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3 Ways to Treat Depression Without Medication

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Most people experience depression in their lifetime. This can result from a negative event, or perhaps an unfulfilling job or relationship. It brings several changes in a person, some of which include:

  • Low motivation
  • Irritability
  • Trouble focusing
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Apathy towards usual interests
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal feelings

If you experience certain symptoms for more than two weeks, then you could be suffering from depression. These symptoms are serious and require an effective treatment right away.

While some cases are chronic and a patient will need pharmaceutical medication to ease symptoms, there are several ways to cope without drugs. Some medications can have harmful side effects, so it is important to look into other forms of therapy and find the right option for your condition.

Here are three alternatives to medication for treating depression that you should consider:

Mindfulness practice

Practising mindfulness is a spiritual way of dealing with depression. It deals with centring your thoughts and grounding your body in the present, so you can handle difficult experiences rather than combat them. With mindfulness, you’re always aware of negative thoughts and endeavouring to change them. 

It can involve activities like yoga and meditation. It may include breaking habits and choosing healthier sleep, exercise, and eating routines. It may also include a gratitude practice, whereby you are encouraged to look for all that is good in life and be appreciative.

This takes the focus off the dark thoughts and orientates your mind towards the positive.

Mindfulness pairs well with therapy, but only you have the power to bring results. It takes dedication and consistent effort to create a new way of being over time. It is not a quick fix and requires you to put in the work. It is safe to do as it makes use of no drugs. 

TMS therapy

TMS therapy is a bit more rigorous than these other methods, but it is very effective. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy uses a mechanism that delivers quick magnetic energy pulses to stimulate nerves in the brain. Experts say the therapy is non-invasive and creates little discomfort. 

While doctors do not advise people who have existing issues such as epilepsy, migraines, or previous head injury to try TMS, it does have a high success rate of eliminating symptoms of depression long term. Research also shows that this method is successful in treating people who have not responded to medication. 

Treatment regimens will vary depending on a patient’s needs. Usually, a four to six-week initial plan is appropriate, followed by sporadic maintenance appointments. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy

CBT is essentially talking therapy. A therapist will help you to talk about what you are going through, but you’ll also learn skills to combat your feelings.

This form of therapy falls in the realms of psychology and assists in teaching patients how to problem-solve. It helps change old ways of thinking that are not serving you, and replace them with more positive and helpful thought patterns. 

Having a better grip on what is going on can help you see matters more clearly, and thus deal with what is making you depressed. 

See your GP

If you find yourself battling feelings of depression, do not wait until the situation spirals out of control. It’s possible to find a treatment that’s best for you without prescribing to over-the-counter medication. 

See a mental health professional so you can find out the best course of action for your individual needs. One of these alternatives may suit you best.


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Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.

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