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5 Ways to Deal with Depression that Your Doctor Won't Tell You About

Updated on September 23, 2013

Top 5 Alternative Therapies for Treating Depression

I have had depression sufferers in my immediate family, and I know how devastating one person's illness can be to both themselves and the people who love them. In researching different options to antidepressants, I learned there are a number of effective ways to improve mood without medication.

Anti-depressant medication works well for many but it can be hit and miss. Doctors don't yet understand exactly why some medication works for some people and not others, so it often takes three or more trials of different anti-depressants to find one which works for you with minimal side effects. Many people don't like the idea of needing medication for extended periods or they find the side effects difficult to live with.

There are options in the form of a number of alternative therapies which have shown positive results with mild to moderate depression, and which can even help ease the symptoms of severe depression. Here I have listed 5 natural therapies that can help with depression.

Image credit: Theeradech Sanin /

Do You Know Anyone with Depression? - In the US, about 1 in 10 people suffer from depression.

Think about all your friends, family and colleagues. How many might be dealing with depression every day?

Is someone you know affected by depression?

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Kickstart your Happiness - Get Your Life Back on Track

I learned more about the alternative therapies options when I co-authored this book about natural alternatives to treating depression. 'Be Depression Free Naturally' explores a range of alternative therapies for depression. It's now available on Amazon as an e-book for Kindle.

BE DEPRESSION FREE NATURALLY: How to Stop Depression Forever And Kickstart Your Happiness
BE DEPRESSION FREE NATURALLY: How to Stop Depression Forever And Kickstart Your Happiness

What depression isWhy natural therapies can work faster and more effectively than counselling or anti-depressants aloneWhat mode of treatment will work best for youHow natural remedies can be used independently or to boost counselling results and balance your emotionsHow stress contributes to depression and what you can do about it

How natural therapies can be used to release you from the grip of depression and bring back your sense of joy

Sam Beau patrick
Sam Beau patrick

1. Naturopathy

Sam Beau Patrick is Australia's Health Queen. With 10 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, 25 years as a nurse and 10 years of running her own health clinic, Sam is featured regularly on TV talking about issues such as nutrition, toxicity, hormones and women's health. She has helped thousands of women all around the world through her books, television and radio appearances, webinars, seminars and health and wellness programs.

In Be Depression Free Naturally, Sam explains that naturopathy is a combination of things. It's anything that you use that's natural, including bodywork, chiropractic work, homeopathy, massage or acupuncture. But generally, the naturopathic practitioner mostly uses herbal medicine, vitamin and nutritional remedies and a holistic approach.

A naturopath will ask you questions to begin the process of identifying symptoms first, and then the causes behind the symptoms. They may use blood tests, food allergy tests, hair analysis or saliva testing.

They consider not only the traditional "what's going on in your head" approach of the medical model of depression, but the naturopath will look for the cause behind those symptoms first.

A naturopath works with you to see that there are no underlying nutritional deficiencies causing the lowered mood. After that they will look for things like adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances and burnout.

Some naturopathic treatments for depression, such as homeopathy, can work very rapidly, even within hours. Other adjustments such as increasing iron levels might take a a few days, and iodine treatments for an underactive thyroid could see results in around 2 weeks.

Image Credit: © Sam Beau Patrick

Sam says:

Natural medicine has evolved from hand-me-down remedies.

If I ask people to rate their mood, I want to see everyone in the world aiming for eight to nine, ten out of ten days.

Kylie Ryan - Hypnotherapist
Kylie Ryan - Hypnotherapist

2. Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapist Kylie Ryan has Jedi mind skills and she is committed to helping women transform themselves from the inside out, shedding mental and emotional baggage with her My Mind Coach program.

Kylie explains that hypnotherapy is one way to use our natural trance state to change our behaviours and patterns. It is about using a level of imaginative awareness that allows us to tap into our unconscious mind to alter emotional responses.

Contrary to the Hollywood version of hypnosis, no one can hypnotise you and make you do anything which would contradict your own values or morals.

