Depression is a serious illness that causes isolation and withdrawal and sometimes thoughts of suicide. It’s widely treated today with anti-depressant medications that are highly effective, but can have serious side effects.
Prescribed anti-depressants are very expensive and those who lack health coverage may be tempted to try alternative depression treatments. CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) treatments such as herbal remedies have been proven effective in treating depression, but can sometimes be more harmful than helpful.
Many people who suffer from depression have vitamin and mineral deficiencies and when corrected, the depression lessens and the person feels better almost immediately. Fortunately, there is little danger from taking vitamin supplements that help depression, but large amounts of anything can cause serious problems and imbalances to your system.
Below are some common alternative treatments for depression and the dangers of taking them:
- St. John’s Wort – This herb has had much success in treating depression, but it can be dangerous to certain people. It’s a drug that’s regulated in some countries, but not in the United States because it’s considered a “natural” product.St. John’s Wort can be dangerous when it blocks the molecule, “tyramine.” Tyramine affects blood pressure and when blocked, blood pressure can increase and a stroke may occur.
- Ginkgo Biloba – If you’re taking blood thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin, interaction problems could result from taking Ginkgo Biloba. You might also suffer an allergic reaction if you’re also allergic to mango, sumac, poison ivy and oak.
- Ginsing – This is an herb that could be dangerous if mixed with prescriptions drugs and caffeine drinks such as coffee.
You should always exercise caution when taking any alternative treatment. Remember, even if a product is labeled “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to take – especially if you’re taking prescription medications or have a condition that might react negatively to the treatment.