Natural Anti-Depressants

  • tbone25

    Posts: 144

    Nov 26, 2009 5:40 AM GMT
    Hi,
    I get it.... lots of gay men work through issues of depression... I am one of them, I guess. I am worn out by my work which is really demanding. I'm surrounded by people constantly but feel pretty lonely all the time. I'm unhappy with my weight gain over the past couple years as I have thrown myself into work and took no time for myself. I am lethargic at times that don't make sense and overall unproductive.

    I went to the doctor to have a physical. I'm working out regularly now and have lost a modest amount of weight, lots to go. In the discussion, he suggested I might be depressed. It was a relief that someone noticed and acknowledged what I had been thinking. He wasn't quite ready to toss me on drugs. He told me to take another month or so to decide if that is what I want or not. I'm working out regularly and that should help, but is there anything else I can do that is natural that can help? He suggested light treatment which sounds a little newag-ish to me.

    I have read posts on here and on the internet and watched my sister too all have bad reactions to anti-depressants including weight gain which would make me feel even worse about myself. I'd really rather not have to go through this, but if I have to I will. I feel a bit broken right now and I don't see what I need to do to feel better. Suggestions from any of you on what I could do to help myself naturally would be great.
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    Nov 26, 2009 6:09 AM GMT
    I would agree with your doctor that approaches that don't rely on medication can indeed work, and will avoid the side effects some people, especially men, can experience with anti-depressants.

    I was put on various anti-depressants because of my epilepsy, the doctors claiming there was a high incidence of depression among people with my neurological disorder. But as we went through just about every medication known, I kept refusing to continue taking each in turn because of the side-effects, and because I didn't perceive any improvement. I finally concluded I never did have depression, the doctors just making a statistical assumption.

    Among my side-effects was impotence with some drugs, while with others I could get hard, but not achieve orgasm. As I said to the doctors, I couldn't think of a better way to CAUSE depression in a man than by making him unable to have or enjoy sex. LOL! Some drugs also seemed to rob me of any emotion, turning me zombie-like and dull.

    Are you in a northern climate, and spend a lot of your time in work & living areas that have little natural sunlight? There have been some credible studies done that show a lack of sunlight can cause or add to existing depression, the solution being more sunlight, or light therapy in a full-range spectrum. That was already well noted in the 1970s when I lived in northern Europe, where there's only 6 hours of weak daylight in winter.

    Exercise and regular, adequate sleep can also be beneficial in cases of depression. Avoid heavy alcohol use, which is a depressant. You might also look into counseling, which could both reveal any underlying psychological issues, plus provide you with personal techniques for overcoming depression without the use of drugs.
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    Nov 26, 2009 4:10 PM GMT
    St. John's wart is the most commonly used herbal "anti-depressant." Exercise also obviously releases endorphins into your system which are a "natural anti-depressant."

    I would have to wonder about a doctor who felt you were depressed but would want to wait to treat that depression. Depression is when the feelings of fatigue, irritability, worthlessness, anxiety, loss of interest, trouble concentrating or recalling, et cetera interfere in your daily life. I would think a doctor would want to alleviate that ASAP.

    I would seek a second opinion from a psychiatrist (it seems like you have only seen a regular practitioner). If need be, discuss SSRIs, NSRIs, and behavioral therapy. There are many options to treat depression.
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    Nov 26, 2009 4:12 PM GMT
    tbone25 said
    I get it.... lots of gay men work through issues of depression... I am one of them, I guess.... I'm unhappy with my weight gain over the past couple years


    Your path is clear, since it is scientific FACT that exercise works just as well at alleviating depression as anti-depressants do;

    "the group who exercised but did not receive Zoloft did better than either of the other two groups."
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    Nov 26, 2009 4:14 PM GMT
    Sex is the best antidepressant.
  • rdberg1957

    Posts: 662

    Nov 26, 2009 4:15 PM GMT
    "Exercise and regular, adequate sleep can also be beneficial in cases of depression. Avoid heavy alcohol use, which is a depressant." True this. Marijuana can mask depression and anxiety, but after one withdraws from pot, the depression is usually much worse because it has not been addressed and gotten worse while being masked. Strategies which dampen emotion don't work well.

    In addition, good nutrition can be helpful. Depression is not one condition with one cause. It is a set of symptoms (a syndrome) with multiple causes. Some are depressed for biological reasons, some due to major life stresses, current or past.

    Meditation can be helpful to those with depression in that feelings which have been buried may surface and be released. Light is important as is contact with friends. One can be lonely, especially if you hang around people while hiding your true self.

