According to the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, an unbiased investigation funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, at standard doses of the most commonly used class of antidepressants (SSRIs), only 30 percent of people with severe depression achieve remission with the first medication prescribed. Switching to a new drug—and it often takes twelve weeks to achieve an adequate response to medication—is effective about 25 percent of the time. So after 24 weeks (close to 6 months), only 55 percent of people with severe depression will experience a remission of symptoms.
That isn’t exactly good news to me.
What about the other 45 percent?
Every day on Project Beyond Blue, my depression community, I hear from someone who has unsuccessfully tried 20, 30, or 40 different medication combinations and is hanging on to life by a very thin thread. I know that desperation myself, which is why, in the last two years, I have spent a lot of time and money exploring different alternative therapies.
Here are 10 non-drug therapies for depression that have provided some relief to members in my community or to friends I know battling this beast. Even if you don’t have treatment-resistant depression, they are good to know about and can be used in addition to taking medication to build extra resiliency. Remember that I am just a highly-opinionated (but well-researched) writer, not a doctor, so consult with your physician before changing the course of your treatment.