I was reading an online article from Dr. Richard Podell, who is a clinical professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, on alterantive treatments for depression, anxiety and stress. Dr. Podell is a specialist in stress disorders, ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia.
Dr. Podell believes that by adding alternative treatments to standard treatments the patient will receive better results and show an overall improvement. This is what he has to say about combining natural and standard therapies:
Our approach adds to standard therapies the often over-looked elements of natural healing – including nutrition, herbal, and mind-body therapies. These add holistic support for the bodys natural healing systems, which help resist and overcome a broad range of both physical and mental health problems, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, and stress.
Dr. Podell also says that the mind and body function together, not separately, as many people think.
The unstated assumption of most conventional strategies is that mind and body function separately: Each organ of the body is largely on its own. However, current science shows that just the opposite is true.
The multiple systems of mind and body communicate and interact with each other in a complex holistic web of biochemical, hormonal, and metabolic relationships. Even such distant organs as the brain, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, immune system, gut, and liver interact, and in important ways function effectively as one.
Our functional medicine approach views all systems of the mind and body as part of one large, interactive web. This implies that any obstacle to healing that affects one part of the system feeds through and harms all others. Any improvement we can make in any part is also likely to feed through this web and improve your well-being as a whole.
Dr. Podell provides a great list of alternative treatments for depression, anxiety and stress. As always, never try any of these treatments without first consulting with your physician.
Alternativetreatments for depression – nutrients
- Inositol – Intracellular second mechanism [messenger within nerve cells]
- S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) – Improves methylation pathways (see later section on Brain Biochemistry.)
- Fish Oil – Omega-3 essential fatty acid
- Tyrosine – Amino acid body uses to make norepinephrine and dopamine
- Eliminate wheat gluten – May apply if blood antibody test is abnormal
- Anti-hypoglycemia style diet – Mood stabilizing effect
- Folic Acid – Improves methylation pathways
- Vitamin B-12 – Improves methylation pathways
- Tryptophan – Amino acid. Body uses to make serotonin
- L-Carnitine – Improves mitochondrial energy metabolism
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1) – May help energy pathways
- Allergy elimination diet – May be helpful for some
Alternative treatments for depression – herbs & hormones
- St. Johns Wort – Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor
- Estrogen – Often helps in perimenopause; usually does not help during menopause
- Testosterone – Possibly helpful for both men and women
- Thyroid, especially T3 form – Double blind studies show improvement even if thyroid blood tests are normal
- DHEA – Adrenal gland hormone
Alternative anxiety treatments – these have scientific studies supporting their use
- Valerian root
- Kava herb
- Rhodiola herb
- Appropriate exercise (not too much, not too little)
- Hypoglycemia diet
- “Food allergy” elimination diet
- Candida yeast overgrowth theory (speculative)
Stress management techniques and treatments
- Relaxation skills
- Cognitive behavior treatment (CBT)