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Thread: Non-prescription treatments for depression?

  1. #1
    Master pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Non-prescription treatments for depression?

    One of my sons suffers from depression, though he's pretty much in denial. He refuses to see a psychiatrist or psychologist who can prescribe some medications that could make his everyday life so much more bearable and "happy." His attitude is that he shouldn't have to rely on some artificial drugs to alter his perceptions.

    He will soon be leaving to study in another country, and I would like to suggest some "natural" alternatives that might mitigate those negative thoughts that keep him unhappy. I found a list offered by the Mayo Clinic (below), but wanted to find out what experiences my fellow members and their families have had with natural treatments.

    Mayo Clinic suggestions:
    - St. John's Wort
    - SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)
    - Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    - Saffron
    - 5-HTP (
    5-hydroxytryptophan)
    - DHEA (
    Dehydroepiandrosterone)

    Your experiences are welcome!

  2. #2
    Grand Master seikopath's Avatar
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    What do you think he is in denial about?
    Beyond ideas of good and bad, there is a field. I'll meet you there.

  3. #3
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    I’m no expert and in all honesty this may be an impractical solution but many people swear by having a pet.

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    Cannabis seems the cure du jour.

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    Master Kirk280's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your son. Please keep encouraging him to seek professional help. Exercise might help (at least a little), a 10k running challenge, a new sport, starting a martial art etc.

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    He may be best to start with some talking therapies like CBT, and speaking to a psychotherapist or counsellor.

  7. #7
    Regular exercise, yoga or pilates.

  8. #8
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    Cannabis seems to be a pretty effective option (although not for everyone, but that goes for pretty much any drug or remedy)

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    +1 for exercise, and also look into homeopathy. There’s a clinic near me, and the woman who owns it only started the clinic after suffering acute depression. Homeopathy was the only thing that helped her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hafle View Post
    Cannabis seems to be a pretty effective option (although not for everyone, but that goes for pretty much any drug or remedy)
    It might help some people relax but its also associated with causing depression, anxiety and psychosis in some people. If he isn’t keen on medication, an illegal drug that might make him feel worse doesn’t seem like a good idea.

  11. #11
    Master pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seikopath View Post
    What do you think he is in denial about?
    Denial that he suffers from "depression," which is prevalent on his mother's side of the family.

  12. #12
    Grand Master seikopath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacifichrono View Post
    Denial that he suffers from "depression," which is prevalent on his mother's side of the family.
    Is he happy with his current mental state?
    Beyond ideas of good and bad, there is a field. I'll meet you there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfat33 View Post
    It might help some people relax but its also associated with causing depression, anxiety and psychosis in some people. If he isn’t keen on medication, an illegal drug that might make him feel worse doesn’t seem like a good idea.
    Simply speaking from experience.

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    Grand Master VDG's Avatar
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    Any sport, hobby or something/anything to take his mind from 'self' would be s great start. More he will be trying to 'analyse' himself further he will be going the depression rabbit hole.. Talking to someone about his situation would be a great start..
    AVDACES FORTVNA IVVAT

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    Exercise and sunshine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    Exercise and sunshine.
    Works for me.

  17. #17
    Grand Master seikopath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    Exercise and sunshine.
    And a decent girlfriend.
    Beyond ideas of good and bad, there is a field. I'll meet you there.

  18. #18
    I recently heard an interview with Professor Paul Dolan on The One You Feed podcast. It's well worth a listen. Amongst other things he recommended listening to music, going outside and spending time with friends/loved ones. Sounds obvious but we don't always do the obvious.

  19. #19

    Hello

    CBT, exercise, sunshine. I’d also recommend scuba diving. Fantastic!!!!!

  20. #20
    Master Kirk280's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    +1 for exercise, and also look into homeopathy. There’s a clinic near me, and the woman who owns it only started the clinic after suffering acute depression. Homeopathy was the only thing that helped her.
    Homeopathy. Otherwise known as ‘water’.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk280 View Post
    Homeopathy. Otherwise known as ‘water’.
    Agreed , snake oil and should be eradicated.

  22. #22
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    B12 deficiency has been linked to depression. I have to say if I’m down eating things like marmite , fish and eggs seems to help.

