According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), major depression is currently one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.
In 2014 alone, an estimated 15.7 million adults 18 and over had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
The CDC reports that 11 percent of all Americans aged 12 and older actually take antidepressant medication.
That’s pretty scary, especially when you consider that in 2008, the rate of antidepressant used in the United States among all ages had increased by nearly 400 percent!
Prescriptions = Side Effects
As with all medications, we have come to expect side effects—just listen to the never-ending list of contraindications and side-effects in a TV commercial for the next “best” drug.
But in many cases with antidepressant medications, these side effects actually include increased depression according to a study, published in 2011 in the journal Frontiers of Psychology, which revealed that “depressed people who use antidepressants are far more likely to suffer a relapse of major depression than those who avoid antidepressants.” (1)
Doesn’t this kind of defeats the whole purpose of taking antidepressants in the first place?
This, of course, does not even take into account the many other adverse reactions people face when taking antidepressants. Some of these according to WebMD include:
- increased appetite and weight gain
- loss of sexual desire and other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm
- fatigue and drowsiness
- dry mouth
- blurred vision
Increased Risk of Suicide
If these side effects alone are not enough to make you depressed, how about the fact that at least one antidepressant according to Drug Watch, can have a stimulant effect similar to amphetamines, which can lead to suicide.
“A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official responsible for evaluating adverse drug effects during the approval process of Prozac repeatedly warned that the drug could have this effect.”
And according to the same source, it is not just this one medication, SSRIs in general, a relatively new class of antidepressants, have also been associated with an increased risk of suicide (2).
Zoloft, No Better Than Placebo
So, what is someone suffering from depression to do? Well, today, there are many natural alternatives to these harsh medications that have been proven in studies to be as or more effective than drugs, without the nasty and dangerous side effects.
According to MedicalNewsToday, Zoloft are actually no more effective than placebo for depression symptoms.
3 Natural Alternatives For Depression
A very popular spice in Indian cooking, turmeric is quickly becoming a natural medicinal superstar. This aromatic spice, backed by numerous studies, is being used for a slew of health conditions.
One study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research has confirmed for the first time in a randomized, controlled clinical trial that: “the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin is both safe and effective in treating serious states of depression.”
That’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider that turmeric causes none of the side effects of traditional antidepressants.
Coconut, and especially coconut oil, have garnered much attention lately as the number of studies touting its beneficial health properties continue to make headlines worldwide.
A study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine suggests that using a high quality virgin coconut oil can rival antidepressant drugs without the dangerous side effects (3).
“Researchers attributed the success in treatment to the unique mixture of medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil, rich in saturated fats, and to the antioxidants present in higher grade, less processed virgin coconut oils.”
One of the causes of depression according to researchers is low levels of serotonin, a hormone naturally manufactured in your body.
Among other things, serotonin helps with feelings of “well-being” and “calmness,” which is why antidepressants are designed to artificially raise your body’s own serotonin levels.
Many foods contain tryptophan, which your body uses to create serotonin.
One such food is cashews—several handfuls of cashews alone provide between 1,000–2,000 mg of tryptophan, “which will work as well as prescription antidepressants,” according to Andrew Saul, natural health guru and co-author with nutritional psychiatrist, Bo Jonsson, of the book: The Vitamin Cure for Depression.
Making Turmeric Cashews With Toasted Coconut
- 2 cups of cashews
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
- Pinch sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a tray with parchment paper.
- Place all ingredients (excluding the coconut flakes) onto the baking tray and toss together.
- Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, tossing again after 5 minutes.
- In the last 2 minutes toss in the coconut flakes and let cook until everything is lightly browned.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.