Natural Health Source Shop
Add to Bookmarks

Depression Treatment

Best Depression Treatment

We recommend only the best depression treatment products:

Depression

A depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. Depression affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depression cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without depression treatment, depression symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate depression treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.

Types of Depression

Depression comes in different forms, just as is the case with other illnesses such as heart disease. This pamphlet briefly describes three of the most common depression types. However, within these depression types there are variations in the number of depression symptoms, their severity, and persistence.

Major depression is manifested by a combination of depression symptoms (see symptom list) that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime.

A less severe type of depression, dysthymia, involves long-term, chronic depression symptoms that do not disable, but keep one from functioning well or from feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives.

Another depression type is bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness. Not nearly as prevalent as other forms of depressive disorders, bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes: severe highs (mania) and lows (depression). Sometimes the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual. When in the depressed cycle, an individual can have any or all of the depression symptoms. When in the manic cycle, the individual may be overactive, overtalkative, and have a great deal of energy. Mania often affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment. For example, the individual in a manic phase may feel elated, full of grand schemes that might range from unwise business decisions to romantic sprees. Mania, left untreated, may worsen to a psychotic state.

Depression Symptoms

Not everyone who is depressed or manic experiences every depression symptom. Some people experience a few depression symptoms, some many. Severity of depression symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time.

Depression

Symptoms of depression:
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical depression symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Mania

Symptoms of mania:
  • Abnormal or excessive elation
  • Unusual irritability
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Grandiose notions
  • Increased talking
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Markedly increased energy
  • Poor judgment
  • Inappropriate social behavior

Causes of Depression

Some depression types run in families, suggesting that a biological vulnerability can be inherited. This seems to be the case with bipolar disorder. Studies of families in which members of each generation develop bipolar disorder found that those with the illness have a somewhat different genetic makeup than those who do not get ill. However, the reverse is not true: Not everybody with the genetic makeup that causes vulnerability to bipolar disorder will have the illness. Apparently additional factors, possibly stresses at home, work, or school, are involved in its onset.

In some families, major depression also seems to occur generation after generation. However, it can also occur in people who have no family history of depression. Whether inherited or not, major depressive disorder is often associated with changes in brain structures or brain function.

People who have low self-esteem, who consistently view themselves and the world with pessimism or who are readily overwhelmed by stress, are prone to depression. Whether this represents a psychological predisposition or an early form of the illness is not clear.

Physical Causes of Depression

In recent years, researchers have shown that physical changes in the body can be accompanied by mental changes as well. Medical illnesses such as stroke, a heart attack, cancer, Parkinson's disease, and hormonal disorders can cause depression, making the sick person apathetic and unwilling to care for his or her physical needs, thus prolonging the recovery period. Also, a serious loss, difficult relationship, financial problem, or any stressful (unwelcome or even desired) change in life patterns can be all causes of depression. Very often, a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors is involved in the onset of a depression. Later episodes of illness typically are precipitated by only mild stresses, or none at all.

Depression Treatment

The first step to getting appropriate depression treatment is a physical examination by a physician. Certain medications as well as some medical conditions such as a viral infection can cause the same depression symptoms, and the physician should rule out these possibilities through examination, interview, and lab tests. If a physical cause for the depression is ruled out, a psychological evaluation should be done, by the physician or by referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

A good diagnostic evaluation will include a complete history of depression symptoms, i.e., when they started, how long they have lasted, how severe they are, whether the patient had them before and, if so, whether the depression symptoms were treated and what depression treatment was given. The doctor should ask about alcohol and drug use, and if the patient has thoughts about death or suicide. Further, a history should include questions about whether other family members have had a depressive illness and, if treated, what depression treatment they may have received and which were effective.

Last, a diagnostic evaluation should include a mental status examination to determine if speech or thought patterns or memory have been affected, as sometimes happens in the case of a depressive or manic-depressive illness.

Depression Medications

Depression treatment choice will depend on the outcome of the evaluation. There are a variety of depression medications and psychotherapies that can be used to treat depressive disorders. Some people with milder forms may do well with psychotherapy alone. People with moderate to severe depression most often benefit from antidepressants. Most do best with combined depression treatment: medication to gain relatively quick depression symptom relief and psychotherapy to learn more effective ways to deal with life's problems, including depression. Depending on the patient's diagnosis and severity of depression symptoms, the therapist may prescribe medication and/or one of the several forms of psychotherapy that have proven effective for depression.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is useful, particularly for individuals whose depression is severe or life threatening or who cannot take antidepressant medication. ECT often is effective in cases where depression medications do not provide sufficient relief of depression symptoms. In recent years, ECT has been much improved. A muscle relaxant is given before depression treatment, which is done under brief anesthesia. Electrodes are placed at precise locations on the head to deliver electrical impulses. The stimulation causes a brief (about 30 seconds) seizure within the brain. The person receiving ECT does not consciously experience the electrical stimulus. For full therapeutic benefit, at least several sessions of ECT, typically given at the rate of three per week, are required.