Kylie likens the two levels of awareness involved in clinical hypnotherapy to the awareness you have when you're reading a really good fiction book. The first is that you're aware of wherever you are, sitting reading the book, and you may be aware of hearing what's going on around you, and if you look up you can see what's going on - there's that level of awareness.

There's also that second level where, in your mind, you're experiencing through your imagination the world of the book. You are engaged in the story-telling. But you remain largely aware of your environment, the hypnotherapist's voice, and your responses.

Hypnotherapy allows you to go into that second level of awareness for a therapeutic purpose. The hypnotherapist uses the trance state to help a person make a shift in their life that they want to make, such as releasing emotions and creating positive internal suggestions for healing and for happiness. The natural trance state feels relaxed and normal but you are aware of, and able to respond to, your environment.

Hypnosis can be a very effective tool for people who are really suffering with depression because it can help align those maps and begin to change those behaviours or beliefs that are actually causing the depression. Hypnotherapy works particularly well for people who tend to get very caught up in movies or books and who have a really good imagination, because they're most easily able to follow those suggestions and create that inner trance.

Kylie has a special offer on her website: Your free 2 hour training on how to overcome sabotage with self-love.

Image Credit: Kylie Ryan

Kylie says:

You as a person are not broken or sick or unfixable.

You can actually are not this disease.

Nikola Ellis - Yoga Teacher
Nikola Ellis - Yoga Teacher

3. Yoga

Nikola Ellis is the founder and principal teacher at Adore Yoga where she specialises in yoga therapy and teacher training.

In the yoga chapter of Be Depression Free Naturally, Nikola tells us that yoga is a combination of body movements and breathing techniques that work together to make you feel better, bring some balance, bring some physical benefits, but the ancient yoga texts describe it as more of a system of psychology that uses the body and breath to access the mind.

The idea is that when we shut down all the mind talk, we experience ourselves as we really are without all those preconceptions and layers that skew our perspective and make us unhappy.

Yoga says our fundamental nature is to be happy and we just cover that up with layers of stuff and that through doing the yoga practices, we get to uncover all that and come back to our natural state which is bliss, pure bliss.

All yoga where you get on a mat and make a shape is hatha. It's a very therapeutically focused yoga. It aims to offer each student what they need as an individual rather than having a set system that just gets replicated regardless of where you are and who you're teaching.

Absolutely everybody can do yoga. There is a very popular teacher in the US called Matthew Sanford and he's a paraplegic. So there's no physical or mental condition that would preclude some aspect of yoga. Everyone can do it.

A good teacher is going to tailor a yoga practice to meet the needs of each person, which is why it's always best to start with a private class with an experienced teacher.

A regular, personalised practice can have immediate results. So, if you're doing the right yoga for you, you can find that within the space of a single session some symptoms such as anxiety can be relieved, your mood can be enhanced and issues such as insomnia can be improved.

Have you always wanted to try yoga but are not sure where to start?

Or would you like a simple program to try at home?

Check out Adore Yoga's website and download their FREE ebook "Yoga Bliss" with simple yoga poses you can do at home.

Image Credit: Nikola Ellis

Nikola says:

Yoga says our fundamental nature is to be happy.

Take it easy, relax. It should be fun.

Have you ever?

Have you ever tried any of these therapies?

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Sharon White
Sharon White

4. Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Sharon White is an NLP trainer and the founder of Global Healing Exchange.

She explains that NLP is the study of human excellence and communication. It provides us with the tools to run our own brain and manage our own emotions and behaviours. NLP helps us discover the patterns that make people's minds and bodies work together and to change them into something more useful or desirable. It's about moving from present state to desired state, about thinking outside of the box, or thinking about thinking.

We have 2,000,000, bits of information coming into our minds every second. As humans we can't comprehend that amount of information, so when the information comes in it goes into a filter and when filtered, this becomes our reality. The filter is made up of our values and our beliefs, and information from our parents and peers, information from our culture and religions and many other things. NLP is to change those filters to something that is more relevant to our lives right now. NLP uses the power of the subconscious mind to make lasting change.

