According to Dr. David Mischoulon, researchers are uncovering evidence that suggests that certain natural remedies may be effective in treating depression. Dr. Oz talks with Dr. Mischoulon, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, about diagnoses and treatments for depression, including three over-the-counter remedies which may be beneficial to patients when used in conjunction with professional help.
Dr. Mishoulon says depression is a psychiatric disorder which manifests itself primarily with a depressed mood—the person may feel sad, down or blue for most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of at least one month, and often longer. Left untreated, depression can become more difficult to treat over time, he says. If you think you or a loved one is depressed, Dr. Mischoulon says it is critical to get a professional evaluation, rather than self-diagnose.
Because of the potential risks associated with drug interactions and improper dosages, Dr. Mischoulon says natural remedies for depression should be used only under the guidance of a medical doctor and not as a substitute for professional help. With that in mind, he shares three over-the-counter remedies that may help treat the symptoms of depression:
Omega-3s: Dr. Mischoulon says preliminary studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils (not flaxseed) may be effective for treating depression. Taking a daily supplement may have other benefits to cardiovascular health and has few or no known side effects, he says.
St. John's Wort: Dr. Mischoulon says this plant-derived herbal remedy may be effective for treating particularly mild to moderate cases of depression.
S-Adenosyl Methionine: SAM or SAM-e (pronounced "sammy") is a natural compound all mammals manufacture that may alleviate the symptoms of depression, Dr. Mischoulon says. "By taking SAM-e, that could [potentially] result in the brain synthesizing and having available greater levels of the important neurotransmitters and that could reverse a depressed state," he says.