    If one is depressed due to current or past stressors, talk therapy can be beneficial. Depression ranges from mild to severe. Often people believe that they can't be depressed if they are not suicidal. It doesn't need to be that intense to be a problem. Sometimes the signs will include lower energy, loss of interest in sex or other pleasurable activity, and appetite/sleep problems. Negative thinking is a hall mark for many; this can be addressed directly by cognitive therapy.

    For mild to moderate depression, medications may be unnecessary. For severe depression, it is much more difficult to get relief without medications. The risk of severe depression is much greater in my mind than the risks of medications and medications give relief much faster than talk therapy.

    When I work with people who have depression, I encourage abstinence from mood altering substances (for a trial period, to see if it makes a difference) and non-drug interventions to see what happens. If a client continues to suffer despite these efforts, I recommend a psychiatrist or family physician for evaluation.

    Gay men may be somewhat more prone to depression due to profound sense of isolation during late childhood and adolescence when they become aware of being different and sense that others would hold them in lower regard if they knew about their sexuality.

    I have personal experience with depression and have had multiple episodes of severe depression. Affective disorders (depression and bipolar disorder) are common in my family. My brother had bipolar disorder and committed suicide. Currently, I'm a pretty happy and stable guy and on a maintenance dose of anti-depressant. I have no intention of stopping because of my history. I do have some sexual side effects (delayed ejaculation) which I have decided I will tolerate rather than continue on a roller coaster. Now that I am at a lower weight, I am able to exercise--this does help stabilize my mood. I take depression seriously both in myself and others.
  • baldone

    Posts: 826

    Nov 26, 2009 4:18 PM GMT
    i have gone through all the same,weight gain, too much work,no kick back time and no one in my life right now, doc prescribed effexor, but after reading alot about side effects have decided to try and work through this naturally, like doing somethng about the weight, forcing myself out the door and getting involved in just one thing that i enjoy....and perhaps at the same time there may be that person out there just waiting to meet me,just don't like all the side effects i have read about
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    Nov 26, 2009 4:18 PM GMT
    You're very smart to be working out. That helps with depression. Keep it up.

    Why not try the light therapy that the doctor is suggesting? I've read -- from legitimate sources -- that it can help. It certainly can't hurt.

    Counseling can be extremely helpful. Look into it. Ask your doctor about it.

    Then the usual advice, which you're probably already aware of. . .

    Don't drink, alcohol is a depressant
    Eat right and avoid junk food
    Get enough sleep, 7-8 hrs. a night
    Re: the workouts, do weights and some kind of cardio
    Surround yourself with nice people and minimize your contact with the nasty ones

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    Nov 26, 2009 4:26 PM GMT
    Soy contains natural mood stabilizers but soy also contains estrogen so... icon_confused.gif
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Nov 26, 2009 4:48 PM GMT
    LittleDudeWithMuscles saidYou're very smart to be working out. That helps with depression. Keep it up.

    Why not try the light therapy that the doctor is suggesting? I've read -- from legitimate sources -- that it can help. It certainly can't hurt.

    Counseling can be extremely helpful. Look into it. Ask your doctor about it.

    Then the usual advice, which you're probably already aware of. . .

    Don't drink, alcohol is a depressant
    Eat right and avoid junk food
    Get enough sleep, 7-8 hrs. a night
    Re: the workouts, do weights and some kind of cardio
    Surround yourself with nice people and minimize your contact with the nasty ones



    Perfect advice.

    In terms of supplements, 5htp works pretty good.

    Also, have you ever gotten your testosterone checked? Sometimes low testosterone levels can play a role in feelings of depression.
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    Nov 26, 2009 4:52 PM GMT
    Forget about herbs.

    I was diagnosed with chronic depression several years ago. I would get horrible spells that would last 2-4 months and I would get them a few times a year. Not a way to live.

    Part of learning to live with it, is learning how to deal with it. Seeing a therapist a few years ago helped me immensely. I only went six times and I came out of there with so many strategies for dealing with it.

    I have much fewer episodes that don't last as long and are not as severe. Fantastic. You can shell out for a few sessions of therapy, or you can shell out for herbs that may or may not work. The former was more appealing to me.

    Best of luck.
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    Nov 26, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    i typically combat my penchant for pensive moodiness and anxiety over stressors by exercising daily, meditating, using appropriate stones for their abilities, eating right, taking st. john's wort supplements, and of course, shop therapy. sex isn't an option- but rather part of the problem.
    however, for the first time in several years (probably initiated by the very recent suicide of my fraternity brother) i've slipped into a true clinical depression- wherein every stressor is blown way out of proportion, and simultaneously, everything that used to make me happy has been sapped of pleasure. i'm in over my head, so took the extra step this last week and started going to counciling on campus, and began a prescription for antidepressants. hopefully it works out- i haven't noticed any side effects yet.