When we have found the root cause of the negative behaviour or emotion, we will then use techniques that clear these negative emotions and replace them with new positive behaviours. Once the patterns of the past have changed, it changes our behaviour now and also in the future.

NLP is different from other therapies, where you have to go for an hour a week for years. For some clients, one or two sessions is enough to make positive changes, you can clear a negative emotion very fast. It really depends on each client, the structure of their subconscious minds and how they store the emotions of the past.

NLP can work for anybody if they want to change. NLP is a "do with" not "do to" process. The client will only change if and when they want to.

Anybody in this world can change if they want to. It depends on how much they are willing to put up with the pain they are in. When the pain is too much, change will happen.

Image Credit: © Sharon: Global Healing Exchange

Sharon says:

By changing the way we think, feel and speak about things we get changes in our lives.

Changing our beliefs can be one of the most powerful experiences ever.

Belinda Morris
Belinda Morris

5. Kinesiology

Belinda Morris is kinesiologist at Well Mind, Well Body. Kinesiology is a holistic therapy that started out of chiropractic in the 1960s. It crossed over with the philosophies of traditional Chinese medicine, so it's an "east meets west therapy".

In Be Depression Free Naturally, Belinda explains that there are a couple of key principles in kinesiology. The first one is that the body heals itself. We believe the body has innate healing ability and that it will go forth and fix itself of any illness or disease, as long as we give it the proper opportunity to.

Secondly, we work with the knowledge that the body is actually an energetic form, so we work using the principles of Chinese medicine, that energy flows through meridians in our body. We also believe that health and wellness is holistic, that is, that all aspects of health are treated equally. Physical, mental, emotional, psychological, biochemical or nutritional factors go into making us a well-functioning body.

A kinesiology treatment is called a balance. A kinesiologist uses muscle testing to identify blockages, stressors or imbalances. With muscle testing we're basically treating the brain as a biocomputer, which is accessed by muscle testing.

Muscle testing is difficult to explain. It's where our muscles are controlled by our central nervous system, which is

actually controlled by our self conscious brain. When we test a muscle we look for the integrity of the connection and the communication between our central nervous system and the muscle. So if I ask you to hold your muscle out and just hold it there, you'll be able to hold it, because your brain can send the message to that muscle to say, "Hold the muscle there".

However, if I ask you to hold your muscle out and then I introduce a stress, or a potential stress, and that might be a thought or a substance, all of a sudden you might find that you cannot hold your muscle, and that is because the

subconscious brain cannot do two things at once. So that's essentially how muscle testing works in identifying stress in the body. We then find out what is needed to restore that balance, and again we use a lot of different ways of doing that.

Because kinesiology is holistic, we look at identifying the causes, the feelings and the symptoms that are causing the symptoms of depression. Then we can use muscle testing to identify what we need to do to remove them.

These things are typically going to be on an emotional, a mental, a physical, a bio-chemical or even a spiritual level. It can really help a depression sufferer because it is unique to the individual.

Belinda says:

Your symptoms might be similar to other sufferers of depression but the reasons for them might be quite different.

Kinesiology can really help a depression sufferer because it actually gives you back the power. It gives a sense of control.

Discover More for Yourself

Download it now and get free links to audio files and bonus chapters in the Kindle e-book

BE DEPRESSION FREE NATURALLY: How to Stop Depression Forever And Kickstart Your Happiness
BE DEPRESSION FREE NATURALLY: How to Stop Depression Forever And Kickstart Your Happiness

An introduction to alternative therapies and how they can help alleviate depression.

If you are curious about trying different therapies but don't know which one will work for you, you can find out how different therapies work, and for whom they work best, right here.


Have you had any experience with alternative therapies? - Are you curious about trying any in particular, even if it's for general well-being?

