Depression: Treatments for Depression (cont.)

Other treatments involve powerful magnets to change the levels of brain chemicals. None of these approaches have been approved for people with depression. But they may be in the future.

Alternative Treatments

Some people use herbs, supplements, and other alternative therapies for depression. However, none of these approaches has been proven to work. Herbs and supplements -- like St. John's Wort -- can have side effects and cause interactions with other medicines. Never start taking an herb or supplement without talking to your doctor first.

Other unproven alternative treatments -- like acupuncture, hypnosis, and meditation -- may help some people with their symptoms. Since they have few risks, you might want to try them, provided that your health care provider says it's OK.


Published April 2005.

Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD.

SOURCES: American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Major Depression," 2000. Fochtmann, L. and Gelenberg, A. Guideline Watch: Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Major Depressive Disorder, 2nd Edition. Focus, Winter 2005: vol 3: pp 34-42. Compton M. "Depression and Bipolar Disorder," ACP Medicine, Psychiatry II, 2003. DeRubeis, R. Archives of General Psychiatry, April, 2005; vol 62: pp 409-416. Glass R. The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 14, 2001; vol 285: pp 1346-1348. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: "What You Need to Know About Dietary Supplements." Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: "Psychotherapy: How It Works and How It Can Help." Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: "New Technologies in the Treatment of Mood Disorders." Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: "Finding Peace of Mind: Treatment Strategies for Depression and Bipolar Disorder." Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: "Healthy Lifestyles." Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: "Guide to Depression and Bipolar Disorder," 2002. National Institutes of Mental Health: "Depression," Reprinted 2002. National Institute of Mental Health: "Medications," Revised 2002. National Institute of Mental Health: "The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America." ©1996-2005

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Last Editorial Review: 11/8/2005