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    Alternative Treatments for Depression

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    Some people with depression prefer non-drug approaches to help them manage their condition and feel better. Natural treatments and home remedies may be good for milder forms of depression. But there's no hard evidence that they're effective for moderate to severe depression.

    Talk to your doctor about which complementary and alternative treatments might work for you.

    What Is an Alternative Therapy?

    A health treatment that isn't considered standard Western medical practice is referred to as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). These can be anything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes, including:

    Herbal Supplements

    St. John's wort is a common herbal supplement suggested for depression. It's been used for medical purposes in other parts of the world for thousands of years. But research findings have been mixed. It seems to work best for mild to moderate depression, not the more severe forms.

    5-HTP and SAMe are other supplements that have been studied for depression.

    Don't take a supplement unless you've talked to your doctor about it. They could interact with your medicines, and they can be dangerous for people with certain conditions. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and potential benefits. That way, you can make an informed decision.

    Meditation and Yoga

    Meditation is sometimes described as an altered state of consciousness. It can help you relax, which helps with your depression.

    Yoga is part meditation, with specific body poses and breathing techniques. It also helps you relax. Practices vary, and some aren't recommended for people with certain medical conditions. Some evidence suggests yoga may be good for depression, too, but the evidence isn't conclusive.

    Massage Therapy

    Most touch therapies are based on the idea that the mind and body are interconnected; your physical health and emotional well-being are closely linked. The belief is that when your body is relaxed, your mind can add to better health, less depression, and overall wellness.

    There are also reports that mind/body exercises, used with various types of bodywork, can boost feelings of calmness.

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