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Complementary Medicine

Are There Any Herbal Products or Diet That Would Help With Depression?

01/27/2004

Question:

I need some advice. I have been on anti-depressants for over three years. I took Luvox, 100 mg once a day. I stopped taking my Luvox in November and started to take Wellbutrin, 100mg once a day for two months and then 150mg once a day for the last two months. I have had so many bad side effects from the Wellbutrin that (with the help of my Doctor) I have decided to stop all anti-depressants to see how I do without any. My question is, do you have any advice of what I can do to help me to continue my life without any anti-depressants? I eat very healthy and I exercise daily. If I begin to find it too tough, can you suggest any over the counter supplements, like St John`s Wort, or maybe some kinds of herbal products or even suggestions on adding certain foods to my diet? Thank you.

Answer:

The best alternative method for depression which has been studied is regular exercise. Continue what you`re doing.

St. John`s Wort hasn't proven beneficial (as compared to placebo) in two very large randomized controlled trials in the last two years. It also interacts with a whole host of medicines (like birth control pills and antihistamines), lowering their effectiveness. I can`t recommend it.

A B-Complex vitamin and plenty of dietary anti-oxidants may help. There have been a few positive studies on massotherapy, music therapy, and acupuncture for depression. Either of those may be worth a trial. Of course, I would also recommend psychotherapy if you are not already doing so.

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Response by:

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University