Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Major Depression
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
image by Gloria Jones (lic)Many individuals with depression turn to complementary health approaches as an adjunct to or in place of conventional treatment. Although these approaches are commonly used and readily available in the marketplace, many of these treatments have not been rigorously studied for depression. For this reason, it’s important that you understand the benefits and risks of these complementary approaches to advise your patients.
A Task Force on Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the American Psychiatric Association conducted a review in 2010 of complementary approaches in psychiatry and found that, based on the quality of available evidence, there is enough evidence to support further research on some complementary approaches, including omega-3 fatty acids, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), folate, S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe), light therapy, physical exercise, and mindfulness-based therapies for augmenting current treatments of depression in adults. However, the Task Force noted the need for more rigorous and larger studies before employing these complementary approaches.