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Thread: Do natural antidepressants really work?

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    Doodlebug's Avatar
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    Default Do natural antidepressants really work

    Due to rise in insurance, I need to find an all natural antidepressant that really works. Use to take zoloft and wellabuttrin-and they made a big difference w/my moodiness and crying episodes. My insurance is so high now that I can no longer afford these meds even w/the copay. Just heard about Protazen and wondering if it or anything else works. Tried Saint Johns Wort before but didn't take it long enough b/c of the dosage. Had to take 4 pills through the day and couldn't remember. Any suggestions?

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    wmayers99 is offline Junior Member
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    Protazen is actually far less effective than St. John's Wort, and as you discovered, the latter is little better than placebo. It does have an effect, to be sure, but there are also problems with toxicity at the high doses required to achieve a meaningful pharmaceutical effect.
    Speak to your pharmacist/chemist. Some of the major chains do offer assistance to low-income clients and if yours cannot, they may be able to refer you to one that will.
    There really aren't any natural or "alternative" antidepressants that work satisfactorily for most folks. The active chemicals in them either are present in too small a quantity to be of help or they're accompanied by a number of other chemicals that can do harm. Pharmacy research has found those helpful chemicals and can synthesize them so that you can safely get a helpful dose without the danger of the other plant chemicals.

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    lynne is offline Junior Member
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    they never have for me, and I've really tried

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    mokmok69 is offline Member
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    Well, thanks for the information I also really want to know what kind of drugs I will use to with a small amount of chemical.

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    CaliKid75 is offline Member
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    wmayers99, Have you ever taken Protazen? I do, and think it's great. I have tried both prescription meds and other natural remedies (including St. John's Wort), and have had by far the best results with Protazen. Protazen is based on amino acid therapy, which is very different than St. John's Wort. There is a lot of research that backs up amino acid therapy... Unless you have first hand experience with a product, it is irresponsible to advise others.

    Doodlebug, even with Protazen, you will need to be diligent with your dosage, but at least you only have to take 2 capsules per day. I just take them both at the same time so I don't forget.
    Last edited by CaliKid75; 05-15-2008 at 09:54 AM.

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    islode is offline Honorable Member
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    bring back an old thread but the pharmacy express and its sister sites cary some of these antidepressants.i no they have celexa geodon right off the top of my head. you maybe able to find them cheaper but the monarch group has a large selection.
    hope this helps someone

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    I've been looking into herbal MAOIs (there's a list of them on wikipedia). Not sure exactly how potent they are compared to pharmaceeutical MAOIs though, but I see some folks have tried them and sometimes reported good results.

    Interestingly enough, Tobacco smoke has MAO inhibitory action, although it comes with a nice dose of carcinogens, so I think I'll pass on that one.

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    Rakshasa is offline Member
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    Depression is NOT a result of a "chemical imbalance". This is a lie perpetrated by the pharmaceutical companies to RIP YOU OFF. In fact, the chemical imbalance observed is a RESULT of the patient's mental state. Exercise is the most effective thing in improving energy and a lasting sense of well-being. Diet comes next. Quit eating salt, sugar, dairy and meat, and start drinking fresh, raw vegetable juices. I can see you cringing, but I'm just telling you what REALLY WORKS.

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    semantical is offline Member
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    @Rakshasa do you have facts and figures to back up these claims?

    I agree with you that improving one's overall well-being and health are very important factors in increasing mental wellness. The right nutrition, enough sleep, exercise, etc - all of these are key factors. However, depression throws all of these things out of balance and makes the sufferer less able to take care of these primary (and extremely important) needs.

    I cannot agree with your blanket statements about depression being unrelated to a chemical imbalance. The fact is, there are multiple types of depression with multiple causes and symptoms. Furthermore, if pharmaceutical companies were only aiming to rip people off, then the medications would not work. However, they work for thousands of people all over the world on both a short and a long-term basis.

    Improving overall health is a brilliant aim, and depressed people especially should aim for it, however it's undeniable that some people simply need more help than others. If that comes in the form of anti-depressants, then why not take them?

    To the OP: I haven't had much luck with herbal anti-depressants. I became frustrated by the fact that I really had no idea what I was taking, or whether it was doing me any good. I took St. John's Wort for around eight months, and the only effect I noticed was extremely vivid dreams/nightmares.

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    Rakshasa is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by semantical View Post
    @Rakshasa do you have facts and figures to back up these claims?...

    ...I cannot agree with your blanket statements about depression being unrelated to a chemical imbalance. The fact is, there are multiple types of depression with multiple causes and symptoms. Furthermore, if pharmaceutical companies were only aiming to rip people off, then the medications would not work. However, they work for thousands of people all over the world on both a short and a long-term basis.
    You are beginning from the false premise that antidepressants actually pose a clinically significant advantage over placebo (i.e., that they work). According to one of the largest clinical meta-analyses to date (Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a me... [PLoS Med. 2008] - PubMed result), they DON'T actually work.

