Alternatives to Antidepressants

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 by No Comments
Alternatives to Antidepressants

I have been on and off various antidepressants since I was in my early 20s. I have nothing against antidepressants in theory, but they can be really frustrating because of the potential side effects.

Antidepressants have been linked to weight gain, sexual difficulties, headaches, nausea, and certain types of birth defects when they are taken by women who are pregnant or become pregnant while on medication. For me, the weight gain and the headaches have been the motivation behind seeking alternative treatments.

One of the most popular alternative treatments is dietary modification.Your diet can play a role in more than just how much you weigh.

When you are depressed, you are likely to make poor food choices. Instead of eating fresh fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains, you might be tempted to overindulge in sweets and fast food because you don’t feel up to preparing proper meals or you crave emotional comfort foods.

This can lead to nutrient deficiencies that can affect your mood and behavior. For example, some studies have shown that low levels of vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, and folate may be linked to depression. Good food sources of B vitamins include fish, meat, poultry, and eggs. Fortified breakfast cereals can also be a helpful way of making sure you’re getting enough of these vitamins in your diet.

While getting the vitamins you need from your diet is the best choice, supplements can sometimes be helpful. Your healthcare provider can recommend a quality brand of vitamin supplements that best meets all of your nutritional needs.

I am by no means perfect when it comes to watching what I eat, but I have noticed that I do feel better when I try to eat right and remember to take vitamins on a regular basis. For now, the change is enough to keep me from needing medication.

I would not suggest going off antidepressants without talking to your doctor, but dietary changes might be something worth discussing if you’ve been troubled by the side effects of your medication.

Have you tried any alternatives to antidepressants? If so, do you feel like they have been helpful to you?

Photo credit: LittleJack via morgueFile

Posted in: Mommy Stuff
Dana Hinders

Dana Hinders lives in Iowa with her husband and son. She has been a freelance writer since shortly after earning her degree in journalism from The University of Iowa in 2003. She writes extensively about parenting, crafts, and creative ways to save money. Visit her at

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