Antidepressants

There are several types of depression medications used to treat depressive disorders. These include newer medications-chiefly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)-the tricyclics, and the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The SSRIs-and other newer medications that affect neurotransmitters such as dopamine or norepinephrine-generally have fewer side effects than tricyclics. Sometimes the doctor will try a variety of antidepressants before finding the most effective medication or combination of medications. Sometimes the dosage must be increased to be effective. Although some improvements may be seen in the first few weeks, antidepressant medications must be taken regularly for 3 to 4 weeks (in some cases, as many as 8 weeks) before the full therapeutic effect occurs.

Patients often are tempted to stop medication too soon. They may feel better and think they no longer need the depression medication. Or they may think the depression medication isn't helping at all. It is important to keep taking depression medication until it has a chance to work, though side effects may appear before antidepressant activity does. Once the individual is feeling better, it is important to continue the medication for at least 4 to 9 months to prevent a recurrence of the depression. Some depression medications must be stopped gradually to give the body time to adjust. Never stop taking an antidepressant without consulting the doctor for instructions on how to safely discontinue the medication. For individuals with bipolar disorder or chronic major depression, medication may have to be maintained indefinitely.

Antidepressant drugs are often habit-forming. Antidepressants have to be carefully monitored to see if the correct dosage is being given. The doctor will check the dosage and its effectiveness regularly.

For the small number of people for whom MAO inhibitors are the best depression treatment, it is necessary to avoid certain foods that contain high levels of tyramine, such as many cheeses, wines, and pickles, as well as medications such as decongestants. The interaction of tyramine with MAOIs can bring on a hypertensive crisis, a sharp increase in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke. The doctor should furnish a complete list of prohibited foods that the patient should carry at all times. Other forms of antidepressants require no food restrictions.

Effectiveness of Antidepressants

Medications of any kind - prescribed, over-the counter, or borrowed - should never be mixed without consulting the doctor. Other health professionals who may prescribe a drug-such as a dentist or other medical specialist-should be told of the medications the patient is taking. Some drugs, although safe when taken alone can, if taken with others, cause severe and dangerous side effects. Some drugs, like alcohol or street drugs, may reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants and should be avoided. This includes wine, beer, and hard liquor. Some people who have not had a problem with alcohol use may be permitted by their doctor to use a modest amount of alcohol while taking one of the newer antidepressants.

Anti anxiety drugs or sedatives are not antidepressants. They are sometimes prescribed along with antidepressants; however, they are not effective when taken alone for a depressive disorder. Stimulants, such as amphetamines, are not effective antidepressants, but they are used occasionally under close supervision in medically ill depressed patients.

Questions about any antidepressant prescribed, or problems that may be related to the medication, should be discussed with the doctor.

Side Effects

Antidepressants may cause mild and, usually, temporary side effects (sometimes referred to as adverse effects) in some people. Typically these are annoying, but not serious. However, any unusual reactions or side effects or those that interfere with functioning should be reported to the doctor immediately. The most common side effects of tricyclic antidepressants, and ways to deal with them, are:
  • Dry mouth it is helpful to drink sips of water; chew sugarless gum; clean teeth daily.
  • Constipation bran cereals, prunes, fruit, and vegetables should be in the diet.
  • Bladder problems emptying the bladder may be trouble-some, and the urine stream may not be as strong as usual; the doctor should be notified if there is marked difficulty or pain.
  • Sexual problems sexual functioning may change; if worrisome, ask a doctor about male enhancement or female enhancement options.
  • Blurred vision this will pass soon and will not usually necessitate new glasses.
  • Dizziness rising from the bed or chair slowly is helpful.
  • Drowsiness as a daytime problem this usually passes soon. A person feeling drowsy or sedated should not drive or operate heavy equipment. The more sedating antidepressants are generally taken at bedtime to help sleep and minimize daytime drowsiness.
The newer antidepressants have different types of side effects:
  • Headache this will usually go away.
  • Nausea this is also temporary, but even when it occurs, it is transient after each dose.
  • Nervousness and insomnia (trouble falling asleep or waking often during the night) these may occur during the first few weeks; dosage reductions or time will usually resolve them.
  • Agitation (feeling jittery) if this happens for the first time after the drug is taken and is more than transient, the doctor should be notified.
  • Sexual problems the doctor should be consulted if the problem is persistent or worrisome.

Herbal Depression Treatment

In the past few years, much interest has risen in the use of herbs in the depression treatment. St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), an herb used extensively in the depression treatment in Europe, has recently aroused interest in the United States. St. John's wort, an attractive bushy, low-growing plant covered with yellow flowers in summer, has been used for centuries in many folk and herbal remedies. Today in Germany, Hypericum is used in the depression treatment more than any other antidepressant. However, the scientific studies that have been conducted on its use have been short-term and have used several different doses.

