Alternatives to Antidepressants

If you were just diagnosed with a mental depression disorder, one of the first areas of discussion was most likely relating to antidepressants. Depression is sadly one of the most common mental health disorders. It can be defined as a mood disorder where individuals undergo persistent loss of interest and feelings of sadness that can affect their daily lives. 

Unfortunately, antidepressant prescriptions have increased over the years as more and more individuals find themselves faced with depression. Commonly, depression will be linked to addiction, and vice versa. This results in what is known as a co-occurring disorder. 

A co-occurring disorder can be described as an individual with a substance use disorder and a mental health condition. If an individual decides to undergo a professional drug and alcohol detox center such as Coastal Detox, a dual diagnosis treatment plan will be put into place to thoroughly monitor both conditions simultaneously. 

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Antidepressants function and work by manipulating chemical messenger production, also known as serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that nerve cells produce. The job of serotonin is to send signals between your nerve cells. It is mostly found in the digestive system but can also be discovered throughout the central nervous system and in an individual’s blood platelets. 

Antidepressants act as a reliable resource for the individuals it’s prescribed to. It thoroughly manages depression symptoms. There are numerous benefits to taking antidepressants. The question has been asked, “Can you get addicted to antidepressants?” The answer is: absolutely. 

Though antidepressants have the potential to enhance an individual’s life, it’s incredibly suggested and valuable to take the medication as prescribed and with moderation. A large portion of individuals diagnosed with depression refuse medical support, and mixing antidepressants with various substances can result in the common entity of polydrug use. 

The Six Classifications For The Types Of Medication 

  • SNRI’s (Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors)
  • Non-competitive N-Methyl-D aspartate receptor antagonists
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRI’s)
  • SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

How Do Antidepressants Differ From Other Medications?

Antidepressants are considered a safer option prescribed to treat mental health conditions in comparison to benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax. Antidepressants can produce withdrawal symptoms and physical dependence if an individual decides to misuse them. The medications listed here do not produce that same euphoric feeling as more potent substances such as Fentanyl and alcohol

Antidepressants are generally prescribed for 4-8 weeks, at least until an individual begins to experience any effects. The potential side effects will be considered and monitored for the individual’s safety. There is suicidal ideation that occurs in about 4% of individuals who are prescribed antidepressants. Alongside that, there is a warning label for that reason for individuals between the ages of 18-24.

To prevent depression symptoms from returning, antidepressants are typically prescribed for 6-12 months, especially if the person has experienced depression for the first time. Depending on the specific individual’s status, their health provider will determine the length after the initial process. If the individual begins to feel better after, there will be a periodic checkup. 

During the periodic checkup, it’s ideal to discuss any potential lingering effects an individual might experience. If the person has a history of depression within their family realm, that factor can influence the length of the antidepressant. Long-term use of medication is more likely to occur with an individual who experiences two or more episodes of depression. 

What Is Serotonin? 

Serotonin is associated with feelings of serenity and happiness. Some antidepressants target both norepinephrine and serotonin. Norepinephrine is considered an individual’s stress hormone. Serotonin and norepinephrine are both neurotransmitters. 

What Are Some Alternatives To Using Antidepressants?

Sleep

Insomnia is a known trigger for anyone faced with depression. When a person undergoes a lack of sleep, there can be damaging consequences to the individual’s body and mind. The body must receive an adequate amount of sleep to function properly. 

Exercise

Exercise is a highly recommended and effective activity that can be utilized to combat anxiety and depression symptoms. When an individual engages in working out for 30 minutes a day, it can be extremely helpful in keeping the body and mind clear. Exercise is extremely versatile and can come in various techniques and forms, so finding what works best for you is encouraged.

A powerful approach to exercise is through group sports. It might be easy to find a refreshing community through relationship building and teamwork. 

Pets

The company and companionship of pets can bring affection during stressful times and loyal support throughout. Pets have the power to make you feel less alone. When an individual engages in withdrawal and isolation, their mental health can be negatively impacted. 

By having a pet to care for and love, the individual struggling with depression can receive love in return and healthy outdoor engagement. 

Social Support 

Your social support is considered a vital aspect of your development and overall growth. If you discover that it’s challenging to connect with others, practice self-compassion. Don’t be afraid to lean on your support group because the people in your life can offer support and their time. By engaging in activity planning, a sense of belonging can be brought back to your remembrance. 

Therapy

Therapy is a splendid way to express feelings and thoughts in a clinical setting and open and welcoming environment. It’s essential to distinguish how an individual’s behavior and thoughts coexist with one another. If you are diagnosed with clinical depression, it’s most likely that you have experienced therapy. 

