Natural Remedies for Depression & Anxiety

Many of my clients state that they would much prefer to avoid the use of medications and would rather natural remedies in dealing with their conditions. There are good reasons not to use medication if possible, given the plethora of side effects and the unstudied possibilities of long-term effects. Generally, if an individual is experiencing severe, such as suicidal thoughts, extensive sleeplessness or inability to function on a daily basis, I suggest that the individual talk with a physician about a trial of a prescription medication. These definitely have a place, and in some cases, there is better living through chemistry!

That said, I believe that we are a pill-popping society, and the media influences us to believe that taking medication should just be a part of what we do. Billions are made in the pharmaceutical industry. Much information comes from the advertising done by the drug companies themselves, and of course, they do stand to profit.

Regarding depression

  • Exercise of 30 min. per day can do much to alleviate depression – endorphins, the body’s natural pleasure producing chemicals, are released during exercise.
    • I suggest that a person get started with just five minutes if that is all he or she can manage. Then add a minute per day, increase the pace, and vary the pace. I sometimes suggest a family member go along, to act as a motivating companion. Also, exposure to sunlight every day can help a great deal.
  • Omega three fatty acids. These can be found in fish oil capsules or flax capsules, and they can be found at health food stores or at your local pharmacy.
  • Other things to look at are inositol, 5 HTP, St. John’s Wort and Sam-E. Research these further, or discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Essential oils and Bach Flower remedies also have some depression-combatting properties.

Regarding anxiety

  • Exercise and lifestyle issues
  • Calming teas that you can locate on your supermarket shelves. Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla tea is one such
  • Valerian is another herbal remedy that can be found at your pharmacy or health foods store. Lavender is an essential oil that has calming effects. One can place a few drops of this oil on a handkerchief and inhale it throughout the day, or place a few drops on a pillow at night. Besides, it smells heavenly!

In my opinion, learning self-hypnosis or meditative techniques, such as transcendental meditation, mindfulness, or yoga, or tai chi. The reason why these can be so effective is that one is directing thought to take a person to a state that is the opposite of the fight-flight stress response that is a constant underpinning of life for a person suffering from anxiety. Also, the energy psychology techniques described elsewhere on this site can combat feelings of anxiety.

I believe that knowledge is power. Research some of these ideas for yourself in books or on the internet.