    i'm a firm believer in combating moodiness and lesser depressions on your own, holistically. but you can tell when its gotten out of hand and is no longer a thought process- but rather, it becomes a neurochemical imbalance that needs to be rectified. the responsible thing to do, when it gets bad, is to seek out professional help.
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    Nov 26, 2009 5:20 PM GMT
    vitamin d supplements help to lift the mood associated with winter blah's, and st. john's wort capsules can be helpful too with mild to moderate depressive episodes lasting for a couple of weeks (needs to be taken for a couple of weeks to work), but exercise is a great strategy always also.

    another thing to consider is to make sure you understand that depression is an addictive syndrome (i went through a moderate one after the first major break up). ever heard of people finding pleasure in their sadness (pleasure, as in terms of a habitual comforting thing, not something you yearn for)?

    so, to counteract that, it helps to learn to catch yourself dwelling on a single distressing ("comforting") thought that you keep returning to: e.g. oh how nice it was when i was together with that bf that i broke up with, the feeling of sleeping together, etc. identifying those triggers, and not allowing yourself to compulsively re-live those experiences (over and over and over) might help to stop the addictive cycle. for example, you think "i gained weight and it sucks ass", stop at that point, and think of strategies to improve the situation.
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    Nov 26, 2009 5:28 PM GMT
    I've used tyrosine for depression and ADD, however, too much can cause anxiety. I balance that with inositol. Both can be found at GNC. 5-htp will help raise your serotonin levels as well. There are many things you can do to help set yourself up to be in a better mood - all of which have been stated in this thread.

    Personally, I don't react well to anti-depressants. I tried a few. The thing is, the more times you try, the closer you get to finding the one for you. If you are severely depressed, don't discount the power of therapy and the advice of a medical professional. Sometimes there is only so much you can do naturally.

  • tbone25

    Posts: 144

    Nov 26, 2009 5:46 PM GMT
    Hey guys,
    Thanks for the advice. First off, I don't drink almost ever... somewhat to my disappointment. I'm on-call 24/7 so if I ever drink it is just one or two and that's all. I don't smoke cigarettes or marijuana and don't want to, so that's not an issue, but thanks for the thoughtful advice.

    To answer some of your questions...

    The doctor did mention Vitamin D. Not sure how much to take, but I'll ask him when I see him again to get the results of my blood test (multi phasic type of deal-- not sure if the Testosterone will be checked or not, but I don't feel a drop in my libido).

    As for the anti-depressants, he did mention one that he would suggest so when I'm back to see him, I'll ask details and weigh out the pros and cons. I sort of pre-empted the discussion on the drugs with the idea that I don't really want to take them, so I don't think he was avoiding it because he didn't care for my well being.. My sister was depressed because she was suffering from a couple eating disorders... She is fine now, but the anti-depressants have caused her to gain weight... sort of worked against her body issues, so I don't really want to go there. The doctor did tell me that if I want to try the drugs, just to let him know.

    I am the guy that avoids putting any chemicals into my system. I avoid taking a tylenol when I have a headache. I'll try to eat something or take a nap or something when my head hurts. Take Vitamin C and Fish Oil and that's it right now.


    Sex would be great, but i sort of find it all empty outside of relationship and it is hard for me to be good for someone else when I don't feel good for myself. Don't think it is fair to the other person.

    So today is the first day since Oct. 22nd that I haven't gone to the gym (and that is really because today is Thanksgiving and it isn't open). I do at least 40 minutes of cardio a day and lift four days. Am a picky eater so really trying to do portion control and the five small meals a day. I range around 1700-1800 callories a day which was what was suggested at an online website.

    Are there any particular foods that are good for depression?


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 26, 2009 6:29 PM GMT
    niacin supplementation has been known to help people out but it is rejected by the medical community

    i'd say 3000mg/day

    and i know ur trying to loose wieght but two hand fulls of cachews will give you a thereputic dose of Prozac


    before you go and get drugs and what not my suggestion to you....

    make sure your eating as healthy as you can, getting the right amount of sleep and trying to keep hydrated

    sounds over simplistic but your body is very capable on its own to treat itself if you give it the tools it needs




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    Nov 26, 2009 6:40 PM GMT
    tbone25 saidHi,
    I get it.... lots of gay men work through issues of depression... I am one of them, I guess. I am worn out by my work which is really demanding. I'm surrounded by people constantly but feel pretty lonely all the time. I'm unhappy with my weight gain over the past couple years as I have thrown myself into work and took no time for myself. I am lethargic at times that don't make sense and overall unproductive.

    I went to the doctor to have a physical. I'm working out regularly now and have lost a modest amount of weight, lots to go. In the discussion, he suggested I might be depressed. It was a relief that someone noticed and acknowledged what I had been thinking. He wasn't quite ready to toss me on drugs. He told me to take another month or so to decide if that is what I want or not. I'm working out regularly and that should help, but is there anything else I can do that is natural that can help? He suggested light treatment which sounds a little newag-ish to me.

