It was only about a decade ago that being on an antidepressant, namely Prozac back then, was considered a hip and modern way of managing the doldrums of life. In any given workplace in the early aughts you could count the number of coworkers who swore by their Prozac and came to realize that the bulk of the staff was on these drugs. Doctors were loosey-goosey in prescribing the meds in those days. If a patient complained of persistent feelings of the blues they walked out of the doctor’s office with a scrip for Prozac.
Attitudes have most definitely changed in these ensuing years. Those who took Prozac, or a similar medication, began to notice their personality going flat, and were surprised by the umpteen side effects, such as weight gain and loss of libido, that accompanied that flat personality. Maybe antidepressants weren’t all they were initially cracked up to be, or maybe doctors should have been more judicious in prescribing them correctly.
A similar history evolved with benzodiazepines as the wonder drugs to help quell anxiety symptoms. Again, if the patient complained of feeling worried or stressed out on a daily basis they could easily obtain a prescription for Xanax or Valium. What the patient may not have been prepared for is how addictive these drugs are, setting up a reflexive grab for the pills at even the first hint of stress. In their minds they were convinced they simply could not handle whatever worrisome blip that popped up, so they became psychologically addicted.
Whichever mental health disorder, depression or anxiety, being treated by these psychotropic drugs, the fact is that many of these patients might have been better advised to first access holistic help for depression and anxiety. Holistic treatments have been found to be very beneficial to individuals struggling with bouts of depression or excessive worry, and can often replace drug therapy altogether. Others may have experienced positive results from their medication, but want to amplify those benefits by using complimentary holistic therapies.
What is Holistic Help for Depression and Anxiety?
Holistic and experiential therapies have their roots in ancient Eastern cultures, some of these practices dating back thousands of years. The concept behind holistic medicine or therapies is the belief that in order to achieve optimal health, all aspects of the person much be addressed, including mind, body, and spirit.
The belief is that only treating the diagnosis, as is the case with Western medicine, without addressing the other aspects of the person will not yield the desired health effects. Holistic activities promote connectiveness, relaxation, and stress reduction, which all contribute to overall wellness.
Types of Holistic Help for Depression and Anxiety
Yoga: Hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced type of yoga in the U.S. Hatha yoga combines physical poses, controlled breathing practices, and meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Acupuncture: Tiny needs are inserted strategically along meridians that correspond to certain organs. These meridians are thought to be like a highway of energy, and acupuncture helps unblock this flow, leading to the release of endorphins and natural painkillers.
Massage therapy: Massage helps decrease stress hormones, or cortisol, levels, which reduces heart rate and blood pressure, helping anxiety symptoms; massage also increases serotonin and dopamine levels, helping depression symptoms.
Mindfulness: Purposeful, nonjudgmental attention to the present moment, along with focused breathing, can help manage stress as well as disconnect the individual from negative cognitive patterns common in depression.
Guided meditation: Guided meditation uses audio tracks or an instructor to introduce the individual to a process of focusing the mind on a positive image that invokes a sense of calm or joy, and then guiding the individual toward deeper relaxation.
Equine therapy: Spending time caring for a horse’s needs offers several psychological benefits. By bonding with the animal, grooming it, feeding it, and exercising it, the individual has a purpose and is accountable to another living being. This boosts mood and is also very relaxing.
Exercise: Regular exercise provides abundant benefits for managing both anxiety and depression symptoms. The increased endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine naturally improve mood, sleep quality, and concentration in addition to the physical health benefits.
Anew Era Psychiatry Provides Integrated Treatment for Depression and Anxiety
Anew Era Psychiatry is a mental health services provider serving Orange County, California. While some patients benefit from the traditional treatment protocols including a combination of medication and psychotherapy, others may find holistic methods provide excellent results without the side effects of drugs. Many patients include all three—medication, psychotherapy, and holistic therapies—into their treatment regimen for depression and/or anxiety.
Anew Era Psychiatry believes in the use of holistic help for depression and anxiety and includes these activities into their individualized treatment plans. For more information about holistic treatment methods, please connect with Anew Era Psychiatry today at (949) 577-6853.