National Institutes of HealthBecause of the widespread interest in St. John's wort, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a 3-year study, sponsored by three NIH components-the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Office of Dietary Supplements. The study was designed to include 336 patients with major depression of moderate severity, randomly assigned to an 8-week trial with one-third of patients receiving a uniform dose of St. John's wort, another third sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) commonly prescribed for depression, and the final third a placebo (a pill that looks exactly like the SSRI and the St. John's wort, but has no active ingredients). The study participants who responded positively were followed for an additional 18 weeks. At the end of the first phase of the study, participants were measured on two scales, one for depression and one for overall functioning. There was no significant difference in rate of response for depression, but the scale for overall functioning was better for the antidepressant than for either St. John's wort or placebo. While this study did not support the use of St. John's wort in the depression treatment, ongoing NIH-supported research is examining a possible role for St. John's wort in the treatment of milder forms of depression.
FDAThe Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Advisory on February 10, 2000.

It stated that St. John's wort appears to affect an important metabolic pathway that is used by many drugs prescribed to treat conditions such as AIDS, heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and rejection of transplants. Therefore, health care providers should alert their patients about these potential drug interactions.
Some other herbal depression treatment supplements frequently used that have not been evaluated in large-scale clinical trials are ephedra, gingko biloba, echinacea, and ginseng. Any herbal depression treatment should be taken only after consultation with the doctor or other health care provider.

Best Depression Treatment

There is no simple depression treatment because your brain isn't simple. But science has shown that certain naturally occurring ingredients can help. It's completely normal to feel some depression from time to time. But you shouldn't have to feel them all of the time. The natural herbal ingredients can work to help regulate the chemicals that influence your moods, without the debilitating side effects of prescription drugs!

We recommend the following depression treatment products:
  1. Relora — 92 points
  2. MoodBrite — 84 points
  3. CalmComboPack — 70 points
RatingHealthcare Product#1 - Relora, 94 points out of 100. Relora is an 100% all natural product that effectively addresses the diverse and debilitating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and depression. Relora is not a prescription antidepressant like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin and Effexor. Relora designed to treat you safely and naturally without the worries you may find with prescription medications and their unwanted side effects. Relora also helps you loose that stubborn excess weight around your waist caused by high levels of the cortisol depression hormone.

Relora ingredients have been extensively researched and documented with over 45 currently available studies. Most areas of research include cancer adjuvant therapy, reducing depression and anxiety, promoting relaxation, improving learning and concentration, etc. It has also proven beneficial at significantly reducing physical, mental and social symptoms of PMS such as depression, insomnia, muscle stiffness, cramps, anxiety, irritability, etc.

Money-Back guarantee: You have six months to return the product for a full refund, less s/h!

Why #1? A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial with Relora was completed in January 2004. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Relora in overweight women who typically eat more in stressful situations. There was a significant reduction in depression and anxiety scores. Relora also normalizes hormone levels associated with depression-induced weight gain and eating behavior.

Order Relora
RatingHealthcare Product#2 - MoodBrite, 84 points out of 100. MoodBrite features officially recognized active homeopathic ingredients in a purified ionized mineral water base for safe, temporary Seasonal Affective Disorder symptom relief. MoodBrite's active ingredient blend works with your body for natural relief from SAD symptoms. Imagine your family's return to a better quality of life - happier and more confident!

MoodBrite Active Homeopathic Ingredients: Anacardium orientale, Avena sativa, Aurum metallicum, Calcarea carbonica, Carpinus betelus, flos, Cimicifuga racemosa, Cinchona officinalis, Hypericum perforatum, Ignatia amara, Kali bromatum, Larix decidua, flos, Natrum carbonicum, Natrum sulphuricum, Phosphoricum acidum, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Sepia, Sinapis arvensis, flos, Tabacum.

MoodBrite guarantee: the satisfaction guarantee is designed for a single user for 60 days use of product. Therefore, only two bottles/packages of your product can be opened to be eligible for a refund.

Why not #1? MoodBrite guarantee is only 60 days. Other than that, this depression treatment product is great.

Order MoodBrite
RatingHealthcare Product#3 - MindSoothe, 70 points out of 100. MindSoothe is a 100% safe, non-addictive, natural herbal remedy that has been specially formulated to relieve the symptoms of depression. Formulated by a clinical psychologist and a team of experts in natural medicine, MindSoothe has been used for years to safely and effectively improve emotional health and stability without any of the harmful side effects possible with prescription medication.

MindSoothe is a 100% herbal formula and contains the following ingredients in therapeutic dosage: Passion flower, St. John's wort.

Money-Back guarantee: If you are not completely satisfied - for any reason - return the product to them within 1 year for a complete refund less shipping fees.

