Tags: Depression | manage | anxiety | depression | drugs

Drug-Free Ways to Manage Anxiety, Depression

Drug-Free Ways to Manage Anxiety, Depression
(Olena Golubova/Dreamstime)

Friday, 02 November 2018 02:50 PM

Are you struggling with anxiety and/or depression and considering medication? While anti-depressants can be life-saving, there are a handful of drug-free ways to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. Here are six alternatives to medication.

1. Consider the Source

It’s important to differentiate between a biochemical imbalance that may be causing anxiety and/or depression and a situational rough patch in your life, clinical psychologist Amanda Rafkin, M. Ed tells Newsmax. Issues like infidelity, financial strain or job loss, can be situational triggers for depression and anxiety. It’s important, says Rafkin, to try and determine the root cause of your feelings.

2. Sweat It Out

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Katie Hurley says daily exercise can help lower stress, increase relaxation and decrease symptoms of depression.

According to the American Psychological Association, exercise is a cost-effective treatment for depression and may help in the treatment of other mental disorders. A meta-analysis found that exercise was a beneficial antidepressant both immediately and over the long term. The study found that although all populations benefited from regular exercise, older adults reaped the greatest mental health benefits.

3. Watch Your Diet

Rafkin tells Newsmax that your diet can have either a positive or negative impact on feelings of depression or anxiety. Beverages with caffeine, like soda, coffee and black tea can increase anxious feelings and reduce the feel good chemical serotonin. Some practitioners recommend the supplement L-Tyrosine as a substitute to caffeine.

“A well balanced diet full of whole foods, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, healthy fats and proteins may increase the brain’s serotonin levels and prevent blood sugar spikes,” Rafkin says. This stabilization may prevent mood swings.

4. Try a Supplement

Herbal extracts and supplements are gaining popularity as natural alternatives to prescription medications for anxiety and depression. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that natural supplement SAMe may be an alternative treatment for depression. Dr. J. Craig Nelson, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and author of an editorial accompanying the study, said the results need to be replicated in a larger test group. He notes that SAMe is not covered by insurance companies and may cost more than co-payments for generic antidepressants.

5. Meditate or Try Yoga

Research shows that meditation and yoga can have a profound impact on anxiety and depression. Meditation and yoga can boost serotonin levels, calm an anxious mind and shift your attention away from negative thoughts. Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that 30-40 minutes of meditation a day can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Rafkin says both meditation and yoga are both considered clinical treatments that are empirically validated.

6. Talk It Through

Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist can play an important role in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Having someone who you can trust to listen to you, without judgment, can be profoundly important in the treatment of mental illness. In some cases, a psychiatrist or therapist may say that the depression or anxiety is rooted in a biochemical imbalance. If that’s the case, don’t beat yourself up over it. Prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications still serve an important function and may get you on the road to feeling better.

© 2018 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

   
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Are you struggling with anxiety and/or depression and considering medication? While anti-depressants can be life-saving, there are a handful of drug-free ways to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. Here are six alternatives to medication.
manage, anxiety, depression, drugs
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2018-50-02
Friday, 02 November 2018 02:50 PM
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