Depression is a mood disorder in which people experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, and loss of interest for long periods of time. It is a fairly common condition in the United States.
As many as 1 in 13 Americans from the age 12 and older report symptoms of depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source.
Depression can lead to many symptoms, some of which are:
loss of interest in normal activities feeling sad, unhappy, or empty changes in appetite feeling worthless or guilty anxiety or restlessness difficulty sleeping, insomnia, or sleeping too much irrational reactions or angry outbursts difficulty concentrating or making decisions thoughts of suicide or death unexplained pain.
Doctors don’t yet entirely understand what causes depression. Several factors may contribute, including:
Physical brain differences: People with depression may have physical changes in their brains.
Chemical imbalances: Your brain’s functions are carefully controlled by a delicate balance of chemicals and neurotransmitters. If these chemicals change, you may develop symptoms of depression.
Hormone changes: Changes in hormones may cause symptoms of depression. Hormones may change because of thyroid problems, menopause, or another condition.
Life changes: The loss of a loved one, the end of a job or a relationship, financial stress, or trauma may trigger depression.
Genes: If a close relative has been diagnosed with depression, you may have a genetic predisposition to developing depression as well.
Possibilities for natural relief
Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medicines and counseling or therapy. Antidepressant medicines can help resolve underlying physical problems, such as a chemical imbalance.
Counseling can help you address issues and situations that might be contributing to depression, such as life changes.
Though traditional treatments can be effective, you may also be interested in alternative options. Natural remedies for depression are the focus of ongoing research.
Researchers have studied numerous herbs, supplements, and vitamins to determine if they can benefit people with depression. The results are mixed. Some alternative treatments hold a lot of promise.
However, not every alternative treatment passes the rigorous tests of clinical trials. For that reason, many medical professionals may hesitate in their recommendation or support for these treatments.
In this guide, learn about the most widely studied alternative treatments for depression. Find out which ones show the best results, how they work, and how they’re produced.