    Stay off booze . Worst thing if you are depressed.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Passenger View Post
    Cannabis seems the cure du jour.
    Also a rather stupid route to take. The negative, energy and motivation-sapping effects of cannabis are (except to those who regularly use it and in a denial much the same as the heavy drinker) very obvious.

    I have friends who have smoked/used cannabis for years and, despite it having been a "harmless" element of their lives for many years, it's now beginning to really start turning them into oddballs - Moody, disconnected, paranoid and generally not "on the ball".

    I'm no manic anti-drugs lobbyist - given my past that would be hypocritical - and l think that there are times and places in the right persons life for certain things to be enjoyed - but cannabis for depression...

    ...there's a reason it's called "dope"...

  24. #24
    Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    Exercise and sunshine.
    Definitely.

    Plus routine helps. That's why so many people pay for a personal trainer.

    If there is a running club where he studies, that could be useful. If there's a membership fee, perhaps you could pay it for him and ask the club secretary to get in touch with him.

    Routine, diet, exercise. And a decent girlfriend as Dave-O says. Dave, does that work if you already have a wife? Asking for a friend.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post
    B12 deficiency has been linked to depression. I have to say if I’m down eating things like marmite , fish and eggs seems to help.

    Stay off booze . Worst thing if you are depressed.
    Beat me to it.

    A friend of mine, started on the B12, and according to his missus, he's like a normal person now.

    This, after years of the usual prescription drugs.

    Rob.

  26. #26
    Grand Master seikopath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaOmega View Post
    Definitely.

    Plus routine helps. That's why so many people pay for a personal trainer.

    If there is a running club where he studies, that could be useful. If there's a membership fee, perhaps you could pay it for him and ask the club secretary to get in touch with him.

    Routine, diet, exercise. And a decent girlfriend as Dave-O says. Dave, does that work if you already have a wife? Asking for a friend.
    If they get along well, that does. Until it gets to the point where you get excluded.
    Beyond ideas of good and bad, there is a field. I'll meet you there.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbongo View Post

    ...there's a reason it's called "dope"...

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by seikopath View Post
    If they get along well, that does. Until it gets to the point where you get excluded.
    Or just take it easy and let them do the hard work.
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  29. #29
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    Running and swimming or anything that gets the endorphins pumping. Challenge yourself. A good book.. stay off Facebook ideally. Join a local service\social group - meet new people, fundraise and help others in the community. Just my humble experiences. Positive Life changes rather than meds.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbongo View Post
    Also a rather stupid route to take. The negative, energy and motivation-sapping effects of cannabis are (except to those who regularly use it and in a denial much the same as the heavy drinker) very obvious.

    I have friends who have smoked/used cannabis for years and, despite it having been a "harmless" element of their lives for many years, it's now beginning to really start turning them into oddballs - Moody, disconnected, paranoid and generally not "on the ball".

    I'm no manic anti-drugs lobbyist - given my past that would be hypocritical - and l think that there are times and places in the right persons life for certain things to be enjoyed - but cannabis for depression...

    ...there's a reason it's called "dope"...

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I have a friend who always swore how harmless it was, he was a heavy user evenings and weekends. He’d always been a bit manic after 20 or so years of it but he ended up shot away. Suicidal a fair bit, would fly off into rages at work smashing stuff up and ‘leaving’ quite often. He ended up attacking someone at work in the end. He was a nightmare to work with, the paranoid thing was very evident which is how he ended up attacking a work colleague. I had a call from his Mrs couple years ago (at 1am!) and he’d gone off in his car to kill himself. Quick car, drove it as fast as he could down the road he lives and straight on at a bend, smashing it to pieces, rolled multiple times, wiped out telegraph pole etc. Silly bugger got out unscathed (well relatively) God knows why but I was about the only person he’d never attacked and was able to chill him out. That’s why I got the call to go find him.

    I saw him today actually (haven’t worked with him in years) and his eyes just looks in torment. I feel for his Mrs, she’s such a sweet girl and he’s put her through hell.

    He was a really clever, funny guy too and we had some great times (holidays etc) but if you looked up manic depression he’d be the definition. He was a heavy user though but even he’s realised what it’s done to him. His old best mate was as bad as him too, that guy completely lost the plot and has been living back with his mum n dad for the last 10 years or so (and he’s early 50’s now)

    With every artificial up there’s a down! Suggesting someone smokes weed for depression is madness IMO, may as well tell him to get drunk.

