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Fighting Depression and Anxiety without Drugs

Those of you who have or are suffering from depression and/or anxiety, how do you cope without medication?

I was on Wellbutrin several years ago and on Zoloft, now I'm not taking anything, but I still fight the demons of depression/anxiety.

I exercise regularily, eat fairly well, but still find it hard to get motivated to do things, and in general to be happy.

Wed. Jan 31, 3:08pm

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Sadly sometimes I don't. I do eat well and exercise. I am physically fit. I have tried six or seven anti-depressants over the course of a few years (all SSRIs minus one tricyclic) with no effect other than side-effects. I'm totally disenchanted with the pharmaceutical approach to this condition. My best advice would be to get a therapist you get along with and trust. They are worth their weight in gold (I'm a student, so it is like handing over gold, but worth it if I don't end up in the looney bin.) Look into Cognative Behavioral Therapy or good old fashioned psychoanalysis. (the fundamentals of CBT you can teach yourself) My thoughts go out to you. I hope you find something that helps.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 3:15 PM

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i suffer from bipolar disorder and was on medication for several years, then went off about (2) years ago. since going off, i have gone to some bipolar group meetings, not set up by a hospital but more along the lines of AA, without the 12 steps. these meeting have proved very helpful. one piece of knowledge i gained was the fact that i am not alone in dealing with the demons associated with mental illness/disorders. and to hear that others, unrelated to me and not involved in the same lifestyle even, are having to confront many of the same issues to get through some days helps me feel less alone in this journey. it is very empowering to take the time and BE FOR ME during these meetings, focusing on how i can help myself out is not something i usually focus on; it's usually WHAT i have to face or deal with that i think about, not HOW to get through things. i found the group through the link below.


Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 3:19 PM

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I'm very much in favor of alternative treatments, i.e. avoiding drugs where possible. BUT. In my experience, a chronic sufferer of depression needs chemical help. I guess it depends on how serious your depression is. Me? Without meds, I can't function, and believe me, I've tried. I also went through a gazillion different antidepressants before finding the combination that worked.

That said, like the above posters say, there are other things that help. Therapy certainly helped me, but finding the right therapist can be tiring and disheartening. Support from fellow-sufferers is also important. People who have never suffered depression have no idea about it, and can't understand even if they want to. There are other things I've found to help, like giving yourself just one task to do. Just one task. Once you've done that, you *may* just feel up to another one. Somehow it snowballs. Just keep the steps small.

Good luck. And know that you're not alone.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 4:16 PM

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i find that yoga helps me with my anxiety-sometimes way more than i realize! i'll find myself making an excuse not to go to class, or whip out my mat at home, because i'm in the midst of some anxiety-but on the occasions that i make myself go, i am always so relaxed and can think rationally again afterwards.

spending time with friends and talking about whatever my anxiety seems to be fixated on helps too. a cup of tea, writing in my journal, a hot shower and some time spent pampering myself helps. i make lists of the things i need to do that are stressing me out and causing anxiety-and try to cross 1 or 2 things off that list each day. i'm not trying to simplify anxiety, or make it sound like these are things that will cure you-but these are the things that help me most when i feel like i'm going to lose it.

depression is something i suffer from only occasionally-i'll have bouts that last a couple of days, or a week or two, and i'm lucky, because then it lifts. i give in and let myself have a day or two to do "nothing", but that's it-must stay on track and be productive after that, regardless of how hard it is to do anything. i find lists of tasks again helps here. I guess i can't really give any coping skills for depression, as i don't think i have the experience necessary.

good luck getting help with yours!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 11:55 PM

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It's not easy. I am still on a subclinical dose of an SSRI just so I don't have to go through the withdrawal side effects. I try not to take it everyday in an effort to slowly wean myself off.

I exercise as much as possible and try to eat well. I also find that yoga helps, but I have to be honest: When my moods kick in, they *really* kick in ... so for me it's about finding and practicing healthy ways to deal with the stress and anxiety.

