You’re a health-conscious consumer. You understand that taking prescription anti-depressants long-term can have serious consequences to your health, but you just don’t know which supplements or alternative therapies work best. Perhaps you’ve even tried a nutritional product in the past and it had little to no effect on improving your mood. Or, you’ve searched online for natural depression remedies and discovered an abundance of contradictory information that left you feeling overwhelmed and confused. Are you done with trying to figure out how to beat depression without drugs and have succumbed to taking meds for the rest of your life? If you feel like giving up on naturally remedies altogether, then what follows is for you!
Many natural remedies for depression do not function the same way for everyone. You see, each individual has unique underlying causes that trigger their depression symptoms in the first place. Therefore, a supplement that works for one person may not work at all for someone else. Choosing a supplement that works best for you will be dependent on the unique root cause of your depression. So, how do you figure out what’s causing your sad mood? Read over these 7 root causes of depression below and make note of the signs and symptoms that apply to you. Once you’ve identified the etiology that pertains to you specifically, you can select the natural treatments that will work best for remedying your depression.
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1. How to beat depression if you have a serotonin deficiency.
Is the type depression you have one where you are negative, pessimistic, distrustful, gloomy, or you have low self-esteem and worry a great deal? Do you crave sweets and feel better when you eat them? If so, you likely have a serotonin deficiency.
Serotonin is an important chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to the other. It plays a key role in psychological functions and is responsible for a feeling of calmness and well-being. Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin. This includes brain cells related to sleep, memory, learning, temperament, appetite and social behavior. An imbalance in serotonin levels can alter a person’s mood and ultimately lead to depression.
To learn more about how to recognize if you have a have a serotonin deficiency and more importantly, what you can do about it, read our articles:
- 7 Serotonin Deficiency Symptoms That You Can Identify Yourself
- Serotonin Deficiency – A Root Cause of Your Depression Symptoms?
2. How to beat depression if you have a dopamine deficiency.
Do you suffer from lack of focus, motivation, drive, energy, or the ability to stay alert and complete tasks? If so, you likely have a dopamine deficiency. Dopamine is the brain chemical that allows us to have feelings of bliss, pleasure, euphoria, drive, motivation, focus, and concentration. It affects brain processes that control movement, the ability to experience pleasure and pain, and emotional response. When there is too little dopamine, emotions cannot be correctly regulated. Mental impulses that mitigate intense feelings of sadness are inhibited, and thus depression ensues.
Learn more about signs of a dopamine deficiency and natural dopamine boosters: 8 Natural Dopamine Boosters to Overcome Depression
3. How to beat depression if you have a sex hormone imbalance.
When trying to dig down to depression’s underlying root causes, abnormalities in the level of sex hormones certainly is a major consideration. Unless you correct reproductive hormone level irregularities, you likely will not achieve complete long-term healing from your depressive symptoms.
Men – One chief cause of depression in men is low testosterone levels. In fact, the latest estimates indicate as many as 30% of men aged 40–79 years may have a testosterone deficiency. Not only does testosterone affect sex drive and energy levels, it is a brain-boosting hormone known to improve mood, memory, motivation, and overall cognitive function.
You can answer a simple questionnaire to help you determine if you have a testosterone deficiency. This online screening test as well as a list of testosterone deficiency symptoms and natural treatments can be found here: Testosterone among Best Natural Remedies for Depression in Older Men
Women – As women approach perimenopause and menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels often fluctuate widely, amplifying any existing depression or anxiety symptoms. To find out if a hormone imbalance may be contributing to your depression, talk with an integrative physician who can test your estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels (hormone panel). Don’t wait until you’ve reached menopause to have this test performed. It is a good idea to establish your natural hormone levels by getting a baseline test in your late thirties or early perimenopause. After testing, your doctor can determine if hormone replacement therapy may be beneficial for you. With your doctor’s orders, a compound pharmacy can prepare customized hormone replacement using bio-identical hormones instead of synthetic hormones.
Synthetic Versus Bioidentical Hormone Replacement – What’s the Difference?
Conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) involves the use of synthetic hormones that are created in a laboratory. Examples of these products include Premarin©, Prempro© and Provera©. The use of synthetic HRT is controversial due to the side effects including increased risk of developing certain cancers (particularly breast cancer) as well as gallbladder disease, blots clots, stroke and high blood pressure.
Bioidentical hormones are derived from naturally-occurring sources (such as yams) and are designed to replicate the same exact molecular structure as the hormones that are produced naturally in the body. Bioidentical hormones are specifically designed to match your individual hormonal needs. When warranted, a precise dosage of bioidentical estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, and/or DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands) is prepared according to your doctor’s prescription at a compounding pharmacy.
4. How to beat depression if you have adrenal gland dysfunction.
Do you suffer from fatigue, insomnia, and weight gain in addition to depression? This combination of symptoms is often the complaint of people who suffer from adrenal gland dysfunction. If you have adrenal fatigue symptoms (your adrenals are not producing adequate amounts of hormones), your chance of lapsing into depression are increased substantially. To rejuvenate your adrenal glands, several natural options are available:
5. How to beat depression if you have a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin deficiencies are also a major underlying root cause of depression. In particular, insufficient levels of vitamin D3 and magnesium can negatively impact your mood and well-being. To discover if you have a vitamin deficiency, read more here:
- 10 Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms That You Can Identify Yourself
- What You Must Know About Low Magnesium Symptoms
6. How to beat depression if you have a poor diet.
Does your diet consist mostly of fried or fast foods, processed foods, sweets or sodas? If so, your depression may be caused by poor food choices. Learn exactly how food affects your mood and what you can do to incorporate healthful eating into your daily lifestyle:
- Hidden Trans-Fats Increase Risk of Depression
- Diet Soda Dangers: Could Depression Really Be the End Result?
- Depression Symptoms Linked to Gluten Sensitivity
7. How to beat depression if you’ve had exposure to environmental toxins.
Perhaps you eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, but you still suffer from depression. Are the fruits and veggies you regularly consume on the “dirty dozen” list of most pesticide-contaminated produce? How about prescription drugs – do you take medications daily? Do you have any mercury (amalgam) fillings in your teeth? Or, have you had a recent flood in your home or office or have noticed mold growing in the walls? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions, your depression may be caused by an exposure to environmental toxins. Learn why:
- 3 Toxic Chemicals Tied to Depression – #1 Prescription Drugs
- 3 Toxic Chemicals Tied to Depression – #2 Pesticides
- 3 Toxic Chemicals Tied to Depression – #3 Mercury (Amalgam) Fillings
Originally published in 2013, this post has been updated.