    Everyone I know that’s done it has had their brain scrambled. I get the pain relief thing for dying people, fine but as a lifestyle for a physically healthy person it’ll ruin them mentally eventually. And as for long term depression relief, crazy.

    You’ve also got the ‘drug driving’ thing these days, you wouldn’t drive around drunk but people seem to think they’re fine to be stoned.

  31. #31
    Master MarkO's Avatar
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    I agree with Mr.D .

    Alcohol is a depressant
    B12 either shot or diet can do wonders
    Exercise or something to naturally produce endorphins would be good .

    (Or just persuade him to try 20 mg fluoxetine for a month )

  32. #32
    Agreed on exercise and sunshine. My life revolved around cycling and I was great, and my problems started when, for a couple of reasons, I had to pretty much give it up.

    I think I fit the description of your son pretty well. I know it’s stupid, but that’s just how it is, at least for now.

    About a month ago I started on L-Theanine, in pure powder form. Whether placebo or not, I noticed a massive overnight change. That seems to have died off a little, but I still feel it makes a difference.

  33. #33
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passenger View Post
    Cannabis seems the cure du jour.
    I think you'll find cannabis is invariably the problem, not the solution. You might as well suggest LSD.

  34. #34
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hafle View Post
    Simply speaking from experience.
    But not with any intelligence. Psychotropic drugs are not the answer the OP is looking for.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    I think you'll find cannabis is invariably the problem, not the solution. You might as well suggest LSD.
    I suggested it's being lauded at the moment as something of a cure all, what PC's son or anyone else does is their business.

    I've read there's increasing experimentation with microdosing LSD to improve mood and enhance creativity fwiw.

  36. #36
    One of the problems with depression is that it tends to stop you doing the very things you need to be doing to combat it. It can be really hard to force yourself out of the door, into activities that will help. Three important things, diet, exercise and something to look forward to. You need a clean and healthy diet full of varied nutrition, have a blast of exercise quite a few times a week, and plan a trip or other event, and keep doing it! Not once or twice but make a lifelong change. (Not you of course, but the person you are trying to help.)

    Only seeing drugs making the problem worse not better :(

  37. #37
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    Excercise, a reasonably good diet and plenty of sleep are the foundations of good health, both mentally and physically. Too much alcohol definitely won’t help.

    Maybe he needs to visit some people who are much worse off than he is, then realise how lucky he is. Meeting people of a similar age with serious health problems can focus the mind and stop people feeling so negative about their own lives.

    I’m not trying to trivialise depression but there is an element of self- help/ positive thinking required.

    Apart from alcohol in moderation I wouldn’t touch any drug, the negatives far outweigh the positives.

    Paul

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    I think you'll find cannabis is invariably the problem, not the solution. You might as well suggest LSD.
    Funnily enough the University of California has been doing a long term study and suggested there is growing evidence to support drugs like LSD and Psilocybin in Mushrooms can help reset the brain by forming new neural pathways and cure depression

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/h...-a8395511.html
    Last edited by Vanguard; 14th June 2018 at 10:08.

  39. #39
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    PC, as a sufferer of depression and anxiety for a good 15 years and starting in my mid 20's, i can tell you for sure your young lad needs a professional opinion.

    The depression was the most pronounced of my "ailments" when i finally gave in and took myself to the doctor, but it was the Anxiety that was the root cause. The anxiety stopped me doing things i would normally do, which in turn left me with too much time for negative thought and eventually leading to frustration and eventually depression. Once that set in, i couldn't be bothered with anything and that it turn that made me even worse.

    What i needed initially, was to challenge my anxiety, to push myself to fing things that i might like to do and to keep my interest and focus away from negative thought. Weight training was a life saver for me, not only did it release endorphins by the bucketload, but you start to look better... people compliment you, you start to eat better, you start to feel better and before you know it your in a positive spiral rather than a negative one. There's nothing better to take your mind off feeling bad than benching 100kg i can tell you, INSTANT gratification!

