Antidepressant AlternativeMassapequa, NY
An antidepressant alternative is for anyone who does not react favorably to traditional methods or for those who would rather avoid taking them. Antidepressants are typically one of the first treatment options recommended to those dealing with depression. They are psychiatric drugs that are prescribed by doctors and they have been proven to be an effective way to combat depression. Antidepressants are typically combined with other treatments like talk therapy to give patients the best results possible.
Antidepressants can also be used to treat other health conditions like anxiety, long-term pain, or bulimia.
Unfortunately, not all patients react well to antidepressants. Some patients do not notice any improvements to their symptoms, while others have severe – even potentially life-threatening side effects, which results in a need for an antidepressant alternative.
TMS and other antidepressant alternatives
People who experience negative side effects from using antidepressants, those who do not get a significant reduction to their symptoms, or people who would rather avoid taking antidepressants for their depression have several alternatives to choose from. Some of the more popular alternatives for antidepressants include:
1. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
This is a non-invasive treatment for depression that involves using electromagnetic induction to stimulate the part of the brain that controls mood with magnetic pulses. It involves placing insulated coils on the patient’s scalp and sending pulses past the skull and into the brain with them.
The pulses generated by these coils are similar to the pulses used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in strength and type. Delivering such pulses to the brain in rapid succession is called repetitive TMS. It can lead to changes in brain activity.
Repetitive TMS is a safe procedure that rarely leads to any side effects. Studies show it can be an effective way to treat depression when antidepressants have failed or lead to dangerous side effects. The treatment is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it has been used to treat depression for over 12 years.
TMS treatments are typically administered in a clinic or doctor’s office and the procedure involves getting a series of treatments. The average patient’s treatment schedule involves getting treatment five times a week for up to seven weeks.
Before each patient’s treatment, the doctor will identify the best spots to place magnets on the patient’s head. The patient might be given earplugs to reduce the clicking sounds they hear during each round of stimulation.
An electromagnetic coil is placed on the patient’s head and turned on and off repeatedly to send pulses into their brain. The magnetic energy being delivered into the patient’s brain is increased until it causes their hands or fingers to twitch. This helps to determine the right dose for each patient. Follow-up treatments will be much shorter once this threshold has been established.
Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy is typically recommended for anyone dealing with depression. Most of the patient’s sessions will likely focus on cognitive behavioral therapy. Such sessions provide patients with the tools they need to avoid triggers that bring on their depression and educates them on how to cope with triggers.
A person immersing themselves in whatever activity they are currently performing can help to reduce the symptoms of depression. Cognitive therapy is an antidepressant alternative that can help to teach patients how to avoid negative thoughts and work through their symptoms.
4. Creative therapy
Some patients can reduce the symptoms of depression by expressing themselves artistically through therapy sessions that involve creative activities like drama, clay work, or painting. Creative outlets are a great antidepressant alternative that can help patients to express themselves better, particularly those who might have difficulty expressing how they feel. It teaches patients how to focus their brains on other things besides the negative feelings triggered by their depression.
Ecotherapy is another antidepressant alternative and it involves performing outdoor activities that might improve the patient’s mood like walking, cycling through a trail, or starting a gardening project.
6. Alternative therapy
Some patients respond well to alternative therapies like acupuncture, reflexology, or aromatherapy. The ingredients in some alternative herbal treatments can interact with some medications including antidepressants, so patients should talk to their doctor before starting any alternative therapy.
7. Peer support
A person being able to share stories about their depression with others going through the same helps to manage their condition. The additional support they get from their peers can be the extra push they need to put depression behind them.
8. Lifestyle changes
Living a healthier lifestyle can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. It starts with a balanced and nutritious diet that gives the body all the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Drinking at least eight cups of water can also help to improve a person’s mental health.
People who have a challenging relationship with food should talk to their therapist about treatment options.
Increasing activity levels also helps to manage the symptoms of depression. Physical activity helps to keep people grounded in reality, increases energy levels, and improves mood. Doctors recommend exercising at least 30 minutes each day to get the most benefits.
Getting enough sleep each night helps to reduce the symptoms of depression. This can be challenging for some people, but it can have a significant impact on their symptoms. Conversely, some types of depression can be caused by not getting enough sleep at night due to sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
Lithium can be an effective way to treat depression when antidepressants are not effective. Each patient’s dosage needs to be carefully controlled since too much lithium in the bloodstream is toxic. A low-salt diet also increases the toxicity of lithium. Patients who are prescribed lithium will have to take blood tests every three months to monitor their lithium levels.
The side effects of lithium include diarrhea, metallic taste in the mouth, dry mouth, and mild arm shaking. For most people, these side effects go away as their body adjusts to the drug.
There are many ways to treat depression
Antidepressants can be an effective way to treat depression for many people, but there are other options for those who react poorly to them and those who do not want to take them.
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