The internet is overflowing with natural remedies for depression but not all are the wonder cures they claim to be.
Major depressive disorder is a serious medical condition that won’t be cured by St. John’s wort or saffron, alone. While many natural remedies for depression are supported by some evidence, few have the backing of serious scientific studies. What’s more, little is often said of the potential side effects and complications of herbal and dietary supplements. Fortunately, not all natural interventions elicit so much reason for caution.
In 2016, Anup Sharma, MD, Ph.D., a Neuropsychiatry research fellow in the department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania led a randomized, controlled pilot study concerning the potential impact of breathing-based meditation on depression. Specifically, the researchers sought to determine whether Sudarshan Kriya yoga could alleviate severe depression in people who did not fully respond to antidepressant treatments.
Study participants were divided into two groups: medicated patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who took part in breathing exercises and medicated patients who did not. After two months, the former group reduced its mean Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score by several points while the control group showed no change.
Sharma’s study signifies a major breakthrough in treating major depressive disorder symptoms. Of the 41 million U.S. adults who take antidepressants, more than 50% do not fully respond. Supplementary treatment is often prescribed in such cases, but improvement is limited. Research indicates that up to 30% of those with MDD struggle to find relief from any kind of treatment.
The discovery that Sudarshan Kriya yoga measurably improves major depressive disorder symptoms is a ray of hope. While not a replacement for antidepressant medication, the practice proves to be an effective add-on. This is big news and, luckily, it is not the only innovation offering new options to long-time sufferers of MDD.
Ketamine infusion therapy is another breakthrough treatment providing lasting relief to patients who have failed to find solutions elsewhere.
According to a 2019 study, a single ketamine infusion had “a robust and rapid effect on depression, which was seen immediately after the administration of ketamine and sustained at the end of 1 month.” Similar studies have shown a full course of treatment to provide sustained relief from major depressive disorder symptoms even in patients who have otherwise found their condition to be untreatable.
Innovations in treating MDD such as Sudarshan Kriya yoga and ketamine infusion therapy are good news not only for those who fail to find solutions in traditional treatment but for those worried about the side effects of antidepressants.
While neither natural remedies for depression nor ketamine are designed to replace traditional drugs, both provide the potential to reconfigure your treatment plan in a way that relieves the side effects of antidepressants.
To learn more about finding lasting and reliable relief from MDD, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation at Vitalitas Denver—a ketamine clinic staffed by a qualified and experienced full suite of dedicated medical professionals.