Why not #1? Overall, the product is great. However, since it includes two remedies, it is a bit overpriced; other depression treatment products offer the same advantages for a lower price.

Order MindSoothe

Women Depression

Women experience depression about twice as often as men. Many hormonal factors may contribute to the increased rate of women depression — particularly such factors as menstrual cycle changes, pregnancy, miscarriage, postpartum period, pre-menopause, and menopause. Many women also face additional stresses such as responsibilities both at work and home, single parenthood, and caring for children and for aging parents.

A recent NIMH study showed that in the case of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), women with a preexisting vulnerability to PMS experienced relief from mood and physical depression symptoms when their sex hormones were suppressed. Shortly after the hormones were re-introduced, they again developed symptoms of PMS. Women without a history of PMS reported no effects of the hormonal manipulation.

Many women are also particularly vulnerable after the birth of a baby. The hormonal and physical changes, as well as the added responsibility of a new life, can be factors that lead to postpartum women depression. While transient "blues" are common in new mothers, a full-blown depressive episode is not a normal occurrence and requires active intervention. Depression treatment and the family's emotional support for the new mother are prime considerations in aiding her to recover her physical and mental well-being and her ability to care for and enjoy the infant.

Men Depression

Although men are less likely to suffer from depression than women, three to four million men in the United States are affected by the illness. Men are less likely to admit to depression, and doctors are less likely to suspect it. The rate of suicide in men is four times that of women, though more women attempt it. In fact, after age 70, the rate of men's suicide rises, reaching a peak after age 85.

Men depression can also affect the physical health differently from women. A new study shows that, although men depression is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in both men and women, only men suffer a high death rate.

Men depression is often masked by alcohol or drugs, or by the socially acceptable habit of working excessively long hours. Men depression typically shows up not as feeling hopeless and helpless, but as being irritable, angry, and discouraged; hence, depression may be difficult to recognize as such in men. Even if a man realizes that he has a men depression, he may be less willing than a woman to seek help. Encouragement and support from concerned family members can make a difference. In the workplace, employee assistance professionals or worksite mental health programs can be of assistance in helping men understand and accept depression as a real illness that needs treatment.

Depression in the Elderly

Some people have the mistaken idea that it is normal for the elderly to feel depressed. On the contrary, most older people feel satisfied with their lives. Sometimes, though, when depression develops, it may be dismissed as a normal part of aging. Depression in the elderly, undiagnosed and untreated, causes needless suffering for the family and for the individual who could otherwise live a fruitful life. When he or she does go to the doctor, the depression symptoms described are usually physical, for the older person is often reluctant to discuss feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities, or extremely prolonged grief after a loss.

Recognizing how depression symptoms in older people are often missed, many health care professionals are learning to identify and treat the underlying depression. They recognize that some depression symptoms may be side effects of medication the older person is taking for a physical problem, or they may be caused by a co-occurring illness. If a diagnosis of depression is made, depression treatment with medication and/or psychotherapy will help the depressed person return to a happier, more fulfilling life. Recent research suggests that brief psychotherapy (talk therapies that help a person in day-to-day relationships or in learning to counter the distorted negative thinking that commonly accompanies depression) is effective in reducing depression symptoms in short-term depression in older persons who are medically ill. Psychotherapy is also useful in older patients who cannot or will not take medication. Efficacy studies show that late-life depression can be treated with psychotherapy.

Improved recognition and depression treatment in late life will make those years more enjoyable and fulfilling for the depressed elderly person, the family, and caretakers.

Children Depression

Only in the past two decades has depression in children been taken very seriously. The depressed child may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that the parent may die. Older children may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative, grouchy, and feel misunderstood. Because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a child is just going through a temporary "phase" or is suffering from depression. Sometimes the parents become worried about how the child's behavior has changed, or a teacher mentions that "your child doesn't seem to be himself." In such a case, if a visit to the child's pediatrician rules out physical depression symptoms, the doctor will probably suggest that the child be evaluated, preferably by a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of children. If treatment is needed, the doctor may suggest that another therapist, usually a social worker or a psychologist, provide therapy while the psychiatrist will oversee medication if it is needed. Parents should not be afraid to ask questions: What are the therapist's qualifications? What kind of therapy will the child have? Will the family as a whole participate in therapy? Will my child's therapy include an antidepressant? If so, what might the side effects be?

National Institute of Mental HealthThe National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has identified the use of depression medications in children as an important area for research.

The NIMH-supported Research Units on Pediatric Psychopharmacology (RUPPs) form a network of seven research sites where clinical studies on the effects of medications for mental disorders can be conducted in children and adolescents. Among the medications being studied are antidepressants, some of which have been found to be effective in treating children with depression, if properly monitored by the child's physician.

How to Treat Depression?

We recommend only the best products to treat depression symptoms: