Diagnosing and Treating Depression

BY Dr. Krishna Patel , MBBS, DNB (Psychiatry), MRCPsych Published on October 26, 2021

Is panic, fear, and discomfort a part of your daily life? What about sleep deprivation? Do you have any emotions of remorse, uselessness, or helplessness? Despite its prevalence, depression is frequently neglected, misdiagnosed, and ignored. This can be fatal; severe depression, in particular, has a high rate of suicide. Seek treatment from a skilled health care practitioner if you or a loved one are experiencing signs of depression. Many healthcare professionals identify and treat depression. Depression screenings are now routinely included in normal healthcare visits. However, if your symptoms worsen or do not improve after 4 to 8 weeks of medication, consult your doctor about referring you to a psychiatrist for management and therapy. Obviously, if you are experiencing more severe symptoms, as well as suicidal tendencies or harming yourself or others, you should consult a psychiatrist as soon as possible.

Anxiety and depression have steadily developed into some of the most prevalent mental illnesses, impacting millions worldwide. Depression affects over two million Indian adults. As the number of people taking Prozac and anti-anxiety drugs grows every day, so does the majority of instances involving negative impacts and recurrence risks. Some even remark that they no longer feel like themselves. Medications remain the main line of management as the recent evidences point out. Medications can be started after consulting the Psychiatrist. People want to know more about their other alternatives, but what other options do they have? What other ways of treatment that are much talked about can be helpful? Let’s have a look.

What are the preferred natural remedies for depression and its benefits?

An alternative, complementary, or integrative health therapy is one that is not categorized as a mainstream Western medical practice. Alternative therapy spans a wide range of disciplines, including anything from nutrition and exercise to psychological training and lifestyle. To be cautious, speak with your healthcare physician before attempting one or more of the following recommended therapies:

  • Naturopathic medicines: Plants are used to make herbal medications. St. John's wort and ginkgo Biloba are two of the most commonly utilized herbal remedies to alleviate depression. Regardless of the fact that it has not been medically proven to cure moderate to severe depression, St. John's wort has been consumed for eons for medicinal reasons. Although the data is contradictory, Ginkgo biloba is believed to boost memory and other cognitive abilities. Herbal medications are administered orally. Before using a herbal cure, consult with your healthcare professional to ensure that there are no dosing schedules with your antidepressants or other prescriptions.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapeutic treatment that prevents and heals various diseases and disorders. Acupuncture is the practice of placing very thin, solid needles into particular spots on the body. By addressing imbalances, it boosts the body's ability to resist or conquer sickness. It also stimulates the body's production of substances that significantly reduce pain signals. Acupuncture was found to be more effective than conventional therapy in reducing depression after three months in recent clinical research. Acupuncture may be more effective than counselling and standard of treatment in lowering both pain and depression in individuals who experience both.
  • Reflexology: The reflexologist administers stimulation to various pressure points on your feet, hands, ears, and face during this therapy.The nerves in the hands and feet connect to different sections of the body. Reflexologists claim that putting pressure to particular spots on the body stimulates the recovery process. It is supposed to boost your temperament, aid with sleep, and relieve stress.
  • Exercise: In general, exercise is a risk-free and simple technique to boost your health. Walking, jogging, cycling, and other forms of exercise have been demonstrated to alleviate depressive symptoms. According to a new analysis, 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise decreases anxiety symptoms and depression. Various workouts can help you alleviate stress and sadness and boost your energy, balance, flexibility, and capacity to relax.
  • Meditation: It is a type of relaxation and contemplation. While the body is relaxed, the brain is purified by concentrating on a single thought, which could be a phrase, statement, or a specific image. Meditation is often performed daily for at least 10 minutes. Meditation offers numerous advantages, including relieving tension and anxiety and allowing you to achieve a state of silence and tranquilly.
  • Massage: Massage promotes relaxation while reducing tension and stress through the use of touch. Massage promotes the mind-body connection, helping us to be more conscious of what is going on in our bodies. Swedish massage techniques, Reiki, aromatherapy, and craniosacral therapies are examples of massage techniques that can help with the mind-body connection and overall tranquility. The production of serotonin and dopamine, as well as the lowering of cortisol, during a therapy may actually boost depression symptoms, reduce pain, and improve sleep.
  • Hypnosis/ Guided imagery: Its is a type of focused relaxation that aids in creating equilibrium between the mind and body. Guided imagery assists you create a quiet, serene visual picture — a "mental retreat" for medical reasons. It can be an effective psychological method for improving a person's coping mechanisms. It can ease symptoms effectively – and possibly conquer – stress, anger, pain, sadness, and insomnia, whether or not there is a physical ailment involved.
  • Yoga: Yoga is both an exercise and a spiritual practice. It provides you with relaxation methods that can make you feel energized when you're feeling under the weather or calming you down when you're feeling anxious. Breathing serves as a conduit between your thoughts and your body. Modifying your breathing pattern might make you feel better both mentally and physically. Also, yoga poses and motions train you how to position your body in stances that can make you feel stronger, better equipped to inhale and operate, and produce an overwhelming feeling of well-being.
  • Deep breathing: Breathing exercises entail inhaling gently and expelling slowly while your mind is focused on the breath. When we are anxious, we tend to take rapid gasps or have difficulty regaining our breath. When you take a steady, calming breath, your lungs will fill with oxygen, lowering your heart rate. So we concentrate on whatever is creating the anxiety by focusing our minds on the breathing process. Taking calm, deep breaths while counting to five when inhaling and counting to five while exhaling can assist with depression both physically and cognitively.

When it comes to depression, what is the prognosis (outlook)?

The efficiency of the complementary therapies indicated here has yet to be determined by scientists. An accurate prognosis is quite challenging to come by. You'll have to experiment a little to discover what works and what doesn't for you when you use alternative therapies. While using these treatments, keep in touch with your healthcare professional.


Do not hesitate to contact your healthcare practitioner as soon as you feel that you have started remaining sad or irritable than usual and your work efficiency as well as life per se is affected by that. Loosing Quality Life for Years is Like Missing Life All Together! Keep in mind that you should always follow the directions of your healthcare practitioner. Do not stop taking your drugs or begin an alternative therapy without consulting your doctor and/or qualified healthcare professional.


Dr. Krishna Patel , MBBS, DNB (Psychiatry), MRCPsych

Psychiatry and Behavioural medicine

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