Finding a therapist who can understand your specific needs is extremely essential. Building a substantial relationship with a counselor or therapist requires patience and time. Individuals facing depression usually find therapy illuminating to manage symptoms and discover root causes. It can also help you discover a healthier approach to avoid having to rely on coping mechanisms that are unhealthy. 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is one alternative to antidepressants for some individuals. It is the practice of meditation by being present in the moment and utilizing the fundamental aspect of breathwork. The hustle and bustle of everyday life are prone to having many individuals experiencing a withdrawn feeling from the subtle and internal moments of an ideal human experience. 

Mindfulness adds the additional benefit of reduced symptoms of:

  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety

This approach can be performed best through a peaceful environment and virtually anywhere. During the relaxing moments, the individual can experience a clear opportunity to reflect on their life overall and any decisions moving forward. 

 What Can Individuals Take/Do Instead Of Antidepressants?

There are a variety of substitutes for antidepressants and alternatives to antidepressants, along with supplements geared to reduce specific symptoms of depression. Natural remedies have been known to grow in more recent years. There is still no solid evidence indicating that substitutes for antidepressants work more effectively than antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac, or any other antidepressants. 

If you feel the need to make a change in your life and feel like substitutes for antidepressants would be suited for this change, the most effective step would be speaking to your doctor first. Once you understand the reason behind your depression, finding substitutes for antidepressants will become an easier task. 

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is a well-known alternative to antidepressants. It can, however, cause a conflict with other prescription medications. This alternative is commonly prescribed in Germany and can assist with the following symptoms:

  • Mild Depression
  • Premenstrual
  • Sleep Loss
  • Anxiety 

It’s important to note that these substitutes for antidepressants do not necessarily work for every individual. Some of the most common side effects of this medication are the following:

  • Sensitivity to light and other forms of UV rays
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth 

It is certainly ideal to speak to your doctor before using St. John’s Wort. 

Essential Oils

Essential oils such as lavender oil can help ease tension and stress without the negative side effects of the antidepressants since they are two of the major depression triggers. It’s vital to note that essential oils should not replace any existing depression treatment but rather be used alongside in collaboration with them. 

Melatonin And Valerian 

Ingredients such as Melatonin and Valerian are alternatives to antidepressants that can be taken instead of harmful medication. For example, many individuals discover relief from their depressive symptoms by utilizing Valerian root instead of Zoloft (sertraline). Melatonin is a great option that can assist an individual in restoring their natural sleep cycle. 

If you are known to struggle with depression, it’s more likely that your body is not in sync with its natural circadian rhythm. This could explain why it’s a struggle to wake up in the early morning feeling well-rested and sleeping soundly at night. Melatonin will assist an individual in resetting their internal clock and give them a greater opportunity of receiving quality rest every night. 

The valerian root is another effective tool for individuals who desire substitutes for antidepressants. It’s generally utilized as an anxiety disorder but has been known to reduce symptoms of depression too. 

5-HTP

5-HTP has gained negative attention due to the dangerous side effects, including heart problems. Before utilizing alternatives to antidepressants such as this one, it’s imperative to speak with your doctor first. It’s suggested that while taking alternatives to antidepressants, it’s ideal to stay on the safe side and avoid any risk alternatives to antidepressants such as 5-HTP. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital aspects of a person’s development. A deficiency in this can lead to cognitive issues such as a learning disability or much more. The role of omega-3 fatty acids is to assist brain function by keeping nerve cells flexible properly enough to send messages effectively and quickly. 

This substitute for antidepressants works like one but doesn’t carry the same side effects. These essential oils have been shown to increase brain chemicals that affect mood, such as serotonin levels. Fish oil has been shown to effectively treat depression.   

Some alternatives to antidepressants include:

  • Fish oil capsules, which is an incredible source of omega
  • Walnuts
  • Flax oil 

What Are The Dangers Of Misusing Antidepressants?

Though the question has been asked, “Can you get addicted to antidepressants?” Antidepressants can pose withdrawal symptoms from misuse, just like any other drug. It’s essential to avoid mixing any substances with antidepressants to prevent the risk of potentially drastic effects. It is vital to never exceed the recommended dosage of the medication. 

Side Effects Of An Antidepressant Overdose Include:

  • Irregular heartbeat and increased body temperature
  • Restlessness, irritability, and anxiety
  • Hallucinations 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures 

The withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants can be extreme depending on which one you’re taking. There have been severe cases of flu-like symptoms associated with suicidal thoughts and, in rare cases, death. Chronic short-term users of SSRIs can experience less severe withdrawals, which are known to fade over some time as the body adjusts to the termination of serotonin production. 

Withdrawal Symptoms 

  • Return of depressive symptoms 
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Irritability 
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety 
  • Nausea

Recovery Awaits At Coastal Detox Today

Individuals who try alternatives to antidepressants typically find great relief from their mental and emotional struggles as a result. We understand how difficult a depression journey can be. Here at Coastal Detox, we will provide you with the necessary tools to detox from depression and enter into a life free from addiction. Contact us today to get started.

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