    These days the weights have taken a back seat, as i have back trouble from being a lanky git but the Woodturning is my new distraction.

    Basically, if you cant get him to the doctor, get him something he can take an interest in as a starting point. I wish i had that advice at the beginning.

  40. #40
    Master Xantiagib's Avatar
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    I find Vitamin D helps a lot - perks up my mood but to just enough not to care about mild negativities that would normally get me down and in a mess - so helps more with anxiety which can be a root cause for depression

    check thyroid function - a low function here can and will lead to depression

    Canabis oil may be du jour - but it existed long before pharmaceutical companies did - worth a try mix with yoghurt

  41. #41
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passenger View Post
    I suggested it's being lauded at the moment as something of a cure all, what PC's son or anyone else does is their business.

    I've read there's increasing experimentation with microdosing LSD to improve mood and enhance creativity fwiw.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vanguard View Post
    Funnily enough the University of California has been doing a long term study and suggested there is growing evidence to support drugs like LSD and Psilocybin in Mushrooms can help reset the brain by forming new neural pathways and cure depression

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/h...-a8395511.html
    I was aware of the studies with LSD, but realistically, it's not going to happen any time soon, if ever.

    I feel fairly certain that while some might benefit from the formation of new neural pathways, there will be a good proportion of others for whom those new neural pathways will be a road to hell. We'll have to see.

    But psychoactive drugs are still not worthy of suggestion as a possible solution to the OP's problem. He'd be much better trying yoga, Thai Chi or meditation. Or all three

  42. #42
    Master Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacifichrono View Post
    One of my sons suffers from depression, though he's pretty much in denial. He refuses to see a psychiatrist or psychologist who can prescribe some medications that could make his everyday life so much more bearable and "happy." His attitude is that he shouldn't have to rely on some artificial drugs to alter his perceptions.

    He will soon be leaving to study in another country, and I would like to suggest some "natural" alternatives that might mitigate those negative thoughts that keep him unhappy. I found a list offered by the Mayo Clinic (below), but wanted to find out what experiences my fellow members and their families have had with natural treatments.

    Mayo Clinic suggestions:
    - St. John's Wort
    - SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)
    - Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    - Saffron
    - 5-HTP (
    5-hydroxytryptophan)
    - DHEA (
    Dehydroepiandrosterone)

    Your experiences are welcome!
    This must be worrying for you with his impending departure- very, I would say.

    How old is he ?How bad is he ? is it mild or is he occasionaly known to go "off on one" i.e. an episode - which debiltates normal activity and living.


    Drugs in my view whether prescribed or otherwise are never the answer.

    No doubt you have tried several options already.

    My advice is to try and assess where he sits on the negative to panglossian thoughts range and then decide how to address/challenge the negative thought causality or address the symptoms or both. Is anxiety or lack of confidence the root, for example.
    If you cannot do this yourself and I couldn't for the persons to which I refer - then, firstly, maintain a daily messaging contact around evening time and, vitally, get him in for a chat with a professional about negative thinking and ways to challenge it. Have a contact for support near your son wherever he is.

    B

  43. #43
    Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Have a contact for support near your son wherever he is.
    Good advice.

    If there's some kind of regular dialogue, even better.

  44. #44
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    Sorry to hear about this. Depression can manifest itself in varying degrees of severity and whilst there has been a lot of good advice given so far (and some not so good) it is important to note that treatment can depend on wether the ilness is mild or severe. In its severest form depression can be very debilitating, to the point where cognitive function is acutely effected - in this state, no amount of positive treatments such as exercise and fresh air will aid recovery unless accompanied by medication and professional help. My advice would be to get a professional to assess your son so that an effective treatment plan can be devised. As a psychiatric nurse I have seen many cases of depression - with the right help he will get better. I also speak as someone who has been severely depressed and can understand where he is coming from. Best of luck.

  45. #45
    Master pacifichrono's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your valued suggestions. I will discuss them with Mrs. PC and decide how to approach our son (age 26).

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by EchoSevenNine View Post
    PC, as a sufferer of depression and anxiety for a good 15 years and starting in my mid 20's, i can tell you for sure your young lad needs a professional opinion.

    These days the weights have taken a back seat, as i have back trouble from being a lanky git but the Woodturning is my new distraction.

