3 Drug-Free Ways To Tackle Depression

Posted on: 27 April 2016

If you're battling depression, you'll know how isolating and debilitating it can be. This is an illness that can affect your self-esteem and energy, but sufferers are increasingly looking for drug-free ways to get out from under its grip in a bid to avoid the potential side-effects associated with antidepressant medication, such as drowsiness, insomnia and irritability. Here's an overview of three drug-free ways to tackle depression:

Exercise Daily

When you're experiencing depression, exercising is unlikely to be top of your to-do list, but exercise has been shown to improve symptoms in those experiencing a mild to moderate depressive episode. You don't have to start an intensive workout regime, but getting your body moving every day will encourage the release of endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones that can produce long-term changes to your mood when consistently stimulated. Try committing to going for a walk around your neighbourhood each day, or do a fitness DVD in the comfort of your own home, and monitor your symptoms for a few weeks to establish if regular exercise is helping you.

Focus On Nutrition

You can use food to bolster your mental health, and there are three key nutrients that have been linked to the reduction of symptoms in those with depression. These nutrients are as follows:

  • Vitamin B12, which can be found in beef, dairy and eggs
  • Folic acid, which can be found in brown rice, legumes and oranges
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in chia seeds, avocado and oily fish

See A Counsellor

As a talking therapy, counselling can provide you with a safe space to explore what triggered your depression. Identifying and addressing the cause can help you overcome your symptoms, build resilience and put coping strategies in place. Counsellors are bound by a professional code of confidentiality, and they will listen to you and work with you as you wade through your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They will support you to make positive changes that move you toward your goals. For example, if you've stopped going out, they might ask you to venture out of the house and do something small you once enjoyed, such as going for a coffee, before your next appointment with them. During the next appointment, you can work through how you felt when you did the agreed task, and this can help both you and your counsellor assess your progress and highlight areas that need further work.

Sometimes prescription medication is needed to treat depression, so if you've tried these suggestions and things haven't improved, or if you've had any thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, see your GP immediately. If you're having thoughts of suicide, you can contact Lifeline for support. For more information, you may also want to contact a local wellness clinic in your area.