Holistic Approaches to Seasonal/Chronic Depression
As Fall begins descending the energy of nature, many people begin experiencing symptoms of depression. Depression can be so severe that some sufferers can’t even get out of bed in the morning, and sometimes can come and go with seasons or environmental changes. It is a very broad topic and can have multiple causes, but for as many faces as it has, there are just as many options for relief! This list covers modalities of healing as well as different supplements one can try. Although these suggestions are all safe, before taking any kind of supplement or herb be sure to check with your doctor to see if it is right for you.
Effective Holistic Treatments
Acupuncture is an amazing tool that can be utilized for many symptoms, including mental! By stimulating different channels and nerves with the needles, acupuncture can actually help to rewire the body and mind and bring you into balance from within. With regular treatment, many patients notice more mental clarity and find they have the ability to maintain a positive mood!
Hypnosis works by helping to break through mental and emotional patterns and offers suggestions for different ways of being. By learning how to work directly with their subconscious mind patients become more aware of their reactions to a situation, and can find creative solutions to fix them.
(There are other great alternative methods such as Shamatha meditation, holistic nutrition, and yoga that can all work to help depression sufferers. Even trying combined therapies can be highly effective, so don’t be afraid to try different options!)
Herbs and Supplements
- Folic Acid
1-2 mg a day. Folic acid makes other antidepressants, whether pharmaceutical or herbal, work more effectively. It can also help the body produce SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-methionine), a naturally occurring folic acid that has been linked to encouraging liver health and combat depression.
1-2 mg a day. If deciding to take B12, the Methylcobalamin form, one of the two naturally occurring forms of vitamin B12, is the most absorbable and neurologically active. It works well for adjusting wake/sleep cycles and helps with long-term depression accompanied by insomnia by increasing melatonin production.
- Vitamin D3
2000 IU a day for depression. Vitamin D3 works very quickly and results for depression can be seen in as soon as one week! It also works synergistically with St. John’s Wort.
- St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is an herb that is particularly effective at combatting depression, anxiety, and trauma-related emotional patterns. It combines well with other natural remedies and can be combined with L-theanine for panic attacks. For children, it can be combined with lemon balm and DHA (an Omega 3 fatty acid).
200-400mg. As mentioned above, SAMe is a naturally occurring folic acid. When taken for depression it can dramatically help sufferers of depression. The issue with this one only works about 50% of the time.
This root is considered an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it acts in non-specific ways to increase resistance to stress, without disturbing normal biological functions. Rhodiola is particularly useful if one experiences depression due to chronic stress. It improves blood oxygen to the brain to promote clear thinking, and also appear to improve SSRI’s effectiveness.
- Holy Basil
Another great herb for depression coupled with panic attacks. If a person is easily startled and can’t regain composure, holy basil is perfect for them! Known more popularly as Tulsi, it is also a good herb to take if there is substance abuse coupled with the depression. Tulsi can also dramatically lowers cortisol levels (high cortisol leads to depression and anxiety).
Albizia (Collective Happiness Bark) is a cool Chinese herb that can be customizable. To ease longstanding anger and frustration mix it with skullcap, to soothe nerves one can combine it with lavender. It’s even good for grief when combined with rose flowers and hawthorn. On its own, it increases circulation of blood and qi and encourages social engagement.
- DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
DHEA is a steroid that most people don’t realize works as a safe and effective antidepressant. The steroid is also naturally occurring in the body, and will change into testosterone or estrogen based on what the body needs at the time. It works better for energy and mood levels that decrease with aging and takes 2 months to really start working. One can also combine it with Siberian Ginseng for improved mood.
- Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)
This is a strong and quick acting herb to motivate people to get up and go. It is most effective in tincture form, and for the right person may start working immediately. Long term, it has similar effects to DHEA and can also help to reorient the nervous system in a permanent way! Another cool fact is that it combines well with DHEA and B Vitamins.
Depression can be complex, so a combination of holistic methods as well as the right supplement or herb above can be more beneficial than just a supplement by itself. Also, as stated above, you should always consult an herbalist or your doctor before starting any new supplements.