advertisement

Effectiveness of Alternative Treatments for Depression

Which alternative treatments work for depression? A succinct summary of the scientific evidence on alternative depression treatments.

Which alternative treatments work for depression? A succinct summary of the scientific evidence.

Most people with depression try to manage the illness themselves. Some of these self-management approaches have undergone some reasonable scientific testing and can therefore be tried, especially when the depression is not severe or life-threatening.

  • Some common strategies like drinking more alcohol or smoking cannabis are clearly unhelpful.

  • Other people try alternative therapies or adjusting their life-cycle. Some activities like increased physical activity or attention to sleep patterns are clearly beneficial.

  • Herbal remedies for depression and other alternative health practices may be either helpful or harmful.

  • Some of these approaches have undergone some reasonable scientific testing and can therefore be tried, especially when the depression is not severe or life-threatening. Treatments in the 'poor evidence' box below need more studies to see whether they are helpful or not.

TABLE 1. EVIDENCE-BASE OF DIFFERENT ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS FOR DEPRESSION

Good Evidence Some Evidence Poor Evidence
- St John's Wort
- Physical exercise
- Self-help books involving cognitive behavior therapy
- Light therapy (for winter depression)
- Acupuncture
- Light therapy (for non-seasonal depression)
- Massage therapy
- Negative air ionisation (for winter depression)
- Relaxation therapy
- SAMe (S-Adenosylmethionine)*
- Folate
- Yoga breathing exercises
- Ginseng
- Lemon balm
- Painkillers
- Vervain#
- Colour therapy
- Prayer
- Chocolate

*SAMe is an amino acid that occurs naturally in cells. # Vervain is a traditional herbal remedy for depression consisting of the aerial parts of a flowering plant.
Source: Jorm AF, Christensen H, Griffiths KM, Rodgers B. Effectiveness of complementary and self-help treatments for depression. MJA 2002; 176 Suppl
May 20: p. S84-96.


 


next: Full Description of all Alternative Treatments for Depression

APA Reference
Writer, H. (2008, October 24). Effectiveness of Alternative Treatments for Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/alternative-mental-health/depression-alternative/effectiveness-of-alternative-treatments-for-depression

Last Updated: July 11, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info