I mostly don't want to be on medication as eventually my husband and I would like to have a child. But it could be that I may need to be on meds throughout the pregnancy. We will cross that bridge when we get to it. But I do wholeheartedly believe in psychotherapy as part of the management of depression and anxiety.

Thursday, February 01, 2007, 4:44 AM

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I second cognitive therapy. The book The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns can teach you many of the skills without seeing a therapist.

I would also promote relationship therapy, asking a therapist to teach you relationship and communication skills. It is amazing how much suppressed anger is because one does not know how to communicate both gently and assertively.

Thursday, February 01, 2007, 10:29 AM

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This is a fairly inexpensive and painless way to help - invest in a medical sun lamp. i use it during the winter and it has so far kept me off anti-depressants. talk to your dr. about it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007, 2:05 PM

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Read "Feeling Good" fom dr Burns. It changed my life. Really. It is about cognitive behavioural therapy and how to change your patterns of thinking, with practical advice and exercises to do. Amazing book. Also, vigorous exercising for at least 15 min a day, plus diet rich in wholsome plant based foods helps a lot. Feeling good will get you started.

Friday, February 02, 2007, 11:13 AM

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Yoga and acupuncture have worked for me. Acupuncture took a few visits to start to get the effects, but it's a way that I'm dealing with it out meds.

Friday, February 02, 2007, 11:32 AM

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my massage therapist just recommended acupuncture to me. she had great success relieving her depression and actually she mentioned to the practioner that she was trying to lose weight but thought the depression was holding her back. after 3 sessions, she started feeling better emotionally, and after 3 months she had lost 15 pounds without much effort. i'll definitely be looking into this route.

Friday, February 02, 2007, 11:39 AM

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could refined carbs be part of the problem?

I was diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder 3years ago, spent a year on seroquel, wellbutrin and zoloft, felt great on them but gained 60lbs on top of my start weight of 240 at 5'3"

After reading that seroquel can cause permanent facial ticks I decided to go off all the meds.I seriously needed the meds, i had wild mood swings and my husband had told me do something or we were headed for divorce.

At the same time I came across the carbohydrate addicts book. I started watching what I ate on Jan. 1 2005. I was a sweet freak, little debbies, cookies cake, cheesecake, bread donuts. I banished all those and little by little started getting my eating under control.

We went to Florida in March of 05, i was down 32lbs in 3 months and felt great without the meds. I ate like i was on vacation while on vacation and within 3 days i had symptoms of OCD, mood swings, everything i had taken the meds for. So in my experience there was a direct relationship between refined carbs and my bipolar symptoms. I dont think it will be for everyone but it is worth looking into. I also came across some articles that more and more children are being diagnosed as bipolar and some think their diets full of junk food (refined carbs) may be the actual problem.

As of today I have gone from 300lbs to 173. I eat way healthier and have just started to exercise this week, so I did the 127lbs without exercising. I ate at 1600 calories/day for most of it but am at 1200 now because I dont want to spend another year getting to goal weight.

I now eat lots of lean protein, veggies, fruits and try to stay with as much unprocessed food as I can. But i still eat what i want.

I was amazed that my diet could make me so miserable and changing it could make me so happy. The only mood swings I suffer now are from pms. My husband says I am like a new woman, physically and mentally

Friday, February 02, 2007, 6:29 PM

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depending on your may be starting perimenopause may want to check with a OBGYN's amazing how our hormones can cause us to be depressed too....just a thought

Friday, February 02, 2007, 6:56 PM

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I grew up in a depressed home and surprise, surprise married a man who battles with depression. I think outside support groups are awesome, it really helps knowing that others feel the same and are battling the same issues/concerns. Sometimes families aren't enough of a support. I think this country is totally overmedicated. We start with children and wonder why they become dependent on meds. How do we know if we can really deal with things on our own if we're all doped up all the time? I did a little research a few years ago, I went to see a doctor and told him several things and walked out of there with a script for 3 different kinds of meds, 2 were antidepressants and the other was valium. Anyone can walk in and do the same, we even self prescribe to ourselves. All these fracking drug ads "talk to your doctor to see if this drug is right for you" Drug companies are getting fat and rich and were all suffering for it.

