Besides diet and exercise, that is. I've been slowly weaning myself off of a SSRI, but I'm finding the process frustrating and difficult. I was wondering if anyone had herbs (St. John's Wort, Kava, et al.) or lifestyle changes they've used in dealing with psychological disorders.
Oh, boy, have I!!
First off, I like to get a little bit of exercise every day - even if it's just walking for twenty minutes or doing some paleo squats - that helps a bit. I also got a full-spectrum light bulb (it was like, $25.00) and I stare at it for a count of sixty seconds once a day, and I keep the house well lit.
For supplements, I use 5HTP, Tyrosine and sometime I use SAMe. SAMe increases the amount of receptor sites for serotonin. Do not use SAMe without supervision from a professional if you are bipolar, as it can trigger a state of mania. 5HTP is the direct precursor to serotonin. Tyrosine helps with my crippling lethargy. Tyrosine is needed to create adrenaline, noradrenaline and epinephrine, which are considered to be motivating. I am useless without it.
Amino acids should be taken on an empty stomach away from protein meals - protein meals will contain amino acids (obviously) and they will compete for absorption - one of the reasons we may be deficient in the amino acids that keep us mentally balanced and keep our moods balanced are said to be caused by the other amino acids in our protein meals which interfere with their absoption.
Finally I recommend that your read The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, and/or Optimum Nutrition For The Mind by Patrick Holford.
Finally, take this test to see what nutritional supplements are right for your type of chemical imbalance. This really helped me.
Emily Deans has some good posts about depression, from a paleo standpoint.
Also would recommend Nora Gedgaudas's book Primal Body - Primal Mind, she suffered from depression for years and seems to have completely overcome it.
Vitamin D supplements got rid of 95% of the severe depression I had for 2 years. I live in Hawaii so I normally "get a lot of sun" but the supplements helped unbelievably. I recommend one in an extra virgin olive oil, like Nordic Naturals (best in my opinion)
My observations and personal experience with bipolar depression and bipolar mania has resulted in the conclusion that a high percentage fat diet, with an emphasis on omega-3, is vital to establishing stable healthy brain function in someone experiencing cognitive or mood issues.
Meditation is also demonstrated to be capable of increasing specific neurotransmitter levels. Daily exposure to sunlight can also improve mood. Clinically, there are several studies showing that regular and aerobic exercise can be comparable in efficacy to pharmaceutical antidepressants. These can be found via google/NIH/pubmed.
Generally for depression I suggest avoiding herbal treatments as these can be comparable to pharmaceuticals in action. If supplementation is felt necessary, supplement amino acids instead. As foods they will be utilized as needed and discarded if not. L-tryptophan is a good place to start. There is an abundance of research available on this searching online.
I was on 100 mg of Zoloft for a few years. I weaned off it when I changed my diet, and now any increased depression or anxiety can be linked directly to either eating gluten or not getting enough fat. I almost never eat gluten, so usually, when I start feeling bad, I eat a big meal full of fatty pork, butter, coconut oil, etc, and my mood picks up quickly. I also have to be careful about sleeping enough.
Another thing I have discovered is that although decreased libido was one of the worst side effects of the Zoloft for me, increasing how often I have sex has proven to be one of the best ways to combat depression.
Conclusion: Gluten: bad. Fat and sex: good.
Seek after Jesus Christ. Read the Bible. Pray.
Get in community. Be with people. Love on people.
Eat/drink healthy - lower sugar intake, lower caffeine intake, up carbs, and drink water (half your weight in ounces daily)
Get adequate restful sleep. Try to get to bed @ 10:00pm - 10:30pm for best restful sleep.
Exercise - get outside, walk, and be amazed at God's creation.
When feeling depressed or anxious - take organic Niacin (vitamin B3). But read and follow the link first.
Let me know if it helps and cures your anxiety/depression!
No direct personal experience but my adult son, who had depression, had a very low Vitamin D level. Raising his level of Vitamin D seemed to help, so having your level checked might be a good idea..
I have anxiety problems and sometimes the occational blue week. I took cipralex for a year while learning CBT = Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to deal with the anxiety. Then I stopped taking the cipralex cold turkey, because my prescription ran out...which I do not recomend. But I was left with a very powerful tool. CBT has helped me stay in control of difficult situations and I have even used it to stop freaking out about needles when having blood drawn.
Aside from that, I will start to get depressed and anxious in about a week or two if I stop taking my fish liver oil for some reason (out of oil, forget or just lazy). So Omega 3 and vit D is a huge relief for me, as well as no alcohol. I went on a 6 month depression rollercoaster a few years back after partying for two weekends in a row and getting relatively intoxicated. I have to be very careful not to get drunk because it is a major trigger for me, and others I have realized.
I have yet to work on sleep and exercise...hmm.
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