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Alternatives to anti-depressants?

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mainlyinpain posted 3/13/2014 16:09 PM

I have a real fear of going on these again. Ten years ago I had a bad reaction to one that caused bad hives all over and my right leg turned red and ballooned up to twice its size.
Took years for the redness at the bottom of my leg to fade.
The other ones before Wellbutrin caused intense itching and sexual issues (no pleasure). I just all around hated being on them.

My IC/MC told me he thinks I need to see a psych for them as my current pain is worse than any I have ever had before. I found soul crushing information that basically puts a lie to my whole last ten years. And have no support from WS. Yesterday I was crying in bed in the morning and he swore and told me he is not feeling well and I was f-n selfish. (he is dealing with an infection in his arm).

But even before that was said I have been feeling such crushing pain it has been intolerable. Before this was bad enough, but I got through. I know I need help, I can't survive this pain. I hate saying stuff like that because I feel weak, I feel pathetic, but this is soul crushing pain and I cry all day and night. I feel pains in my chest, my stomach, my abdomen.

I was hoping for the IC to recommend some homeopathic treatment or hypnosis or something more natural if it exists.
Has any one had any success treating what I guess is clinical depression, really bad, with natural remedies?

craig2001 posted 3/13/2014 16:21 PM

I have read that SAM-e is a great alternative for depression without any of the side effects of depression medications. SAM-e is also good for other medial problems.

Here are some studies you can read about this:

Compared to placebo, treatment with SAMe was associated with an improvement of approximately 6 points in the score of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. (This degree of improvement is clinically significant and is equivalent to a partial response to treatment.)from:

I hope this helps.

PhantomLimb posted 3/13/2014 16:33 PM

I didn't want to go on them for a variety of reasons, even though I was diagnosed with PTSD, had lost too much weight, etc.

It was hell, but the way I handled it was through a combo of, I hate to say it, diet and exercise. I did really low resistance type stuff (like walking, yoga) and I ate a very, very light diet that was essentially vegetarian, but with very little sugar and carbs (so no candy, no bread, not a lot of fruit). I ate some fish, but prepared very simply. Very light portions. And sleep was mostly impossible, so I tried to supplement by doing things like taking long, hot mineral baths and that sort of thing.

Took about 6-9 months of just being consistent with that and I'd say I'm back to probably 90-95% of what my mood was before DDay now. I'm also sleeping normally again. And I've started to eat more normally... but I find that I feel better in general when I still keep things light.

I tried SAM-E and something else (St. Somebody). I didn't notice a difference. I did like to drink Yogi Bedtime tea at night to calm me down. I did start taking an iron supplement to make sure I had energy (given my lack of food and sleep), occasionally protein smoothies for a boost. And I started using magnesium oil after I bathed and it relaxed my muscles.


[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 4:34 PM, March 13th (Thursday)]

craig2001 posted 3/13/2014 16:41 PM

Phantom, you are thinking of St. John's Wort. I have read that it doesn't work as well as SAM-e. A word of warning, no one should take prescription depression medication along with SAM-e or St. Johns Wort.

Your suggestions are great. A healthy lite diet, cutting out as much processed food and fast food and red meat as possible can help. Also quitting caffeine and sugar helps.

Exercising like yoga, tai chi and walking can naturally elevate the mood.

lonelylost posted 3/13/2014 16:51 PM

First hugs (((mainlyinpain)))
I'm sorry you're going through this.

Next, while I don't have the fix-all answer, here is what helped for me:

Exercise even when you don't feel like it. Walking counts.
Cut all sugar out of your diet. It reeks havoc on immune system and brain.
Drink tons of water and take vitamins. (Omega 3's, Multi, etc)
Connect with your faith. Life has a bigger meaning than our significant others.
Meditation/Prayer calms me way down.
Talk to friends. Talk to family. Ask for help.
Lavender (Bath & Body makes a good therapy lotion, I believe it's called: Sleep)

Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to grieve. I know it's painful but you will get though this and you will be so strong.

mainlyinpain posted 3/13/2014 18:42 PM

Thank you all for your help, I knew you would have great ideas.
The Sam-e sounds promising, am ordering some today. I am going to read the studies first to figure out how much to start with. Thanks craig for those.
I am doing good with my diet....mostly natural and healthy if I feel like eating otherwise a protein shake. Will try cutting out caffeine too, thought that caffeine actually would help, maybe give energy. But will incorporate more water instead.

The exercise thing....I know it works. It really helped me after first Dday ten years ago. I just have not been able to ...since last October. I say I am going to and I just look at the weights or treadmill and feel such heaviness in my limbs I can't pick one up. This is where I was hoping I could try something to start lifting me up even a little so I could force myself to exercise. Cause i would just cry that I could not even do exercise.
The Lavender bath and body sounds nice, lonely. I have been talking to family more but my contact left me feeling that I was sounding desperate, unleashing so much pain I felt like I was losing control of myself and I need to get a handle on me.

Anyway, makes me feel better just to read all these suggestions and have some hope they will work for me.


PhantomLimb posted 3/13/2014 19:11 PM

The caffeine point is a major one! I should have thought of that.

