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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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