Depression is now one of the most diagnosed diseases in the world. It’s currently estimated that one in ten people are on some form of anti-depressant. By contrast, there seems to be little public understanding of the nature of depression or the treatments available.
According to Black Dog Institute1, a number of alternative treatment options are available. These include nutritional supplements, activities and holistic treatments.
- Omega-3 — some studies suggest that omega-3 oils can play a role in mental health and have anti-depressant properties. Omega-3 is found in fish, such salmon, tuna, mackerel and swordfish. Flaxseed oil is also high in omega-3. If you don’t consume these in your diet, both fish oil and flaxseed oil supplements are available.
- St John’s wort is a perennial herb that has been used to treat anxiety and depression since ancient times. Some studies suggest that St John’s wort can decrease mild, non-melancholic depression but should not be used to treat major depression.
- Yoga can be a helpful practice for reducing stress and anxiety, which can trigger depression. Several studies have shown that yoga breathing exercises are beneficial for reducing depression.
- Light therapy involves being exposed to bright light for around a half an hour each day. The bright light from conventional fluorescent lamps or bright sunlight. This treatment has been shown to benefit people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which occurs in seasons with less daylight. Although more common in higher latitudes in the northern hemisphere, the condition exists in Australia as well.
- Acupuncture is a traditional technique first practised in China and Japan. The treatment involves stimulating specific areas of the body using small needles. Some studies have shown that acupuncture can play a role in alleviating depression.
If you do suffer from mild depression, these alternative therapies may help. It’s also effective to talk about it — whether it’s with a counsellor, psychologist or friend. Depression grows in the dark. Open the blinds and let some light on to the situation.
Note: This article is not meant to serve as medical advice. Please see a medical professional if you have questions about alternative therapies for treating depression.