    Basically, if you cant get him to the doctor, get him something he can take an interest in as a starting point. I wish i had that advice at the beginning.

    Distraction is a good word in most of these situations - finding something that temporarily distracts from the feelings by being occupied can help with getting through an episode.

    Quote Originally Posted by daggartuk View Post
    Sorry to hear about this. Depression can manifest itself in varying degrees of severity and whilst there has been a lot of good advice given so far (and some not so good) it is important to note that treatment can depend on wether the ilness is mild or severe. In its severest form depression can be very debilitating, to the point where cognitive function is acutely effected - in this state, no amount of positive treatments such as exercise and fresh air will aid recovery unless accompanied by medication and professional help. My advice would be to get a professional to assess your son so that an effective treatment plan can be devised. As a psychiatric nurse I have seen many cases of depression - with the right help he will get better. I also speak as someone who has been severely depressed and can understand where he is coming from. Best of luck.
    With the right help some people Might get better - for most it’s lifelong and there is no getting better, simply finding coping strategies that help, or lessen the impact of each episode. That might be professional treatment, intervention or medication.

    Some people can’t be helped, and family members or close friends should not feel guilty and feel like they have failed them if that is the case.
    It's just a matter of time...

  47. #47
    What is working for me and has worked for me is

    Exercise and activity,
    Routine,
    Listening to music,
    Reading,
    Talking to positive people and listening,
    Trying to stop hating myself and others,
    Acceptance,

    What did not help was drinking for me and focusing on blaming others for things in my life.

    Never done medication, I have seen it works for people and I also have seen another side that I feel it is not appropriate to go into.

    If you need help you should carefully consider all options, but get help.

    Doing it alone is not a real viable option, trust me I try to.

    My life is a journey and I try to remain positive.

    You are not alone, only if you choose to be.

    hope all works out for the better Your son PC. I am sure he will be fine, he has you who wants to help, he is lucky.

    I lost my support person when they died.

    However I have two fantastic son’s and I support others and keep very busy. Less time to think about the dark places I have been.
    Last edited by pastrana72; 15th June 2018 at 11:09.

  48. #48
    Craftsman daggartuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omegamanic View Post

    With the right help some people Might get better - for most it’s lifelong and there is no getting better, simply finding coping strategies that help, or lessen the impact of each episode. That might be professional treatment, intervention or medication.

    Some people can’t be helped, and family members or close friends should not feel guilty and feel like they have failed them if that is the case.
    I didn't say that people will be cured, I said get better - finding ways to cope, to lessen the impact of depression is 'better'. As for most not getting better - where is this evidence? I also think that people need hope in their lives and saying some people can't be helped is not useful. To the OP, there is no reason to believe that your son, with the right help, can't live a full and productive life. I continue to take medication (I relapsed when I stopped taking them) and I enjoy my life as much as I am able to. Best wishes.

  49. #49
    Master imb1's Avatar
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    I did try St. John's Wort some years ago. I did not notice any real improvement until about 3 months later. But that may have been another change that was happening.

    My friend's son is going through a similar problem. He is getting counseling and was on drugs from the doctor but decided to stop taking them as he thought he was better and did not need drugs. People who are depressed are not good at making decisions about themselves. Perhaps going to another country and the change may be enough to help him on the road to recovery.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by daggartuk View Post
    I didn't say that people will be cured, I said get better - finding ways to cope, to lessen the impact of depression is 'better'. As for most not getting better - where is this evidence? I also think that people need hope in their lives and saying some people can't be helped is not useful. To the OP, there is no reason to believe that your son, with the right help, can't live a full and productive life. I continue to take medication (I relapsed when I stopped taking them) and I enjoy my life as much as I am able to. Best wishes.
    Ok, I’ll rephrase, as I think you are seeing something in my words that was not intended - most people who suffer will continue to suffer throughout their lives. There is sufficient evidence.

    I wouldn’t be telling a friend who was suffering that there was no point, and that they couldn’t be helped. I was simply pointing out the reality that for some people, no matter what one or highly qualified medical professionals try to do, it will (might) not work - and that friends and family should not feel guilty about it if their friend, family member or loved one falls into that category.
    It's just a matter of time...

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