressants too since I was moody and tired, but he did some bloodwork and found that I have hypothyroidism. I have to take a thyroid pill everyday, but there are absolutely no side affects because it is a natural hormone. Check with your doctor about this possibility.

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M.T.

answers from Springfield on

Hi A.,
I suffered from depression for years and tried several antidepressants, none of which worked. They all made me fat, crazy and ended my sexual desire which to me are all reasons for depression. My new doctor put me on a strict diet similar to the paleo diet. My depression vanished instantly. I read all labels now and I try not to eat anything prepackaged. Mainly vegetables chicken and fish. Lots of raw nuts and now fruit. She said that I should eat like they did 12,000 years ago - pre-agriculture. It was very hard to do. My husband does it along with me. I have been depression free for a year now. Good luck.

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N.G.

answers from Columbia on

I know you exercise but maybe you should change the routine. Just like everything the same old gets boring. Take your girls and start taking walks. Try getting as many fruits as you can. I don't know if you talk to your husband about it or not but make sure you do. He really needs to be involved and just talking to him will help. I wish you luck. I think most of us have been through this.

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V.A.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.,
My company has a juice called Le vive. It has the 5 most powerful antioxidant juices (Noni, Gogi, Mangosteen, Pomegranate, and Acai Berry). It has numerous health benefits including helping out with depression. I heard a personal testomony of this women who was in a deep depression and couldn't even get out of bed and since she's been drinking the juice she's free of it. The juice is so awesome. It gives you natural energy, revs your metabolism, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, enhances sex drive, and provides your body with overall protection against all diseases and cancer. Check it my website and go to links to learn more. www.dropupto3sizesin10mins.com
let me know what you think,
V.

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A.C.

answers from St. Louis on

I am actually on Zoloft and kind of feel every mom should be on something. But, at the age of 39, and I am really starting to believe it's what we eat. I exercise and I am still tired. You do it more than I do, so I would wonder how your diet is. Sugar and sugary food/caffeine actually puts me to sleep. Have you looked into that? Getting off of anything w/ high fructose corn syrup and/or partially hydrogenated stuff. Also look into eating organic only.

Good luck!!

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K.G.

answers from St. Louis on

It might help to try something new in your exercise routine. Maybe walking/running or dancing?

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L.B.

answers from St. Louis on

A., I too felt the same way you did about taking anti-depressants. I don't know your reasons but mine were embarrament, thinking I'm stronger than that and I can do this on my own and so forth. Also, I am an exercise freak, training for a marathon. So I thought that too would help me overcome these feelings However, I began to get so deeply depressed that my doctor thought I would get to the point where the depression would be hard to just snap out of. As she told me, you take an aspirin when you have a headache, cough medicine for a cold, and put a band-aide over a cut. Taking anti-depressants is no different. So, I gave in and she prescribed a low dosage Zoloft. I will admit, after about 3-4 weeks, I was feeling myself again. I was laughing, sleeping normally and just enjoying life. No, it's not addictive or mind altering. It just help me get back my coping mechanisms. After six months on the drugs, I've weaned myself and I'm the old "me" again. So, please consider taking the meds, it's more normal in today's society than you think. Good luck to you.

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C.O.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,
Take a look at www.womentowomen.com. Sometimes these feeling are due to hormonal imbalance. This website will give you some great information and the oportunity to try vitamins that really help. I have taken the vitamins personally and can't believe how much better I feel. Good luck!
C.

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A.E.

answers from Springfield on

I find that when I drink more water it helps my mood but also my energy levels. I don't know if you take a multi vitamin or not but this has also helped me. the thing with the vitamins though is I have to go to the health food store and get some, because the ones that you would normally pick up at the pharmacy were not helping, my dad suggested changing where I shop b/c the ones form the pharmacy actually have some things that are not so good for you in them too. After changing I felt a great difference! The last piece of advice that I have for you is to find something for your self that you can look forward too. Being a mom is a lot of fun and work and all too often we get in the grove of things and life just becomes too predictable. There is no longer anything challenging the mind you just seem to be repeating the steps. Take on a dance class, take an online class from a local college of something that just sounds interesting to you, and so on.... I hope that this helps! Best of luck and God bless
~A.

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T.F.

answers from St. Louis on

If it's fairly mild, an herb called St. John's Wort may help, but if it has gone past the mild stage, that won't be able to touch it. Keep exercising, even if it doesn't seem to be helping as much as you'd like, and if you are not currently going for counseling, find someone to go to. Good luck!
T.

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E.S.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi A., I am a former teacher with a degree in home economics and Nutrition. I work with Shaklee, a company that is number one in health products in the U.S. We have several natural products that will give you help and if not there is a 100% guarantee for your money back. I have been with the company 34 years and it is 52 years old, but is not sold in stores. You can purchase it on the internet under my supervision for different prices depending on your desires. Call me at ###-###-#### and I will explain some instant help as well as more help and good stuff for the kids health so they don't have to be going to the doctor with colds, ear problems etc. Liz

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J.C.

answers from Kansas City on

You may want to have your thyroid checked. It may not be depression,but really your thyroid that is behind the always being tired. Sounds like you are taking care of yourself--don't let this go. Best of luck!