    I have read posts on here and on the internet and watched my sister too all have bad reactions to anti-depressants including weight gain which would make me feel even worse about myself. I'd really rather not have to go through this, but if I have to I will. I feel a bit broken right now and I don't see what I need to do to feel better. Suggestions from any of you on what I could do to help myself naturally would be great.


    You come across not just as depressed, but, under confident, self-loathing, lazy, and needy, as well.

    You would do well to use the endorphins of exercise to improve your mood and self-esteem. You're doctor was wise in not handing you a handful of drugs that are wrought with problems and often not very affective. Exercise is a much better choice.

    You have to ask yourself why it is you don't like yourself, cowering in a picture-less profile, and constantly needing of approval from others. Once you learn to like your yourself, start getting honest, and quit being so cowardly about your identity, you'll almost certainly be much happier.

    YOU are the person who MUST take action to affect positive change. Only YOU can do that. You do that one step at a time until you become a regular person instead of what you are now. You also do that by being less of a coward. Why no picture? Ashamed? Ugly? Fat? Skinny? Dumb? Smart? So what. Do you think in a world of 7 BILLION folks that it matters that much? Of course not. You have to learn to think clearly. You are who you are, and, if you don't like yourself, you can't expect to be happy nor to have others who like to be around you. All that is state of mind and comes from within. Unless you like being miserable, it's time for you to start making some changes, even if they make you uncomfortable at first. You think I was "comfortable" the first time I put 400 # on my back? Or, the first time I spoke to thousands on the radio? Or, the first time I walked out in less than my underwear to end up on TV? Of course not. Winners walk, into, through, beyond, and above their comfort zones. Now, get off your ass, and get on with the show.
  • tbone25

    Posts: 144

    Nov 26, 2009 9:45 PM GMT
    Thanks for the "Tough Love."

    I appreciate it, but it is given with a lot of assumptions.

    I would still like to hear from others.
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    Nov 27, 2009 5:51 PM GMT
    tbone25 saidThanks for the "Tough Love."

    I appreciate it, but it is given with a lot of assumptions.

    I would still like to hear from others.


    Oh, we all have it heard it before. You're special and have mitigating circumstances. Whatever. Stay bummed, then.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Nov 27, 2009 6:06 PM GMT
    track_boi saidniacin supplementation has been known to help people out but it is rejected by the medical community

    i'd say 3000mg/day

    and i know ur trying to loose wieght but two hand fulls of cachews will give you a thereputic dose of Prozac


    before you go and get drugs and what not my suggestion to you....

    make sure your eating as healthy as you can, getting the right amount of sleep and trying to keep hydrated

    sounds over simplistic but your body is very capable on its own to treat itself if you give it the tools it needs






    The reason why cashews are suggested is because of the amino acid L-tryptophan. 5HTP is an active form of tryptophan so you can just take the supplement and avoid the calories.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 27, 2009 6:16 PM GMT
    honest to god chucky

    youre a rancid cunt sometimes

    shape up
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 27, 2009 6:22 PM GMT
    Exercise is good HOWEVER don't listen to most people on here who are advising you to be hitting the gym hard and building muscles. Muscular and extremely fit guys are much more depressed than anyone else... obsessing with your body won't get you out of depression - it will make things worse and can have long lasting bad effects.

    Eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise moderately without being obsessed with it, have a glass of wine everyday and end your day with a sweet treat.. chocolate or anything else you like. Secondly - stop worrying about how many people you are surrounded with - but rather focus on making "real" and lasting connections, having a few real and genuinely close friends is much better than having a 1000 acquintences...usually guys who know lots of people socially - have no real friends at all and despite being surrounded by people all the time they are rather lonely and depressed otherwise.

    Lastly - join a group.. something you enjoy doing...and through which you will meet other real genuine people...make a list of things you want to do in life.. and work towards achieving those goals - setting goals and working towards them is very important to feel fulfilled and happy overall.

    Stay away from medication... believe in yourself and your abilities and u won't need any medication.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 27, 2009 8:07 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidYou come across not just as depressed, but, under confident, self-loathing, lazy, and needy, as well.


    You come across as a total asshole.
  • Mikeylikesit

    Posts: 1021

    Nov 27, 2009 8:11 PM GMT
    Oh my!!!!....Lets leave the DRAMA out side these postings!!!....LOL
    icon_eek.gificon_lol.gif
  • Mikeylikesit

    Posts: 1021

    Nov 27, 2009 8:13 PM GMT
    tinymike saidhonest to god chucky

    youre a rancid cunt sometimes

    shape up


    Shouldn't that be rancid Kunt!!.....LMAO