Natural Alternatives To Antidepressants|Is There Such An Option?
Antidepressants are widely used in practice today. Chances are, you or someone you know, have taken one already. If you have ever taken one, or are currently taking one, you may have gotten relief from your symptoms for a period of time. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t last. The medication doesn’t change the underlying cause for depression, it only changes your brain’s biochemistry, which can change how you feel for a short period of time. There are many causes for depression and anxiety and medications only address a small facet of that. Unfortunately, rather than looking at and correcting the underlying cause, many people jump right to antidepressants and suffer for the next decade wondering why they continue to decline in other areas of their health. Others are rightfully concerned about the long-term side effects of these medications. We don’t blame you.
Every drug has side effects. Antidepressants can cause symptoms such as weight gain, loss of libido, gas, bloating, insomnia and lack of motivation. This can be so disruptive to someone’s life that it prompts many to get off the medication. Many people will try to quit cold turkey, but we don’t recommend this. Or others may be a part of the 50% of people who try an antidepressant who find that it doesn’t help at all and causes more symptoms.
Let face facts: some people don’t respond well to medications for depression or anxiety. Or you may not like the side effects of these medications. And any drug that affects brain chemistry can also affect it in a negative way. The package inserts list that there is a potential for suicidal ideation or clinical worsening.
There are different classifications of antidepressants and a commonly prescribed type is the SSRI, or the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. The SSRI’s, for instance, act on a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate mood, but it also plays a role in digestion, pain, sleep, mental clarity, and other bodily functions.
SSRI antidepressants cause a wide range of side effects, including:
- Decreased Sex Drive,
- Dry Mouth,
Research shows SSRI’s, like Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Lexapro, cause the space between your nerves where they communicate (called the synapse) to be flooded by serotonin. Your body, in its wisdom, then shuts down some of the serotonin receptors in it. Then, when you try to wean yourself off the medication, your body has fewer receptors and less serotonin. The result? You feel terrible.
Watch Dr Hagmeyers Video titled “5 Steps to Naturally Overcome Your Anxiety and Depression”
Neuroscientist Steven Hyman wroteInitiation and Adaptation: A Paradigm for Understanding Psychotropic Drugs,in which he explains how this happens. According to Dr. Hyman, when you take a medication that affects your brain chemistry, your brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations to the drug. Once this happens your brain operates in a manner that is “both qualitatively and quantitatively different than normal.”Fortunately, there is good news. Healthcare is responding to the concept of isolating illness into neatly packaged diagnoses. The field of Functional Medicine is emerging and this takes the approach of identifying why your body is deficient in these neurotransmitters and giving the body what it needs to rebuild its own neurotransmitters to rebalance your system. For example, did you know that 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut? So gut health is extremely important for your brain function.
Therefore, a good starting place is proper testing.
Depression, anxiety and problems with focus rarely originate from the brain alone. Many factors, such as neuroinflammation, hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal infections, adrenal dysfunction, food sensitivities, leaky gut and many other conditions play a key role in issues with your brain. Proper testing allows us to understand what systems of the body are imbalanced and gives us a starting point for treatment.
One frequently used testing modality is testing your levels of Adrenal hormones. This simple saliva test measures the actual levels of your Cortisol, DHEA, Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen, DHT hormones so we can use very targeted nutrient support to restore them to balance as well as several natural substances which recent studies have shown help rebuild your serotonin reserve, restoring your receptors to normal function.
If you have already tried supplements like licorice, B vitamins, SAMe or amino acids like 5-HTP and you have NOT seen an improvement, it doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a natural approach. It may mean you need to dig deeper, identify the underlying metabolic cause and look at the bigger picture to rebalance your system rather than to try to eliminate the symptom.
Our Natural Anxiety and Depression Program is a Natural Treatment Approach that focuses on many of the areas often ignored by traditional medicine. This approach can complement traditional treatments for depression and anxiety.
Our office utilizes Nutritional Supplements, Dietary Modifications, Nutritional Counseling, Advanced Testing, Hormone and Endocrine Support Formulas, and Lifestyle Guidance to help get to and correct the underlying root metabolic imbalances.
- To Schedule a Free 15-minute Phone Consult to see if this program is right for you, fill out our online questionnaire.
- Take a moment to fill out our Depression and Anxiety Recovery Questionnaire. In the comment box, let us know the best time of day to contact you. One of our New Patient Coordinators will contact you with the next available new patient opening within 24-48 hours.
- Still have questions? Our Free 15 minute personalized Phone consult is a great place to start. Help us know a little more about you by filling out the phone consult questionnaire.