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C.G.

answers from Columbia on

I have a friend who was on depression meds for several years and eventually they all would stop working. She tried several different ones. So, she got off all meds completely and started reading self-help books and educating herself on how to treat depression more naturally. I think taking flax or omega supplements was one of the things she mentioned. She also sees a therapist (but not a regular psychologist, it's more like a behavior modification therapist I think) and she said that this method (both the therapist and self-help strategies) has helped more than any drugs.

If you are interested, let me know and I can find out which books she thought were most helpful. Otherwise, I'm sure a book store or library would have some great one's. Although medication is sometimes necessary, good job for not wanting to jump right into meds that might not be right for you!

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C.Y.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi A.:

I've also recently been undergoing some hormonal changes myself w/ the same symptoms you've described. After 3 months of almost feeling like the world is collapsing, I decided to try L-Tryptophan from GNC. Let me tell you it's been a FANTASTIC feeling. No more mood swings, no more depressions, tons more energy, no more fatigue... The best part of it all is that it's all natural. It does take 3 days to a week before seeing the full effects but it's been a GODSEND to me.

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C.G.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.!
Do you go to church? If you don't, it might be worth a try. Sometimes all you have to do is surround yourself with happy people and it's kind of catchy. Just a thought. Hope you get to feeling better soon!

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T.Z.

answers from St. Louis on

Have you thought about seeing a psychologist or therapist? They do not prescribe medication and I have found that it has helped me tremendously. I would also suggest talking with a nutritionist to make sure you don't have a vitamin deficiency. Hope this helps.

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A.L.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,

I know exactly how you feel. Yes!! I have had pretty good luck with meds. although I believe that I am hitting the wonderful time of life where hormones are changing.

I have been on something since my first was born and she is starting college.

if I was smart I would try a higher dose. but one time I tried a different one and it was horrible. so since I have done good on the one I am on now I don't want to change.
but I am really thinking I will talk to my doctor the next time I go back. it is NO fun feeling like that is it?? and no one really understands. sometimes we don't either. but it is very normal having it.

talking to my mom she said she would have talked to someone many years ago because but then it was your were crazy if you talked to someone.

I don't know if you would want to try it but alot of times they are lookng for people to do a study to see if they can help and they pay you. might be something to look at.

plase let me know what you decide. I am here if you have any other questions.

hang in there it will get better.

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C.S.

answers from Topeka on

I have struggled with Bi Polar, Manic Depression... anxety disorders and PSD since before my kids were born. I was on meds as a teen but never liked how they made me felt. My best advice is to find someone you can talk to... pour your heart out to... do something special just for you once in a hile and get one good nights rest a week at least...try to plan out your day and dont let small things get to you. If you ever need someone to talk I am here I understand what you are going through. OK? Good luck!

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J.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Try getting a hormone panel drawn and have your testosterone level checked. Sounds like it could be low.

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M.P.

answers from St. Louis on

I have dealt with depression before and been on meds for it at one time. Recently I have been feeling like you said, a mild depression. I didn't want to go on medication again, either. No particular reason, just wanted to try something instead of medicine if I could. I saw a commercial for Sam-E and decided I would try it. I have been taking it for a little over 2 weeks now and I can definatly tell a difference in my attitude and mood. I got the Sam-E made by Nature Made. I hope this helps you! Good luck and God bless!
M.

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R.B.

answers from St. Louis on

5-HTP or St. John's Wort were both recommended by my therapist.

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T.Z.

answers from Topeka on

I would definitely recommend talking with your doctor. You can explain your opposition to medication and ask that your doctor work with you or seek one who will. Take a good hard look at your health...Are you eating enough? Are you eating healthy nourishing foods? Is there something that is missing from your diet? Are you eating on the run and grabbing lots of greasy fast food or drinking a lot of sugary soda? Why aren't you getting enough sleep and what can be done about that? You may already have a feeling about what might be wrong, or you may need to talk over every aspect of your life and health with a doctor to find it. Have your doctor check for underlying issues that may cause your symptoms. I feel very strongly that our society is over-medicated and that if we all simply took care or ourselves, we would all be healthier. I also feel that there are many people out there who truly need and benefit from medication. If you turn out to be one of those people there is no shame in making an informed decision to use medication.

I hope this helps and that you are feeling more like yourself again soon.

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S.C.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi A.,

I went through alot of depression after my first son! We realized that it was the birth control that I was on. Once it finally got out of my system, I was much better! With my 2nd son, I started taking herbal supplements recomended by my herbalist and I was renewed. All of my friends that went on meds were much worse off then what they were to begin with. You are not the only one! I hope that you can have some relief soon!!

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