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Ways to Treat Depression Without Meds

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Depression affects about 16 million people in the U.S. each year and many of those people rely on antidepressant medications. While antidepressants are able to assist people with moderate or even severe depression, they don't tend to be as effective in those who suffer from mild depression. Whether or not you respond to this type of medication, you might want to take a look at some of the remedies for depression that don't involve drugs.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a noninvasive and safe type of therapy that has helped thousands of people find relief from their depression. It utilizes magnetic fields that only target the limbic area of the brain since that's where the mood center is. Many people might hear the name and wonder: What does TMS feel like? Actually, it doesn't really feel like anything, and while receiving the treatment, people tend to either listen to music, play games on their phones, or watch TV.


Exercise is great when it comes to relieving the signs and symptoms of depression. This is possibly because of the change in the levels of the mood-altering chemicals in the brain “ serotonin and norepinephrine.  It also might release the endorphins that are responsible for that runner's high that some people experience.

Light Therapy

Throughout the dark, shorter days of winter, some people experience a type of depression that's known as seasonal affective disorder. One of the ways to ease the symptoms of this type of depression might be light therapy. With this type of therapy, you simply sit near a box that's brightly lit with a light that mimics the natural light from outdoors. It typically starts with sessions that last about 25 minutes and are done once a day. These sessions can increase gradually to a couple of hours. The timing will depend on both the intensity of the light and the severity of the symptoms. While this isn't a cure for depression, it can help with the symptoms.

Mood Diary

Research suggests that therapy can teach people that positive thinking can ease depression. To that end, a mood diary might prove helpful. It's a tool used to train people to keep track of any positive things that might happen in their day-to-day lives as opposed to allowing a single negative event to wear them down. Mood diaries keep those negative events in their proper perspective and can serve as a reminder that good things can and do happen. If it feels like it's just too much work to keep track of every day, try keeping a diary that you write in once a week.

We have talked about 4 methods of controlling the symptoms of depression without drugs, but there are many more. Some of them are things like acupuncture, support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, yoga, and more. The point is that if medicines don't work for you or if you have an aversion to taking them, there are plenty of other things that you can do to ease your depression. Just don't give up.