In my work as a mental health professional and a health and human services provider, I believe in practicing an integrative approach that bridges both mental health and physical health. Integrative health care combines an array of non-mainstream health care approaches with mainstream approaches in physical and mental health care. Clinical depression and clinical anxiety are both based on neuroscience as well as psycho-social factors. Therefore, incorporating integrative therapies and healing practices when providing intervention and treatment for both can be very effective for most clients.
Clinical counseling by a trained mental health professional is always a good alternative to consider when suffering from clinical depression or clinical anxiety. Another systemic approach in combination with talk therapy is homeopathy. Some of the other alternatives to psychotropic medications in treating these neuroscience based conditions are St. John’s Wort, Kava Kava, imagery/hypnosis, relaxation training, and meditation. Yoga, stress reduction, relaxation therapy, and breath work also seem to work in some individuals.
Music therapy also helps to promote health and healing for both depression and anxiety. Other effective botanical medicines are B-Vitamins because they help in the production and regulation of neurotransmitters associated with depression. Folic acid and Omega-3 fatty acid are also believed to be effective. Although there is a tendency to believe that herbal remedies for such clinical conditions is largely effective for most people, that belief has no research backing. However, it is believed that some herbal supplements have a more likely chance of improving certain symptoms for some people, yet need further study (Forsyth & Eifert, 2007).
There is also the possibility of adverse reactions to these alternatives which can sometimes be unsafe. If individuals are taking prescription medications to treat these clinical conditions they should be careful about mixing herbal alternatives with these medications. It is very important that they check with a pharmacist or a doctor before doing so to avoid negative interactions between the two. Some clients improve with both clinical counseling in conjunction with psychopharmacology, which is always my personal recommendation. However, most respond positively to medications alone, although certain mood and anxiety disorders respond best to specific evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Forsyth, J.P., Eifert, G.H. (2007). The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New Harbinger Publications.
Health Care, Prescription Drugs, Medication and Substance Abuse. (2010). Drugs and Medication. Retrieved on April 26, 2012, retrieved on October 1, 2013 from http://www.healthcareprescriptiondrugabuse.com/Axiolytic.htm