    You may believe that a particular drug is helping you, but according to the actual observations, you would recieve the same benefit whether the pill was an SSRI or a placebo, as long as you BELIEVE it's an SSRI.

    The study found that there was a VERY SMALL positive difference from placebo results ONLY in cases of extremely severe depression, and even this result was attributed to lowered placebo response, and NOT increased effectiveness of the medication.

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    I took Zoloft for years and although I had no bad side effects from it, I always felt I just thought it was helping. All the talk about herbals I just don't trust. But concerning natural antidepressants, what about amino acid supplements. I'm currently waiting for a response in another thread about theanine. I bought the most expensive amino supplements I could find and they didn't help me. What I think is the best natural antidepressant is SLEEP. (a struggle for many of us)
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    semantical is offline Member
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    @Rakshasa So do you believe that no one can benefit from anti-depressants? I find it hard to believe that there are no patients genuinely benefitting from anti-depressants. I'm sure that you'll even find many people on this board who advocate their use of anti-depressants.

    I agree that there is probably some degree of placebo effect, but the same could potentially be argued of any medication - pain relief, sleeping aids, etc. An interesting point that you make is that an anti-depressant has no clinical advantage over a placebo. If that's the case, then surely there's no harm in people continuing to take them? If, as you say, the relief they get is only a placebo effect, does that matter? If a patient takes anti-depressants for long enough to be able to feel like they can cope with everyday life and get back on their feet, isn't that a good thing?

    To me, depression is a complicated thing, and no one thing can be used to cure/treat it. Treatment and management of depression requires constant upkeep and vigilance to maintain wellness, and this is best approached from a 'whole body' perspective, rather than reliance on any one thing. Different tools may not work for different people. However, if there is a tool at one's disposal, such as medication, why not make use of it?

    One more question: If you believe that pharmaceutical companies are just ripping people off, then why are you a member of a drug discussion board? When it comes to big pharma, I tend to lean towards the skeptical side myself, by the way.

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    Rakshasa is offline Member
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    @semantical : You're not thinking about this logically. It doesn't matter what I believe or what you find hard to believe. You asked me if I had facts and figures to back up my claims, and I provided some pretty solid ones. Now it is YOU who is making anecdotal claims with no "fact and figures" to back yourself up.

    Also, in answer to your query: I have dealt with several more or less common medical conditions (including severe psoriasis, strange autoimmune reactions, MRSA infection, heart palpitations, drug addiction, liver and colon inflammation, depression, chronic allergies), and in the process I have tried many of the allopathic pharmaceutical treatments for these conditions. Most of them didn't help, and some did more harm than good. I came here partially in the hopes that my experiences might help save others some of the trouble that I've had to go through.

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    If you can remember to take Zoloft, you can remember to take St. John's Wort. And yes, it works. Other good choices: B-12, Choline, and running.

    Of course natural antidepressants don't work the same as prescriptions: They will never cause side effects which require another medication, which will eventually cause

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    @Twitter thanks for the imput. I guess not many folks know much about theanine in this thread or in this The Role of GABA in Anxiety one either
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    @ardis Surprised Thianine isn't talked about (in 2 different treads). I tried St John Wart and I felt more positive but had a reaction to it. Might go back on Zoloft if the DR insists
    Last edited by Troubadour; 05-25-2011 at 07:52 PM. Reason: mention
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    richard_f is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doodlebug View Post
    Due to rise in insurance, I need to find an all natural antidepressant that really works. Use to take zoloft and wellabuttrin-and they made a big difference w/my moodiness and crying episodes. My insurance is so high now that I can no longer afford these meds even w/the copay. Just heard about Protazen and wondering if it or anything else works. Tried Saint Johns Wort before but didn't take it long enough b/c of the dosage. Had to take 4 pills through the day and couldn't remember. Any suggestions?
    SAMe is probably the supplement with the strongest and best documented antidepressant effect.

    SAMe: Safe, Effective Support for Mood and More - Life Extension

    It's also good for joint pain. I take it everyday. The cheapest high quality brand I've found is Source Naturals ordered from amazon.com.

    Good luck.

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    i wouldnt trust herbal anything as far as meds...ie herbal xanax,,,just another way to scam ppl or get around restrictions on selling controlled meds. herbal thc, well...that works 4sure.

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    I tried sam-e but it made me nervous. St johns is what did the most for me as far as something otc and legal. But i agree with getting enough exercise and eating right. That's important too.

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    Good-Customer is offline Member
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    I've been taking Sam-E and a B Complex for the past 3 weeks and I think they've helped. My moods don't seem to be fluctuating as badly. I can't give all the credit to the herbals though, I've been working pretty hard at changing my negative though processes too...
    I've hear good things about Sam-E from lots of other people. It's fairly expensive though. No side effects that I'm aware of. Just the usualy indictions: MAOI's, tramadol etc.

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