15 Ways To Combat Depression Without Medication
Did you know that depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions? According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) statistical analysis, almost 3.8% of the world population is currently dealing with depression.
Some of the main features of depression can be described as prolonged and extreme sadness, loneliness, not enjoying things you once enjoyed, secluding yourself from the rest, etc. Depression can make you experience the worst days of your life and that’s why it’s very important to get your depression some professional attention.
How is Depression Treated?
The psychiatric sciences have advanced so much that any type of depression or related mental health condition can be treated with a promising recovery rate. Depressive patients usually get prescribed some medication along with psychotherapy to reduce the intensity of their symptoms.
There are quite a few people who are apprehensive about popping medicine on a daily basis. If you are one of them, this blog is just for you. Today we will be talking about different ways you can overcome depression without medication.
Now before we begin, there’s a very important thing that I need to share with you. All the tips that will be shared with you in this blog are not to be considered an alternative to medication. These are more like coping or management strategies.
How To Overcome Depression Without Medication?
Is overcoming depression without medication even possible? Yes, it definitely is! Your course of treatment completely depends on the severity of your depressive symptoms. There is a high possibility your psychiatrist might not even prescribe medicines, they might put you up just for psychotherapy.
Before we get on to how to defeat depression without medication, we need to understand,
What do depression medications really do?
We have some chemicals or neurotransmitters in our brain, namely serotonin, and dopamine which take care of our mood and emotions. The medicines your doctor prescribes bring back the balance in your brain, the make your brain produce enough neurotransmitters to make you feel better again. Therefore, medicines play an important role in improving your condition.
Not all depressive patients are given medications, some do well just with therapy. Medications have only one job, to increase the activity of neurotransmitters serotonin & melatonin. Now, if you can manage to increase the level of serotonin through some natural remedy or some lifestyle changes, why not, depression can be defeated without medication.
Let’s have a look at different ways you can overcome depression without medication;
1. Have a proper sleep routine
Sleep is a very important aspect of our health and our mood is directly proportional to the quantity and quality of sleep. If you want to overcome depression without medication, the first thing you need to do is fix your sleep schedule. You should sleep at least 7-8 hours in the night, you can take an additional 30 to 45 minutes nap in the afternoon as well.
2. Say ‘NO’ to caffeine
According to various pieces of research, it has been found that excessive caffeine intake interferes with sleep and is capable of declining the quality of sleep. Anything that has caffeine like chocolates, tea or coffee, etc should be avoided. If you really enjoy caffeine you can take a tiny amount of it in the morning but never in the late hours of the day.
3. Get some Vitamin D
There have been studies that prove that a decline in vitamin D in the body can lead to depression or intensify already existing symptoms of depression. So to avoid that from happening you will have to get some Vitamin D. An adequate amount of Vitamin D will definitely help in reducing depression so get yourself some sunshine and all that is rich in vitamin D.
4. Can opt for natural antidepressants
If you are afraid of the side effects that antidepressants or other medications for depression might have on you, you can try natural antidepressants like Omega-3 or some other dietary supplements like adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), and 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) might help you with your depression. Always consult your doctor before taking any natural medication or dietary supplement.
5. Try meditation
Sometimes getting in touch with your inner self can really clear things in your mind. The thoughts you might be obsessing over might just not matter once you truly get to know yourself better. There is ample proof in the form of studies, surveys, and research that state that meditating regularly can help in improving the symptoms of depression.
Also read: 7 Best Yoga Asanas To Help Cure Depression
6. Get moving (exercise regularly)
Moving your body by exercising regularly is said to improve depression. This is so because when your body is exposed to physical exercise you tend to release stress and worry out of the body making you feel comfortable. Exercise is also said to increase serotonin levels in your body so you must go out and exercise, even a 30-45 minute walk will do.
7. Avoid intoxication at any cost
Alcohol or drug use can worsen your condition. Many people drink alcohol or do drugs because they think it makes them feel good but it actually just covers your true feelings until it’s the next morning. Make sure you keep your hands off alcohol, it will just give you a temporary sense of joy and will leave you even more miserable the next day.
8. Eat good food
Having a balanced diet is very important to keep yourself mentally as well as physically fit. If you are confused about what you should include in your diet, you should get in touch with a nutritionist and get a proper meal plan. Our food has a direct impact on our mood, therefore eat good food so that your mood remains good as well. You can include things like fish, nuts, and probiotics; these will fulfill the nutrient deficiencies that could have contributed to your depressive symptoms.
9. Challenge your negative thoughts
One of the things that trouble you the most in depression is your negative thoughts. It is very important to challenge your negative thoughts because they tend to make you believe things that aren’t really true. All you have to do is recognize negative thinking and then reframe your thoughts. Believe in yourself and know that you are not worthless, you’re unique in your own way.
10. Make your living space lively
Living in a dark and gloomy place will only make you feel even more depressed. Add lights and greenery to your room/house. Make it more airly and add good scents to your house. You can even put on some good music when you sit alone.
11.Change Your Thoughts
While it does sound a bit optimistic, keeping a positive attitude and mindset can truly help change your mood and fight depression. Your thoughts can highly influence your mood, so when you find yourself grappling with negative thoughts, seek help from a professional or reach out to your support system.
Among the many therapy approaches and interventions to help fight depression, CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) is the one that stands out. This approach can help you recognize your negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones.
12.Try New Things
Depression can often drain your enthusiasm and energy, leaving you feeling listless and unable to pursue what you love. Having a list of creative activities that can bring a sense of novelty can help you beat depression. It might take some self-urging to start new things, but once you do, you’ll engage in more pleasurable activities.
And who knows!? Maybe one day, you might stumble upon an activity that fuels your curiosity and boosts your motivation. These little things can help you break the monotony of depression and give you something new to look forward to.
13.Tend to Your Social Life
When you’re struggling with depression, staying isolated from everyone else seems like a good option, but you don’t have to stay alone and fight depression. You can arrange family and friends gathering, join a social club, or enroll in a group activity to remain socially active and connected.
You can also try to;
- Join a support group
- Set a routine
- Volunteer, etc.
14.Get a Handle on Stress
The more stressed you feel the more cortisol your body will release. Higher cortisol levels can increase your risk of depression. To control the stress you feel, you can engage in stress management exercises such as time management, meditation, etc. to manage your stress and cortisol levels.
You can add these practices to your everyday routine to keep stress levels at bay;
- Practice deep breathing exercises
- Engage in regular exercising
- Try progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
15.Tap Into Your Spirituality
Another way to treat depression without medication is to seek spiritual growth. We often forget but our spirit, mind, and body are interconnected and any harm to one can affect the others. To connect with your inner power, you can join a spiritual house and incorporate rituals like meditation, gratitude, and other activities that elevate your mood and spiritual well-being into your routine.
Various research studies on Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy state that this could be an effective approach to treating depression and avoiding future relapse. Here’s how you can begin a simple meditation exercise;
- Sit in a comfortable place in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes and breathe naturally.
- Direct your attention to the sensations of your body as you breathe.
- When you find your thoughts wandering, gently bring your focus back to the sensations in your body or your breath.
That’s All Folks!
I hope you know how to overcome depression without medications. These tips will work best for people who suffer from mild depression. These tips on ways to combat depression without medications are alternatives for medications but can help in speeding up the recovery process.
If you wish to reduce medicinal intake, consult your doctor before quitting medications. If they suggest that you can do without medications only then you should completely stop taking them. You can try these ways to overcome depression without medication even if you are still taking antidepressants, they just help in improving depressive symptoms.
Thanks for reading.
Take care and stay safe.