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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are some natural alternatives for treating depression

    I am after some information about natural alternatives to antidepressants for treating depression.

    I have both anxiety and depression, had no success with antidepressants, only worsening symptoms that didn't ease once removed from the medications. Have recently had two grandparents pass away within four months of each other and my depression is a lot worse than it ever has been. I refuse to take antidepressants due to complications that could arise from my other medications and I am after information regarding the natural options. Especially any aromatherapy oil combinations that have been successful or any vitamins.

    GP has refused to treat as I will not take the antidepressant he ordered. Was ordered to take a dose stronger than the normal dosage recommended and even had a chemist shocked that a doctor prescribed that high of a level.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Maybe it would help if you found a new GP. The beyondblue site ( is searchable for GPs who have experience in working with clients who have mental health issues.

    To my knowledge there is no evidence that "natural options" (aromatherapy, etc) are of benefit to people who are coping with depression.
    However, non-pharmaceutical approaches (eg, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) are often highly effective. Perhaps it would help if you found a clinical psychologist with experience of using these approaches with his/her clients?

    All the best.

  • 1



    HealthShare Member

    I am 72 and live with brain damage from surgical removal of a tumour on my brain stem 14 years ago and one of the many things the damage left me with is depression and I am unable to take prescription antidepressants .. for me the side effects were intolerable.   I have found SAMe to be extremely effective with no side effects that I'm aware of - and the depression is just gone. I feel like ‘me’.  I don't feel drugged - I just feel better.  I am also emotionally appropriate to situations - full range of emotions.  I have to take the recommended (for mood support)  1600mg per day which is usually 4 - 400mg tablets daily so it gets expensive but it works for me.

  • Darren Stops

    Counsellor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    For assistance with issues including: anxiety & depression, stress, coping & adjustment, personality & relationships sleep & health issues, separation, loss and trauma, post traumatic … View Profile

    Simon has articulated the research evidence and his advice is pretty spot on.  Get a second medical opinion, perhaps even a Psychiatric or Specialist Physician review - as you mention other medications. Remember you are experiencing grief on top of everything else and that takes time and space, and sometimes working through, if it raises other issues.

    All interventions with good proven efficacy are listed in Beyond Blue guidelines. Non-medication interventions include CBT, IPT, and variations thereof.  Other proven interventions for depression include regular exercise (particularly weight training), and bright light therapy for SAD.

    I would suggest a medical review /second opinion and referral to a Psychologist as a starting point.

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