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    • canhealth profile image


      4 years ago

      I have a friend who struggles with depression. I think all of these alternative therapies are worth a try! Thanks for sharing. :)

    • PatioLawnGardens profile image


      4 years ago

      Your lens is a worthwhile contribution to educating folk on the alternatives for depression in an over medicated society. Sometimes I think medication is the panacea provided because people don't have the time to sit down and talk through people's problems with them.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      @Nikola Ellis I agree yoga is a true method to help with depression at any age. Most importantly yoga whether physical or emotional allows one to focus and release. After sessions of yoga one is strengthened by breath and calmness. Soothed as well as alive!

    • FrancesWrites profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @Rangoon House: They are much more holistic, and from the evidence of the practitioners, can often help rapidly , compared with most prescription medicines which take a minimum of 2 weeks before an improvement is seen.

    • Rangoon House profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      These alternatives seem so much gentler and hopefully as effective as prescribed medicines.

    • FrancesWrites profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @changrcoacher: Thank you :) I did read your bio - you've got it all worked out! Sharon does a great job of explaining how NLP works for depression, and she's suffered from it herself so she speaks from experience. I did a weekend intro course in NLP (just to get an understanding of the general principles) and it's interesting to see how simple practical changes can create an effect. Even with regard to the book's title, which originally used the phrase "Beat Depression". We changed it to 'Be Depression Free Naturally' on the suggestion of an NLP coach because it was more positive and healing-focused. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wonderful Lens! Timely, informative and right on! I'll put it on some of mine. If you read my bio, you'll see I did the Master's trac in NLP. It is a broad spectrum therapy for Mind/Body/Spirit. It is also very successfully utilized in business.

    • FrancesWrites profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @johnrh1: Thank you, it's interesting to learn about how certain methods will create a change of state. A lot of people seem to find NLP works for depression by shifting the established thought patterns. Sharon White covers a number of examples of the ways NLP works in the book and you're right, the adjustment is intriguing.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very informative and interesting lens. I liked NLP, especially, the whole deprogramming of the thought,emotions and what not, was quite intriguing :)

    • takkhisa profile image


      5 years ago

      What a nice lens! I am surprised to read this lens, it is informative, no doubt about that :)

    • ghoststorylover profile image


      5 years ago

      @FrancesWrites: I have "The Secret" to be thankful for realizing that my thoughts influence my mood. :) And I look forward to knowing more about NLP. :)

    • FrancesWrites profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @ghoststorylover: I know that feeling ghoststorylover. If my cat wakes me up in the night I indulge in a grouchy spell first thing in the morning. :) It's great that you are already aware of the way your thoughts influence your mood and that your intent is to be happier. Sharon White says that NLP is something anyone can do so it could be worth looking into further :)

    • ghoststorylover profile image


      5 years ago

      Yes, I'm very interested in NLP. This is something that I think would be perfect for me. This morning I woke up in a terrible mood. Maybe it was the dogs that woke me up all night to go to the bathroom, or them barking. I don't know. I'm starting to feel better now as the day goes on, but sometimes I'm in a "don't talk to me" mood (like this morning). I hate feeling that way, I know that I was thinking bad thoughts either subconsciously or consciously, because of the way I was feeling. I just want my subconscious to be happy so my conscious self can be happier.

    • FrancesWrites profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Susan Zutautas: Good thinking Susan, it's good to have options. I have a friend in Canada who used some of this info to improve her mood after suffering seasonal depression with the long NS winters. Last winter was her best in years!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      No but I will bookmark your lens so that I can refer back to it if I ever need to look at the alternatives you've listed here. Hopefully I won't need to but I have suffered from depression before..

    • FrancesWrites profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Meganhere: Good to know it worked for you :) Well done on the exam!

    • Meganhere profile image


      5 years ago

      Hypnotherapy. It was a really interesting experience. I get very nervous during exams and I was about to sit one for my shorthand writer's licence. The hypnotherapy really helped. I stayed calm and passed the exam with no handshaking.


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