So to the OP, try alternative treatments, give acupuncture a try, it can work wonders, also try certain kinds of yoga and find a support group that you are comfortable with.

Friday, February 02, 2007, 10:59 PM

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The Feeling Good Handbook is great. I have battled the demons of depression since my teen years (I am now 28) and while I have taken many different SSRI's I find that there is really only so much these can do to help without changing your thinking patterns. Of course exercise has been a HUGE help for me as well- as has balanced eating. And I stuggle with both of these things- in terms of doing them regularily. But as someone who has searched for years for help with depression I would highly recommend reading the Feeling GOod Handbook.

Sunday, February 04, 2007, 1:09 PM

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how fight anxiety without drugs

are there good herbal remedies that any of you use?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 8:50 AM

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My husband's relatively mild anxiety disorder has responded well to a 20-minute daily run and the elimination of nearly all chocolate and most other sugary junk foods.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 9:54 AM

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I fight depression by not eating wheat. Best thing for me. Soon as I eat wheat, I start to spiral, and it doesn't get pretty. Wheat intereferes with my dopamine receptors.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 10:17 AM

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Does anyone know how much a light box costs? I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder)-self- diagnosed. I also have anxiety (panic attacks) that come and go. I seem to have gotten the panic attacks under control, but the SAD...I'm not looking forward to, and have no idea how to control (that's why I was thinking of investing in a light box).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 10:27 AM

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The best book I've seen on this subject is by Dr. Neil Nedley. Can't remember the title of the book but you can google him. he's written a couple of books, but does a lot of highly successful work with depressed people. All natural remedies that are free, easy to implement and medically proven. I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 1:51 PM

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SAD and Light box

I have SAD as well. I googled a medical light box and found mine on ebay. It was brand new. It is a Logan Medlight. I think it was around 150 dollars but the best thing was my Dr. coded something for me and we were able to take the cost of it out of our flexible medical spending account. It has been a life saver. If you have SAD you have GOT to get a lamp. I haven't had to take a single drug since I started using my lamp regularly. I keep it by my computer and whenever I am on line I turn it on. (It's on right now.) Good luck to you! I hope you find one that meets your needs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 2:09 PM

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That's great! Thanks :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 4:09 PM

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A great website for Nedley is ; There are some lectures to download, on topics like light, interval training, frontal lobe etc.. all related to depression. This is the cutting edge!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 4:31 PM

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St. John's Wart is a great homeopathic, natural way to fight off depression.

Acupuncture is an amazing way to lift the spirits.

I find gluten is a major downer for me, got tested, and sure enough I have a gluten intollerence. Wouldn't have known if it weren't for my negative mood and someone telling me about's an easy, cheap thing to try...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 4:44 PM

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I think st worts makes you go to sleep, doesn't really get to the core of anxiety or depression. I heard cognitive behavior therapy works, has anyone tried?

Sunday, December 30, 2007, 5:21 PM

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Yeah I have OCD (which also brings on depression) and social anxiety. I've had OCD for half of my life and didn't get diagnosed until I was 19 1/2 years old. Been going to therapy for 2 years now, including group therapy for a year, and I've been doing better (but there's still much room for improvement). The techniques they've taught me and talking about it has helped.

Sunday, December 30, 2007, 7:49 PM

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Without any obstacles and difficulties, I will recommend how to get psychological support now. Because many individuals, because of the wrong treatment, draw the wrong conclusions. And it would be easier if you would just contact us to watch and read the calmerry therapy here without any problems. It helped me a lot and I learned a lot, really. So make sure you get acquainted in the same manner. I hope I have really succeeded in helping with this situation. Good luck and everybody's success now!

Monday, December 07, 2020, 5:00 PM

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