Natural Treatment for Depression & Major Depressive Disorder

There is hope for depression. There are clinically backed, integrative solutions for depression, and our passion is to give you access to the best research and solutions available. Did you know that your gut impacts your mood? Did you know that 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut? Did you know that you can change your genetic predisposition to depression through quick and simple strategies that you can do at home? You can heal from depression. Click below to learn about testing, integrative supplements, integrative herbs, and other treatments for depression.

What is depression? 
Depression is a serious medical illness that has affected over 17.5 million people in the United States. Everyone feels “sad” at one time or another, however, those who suffer from depression, or major depressive disorder endure sometimes devastating and serious symptoms. These symptoms can impact the person’s ability to work, and take care of themselves and their families.

What are the different types of depression?
There are several forms of depressive disorders, including but not limited to: Major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (formerly called dysthymic disorder), postpartum depression, and bipolar disorder.

What causes depression?
There are hundreds of causes of depression, including but not limited to trauma (post-traumatic stress disorder, micro-trauma), genetics, sleep dysfunction, as well as other biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

How do you treat depression? Natural Treatments for Depression
There are many ways to treat depression, and it is absolutely essential to find a treatment that works for you. While The standard of care is psychiatric medications and psychotherapy, there are many additional effective treatments from counseling to botanical medicine, homeopathy, and other forms of integrative medicine for depression.


Dr. Cain’s Top Depression Solutions: Integrative treatments for depression
Identify the root cause of your symptoms and address them. 
In order to treat the root cause of your symptoms, we have to identify what is out of balance. To learn about testing for depression, click here.

Lifestyle

6 Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle:

  1. Regular sleep and wake times: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep, ideally you will pick a time to go to bed and a time to wake. If you find that you are exhausted all day and wide awake at night you may be suffering from a cortisol imbalance. Ask your doctor to run a cortisol x3, or you may also do the at-home ASI Test. If the ASI test reveals you have low cortisol in the morning and high cortisol at night you might take an adrenal supplement (my favorite is Vital Adapt – 2 dropperfuls) every morning, and Cortisol Manager 1-3 caps at night.
  2. Limit social media to under 30 minutes per day, you might even consider a “screen vacation”
  3. Eat nutritious foods: To learn more, get Dr. Cain’s book, The Gut Psychology Program! This book is jam-packed with ideas and recommendations regarding the gut-brain axis.
  4. Eat your meals sitting down, no more food-on-the-go. Try to “mindful” as you eat, noticing flavors, textures, scents, and tastes.
  5. Move your body: Exercise is a huge part of healing the body. Exercise regulates the autonomic nervous system, delivers blood and nutrients to your brain and body, and promotes detoxification of artifacts that may be causing a burden on your well being.
  6. Detox pathological relationships: Re-examine your relationships for those who build you up nurture and support you, and for those who tear you down, drain you, and steal your joy. Nurture the good, and cut out the bad.

Change Your Mindset

  • Set Goals: Give yourself realistic and attainable goals. Even if that means your main goal is to get up and make yourself a healthy breakfast. Adding structure is a huge part of getting your life back on track.
  • Note your wins: Many of us are experts at seeing what we wish we would have done better, but what’s equally important is giving notice to our wins. Wins can be anything from brushing our teeth, to performing well in the workplace. I like to recommend my patients get a big poster board and hang it on the wall, and for every positive thing you do/ think/ or say, write it down on that poster board as a win. You might just find that you’re a whole lot more amazing than you originally believed.
  • Take charge of your thoughts: The way you wire it is going to be the way you will fire it. This basically means that as you think, and have experiences, you are making connections in your brain. Just as if you walk a certain path frequently, the terrain will change, thinking a certain way will change your brain. If you typically think negative thoughts then your brain is wired towards those thoughts. In order to change your brain, you have to mindfully and with intention, think the types of thoughts that you want to become wired into your life. Research has shown that initially, we may feel a little worse as we make this change– just like picking up exercise after a long period of time not exercising– but after a while, the new method of thinking becomes more natural. It takes between 90-120 days of consistency, so don’t give up, you can do it!
  • Counseling: Counseling has been shown in research to be as effective if not more effective than prescription medications. Finding a practitioner who you feel safe with can make a drastic difference in helping you achieve your wellness goals. Another great side-effect of counseling is that it actually can address the root cause and guide you towards true healing. My favorite type of counseling is EMDR. To learn about EMDR, check out this article by Paul Krauss, MA, of Health For Life

Dr. Cain’s Favorite Supplements for Depression: Natural Supplements for Depression
(Check with your doctor before using any supplements as these may interact with your medications)

  • 5HTP: This is a precursor to serotonin and can powerfully boost the mood and in many people is a great alternative to antidepressants.
  • L-Tyrosine: This is a natural way to boost the feel-feel good neurotransmitter dopamine.
  • B-Vitamins: Avoid folic acid and use methylfolate and avoid cyanocobalamin and use methylcobalamin. Dr. Cain has a video about a condition called MTHFR which is a condition that is caused by a genetic mutation in our ability to methylate. This can cause treatment-resistant depression as well as many other symptoms.