My job involves a lot of writing and late nights, so I used to be a pretty bad coffee addict. I'll put it this way, for xmas once, my family bought me stock in Starbucks as a joke.

I gave it up cold turkey about a year and a half ago and switched to green tea. I can tell you that green tea doesn't give you the same immediate pay off as coffee-- but it is a more stable and sustained boost. I basically just chug green tea and water all day.

My fave green tea is Yogi super antioxidant. I don't know what they put in that stuff, but it helps me not cry over missing my latte.

FixYou71 posted 3/13/2014 20:46 PM

You may want to do some of your own research on 5-HTP and DLPA
Definitely take B vitamins!!!
I can totally relate. I really do not want to go back on the antidepressants I was on for so many years.
Obviously what others said about exercise though when you're that depressed it can seem like exercise would be impossible. (I mean, if you can't even get out of bed....)

solus sto posted 3/13/2014 21:45 PM

Keep in mind that supplements like sam-e, St John's wort, and kava, though "natural," are drugs as sure as any pharmaceutical, and as such have contraindications, side effects, and drug interactions. Natural is not synonymous with safe.

Additionally, supplements are not as well regulated as pharmaceuticals, so quality and dosing is more variable. Be sure to get top quality. And talk with your do for to be sure you're not choosing something that is contraindicated for you.

craig2001 posted 3/13/2014 22:40 PM

B complex is good for nerves and mental ability. To replace coffee is another Yogi tea called Ginseng Vitality.

It wakes me up nicely and helps me concentrate with work, without any jitters and does not affect my sleep. Plus ginseng is supposed to help the immune system.

Another article about SAM-e in Psychiatric Times might be of interest:

Here is a good article about dosage:

Always get a name brand for supplements and usually stay away from discount store brands. Read as much as you can about SAM-e and brands. It seems different brands affect people differently.

kate0421 posted 3/13/2014 23:37 PM

I'm not sure what state you are from and I'm sure there will be alot of people who completely disagree, but have you considered medical marijuana? Studies have shown that in low doses it can increase the serotonin levels. I am deathly afraid of anti - depressants and watched my mom go through horrible side effects, not to mention it's 15 years later and she still struggles. I have come very close to getting on them, but the feelings never lasted more than a couple days. I was just throwing it out there. hopefully I won't be eaten alive on SI....

Want2help posted 3/14/2014 01:55 AM

I'm currently studying under an MD (medical doctor) who is also a mind/body health researcher (specializing in how emotional health affects physical health, and vice versa). She swears that research has proved that a clean diet (no sugar, minimal grains, no processed food), coupled with exercise and some kind of meditation or yoga, along with COUNSELING has been proven to be more effective than any medications.

Worth a try, no?

[This message edited by Want2help at 1:56 AM, March 14th (Friday)]

FixYou71 posted 3/14/2014 13:26 PM

Forgot to doc suggested lavender oil...a few dabs on your chest, enough for you to smell it throughout the day. It's supposed to help uplift your mood.

LivingLearning posted 3/15/2014 22:00 PM

Check out the book "The Depression Cure" by Stephen Ilardi. It is a fantastic book and focuses on non-drug options. When you are done with that one, check out "The Happiness Trap" by Russ Harris. The second book goes very in depth into one section that is discussed in the first book, that really helps with rewiring your brain per se (not via drugs, just by helping you to change how you look at things).

I really believe that drugs should not be taken unless all of the methods listed in the above two books are used first. If you want to know why and about all of the things I have learned about researching the topic, feel free to message me.

LivingLearning posted 3/15/2014 22:10 PM

Also, your WS should be there for you. He needs to understand this is not something you can just get over or be upset at you for having. You can need each other and take care of each other at the same time. Make each other the reason to fight together to beat your individual issues.

Make a list (don't start long), just one or two things that you want to accomplish every day. Do those things and over time add more to that list when you feel you are ready. Force yourself to open up the blinds and get some sunlight. But don't give up on yourself. You can do this! You can do that one thing on your list today.

Have your WS read this: It will help him understand more about how to help you.

brooke4 posted 3/16/2014 07:57 AM

There has been a significant amount of research lately showing that mindfulness and meditation are extremely beneficial. I think both take some real commitment, but can be a great alternative.

While I do know that some people have great results with SAM-e and St. John's Wort, I would tend to proceed cautiously if you've had bad reactions to prescription pharmaceuticals.

Two articles that I found interesting --

And, gently, it might also help if your H wasn't being such an ass?


Leia posted 3/16/2014 14:24 PM

I asked my Dr. about trying St. John's Wort, and she said that the active ingredient in that is the same as in some anti-depressants. If you've had a bad reaction before, I'd be very cautious about this one since you've had a reaction before. Be sure to cross reference the ingredients!

SadInNC posted 3/16/2014 21:54 PM

I don't know about alternates to anti-depressants but I will agree with the vitamin B complex and vitamin B-12. I understand your hesitation about starting on an anti-depressant. You've had some bad reactions to them in the past. They aren't for everybody, I've had side effects, also.

I liked the idea that someone gave about giving yourself one or two goals everyday. This is a great idea for days when you can't function. Life will get better! Hugs.


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